Biology is the science of life. Each living thing is an amazingly complex system--from the human body to the viruses that infect them, from giant redwood trees to single-celled bacteria--and each interacts with other living things in complex ways. Biology majors at Gonzaga University graduate with a broad understanding of the science of life. By employing a curriculum that emphasizes scientific inquiry and problem-solving, the Biology program aims to develop in students the fundamental skills and knowledge for entering a wide range of careers, including those in medicine, environmental science, research, and teaching.
The Biology Department has a long history of providing high-quality science education in both the classroom and the research lab. The Department has been recognized by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which has awarded the Department competitive grants for its innovations in undergraduate education and research. The Department is among a small group of universities across the country that involves all introductory biology students in authentic discovery-based research. Biology graduates pursue a variety of interests and passions upon graduation, including medical school, PhD programs in specialties such as molecular biology, conservation ecology, and neurobiology, and a number of graduates are selected for prestigious volunteer posts with the Peace Corps, Teach for America, and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Biology majors take introductory and intermediate core courses that explore the wide expanse of biology. They can then pursue advanced, elective courses according to their interests, from an emphasis on the cell/molecular side of biology, to a focus on organismal biology, to the sphere of ecology and environmental issues. See Programs and Courses for details.
Student Research Opportunities
Doing research is one of the best ways to learn science, to grow critical thinking and analytical skills, and to mature as a clear-thinking person who can solve problems. Such skills are essential in most professions. The faculty members of the Biology Department offer opportunities for students to get involved doing independent research in their laboratories and field sites. In addition, a rigorous, optional track within the Biology major, called the Research Concentration, serves to prepare students to pursue research in graduate school, medical school, biotech, or environmental agencies after graduation. See Undergraduate Research and Biology Research Concentration.
Medical schools recommend a good liberal arts education, including a strong foundation in the sciences and broad exposure to the humanities and liberal arts (see AAMC). Biology majors at Gonzaga not only receive a high-quality science education, but since the Department is in the College of Arts and Sciences, Biology majors also get to experience a broad, liberal education by completing the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum. For more information about pre-medical, pre-dental, and other pre-professional preparation, see Pre-med and Pre-dent Information.
Since Biology is such a wide-ranging field, Biology majors who graduate from Gonzaga head in many different directions. Students seek careers in teaching, in health care, in research, and in conservation and environmental fields, among others. For information about the variety of biology-related careers, see Career Resources.