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Biologists study the evolution of life, which connects molecules to cells, tissues to systems, and organisms to ecosystems, through the unbroken chain of ancestors to descendants.
The biology curriculum at Carthage prepares students for academic and industrial research positions, graduate study in various fields from conservation to molecular genetics, secondary education, and entry into health careers including medical, veterinary, dental, optometry, podiatry, pharmacy, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
Students of biology at Carthage work closely with their professors and fellow classmates. Classes are small, and professors, not teaching assistants, teach all classes and labs. Professors take a genuine interest in the personal and professional success of their students.
Early and Independent Research Experience
Carthage emphasizes research for undergraduates. All freshman biology students receive authentic research experience as part of their introductory biology courses, so they gain insight into the process of science from their first semester.
Sophomore, junior, and senior biology majors are strongly encouraged to undertake an independent research project under the guidance of a Carthage faculty member. Students can participate in research during the academic semester or during the summer through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, or SURE. Students who are accepted into the SURE program receive a stipend and free room and board.
A number of the ongoing experimental investigations in the Biology Department are part of national research projects supported by the National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and other national agencies. Carthage students contribute data to large-scale studies and interact with fellow researchers across the country. In addition, many students have successfully pursued research at national academic and medical centers.
Recent student research projects have made discoveries in the fields of molecular biology, human physiology, ecology, microbiology, developmental biology, and paleontology. Students who conduct research work with faculty mentorship on their own or in a small group. They design experiments, collect and analyze data, and make important contributions to science. Most student researchers present research results at a campus seminar, and many choose to share their findings at a regional or national scientific conference. Some students prepare manuscripts for publication in disciplinary journals.
Getting Down to Business
Biology majors can pursue ScienceWorks, an innovative program offered at Carthage that focuses on developing skills necessary for success in a science-based business. The ScienceWorks program offers a minor in Entrepreneurial Students in the Natural Sciences. Students complete an internship and coursework that integrates important skills such as written and oral communication, graphics and artwork, business accounting, management, marketing and more.
Carthage biology students are encouraged to study abroad during the regular terms, summer, and January class sessions. The department offers numerous opportunities to study ecology, evolution, and medicine internationally. For example, Carthage’s twice yearly medical mission to Nicaragua offers students the opportunity to learn about tropical health issues and perform clinical observation in a rural outpost alongside native physicians. Other recent study tours have taken students to learn about the life of places such as Arizona, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Belize, Honduras, and China. Carthage biology students are also competitive for research positions in laboratories abroad and prestigious Fulbright fellowships.
Biology majors can join one or more of the active student organizations that allow them to network with other life scientists and engage in rewarding service activities. For example, Beta Beta Beta is the national biology honorary fraternity, Carthage World Relief is dedicated to supporting health and hygiene infrastructure in the developing world, and Carthage United to Rescue the Earth promotes environmental causes on campus and regionally. There are also clubs for students interested in pursuing careers in the health-related fields.
Carthage College biology graduates often pursue careers in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries, academia, and health professions. Recent graduates have been accepted to medical, dental, veterinary and pharmacy programs at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Midwestern University, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tufts University, and the University of Illinois-Chicago. Many recent Carthage graduates have continued their careers in advanced biology research in Ph.D. programs at institutions such as Washington University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, and Yale University.
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