Purpose and Focus
Biology is the study of life. The earth is filled with an enormous variety of living organisms; therefore, an understanding of the basic biological processes common to all organisms is essential to understanding the world. In recent decades, great strides have been made in understanding important biological processes, particularly those at the molecular, cellular, and ecosystem levels. An understanding of biological systems depends, in part, on the principles of physics and chemistry; thus a firm background in the physical sciences is also important in the study of biology. For many, an undergraduate major in biology serves as a basis for postgraduate study in the life sciences. School of Life Sciences graduates have gone on to advanced graduate study, leading to careers in college or university teaching, basic and applied research, and public health. Many have entered professional programs in medicine, veterinary medicine, and dentistry. Other graduates have gone directly into secondary (high school) science teaching, the biomedical industry, independent laboratory research, natural resources management, or environmental education.
Northwestern Commission on Colleges and Universities
Degree Objectives/Learning Outcomes
The primary mission of the School of Life Sciences is to provide a rich, contemporary learning environment that ensures an integrated educational experience spanning the full spectrum of biology, with focused training available to advanced undergraduate students. Through these efforts, the School of Life Sciences will occupy central roles in creating scientific literacy among the diverse array of UNLV students and in addressing biological issues of local, regional, and global interest.
Students who graduate with a major in biology at UNLV will acquire:
- Knowledge of the diversity and similarity of living organisms at organizational levels ranging from molecules to the community.
- Knowledge of processes of inheritance and natural selection as they influence the characteristics of populations and species.
- Knowledge of scientific methods and the relationships among theory, experiment, analysis of data, and general knowledge.
- The ability to articulate, in verbal and written form, knowledge of biology, biological methods, and biological issues in context.
Students who graduate with a major in biology will have fulfilled their personal expectations and will indicate they have been accepted to a graduate or professional school or an entry-level career position.
Areas of Concentration
Biological Sciences majors at the university have a choice of five areas of specialized study (concentrations) that prepare them for a variety of professional fields. In addition to attending graduate, medical, and other professional schools, Biological Sciences majors may move directly to governmental and private-sector careers in such fields as health care, laboratory sciences, environmental sciences, and teaching. All concentrations provide the necessary background for application to graduate programs and medical or health science professional schools, differing mainly in their emphasis on specialized career trajectories within the life sciences.
Biology — Cell and Molecular Biology
The Cell and Molecular Biology concentration provides Biological Sciences majors with the intellectual tools essential for careers in biotechnology and biomedical science research as well as for transition to graduate Ph.D. programs in Biology, and in Cell and Molecular Biomedical research.
Biology — Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This concentration is recommended for those students who desire a strong foundation in evolution and the conceptual explanatory core of biology, as well as those whose interests are at the interface between organisms and their environments — that is, ecology. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology students are well-prepared for advanced graduate education in the Biological sciences and for careers in Environmental Biology research in teaching and in natural resources assessment and management.
Biology — Integrative Physiology
The Integrative Physiology concentration provides the biology major with the intellectual and technical tools essential for success in a broad array of life sciences careers including application to all the health care-related professional schools, graduate school or related postgraduate study as well as biomedical science research. Integrative Physiology provides an in-depth examination of how animals and/or plants work from the molecular/cellular level of organization to a systems-level understanding (cardiac, vascular, temperature regulation etc.) and up to the integration of physiology with behavior and evolutionary processes. The integrative nature of this program provides the student with a solid foundation in fundamental areas of biology yet allows a wide choice in course selection ranging from molecular, physiological, ecological, and evolutionary biology.
Biology — Microbiology
The Microbiology concentration provides the biology major with the intellectual and technical skills required for success in the broad area of microbiology, which includes clinical, environmental, ecological, evolutionary, molecular, metabolic, and physiological perspectives of microbes, including aspects of virology and immunology. The skills obtained in this concentration provide training for an array of life sciences careers, including application to all the health care-related professional schools, appropriately related graduate schools, or related postgraduate study as well as biomedical science research. The Microbiology concentration focuses on how microbes function at a variety of levels of organization, from understanding the genetics of micro-organisms, their gene regulation environmental interactions, metabolic regulation, and ecological interactions. Microbiology impacts all levels of biological organization, and as such, students majoring in Biology with a concentration in microbiology are provided with a solid foundation in the life sciences yet are exposed to an in-depth understanding of microbial processes.
Biology — Pre-Professional
The Preprofessional Biology concentration provides Biological Sciences majors with the intellectual tools essential for application to health care-related professional schools, including medical, dental, veterinary, optometric, and related programs.
Biological Sciences - Pre-Professional Biomedical Studies (BS)