The Biology Department is committed to a student-focused learning environment grounded in an active and inquiry-based study of life. By providing a rigorous, in-depth curriculum in biology and multiple opportunities for student-driven research, we challenge students to explore this critical area of understanding. Our students develop a capacity for critical and analytical thought, learn how to creatively solve problems, and are able to effectively communicate their understanding in oral and written form. By examining the integration of biological subdisciplines as well as the connection of biology to other disciplines, students learn how to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. We give our students a strong foundation in the concepts and application of biology, and also provide extensive mentoring and personal support. By providing an intensive scientific education in a liberal arts context, we prepare our students for further academic and professional achievement and the means for continual learning and growth.
The biology program begins with three active laboratory courses that allow students to actively explore the areas of ecology, evolution, organismal diversity, cell biology and molecular biology. In addition to these three core courses, students also take two semesters of general chemistry, preferably in their first year, and two additional cognate courses in relevant areas, such as statistics, calculus, physics or organic chemistry. Beginning in their second year, students may begin to choose from a broad range of course offerings in accordance with their individual interests. Intermediate and upper level electives offer students the opportunity to explore many different areas of biology, including molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, organismal biology and ecology. 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.
Related Majors and Minors
Students interested in the biological sciences may wish to consider coursework, majors and minors that are available in the fields related to Biology, such as Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Environmental Studies and Sustainability, Neuroscience, and Public Health (minor only).
Research Experiences and Internships
Research opportunities, including full access to extensive modern instrumentation, are available to students at all levels of experience. In-depth literature or laboratory research projects are mentored by biology faculty or by Fellows of the Research Institute for Scientists Emeriti (RISE). Interested students should consult with individual faculty members or RISE scientists directly to discuss research plans before registering for research courses.
Additional opportunities for research experience include the Drew Summer Science Institute (DSSI), on- and off-campus field courses, the college Academic Internship program, and summer research programs elsewhere.
Preparation for Study after Drew
Medicine and Other Health Professions: 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. Students interested careers in the health professions are encouraged to contact a health professions adviser early in their academic career, as particular programs of study have specific course requirements. Additional information can be found at: http://www.drew.edu/career/pre-professional-studies/pre-healthhttp://www.drew.edu/career/pre-professional-studies/pre-health
Graduate Studies: 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 BA/MD program) and biomedical engineering (3/2 program), and environmental management (3/2 program). Please note that there are specific requirements for admission to these programs and those considering cooperative programs should work closely with their advisers since early planning is important. Additional information can be found here:
Dual degree program in Environmental Management: Contact Prof. Sara Webb for more information.http://www.drew.edu/physics/engineering/dual-degree-program-in-engineering
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.
- Chair: Stephen Dunaway, Associate Professor
- Professors: Roger Knowles, Sara Webb
- Associate Professors: Christina McKittrick, Tammy Windfelder
- Assistant Professors: Brianne Barker, Lisa Jordan, Caroline Maier, Joanna Miller, Bhagavathi Ramamurthy
- Lecturer: Paris Scarano
- RISE Fellows: Bimal Dasmapatra, Ron Doll, Charles Lunn, Arnold Demain, Jon Kettenring
- RISE Associate: Neal Connors
- Visiting Scientist: Jane Peppard
Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations
Students who have earned a score of 5 or higher on the Higher Level (HL) IB exam will receive credit for BIOL 150 and 160.
All students with scores of 4 or 5 on the AP biology exam or a score of 5 or above on the Standard Level (SL) IB 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 with AP or IB-SL listed above who wish to seek exemption from BIOL 150 or BIOL 160 must take a placement test at Drew. Students earning the exemption must still take weekly labs and should register for BIOL 150LA (fall) or BIOL 160LA (spring). Contact the biology department chair for more information.