What is Biology?
This broad major is intended to orient you to biology as a
whole. You will study the science of living systems by observing the
structure, function, reproduction, growth, evolution, and behavior of
living organisms and their relation to their natural environments. This
includes the study of biological issues related to health and
medicine. You will learn about a variety of biological and medical
sciences and you will do work in a laboratory setting.

The nature of the biology department reflects both the
diversity of modern approaches to dealing with living organisms and the
commitment of the University to a liberal education. The course
offerings are rich and varied and
offer great opportunity for the construction of unique yet broad-based
programs of study. The basic objectives of the department are to
provide insight into the rules and relationships governing living
systems as learned through our specialty majors or through a
student-tailored program in the basic biology major.

The biology academic program has the following learning goals for students:

  • To learn fundamental concepts in three major areas: cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution.
  • To use modern laboratory and field research techniques to conduct research.
  • To integrate content, skills and critical thinking to
    design feasible independent research projects employing the scientific
  • To critique and contextualize the published works of
    others in the scientific community, including the ability to critically
    analyze experimental design and data interpretation.
  • To demonstrate quantitative literacy, including the application of statistical methods to analyze and interpret data.
  • To develop scientific writing skills through the writing
    of papers using scientific conventions of format, succinctness,
    objectivity and accuracy.
  • To develop oral communication skills within the context
    of scientific conventions of format, succinctness, objectivity and
    accuracy through the presentation of papers and posters.

Graduate work is necessary for those wishing to pursue many
careers in the biological sciences, although some students do obtain
positions without further formal training. Biology majors continue
studies in graduate school in such diverse areas as ecology, evolution,
molecular biology, entomology, marine biology, physiology,
microbiology and genetics. Others use their biological training
in industry, environmental science, academia and health care
professions. Many biology majors go on to health professional schools in
veterinary medicine, medicine, dentistry or physical therapy. Students
interested in a health career should consult a member of the Health
Careers Committee early in their college career. Interdisciplinary
majors are offered in biochemistry, conservation biology, neuroscience
and biology-physics. A combined major with environmental studies is
also available.

Working in Biology
Characteristics and Skills Necessary for Success

  • Interest and skills in laboratory work
  • Careful, creative problem solver
  • Good communication skills, both orally and in writing
  • Capable of critical observation
  • Effective goal setter
  • Ability to interpret data

Click HERE for a table on Career Areas, Employers, and Strategies for Employment

Sample Job Titles

Biology Teacher
Conservation Biologist
Fisheries Biologist
Medical Scientist
Medical Technologist, or Technician
Physician Assistant
Soil Conservationist
Wildlife Biologist

Learning More About Biology

  • Visit the Career Services office and check out our Career Resource Library.
  • Visit the SLU Biology Department website and check out the biology course descriptions in the Catalog.
  • Talk with a professor in Biology about the major. Click here for a list of possible questions to ask.
  • Perform an informational interview with a professional in the field. Click here for information on how to find a professional, contacting them, and a list of possible questions.
  • Get connected with SLU alumni in the field through SAINTSLink, participate in Shadow-a-Saint or complete an Internship.

Additional Resources

Related Majors and Minors at SLU
Biology-Physics Combined
Conservation Biology
Sports Studies and Exercise Science