One of the best ways to learn science is by doing it. The biology major at Oberlin has three learning goals. 1) Students should have knowledge of key biological concepts and underlying fundamentals and should be able to apply these across all levels of organization. 2) Students should have critical thinking and functional skills needed to carry out the scientific process from inception through communication of results. 3) Students should have an understanding of the ways in which biology interrelates with other sciences, disciplines, and society. Please view the Biology Majors' Guidebook for more information.
Whether you are a declared major or a science enthusiast, our flexible program meets the requirements of the biology major and has courses for those with a keen interest in the subject. Our program prepares students in the principles, concepts, and methods of modern biology and develops analytical skills necessary for advanced study in a broad range of scientific and non-science disciplines.
Research is integral to the biology major. Apart from classroom instruction, students can actively participate in collaboration in research with faculty in the Oberlin College Science Center. This comprehensive state-of-the-art building has classroom and instructional research facilities for up to 45 student researchers in biology, 30 in chemistry, and 15 in neuroscience. The space is ideal for our faculty whose research interests range from disease ecology systems modeling and genetics to embryology and cancer immunology, among others. Biology students collaborate with faculty on systems and organisms research that investigates bacteria, wasps, crayfish, nematodes, opossums, aquatic plants, and more.
Many off-campus opportunities are available for summer study at marine and inland field stations. Students can vie for assistant positions in university research labs, hospitals, companies, or with the National Institutes of Health. Those who plan graduate studies should consult with an advisor to ensure selection of appropriate courses in order to prepare for study in such diverse fields as forensic biology, forestry, virology, conservation biology, pharmaceutical law, textbook illustration, or animal behavior. Graduates of our biology program venture directly into the applied fields of medicine or other health professions, as well as related fields including conservation, agriculture, and environmental science.