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College of Arts & Sciences

Biology

Why pursue a biology degree at North Central College?

From your very first course, Biology engages you in authentic science! Our curriculum starts by involving you in discovering what influences West Nile virus in mosquitoes in a research course. Open-ended, project-based labs and active-learning classrooms build skills in experimental design, data analysis, scientific writing, presentations, problem-solving, synthetic thinking, teamwork, and research ethics. Capstone courses and summer and academic-year research opportunities involve you in real research projects with faculty mentors.

Choose advanced courses in five curriculum tracks to prepare yourself for any life-science career. Biology majors can go straight to the workforce or continue to graduate or professional programs. Diverse career opportunities include research, medicine and health professions, secondary education, pharmaceutical development, environment, veterinary medicine, public health, scientific writing or illustration, medical labs, forensics, and many more.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN

  • Using the latest scientific tools to understand how living systems work
  • Understanding living organisms relationship to their existing ecosystem
  • Studying biological, medical, professional or health functions

then a degree in BIOLOGY might be for you.

Why study biology at North Central College?

In the Classroom

Coursework topics:

  • Biostatistics
  • Calculus
  • Career-Readiness Seminar
  • Cells & Systems
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology & Evolution
  • Gateway Research
  • Genes & Genomics
  • Physics

Beyond the Classroom

As a biology major, you can:

  • Apply for internships and jobs through robust faculty and alumni networks or the Center for Career and Professional Development.
  • Apply for our funded summer research program.
  • Take experiential courses at Shedd Aquarium and Morton Arboretum
  • Take your studies abroad to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Africa, Galapagos)
  • Explore our experimental prairie• Be inducted into the Biology Honor Society
  • Join one or all of our student clubs like Student Pre-Health Organization or GreenScene environmental club
  • Work closely with faculty on pre-health advising

More Department information

Dual admission bachelor's/master of occupational therapy degree

Biology Education, B.S.

The Biology Department strives for excellence in undergraduate education by providing a challenging and supportive environment for students to 1) understand and apply a broad range of biological principles; 2) develop critical thinking, investigating and communication skills through course work and collaborative research; and 3) become informed and principled citizens pursuing a variety of careers in an increasingly technological world.

Our challenging, inquiry-based, research-rich curriculum is deliberately designed to provide our students with the right tools for a bright future in any area of biology. Courses ranging from genes to organisms and cells to ecosystems give broad background yet allow specialization in a student's area of interest and are complemented by an emphasis on hands-on inquiry.

The biology-education track, B.S. prepares a student for employment as a secondary school educator. It allows students more breadth to their college degree where they pair their biology studies with requirements from the education discipline. This degree track is tailored to be compatible and must be completed with a secondary education B.A. major.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Core Courses

Electives

Three courses from the following:

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in  BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero credit  BIOL 290 - Seminar once as participants/evaluators and the two credit  BIOL 390 - Careers in Biological Sciences once before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete the BIOL 400 research course
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Capstone Experience

Completion of the Secondary Education major requirements with EDUC 446 taken as the methods course.

Biology Minor

The Biology minor provides a comprehensive introduction to Biology, including the same common core courses taken by B.A. or B.S. students and the opportunity to choose an advanced elective in the student's area of interest. The Biology minor would complement a major in areas where biological science interfaces with other fields, such as mathematics, computer science, environmental studies, neuroscience, psychology, or management.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

At least 24 credits, including:

One of the following:

Biology, Biological Sciences Track, B.S.

The B.S. degree in Biology provides a comprehensive foundation for students with interests in any area of the biological sciences, including key support courses from chemistry, physics and mathematics. This degree is appropriate for students planning for careers at the bachelor's level as well as those preparing for graduate or professional study after graduation. All B.S. students complete a common core, then select upper-division courses that match their specific interests and career plans. Research experience is built into the program for all students, as is the development of skills in scientific writing and presentation.

