The Biology Program has grown by 25% in the past 3 years to over 600 undergraduate students, and it has the fastest growing group of students studying abroad at OSU.
Preparing students for a changing world. Issues and advances in fields such as biotechnology, environmental science and medicine emphasize the importance of biologists and a biologically literate citizenry to the future of our country and the world. The Biology Program prepares students for these challenges by bringing together faculty and courses from all of the biological science departments at OSU to provide rigorous, interdisciplinary training. Recent graduates have entered such varied fields as pharmaceuticals, conservation, science writing, education, forensics, medicine, marine biology, and genetic engineering.
The biology major has more students completing the prestigious honors and international degrees than any other unit at OSU.
Students in the Biology Program have the opportunity to gain relevant, hands-on experience in their discipline as undergraduates. Biology majors are involved with research at OSU facilities ranging from the Linus Pauling Institute to the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing to the Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Nearly all faculty members in the life sciences have had undergraduate biology student projects in their labs, and some laboratories have had as many as twenty students working on research projects in a given term.
In addition, biology students often do internships with organizations like the Nature Conservancy, agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and companies such as SIGA Biotechnologies.
Some students also choose to participate in medical experiences and volunteering in local and regional clinics.
Many biology students receive funding for research through the campus Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship, Creativity (URISC) grant programs at OSU. Both programs provide students a stipend and funds to work with faculty on a research project, often of their own design.
Biology students prepare for a variety of careers through specialized orientations, experiences, advising and clubs. Biology also offers four options: biotechnology, education, genetics, and marine biology.
Excellence in undergraduate education is our mission. As the largest undergraduate major in one of the largest colleges at OSU, biology is central to the education of students in the life sciences, as well as students across the campus taking biology courses as part of their general education. And because of its interdisciplinary nature, biology is able to draw on the strengths of faculty from across the life sciences at OSU to deliver a rigorous degree and exceptional course offerings.
The program offers an undergraduate major leading to a bachelor’s of science as well as a minor and four specialized options targeting specific careers in biotechnology, genetics, education, and marine biology.
Biology has extensive course offerings spanning medical orientation classes to the nationally renowned marine biology course taught at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.
In support of the major, the program offers coursework ranging from the Freshman Seminar designed to increase student success and retention to capstone courses such as Marine Biology where students conduct research projects and spend a term in residence on the Oregon coast. The program also offers special orientation courses to assist any students pursuing careers in a variety of health professions, and many biology courses such as Cell and Molecular Biology, Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution are taken by science students across campus. Students not majoring in science at OSU are treated to an exceptional biology course for non-majors, a course nationally known for its innovations. Overall, the program delivered more than 26,000 student credit hours to biology majors and non-majors in 2004-2005.
The non-majors biology series is nationally recognized: its innovations include portfolios, student research projects, and a dynamic curriculum structured around current events.
The Biology Program’s student services and teaching are recognized for their excellence across the university. Faculty in our courses have won student-voted Carter Awards for Excellence in Teaching for our courses in genetics, cell biology, animal behavior, ecology, marine biology, general biology, and others, and we have two OSU distinguished professors teaching in our marine biology course. Our chief advisor and other advisors in the program have also won the student voted Olaf Boedtker Award for Excellence in Advising.
Biology prides itself on having students that are involved beyond the classroom. Because we emphasize involvement from day one of our Freshman Seminar, most biology students are engaged in a variety of activities. We have students involved on campus in areas such as student government, athletics, research, and volunteering, as well as students working in the community at local health clinics, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and other facilities.
Biology uses innovative advising, orientations, and websites which increase student success and involvement, while matching students with faculty, based on career goals.
Many biology students also participate in clubs such as the Life Sciences Club which gives back by participating in efforts such as restoration work with the Nature Conservancy, or the Pre-Education Club which puts on science activities for students at local schools. During Discovery Days, a twice-annual campus event attended by 4,000 K-8 students, OSU biology students present hands-on activities and demonstrations to students interested in the life sciences.
Student Research Projects
More students in biology choose to write up their research as part of an international or honors college degree than any other major at OSU:
Nick Ehlers, B.S. Biology, Marine Option, Chemistry Minor: Nick worked with Dr. Bruce Menge’s laboratory in Panama on the connections between estuaries and coral reefs. Nick also worked in the Bahamas with Dr. Mark Hixon’s laboratory on the populations dynamics of coral reef fishes.
Kristin Diez, B.S. Biology, Genetics Option, Chemistry Minor, Honors Degree: Kristin worked for two-and-a-half years with Dr. Andy Blaustein’s laboratory staff on amphibian declines and went on to do an honors thesis with Dr. Courtney Campbell on the ethical issues surrounding organ transplantation.
The biology major, coupled with the abundant research, internship, and clinical opportunities at OSU, provides a solid foundation for careers in the biological sciences. Biology graduates have gone on to work in academia, industry, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, and many are accepted into prestigious graduate and professional schools across the country.
For more information, please contact:
College of Science
Oregon State University
2042 Cordley Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331