Guide for New Students

Chair: Professor Stephan Zweifel

Biology offers courses that emphasize both the diversity and unity of life. This emphasis is coupled with an examination of the basic processes of biology, including the mechanisms of heredity, regulation, development and evolution. Our majors consider biology from points of reference that reflect life's different levels of organization, from biochemical and molecular, through cellular and organismic, to population and ecosystem levels.

Can I major in it?

Yes, a major is offered.

Topics explored

Biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, genetics, physiology, development, immunology, neurobiology, behavior, evolution, and ecological interactions at the population and community levels.

How to get started

The introductory Biology sequence consists of two courses, Biology 125 and 126, both of which are required before any further upper-level course work in Biology. The two courses can be taken in either order. Students who received a score of 5 on the AP exam or a score of 6 or 7 on the IB exam are exempted from Biology 125, and only need to take Biology 126 before taking upper-level Biology courses.

BIOL 125 Dyad: All students in this course are concurrently enrolled in a Philosophy course. This course is recommended for students who have taken AP, IB, or Honors Biology in high school and who have a strong chemistry background. Not offered Fall 2013.

BIOL 125 with problem solving: This course covers the same concepts as other versions of the BIOL 125 course.  The format of the course differs in that it is designed to allow time in class to apply new concepts, both in small groups and individually, by working through case study type problems with faculty present. Students enter Carleton having had a wide variety of academic experiences. The BIOL 125 with problem solving course provides a level playing field for students coming from schools without a strong science curriculum, advanced science course offerings, or lab opportunities. In addition, the emphasis on active learning is beneficial for students who like to learn by doing. Students who complete this course are prepared to continue on to Bio 126 or upper level biology courses. Offered fall term only (Fall 2013).

If you are interested in taking biology courses, but don’t think these courses are right for you, you could start with BIOL 125 winter term or BIOL 126 either winter or spring term. BIOL 125 and 126 are sophomore priority courses. We strongly encourage you to start with chemistry or math during your first year, as well as explore the Carleton curriculum. Your first term and year at Carleton are great opportunities to explore liberal arts opportunities, and to work on your language, and other requirements. Do not be concerned if you cannot enroll in a chemistry or biology course the first term.

Please note that Math 115 (Stats) does NOT count towards the Bio major; if you take Math 115 you will be unable to enroll in Math 215. Math 215 (Stats) DOES count towards the Bio major.

For more information, you can check the Courses page and the Majors page.