Students can choose from two tracks (and can switch between the tracks if their interests change). The Biological Science track is appropriate for those preparing for research careers, graduate school or employment in any area of biology, while the Biomedical Science track is appropriate for students preparing for medical, dental or veterinary programs after graduation. Students preparing for secondary education, for careers that combine biology with another area, or for the allied health fields may wish to consider a B.A. program.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Core Courses

Capstone

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar once as participants/evaluators and the two credit BIOL 390 - Careers in Biological Sciences once before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete the BIOL 400 research course
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Biological Science Track Courses

Advanced Electives

Three of the following:

Required Support Courses

Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences:

Non-Calculus

Calculus-Based

Biology, Biology Professions Track, B.A.

The B.A. degree in Biology provides the same comprehensive core, research experience and capstone as the B.S. degree, but its two tracks are tailored to be compatible with a second major (Biology Professions track) or with the requirements of professional schools in such allied health areas as nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, pharmacy, or optometry (Health Professions track). Students choosing the Biology Professions track need an additional major in a complementary area such as environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computer science, business, etc. Students seeking a degree in Secondary Education can complete a second major in Biology by choosing this track. Students planning to continue to graduate programs in the biological sciences or to medical, dental or veterinary programs should consider the B.S. degree in Biology instead.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Core Courses

Capstone

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar once as participants/evaluators and the two credit BIOL 390 - Careers in Biological Sciences once before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete the BIOL 400 research course
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Biology Professions Track Courses

Two of the following:

Support Courses

Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

Second Major

Biology Professions majors must complete a second major in an area outside Biology. Note: Students seeking licensure for secondary education must complete the Secondary Education major.

Biology, Biomedical Science Track, B.S.

The B.S. degree in Biology provides a comprehensive foundation for students with interests in any area of the biological sciences, including key support courses from chemistry, physics and mathematics. This degree is appropriate for students planning for careers at the bachelor's level as well as those preparing for graduate or professional study after graduation. All B.S. students complete a common core, then select upper-division courses that match their specific interests and career plans. Research experience is built into the program for all students, as is the development of skills in scientific writing and presentation.

Students can choose from two tracks (and can switch between the tracks if their interests change). The Biological Science track is appropriate for those preparing for research careers, graduate school or employment in any area of biology, while the Biomedical Science track is appropriate for students preparing for medical, dental or veterinary programs after graduation. Students preparing for secondary education, for careers that combine biology with another area, or for the allied health fields may wish to consider a B.A. program.

Core Courses

Capstone

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar once as participants/evaluators and the two credit BIOL 390 - Careers in Biological Sciences once before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete the BIOL 400 research course
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Anatomy and Physiology

Advanced Electives

Two of the following:

Required Support Courses

Support Elective

One of the following:

Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences:

Non-Calculus

Calculus-Based

Biology, Health Professions Track, B.A.

The B.A. degree in Biology provides the same comprehensive core, research experience and capstone as the B.S. degree, but its two tracks are tailored to be compatible with a second major (Biology Professions track) or with the requirements of professional schools in such allied health areas as nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, pharmacy, or optometry (Health Professions track). Students choosing the Biology Professions track need an additional major in a complementary area such as environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computer science, business, etc. Students seeking a degree in Secondary Education can complete a second major in Biology by choosing this track. Students planning to continue to graduate programs in the biological sciences or to medical, dental or veterinary programs should consider the B.S. degree in Biology instead.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Core Courses

Capstone

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar once as participants/evaluators and the two credit BIOL 390 - Careers in Biological Sciences once before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete the BIOL 400 research course
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Health Professions Track Courses

Anatomy and Physiology

Advanced Electives

Two of the following:

Support Courses

Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

One of the following:

Biology Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in biology have been accepted at:

  • University of Illinois 
  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Texas
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California

Medical and Professional Schools

Schools attended by recent graduates in biology include:

  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • University of Iowa College of Dentistry
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Rush University College of Nursing
  • Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Midwestern University physician assistant program

Careers

Recent graduates in biology include people working at:

  • Edward Hospital
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Loyola University Medical Center
  • Oswego East High School, Oswego, Ill.
  • PharmaPro, Inc.
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Morton Arboretum
  • Therapeutic Proteins International
  • Teach For America
  • Prairie Analytical Systems
  • University of California-San Francisco
  • Midewin Tallgrass Prairie
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • US Forest Service

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