Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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The Biology Major

The study of biology furnishes insights into our species, ourselves and the world around us. Biological knowledge allows us to better understand processes and patterns from molecules to ecosystems. Biology is an exciting, exploding discipline offering a broad and advancing frontier between the known and the undiscovered. It is a gateway to varied and satisfying careers. The Biology Department at F&M is made up of diverse and energetic faculty members whose research informs their teaching. Biology majors get intensive hands-on training in their classes and through independent research under the guidance of faculty. The course offerings and requirements of the major are focused on laboratory/field instruction, as we believe that a solely lecture-based approach is insufficient to train biologists.

Biology requirements

Biology requirements at Franklin & Marshall consists of two main parts:

  1. A sequence of four, one-semester core courses (Evolution, Ecology and Heredity; Physiology and Development; Cell Biology; Genetics), as well a course in Biostatistics.
  2. Five electives

Additional courses are required in chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and physics. Additional information about the requirements of the major can be found in the course catalog.

Students with a special interest in neurobiology and animal behavior may elect a joint major in Biology and Psychology as part of the Program in the Biological Foundations of Behavior. A major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is also available. A joint major in biology and another discipline may be developed with the advice of the chairpersons of the two departments, or students may design their own interdisciplinary major through the Special Studies Program. Franklin & Marshall also participates in cooperative 3/2 and 4/2 programs with Duke University's School of the Environment. Students attend Franklin & Marshall for three or four years and Duke for two years; they receive a bachelor's degree from Franklin & Marshall and a master's degree from Duke.

Beyond Franklin & Marshall

 Franklin & Marshall’s biology program provides students with a firm scientific foundation and enough flexibility to accommodate individual interests. The range of these interests is reflected in the paths biology majors follow after graduation. There is a vast and expanding array of careers open to biology graduates, with or without further education, and employment prospects in these areas are good. About 85% of biology majors pursue further study, either directly after graduation or following a brief period of employment. Many go on to advanced training in health-related fields including medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care administration, and nutrition. Other students pursue master’s and doctoral degrees in biology and related fields. Recent graduates have been admitted to Carnegie-Mellon University, University of Chicago, Cornell University, University of Georgia, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, SUNY/Stony Brook, and the University of Wisconsin for study in molecular genetics, behavioral ecology, cell biology, marine biology, entomology, biophysics, plant ecology, and evolution and development. Although such study often leads to a career in university teaching and research, other opportunities exist in secondary education, industry (molecular biology, agricultural technology, pharmaceutical research, environmental consulting), and government (Departments of Health, Agriculture, Conservation, and Environmental Resources; state parks and museums).