Nov 30, 2021  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

Biology, BS

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College Arts and Sciences
Academic Award Bachelor of Science
Credits Required 125 semester credits
Faculty Lead Charlotte Easterling
CIP Code 26.0101

The study of biology strives to understand the natural world we live in, including the human body. The Biology major focuses on how living things work, how they interact with each other and the non-living world, as well as how our actions influence nature, including human health. Studying biology causes us to ask questions, make observations, describe potential answers, design studies, collect evidence, evaluate data and solve problems. This field covers a broad range of disciplines including anatomy, biochemistry, biotechnology, cellular biology, ecology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology, and zoology. Career options with a Biology degree include biotechnology, research technician, pharmaceutical development, ecological restoration, wildlife management, forensics, teaching, graduate school (MS or PhD), and other health professional schools (MD, DO, DVM, PA, DDS).

Graduates with a degree in Biology will be able to:

  1. Conduct an empirical research project using the scientific method.
  2. Apply scientific tools to solve problems.
  3. Evaluate primary scientific research articles.
  4. Evaluate scientific practices across cultures.
  5. Articulate how their Christian faith guides their scientific conduct.

Students majoring in biology have a wide range of interesting and challenging career opportunities. Accordingly, the major is designed to enable a student to choose a track that supports his or her chosen career path. Following the completion of the Foundations phase of the biology curriculum, a student, in consultation with a science advisor, chooses the track that provides the basis for further education or chosen career path. The tracks from which a student may select are: Animal Biology (pre-veterinary), Pre-Health (Physician’s Assistant, Physical Therapy, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, and others), Pre-Medicine, and General Science. Students applying for professional schools must request a letter of recommendation from the Pre-Professional Committee. For professional schools individual faculty may not write letters.

The Pre-Professional Committee is tasked with writing letters of recommendation for professional schools. The procedure for obtaining a letter of recommendation is as follows:

  1. Prepare the formal application and submit it to the Science Department Chair. All materials should be submitted three months before the application deadlines as a single PDF.
    1. On the cover page include your name, overall GPA as of the last semester before application, your science GPA, and your standardized exam score (MCAT, DAT, or GRE).
    2. Attach unofficial transcripts documenting all your previous collegiate academic work.
    3. Submit a (one page maximum) typed statement of personal and professional interest.
    4. Submit two professional reference letters speaking to the applicant’s character, leadership activities, and service commitment so that an assessment of the applicant’s potential for success can be made. Northwest University science professors or members of your family may not be used for reference letters.
    5. Include a well-organized list of medical related volunteering, shadowing, jobs, and other life experiences with brief descriptions of each. Letters from people you worked with may be attached to this page.
    6. Submit a list of all schools that you are considering attending. Include their requirements for admission, specifically average GPA, average MCAT, and total volunteering hours.
  2. Once the application is complete and submitted, the applicant will set up an interview with the Pre-Professional Committee through the Natural Science Department Chair. At the end of the interview, the committee will notify the applicant if a letter will be written.

Animal Biology Track

The animal biology track prepares students to apply for admission to veterinary schools, or to graduate study relating to the study of animals.

Recognizing that the admission to veterinary schools is highly competitive, the student should take ownership of their application process, while working closely with their advisor, in order to meet the admission standards set by the professional schools the student has selected.

Pre-Health Track

This track prepares a student to enter training for a variety of healthcare careers such as Physician’s assistant, Physical Therapy, Naturopathy, and more. Because these careers have rigorous programs of study and training required for certification, they often have specific requirements for admission. The student, upon entering the track, should work with her or his advisor to meet the entrance requirements for the specific career training programs.

Pre-Medicine Track

The pre-medicine track develops students as scholarly professionals who are dedicated to pursuing advanced studies in medicine and who are qualified for admission to professional schools. Pre-medicine includes Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDS), and Doctor of Optometry (DO). Because admission into medical schools is highly competitive and selective, students in this track will be carefully guided toward meeting the standards for admission set by the Association of American Medical Colleges. A student entering this program with a goal of gaining admission to a professional school accepts the personal responsibility to carefully prepare for application by achieving strong grades and pursing service experiences in health sciences. Participation in an advising cohort aimed at developing the whole student as a potential professional enhances the possibility of achieving the goal of admission to a professional school.

General Science Track

The general biology track develops students as scholarly professionals who are dedicated to working in the scientific community, or who are prepared to pursue graduate studies in the sciences. Students who complete this degree track will be well prepared to enter fields of employment appropriate to a B.S. degree. In addition, the student will participate in development oriented cross-cultural scientific experiences that provide a rich understanding of the interplay of science and human well-being, and that give a unique preparation for entering the job market, or for pursuing admission to graduate programs in advanced fields of study.

Core Curriculum Requirements: 43

Humanities: 3

  • Credits in this area must be from Writing Practice courses* (see course descriptions  for applicability)
  • 3 credits selected from the following 3 credits
    Art (ARTE), Bible (BIBL), Drama (DRAM), English (ENGL), History (HIST), Language (LANG), Music (MUSI), or Theology (THEO)

Social Sciences: 6

  • 6 credits in this area must be from Writing Practice courses* (see course descriptions  for applicability)
  • Business Administration (BUSM), Communication (except COMM 1213), Economics, Education (EDUC), Geography (GEOG), Health & Fitness (PEDU), Information Technology (INTC), Management (BMGT), Marketing (BMKT), Philosophy (PHIL), Political Science (PSCI), Psychology (PSYC), Sociology/Anthropology (SOCI), or User Experience Design (UXDE)

Formation and Calling: 6

Professional Readiness: 2

Two Core Curriculum elective credits are required to be Career Readiness credits. These credits can be earned by taking a combination of Career Readiness Courses and introductory internship and/or job shadowing experiences. 

  • This two-credit requirement is waived for students who transfer 60 or more credits to NU
  • Students with 47-59 transfer credits are required to take one Career Readiness credit

Core Electives: 5

Any college-level courses

Biology Major Requirements: 74

PHASE II Major Tracks: 36

(select one of the following tracks)

Animal Biology Track: 36


Cultural and Moral Integration: 6

Professional Experience: 1

(select from the following)

Pre-Health Track: 36

(PA, PT, Naturopath, Chiropractic and others)

Cultural and Moral Integration: 6

Professional Experience: 1

(select from the following)

Pre-Medicine Track: 36

Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDS), Doctor of Optometry (DO)

General Science Track: 36

Cultural and Moral Integration: 6

Professional Experience: 1

(select from the following)

Science/Math Electives: 26

(select from the following)

General Electives: 8

Any college-level courses or additional upper level science courses

Total: 125 Semester Credits

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