2014-15 Pitzer Catalog 
    May 23, 2018  
2014-15 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Organismal Biology Major

This major provides a research-and-field-oriented background for students interested in research careers in either physiology or ecology/evolution and their allied fields. For further information, consult with the organismal biology/ ecology faculty, Professors McFarlane, Preest, or Thomson.

Requirements for the Major

Learning Outcomes for the Program in Organismal Biology

The Organismal Biology major of the Keck Science Department provides students with the skills and knowledge to effectively engage and evaluate biological science issues and innovations in the wider world, and to take leadership roles in fields including research, health and veterinary professions, and environmental management.

Students completing a major in Organismal Biology should demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Articulate the foundational scientific principles and findings in physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology.
  2. Apply foundational principles, especially evolution, in different biological subdisciplines.
  3. Refine critical, analytical, and scientific thinking skills, by developing scientific questions and using a variety of research tools and methods towards answering them.
  4. Read/understand and critique original research articles.
  5. Use appropriate quantitative approaches for data analysis, data presentation, and modeling.
  6. Articulate how science relates to current problems in the modern world, especially contemporary concerns such as conservation biology, climate change, and ecosystem degradation.

Courses required for the Organismal Biology major:

Six upper division biology courses, including 3 with lab, at least one from each group AND at least three from Group 1 or 3: Other courses may also be appropriate to fulfill the group requirements, if approved in advance by the biology faculty.

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Off-Campus Study at an advanced level (OCS courses may substitute for courses in Groups 1, 2 and 3; approved summer research experience may substitute for OCS by prior arrangement). (Off-Campus Study is strongly recommended but not required).

A one- or two- semester thesis (BIOL 191 KS ; or BIOL 188L KS  and BIOL 190L KS )