Biology is the study of life itself, in all its many forms. As a biology major at Elon, you will explore this intriguing subject through a specialized, hands-on combination of classroom instruction, laboratory research and field experience. Through Elon’s experiential approach, you will gain a profound understanding of biological concepts; develop the critical-thinking, problem-solving and communication skills necessary to meet the challenges of a fast-changing world; acquire the skills to retrieve, use and analyze information; become adept at using the latest technology to conduct biological research; and build an invaluable base of real-world experience.
You will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a diverse, creative faculty with a remarkable store of knowledge and the desire to share it with you. By the time you graduate, you will have gained a broad-based understanding of fundamental biological ideas and an in-depth knowledge of the specialized subjects that interest you. You will be fully prepared to continue your education in a graduate program or to embark directly on a career in a field such as biotechnology, field biology, health care, education or research.
“Working on my research project granted me the opportunity to have hands-on experience using laboratory techniques often taught on the graduate level. Under the guidance of my supportive faculty mentor, I was truly privileged to be at the forefront of research early in my academic career.”
Housed in the McMichael Science Center, Elon’s Department of Biology provides students with access to the latest technology. During your time at Elon, you will have the opportunity to work with tools such as a scanning electron microscope, ultra centrifuge, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, digital field fluorometer, high performance liquid chromatograph, PCR thermocycler, electrophoresis equipment, climate-controlled growth chamber and much more.
Through a recent grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, McMichael has been outfitted with a new DNA sequencer and RT-PCR equipment, and generous benefactors donated two gas chromatographs for student use. McMichael also is home to Elon’s modern greenhouse facility and one of the nation’s only undergraduate cadaver labs. When you move on to postgraduate work or a career, you will be familiar with the advanced equipment you will find in graduate school or a professional laboratory.
Elon biology majors learn from and work alongside dynamic faculty who blend professional experience, academic training, creativity, dedication and a passion for teaching. And that attention extends beyond graduation; professors have built strong contacts with industries, research companies and academic institutions, and they will use those contacts to help students find professional positions in their areas of interest.
Elon offers three degrees in biology: Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in biology, and a B.S. in medical technology.
Students seeking either of the bachelor’s degrees in biology will complete a core curriculum — including cell and population biology, biodiversity and genetics — and a electives chosen to meet their individual interests. The electives are grouped into three categories: molecular/cell biology, which includes courses such as genetics, biotechnology and biochemistry; organismal biology, which includes microbiology, anatomy and plant physiology; and supraorganismal biology, which includes field biology, aquatic biology, evolution and general ecology.
The A.B. in biology requires advanced studies and labs in general chemistry. The B.S. in biology requires advanced studies and labs in general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. Students pursuing a B.S. in medical technology must take a biology, chemistry, physics and immunology courses, followed by a 12-month clinical curriculum at Wake Forest University. Each biology or medical technology major must complete at least one internship, independent research project or specialized laboratory assistantship.
Members of the biology faculty lead two international field research programs during Winter Term. In the Belize program, students collect data, record observations and conduct experiments in the tropical rain forest and in coastal habitats. In the Peru program, students study Amazonian rain forests and high-altitude cloud forest ecosystems. Biology majors have participated in semester study abroad programs in Australia, Denmark, and the Turks and Caicos islands.
Internships enable you to put your classroom knowledge into action and gain experiences highly valued by graduate schools and employers. Biology majors have interned at organizations such as:
Biology majors at Elon are encouraged to pursue research projects and present their findings at institutional, regional and national conferences such as Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF), the North Carolina Academy of Science Conference and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. Students also may become involved with school and national organizations, including the Lincoln Pre-Med Society, Beta Beta Beta and the Student Sierra Coalition.
Academically talented students who plan to major in biology may qualify for the Elon College Fellows or Honors Fellows programs. These programs offer scholarship support, study abroad grants, special courses and many other benefits. Visit the Elon Fellows programs Web site for more information.
The biology department also offers exclusive scholarship awards to deserving students. Jane M. Baird Scholarships are awarded to selected freshmen who participate in the pre-medical program. Junior and senior biology majors may apply for financial support through the R.D. Rao Scholarship, Reddish-Morgan Scholarship and Jerry W. Lawson Scholarship.
About half of Elon’s biology graduates elect to pursue postgraduate studies at many of the nation’s leading medical schools, professional schools and graduate institutions, including. Recent graduates have been accepted to:
Other graduates embark on careers in a wide range of fields, including health care, wildlife management, medical research, government and more. Recent graduates have been employed by organizations including: