The Department of Biology offers a program that allows the student to obtain a thorough preparation for graduate or professional school, to meet state requirements for a teaching credential in the life sciences, to acquire the laboratory training necessary for entry into advanced programs in biotechnology, or to supplement other major studies with a broad background in biology. A strong emphasis is placed on laboratory and field experience, not only to acquaint the student with the working methods of science, but to foster proficiency in a number of basic experimental techniques as well. All students are encouraged to complement their formal coursework with research under faculty supervision (see Undergraduate Research, page 94). An internship experience is also offered to upper-division biology majors so that they may participate in the application of biological knowledge to problems in the off-campus world.
The following high school preparation is strongly recommended for students planning a major in biology at USD: elementary algebra; plane geometry; intermediate algebra; trigonometry; chemistry; physics; and biology. Three years of study in a modern foreign language is also recommended.
Students are urged to consult departmental advisors early in their college career in order to select a program of courses most suitable to their high school background and to their future goals. The high faculty-to-student ratio allows each student to receive individualized assistance in course selection and career planning. The structure of the biology major allows each student to focus his or her studies in one or more areas of interest. For those students preparing for careers in the health sciences, a special university committee is available to advise and assist them in their applications to professional school.