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Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Sciences seeks to introduce our students to a scientific understanding of the many forms of life and their ecological interactions and to equip our students with the scientific knowledge and perspective to participate in today’s world as well-informed and biologically literate citizens.

We intend further to expose our majors to current research and techniques in biological sciences and prepare them for employment opportunities, graduate education, or professional programs of study such as medicine and dentistry. Biology majors can create a course of study that will allow them to concentrate in ecology, zoology, botany, physiology, or cell/molecular biology. Microbiology majors can choose a General Microbiology Option or the Clinical Laboratory Science Option. In addition, they can select courses which will prepare them for a career in biotechnology. The close proximity to many natural research sites enhances field courses and provides research opportunities for both field and laboratory work.

Faculty and Facilities

The faculty represent diverse academic backgrounds. All are vitally interested in their students. Faculty members, in addition to teaching and advising are actively involved in research and scientific publication. The department encourages undergraduates to be involved in faculty research programs.

In addition to excellent field sites, the department has many well-equipped teaching and research areas, such as labs for aquatic ecology, molecular biology and biotechnology, electron microscopy, microbiology, and cell physiology. A natural history museum, herbarium, and greenhouses are also available.

Graduate Programs

The objectives of the graduate program are to develop research and analytical skills so that students are equipped to conduct independent research and teach as professional biologists upon graduation. Faculty interests offer graduate students a wide range of areas in which to do research. The MS in Biology and in Botany combines coursework and satisfactory completion of original research, presented in a thesis.

Eagle Lake

The College of Natural Sciences, in conjunction with the University of California, Davis, operates the Biological Field Station on Eagle Lake, about forty kilometers northwest of Susanville, California. Summer course work and year-round research opportunities are available to undergraduates and graduate students.

Experiences

Students are involved in faculty research projects in the laboratory, field, and library. Internships are available with a number of agencies including the National Institutes of Health, California Department of Fish and Game, United States Forest Service, and many biotechnology firms. Additional listings and information are available from the department office.

Career Outlook

The organizational, data-gathering, and written communication skills acquired by biology majors prepare students for a wide variety of careers. Students may prepare themselves for employment in laboratories, business, or teaching. Laboratory technician or research associate positions are available in university and governmental research centers, pharmaceutical and biological product manufacturers, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and agricultural and food processing companies.

Students who emphasize field studies may prepare themselves for positions in private companies as well as state and federal agencies. Some of these positions include wildlife biologist, aquatic and restoration ecologist, and horticulturist. Participation in volunteer or paid internships or cooperative education programs while an undergraduate enhances employability in these areas.