Major and Minor
Biology students at Knox College examine life's vital processes in one of the country's most active undergraduate research programs. Much of the success that our biology graduates experience in graduate school, and as researchers, teachers or doctors, stems from the rich research experiences they received as undergraduates. Our broad-based curriculum prepares biology students for graduate and professional school, as well for positions at laboratories, law firms, businesses and corporations, governmental and non-governmental agencies, schools and consulting firms.
As a biology student at a liberal arts institution, you'll be challenged to think for yourself and to articulate your ideas clearly. You'll be encouraged to stretch your talents and your intellect; hone your ability to assimilate information quickly and analyze it rigorously; and use that information to make decisions and set priorities -- all of which are needed to be a successful biologist.
Knox offers a major and minor in biology. Students begin their study with three introductory courses: Molecular Biology and Genetics; Cell Biology and Physiology; and Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity. These courses will take you from the molecular level of biology through the ecosystem level, introducing you to the broad scope of biology, as well as the different backgrounds and areas of expertise of the biology faculty members.
Upper-level courses focus on cells and molecules, which includes cell biology, electron microscopy, molecular genetics, and microbiology; populations, which examines the structure and diversity of animals and plants, their adaptation, evolutionary relationships, behavior and ecology; and organisms, which covers cell and plant physiology and vertebrate physiology.
The research components inherent in Knox's biology program are excellent preparation for medical school. Specific courses related to medicine and health care include comparative anatomy, immunology, physiology and microbiology.
Biology majors at Knox get involved in research from their beginning courses to their final capstone experience. The Introduction to Research class, usually taken sophomore year, emphasizes critical thinking and the scientific method, and serves as a gateway to upper level courses, many of which require students to design their own experiments. Interested students have the opportunity to get involved in independent research as early as their first year.
Your work toward the major will culminate with an independent or Honors research project that will serve as excellent preparation for graduate school or for a career in research. As a Knox biology student, you'll have unique opportunities to work as a research collaborator with your nationally recognized professors.
There are also other opportunities to expand your education beyond the classroom by presenting at conferences, conducting internships, embarking on off-campus study programs, conducting summer research, and applying for research funding--all of which are excellent preparation for graduate school and for becoming a "real life" biologist.
Recent Knox graduates have gone on to graduate programs at prestigious institutions such as the Masters of Public Health Program, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; Ph.D. Program in Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Landscape Architecture Program, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Ph.D. Program in Molecular Cell Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri; Department of Microbiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois; and the Ph.D. Program in Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago, Illinois.
In addition, Knox's biology department has a stellar success rate in placing its graduates in medical school. In fact, nearly 20 percent of Knox's biology grads enter medical school and 85% of Knox students who applied to medical school last year were accepted -- nearly twice the national average. Knox graduates enter top medical schools such as University of Illinois, Rush University, Washington University and many others.