For more information on the BSCI specializations, please visit the Biological Sciences Program.

MICROBIOLOGY (micB) Specialization

Microbiology is a field fundamental to all of biology. Microbes are found in every environment on our planet. They contribute to the ecology of each niche and supply the basis of our food chain. Microbes control population growth via infectious disease and provide us with the biological machinery to genetically engineer a diversity of products and medicines. The metabolic pathways and genetic systems within bacteria have served as the stepping stones for discoveries in other systems. Studies of these simple yet elegant life forms have provided the tools that fueled the evolution of biotechnology and genomics.


Specialization in the field of microbiology encompasses not only the study of the fundamental processes of bacteria, but also the examination of animal, plant, and bacterial viruses, as well as animal and plant defense systems that counter infection and invasion by microorganisms.


Microbiology, including the subfields of virology and immunology, continues to be at the forefront of scientific investigation. Microbiological principles are being applied in ecology, biotechnology, medicine, agriculture, and the food industry. With new knowledge of DNA sequence data for many bacterial species, the answers to basic biological questions are even more compelling than in recent years.


Students of microbiology will find opportunities in academia, industry, medicine, public health biotechnology, and law. Our Undergraduate curriculum satisfies the recommendations of the American Society for Microbiology.

CEll biology & genetics (CEBG) Specialization

Students interested in the basic biology of the cell, and the understanding of information transfer within the cell, should choose this major. Courses cut across organismal disciplines by covering the genetics, the molecular biology, and the cell biology of microbes, insects, plants, and animals.


This specialization area is interdepartmental in that all of the Biological Sciences Departments offer courses that contribute to the upper-level program of the major. The administration of the major, including the advising of students in CEBG will be coordinated by the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics.


This area combines Cell Biology and Genetics:


Cell biology is the study of cells and their processes. It mainly focuses on eucaryotic cells with an emphasis on the internal working of the cells and the interactions between cells. Cell biology is a fundamental part of many biological disciplines including, but not limited to, developmental biology, neurobiology, immunology, cancer biology, aging and disease states.


Genetics is one of the oldest and broadest fields in biology. All aspects of biology have a genetic component. Modern genetics deals with the evolution, transmission, and expression, of heritable traits, and includes the analysis of DNA sequence data, which is used to help answer basic questions of biology (Genomics). Genetic techniques are used by molecular biologists, cell biologists, and ecologists in the quest to understand the hereditary basis of biological processes.


Topics in Cell Biology and Genetics are at the cutting edge of modern biological research. The disciplines are combined into one specialization due to their inter relatedness and overlap. An understanding of one, by necessity, requires some understanding of the other. The combined areas are being used to understand disease, design cures and preventative measures, develop improved plant, animal, and bacterial species, and further our knowledge of the most basic understandings of how cells function and communicate with each other. Studies in these combined areas have brought about the Biotechnology revolution and the new field of Genomics. Students in this specialization area will find many opportunities for employment and career development in academia, industry, government, medicine, law, and biotechnology.


general biology (GENb) specialization

GENB provides a strong but flexible curriculum for students with either broader interests than any of the other specializations. The structure of GENB will require that students take courses across the biological levels of organization, but within those constraints they may choose to study one taxon or area in more depth. This specialization will specifically prepare students for graduate study in a broad range of biological fields, secondary school teaching, science writing, professional schools, biology – business related careers, and basic or applied research. Source: BSCI

Plant Biology - part of genb specialization

Students interested in the study of Plant Biology are encouraged to choose the degree program in General Biology. Within this program, students may complete a cassette of Plant Biology courses, including plant ecology, plant physiology, bioinformatics, molecular genetics, and molecular genetics laboratory. The broad background provided by the program is suitable for job opportunities or graduate studies in cell & molecular biology, physiology and development, conservation biology, ecology, biotechnology, and agriculture-related fields.


Unique local resources for the study of Plant Biology: