2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog 
    Mar 25, 2023  
2021-2022 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Organismal Biology Major

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:

Seven upper division biology courses, including 3 with lab. At least six courses must be from the four groups listed below, with at least one course from each group AND at least three from Group 1 or Group 3.  No more than one course from Group 4 may be counted.  Other biology courses may also be appropriate to fulfill the group requirements, if approved in advance by the biology faculty.  One upper division Environmental Analysis course offered by Keck Science may count as a non-lab elective, but will not count towards any of the Group requirements.

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:

Note: Students are strongly encouraged to pursue an in-depth research experience through either a study abroad program with a field biology component or an on- or off- campus summer research project.  With prior departmental approval students may count off-campus courses towards elective and/or research experiences towards thesis.

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