The biology program begins with three active laboratory courses that cover ecology, evolution, diversity (zoology, botany, microbiology), cell biology, and molecular biology. Many students will also take a fourth course that covers vertebrate anatomy and physiology. By the fourth semester, students may begin to choose from a broad range of course offerings in accordance with individual interests. Each student must take advanced courses from two or three subareas of biology and must choose at least one course with a scientific writing and literature research component.
Many directions can be explored in depth, including cellular and molecular biology, neurobiology, genetics, microbiology, physiology, organismal biology, evolution, and ecology. Two years of college chemistry are required of biology majors. Prospective biology majors should begin their work in required chemistry early in their career at Drew, preferably during the fall semester of the first year. Additional work in chemistry, mathematics, and physics is often necessary and desirable for students planning to continue study in graduate or medical school.
Interdisciplinary Programs: Students interested in biochemistry may choose the interdisciplinary biochemistry major or the biochemistry minor described in the biochemistry program listings. A cross-disciplinary major in neuroscience is available, as is a minor in environmental studies.
Health Professions Studies: For students interested in medical school, veterinary school, and related areas, Drew University ‘s Health Professions Advisory Committee provides curricular guidance and support throughout the application process.
Many students choose to pursue graduate studies in a range of biological disciplines. As with medical schools, graduate schools have various requirements, such as physics or calculus, beyond the requirements of the biology major; thus students should consult with their academic advisers about particular fields of interest. Special programs that link work at Drew with advanced schooling are available to qualified applicants for medical school (seven-year program), biomedical engineering (3/2 program), or environmental management (3/2 program). Those considering cooperative programs should work closely with their advisers since early planning is important.
Research Experiences and Internships: Research opportunities, including full access to extensive modern instrumentation, are available to all interested students, mentored by biology faculty or by Fellows of the Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE). Interested students should consult with the department chair, or with professors or RISE scientists directly, to discuss research plans before registering for research courses. Students should register for BIOL 394 or BIOL 396 to undertake research in biology, including honors research. At most eight credits of independent research (BIOL 394 or BIOL 396 ) can be counted toward the major. Only one laboratory course equivalent can be earned through independent study/research/honors work, with two semesters counting as one laboratory course. Students who choose larger projects under the honors program are expected to present their findings at a scientific conference. Additional opportunities for experience include the Drew Summer Science Institute (DSSI), on- and off-campus field courses, the college Academic Internship program, summer research programs elsewhere, and academic assistantships through which students help with biology labs.
Students interested in advanced work in ecology are encouraged to include summer course work at a field station or an off-campus program. Scholarships supporting such summer involvement are available for two outstanding candidates each year. Drew also offers the opportunity for qualified students to spend a semester off campus in one of several approved programs in terrestrial and marine biology. Those interested in the Drew-Duke cooperative program in forestry and environmental management should see Dr. Sara Webb, the program adviser, upon entering as first-year students.
The Upsilon Delta chapter of the national biological honor society (Beta Beta Beta) sponsors social and professional activities for all biology majors. Several other student organizations serve biology students, including Neuroscience@Drew, the Premedical Society, and the Drew Environmental Action League.
- Professors: David Miyamoto, Sara Webb
- Associate Professors: Tammy Windfelder (chair), Stephen Dunaway, Roger Knowles, Christina McKittrick
- Assistant Professors: Caroline Maier, Joanna Miller
- RISE Fellows: William Campbell, Arnold Demain, Lawrence Kelly, Jon Kettenring, Allen Laskin, Barbara Petrack, Kenneth Thomas
Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations
All students with scores of 4 or 5 on the AP biology exam can receive four credits toward the general education breadth requirements in science and need not take a test at Drew to receive these credits. However, students seeking exemption from course requirements for science majors or minors must take a placement test at Drew.
No biology course at Drew is the exact equivalent of AP biology. The faculty recommends that all biology majors take all three introductory courses, because these courses provide lab experiences and depth of treatment beyond the level of most AP courses. However, science students with a score of 4 or 5 may choose to seek exemption from the lecture component of one of the required courses (either BIOL 150 or BIOL 160 ) by taking a test offered by the biology department before the start of each semester. Contact the biology department chair. Students earning the exemption must still take weekly labs and should register for BIOL 7L (fall) or BIOL 9L (spring).