Undergraduate Studies

Why Major in Biological Sciences?

Our degree programs teach critical thinking skills and prepare you for a wide variety of careers -including medicine, dentistry, research, biotechnology, pharmacy/pharmacology, public health, and environmental and sustainability studies.

We provide instruction in the diverse disciplines that make up modern biology. A major emphasis of our degree programs is to familiarize students with the practice of designing, performing and analyzing biological experiments; toward this goal, stand-alone laboratory courses taught by faculty are a central component of the curriculum for each major. 

Ready to Apply?

Students wishing to major in the Department of Biological Sciences should complete a Declaration of Major form and submit it electronically or to the Department of Biological Sciences office (Wehr Life Sciences 109). Electronic submissions must be sent via the student's marquette.edu email address. Generally, the process takes 3-5 business days but may require more during high volume times.  A message will be sent to your Marquette email once the declaration is complete.


Program Objectives: Core Concepts for Biological Literacy

Expected Outcomes

A Biological Sciences graduate should be able to demonstrate knowledge in the following areas of biology by explaining the relevance, mechanisms, and significance of the following core concepts:

  1. EVOLUTION: The diversity of life evolved over time by processes of mutation, selection, and genetic change. The student will be able to use the concepts of inheritance, change, and adaptation to explain natural selection and genetic drift and their contribution to the diversity and history of life on Earth.
  2. STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION: Basic units of structure define the function of all living things The student will be able to explain how fundamental structural units and molecular and cellular processes are conserved through evolution and use this to advance our understanding of biological structure–function relationships to answer basic and applied biological questions.
  3. INFORMATION FLOW, EXCHANGE, AND STORAGE: The growth and behavior of organisms are activated through the expression of genetic information in context. The student will be able to explain that all levels of biological organization depend on specific interactions and information transfer. Information exchange forms the basis of everything from gene expression networks, cell recognition and differentiation, endocrine mechanisms for physiological regulation, signal transduction and cellular homeostasis and biogeochemical cycling, the organization of communities from microbial assemblages to tropical forests, and the mating behavior of animals.
  4. PATHWAYS AND TRANSFORMATIONS OF ENERGY AND MATTER: Biological systems grow and change by processes based upon chemical transformation pathways and are governed by the laws of thermodynamics. The student will have an understanding of kinetics and the energy requirements of maintaining a dynamic steady state is needed to explain how living systems operate, how they maintain orderly structure and function, and how the laws of physics and chemistry underlie such processes as metabolic pathways, membrane dynamics, homeostasis, and nutrient cycling in ecosystems.

Aspirational Outcomes

  1. SYSTEMS: Living systems are interconnected and interacting. The student will have a quantitative understanding of complex biological processes through an elucidation of the dynamic interactions among components of a system at multiple functional scales including emergent properties at all levels of organization, from molecules to ecosystems to social systems.

Program Objectives: Core Competencies and Disciplinary Practice

Expected Outcomes

A Biological Sciences graduate should be able to demonstrate the ability to explain the value of, and carry out the following core competencies and disciplinary practices:

  1. ABILITY TO APPLY THE PROCESS OF SCIENCE: The student will be able to design scientific processes to understand living systems including: observational strategies, literature research strategies, hypothesis testing, experimental design, evaluation of experimental evidence, and developing problem-solving strategies
  2. ABILITY TO USE QUANTITATIVE REASONING: The student will be able to apply quantitative analysis to interpret biological data including: developing and interpreting graphs, applying statistical methods to diverse data, mathematical modeling and managing and analyzing large data sets
  3. ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE TO DIVERSE AUDIENCES: The student will be able to Communicate biological concepts and interpretations both written and orally to diverse audiences.
  4. ABILITY TO INTEGRATE KNOWLEDGE ACROSS DISCIPLINES: The student will be able to: apply physical laws to biological dynamics, apply chemistry of molecules and biological systems and apply imaging technologies

Aspirational Outcomes

    1. ABILITY TO USE DATA SCIENCE MODELING AND SIMULATION: The student will be able to use mathematical modeling and simulation tools to describe living systems including: computational modeling of dynamic systems, applying informatics tools, managing and analyzing large data sets and incorporating stochasticity into biological models
    2. ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: The student will be able to identify social and historical dimensions of biology practice including: evaluating the relevance of social contexts to biological problems, developing biological applications to solve societal problems and evaluating ethical implications of biological research.

Find out more about the undergraduate experience and apply to become a Marquette student at Explore Marquette.

If you have a question about our program or want to visit us, send an e-mail to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Tom Eddinger.