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Biology
Raven Robinson '14

Student Scotlights:
Raven Robinson '14

Raven Robinson credits Monmouth's small size and community atmosphere for giving her the ability to grow. more

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Biology

The curriculum in Biology offers an opportunity for students to understand the structures and processes that characterize life and to appreciate the tremendous diversity of living organisms. Course work is balanced among three scales of biological organization: Cell/Molecular, Physiology/Organismal, and Ecology/Evolution.

An important component of the major is independent research that enables the student to become familiar with the process of science by investigating a specific biological problem in the laboratory or field.
Most courses are extensive rather than intensive in content, thus providing the student with considerable breadth in the biological sciences as a whole. Such training may lead to more specifically focused work such as graduate or professional school, employment in government or industry, or teaching at the secondary or college level. Biologists who are graduates of liberal arts colleges often offer employers a broader, more flexible outlook in approaching problems.

Facilities, Habitats, & Programs

The Department of Biology occupies the Chism Biology Wing of the Center for Science & Business. In addition to the comfortable classrooms and well-equipped laboratories that this building provides, the department has access to the facilities, habitats, and programs described below.

LeSuer Nature Preserve: A 16.5-acre plot of land within a mile of campus provides new opportunities for field research. Rolling hills bisected by a large stream offer upland grassland, forest, riparian, and aquatic habitats for study. Restoration of the entire area to pre-settlement conditions (including several acres of native tall grass prairie) provides abundant opportunities for student research.

Hamilton Pond: Just one block from campus, this healthy, freshwater environment is a rich source of aquatic animals and plants for use in laboratories. The pond also offers opportunities for field research on behavior and ecology of amphibians and reptiles.

Spring Grove Prairie: Monmouth students have access to one of the finest virgin prairie plots in Illinois. The plant community present in the plot remains from pre-settlement times and offers unique opportunities for research on prairie plants and soils and the fauna that inhabit them.

Labs & Equipment

The Department has all of the fundamental equipment of a modern biology laboratory in addition to the special equipment listed below. Equipment includes growth chambers, water baths, incubators and spectrophotometers and more. A microtome including a freezing chamber for taking frozen sections is available for histological work.

The substantial equipment is to enhance the cell and molecular biology labs, with an emphasis in molecular genetics. High-speed and refrigerated centrifuges, electrophoresis chambers, a Nano-Pure water system, and a thermal cycler for PCR enable students to explore and experiment in molecular biology. A CO2 incubator for culturing eukaryotic cells and a laminar flow hood facilitate experiments in molecular biology and genetics.

Equipment for ecology labs includes field sampling gear such as Sherman live traps for small mammals, a variety of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrate sampling equipment, seines, flow-meter, Kemmerer samplers, and Vernier dataloggers with sampling probes The greatest resource for students interested in ecology is our three field research properties.

Graduate School Opportunities

A career in the health sciences usually requires study beyond the B.A. More management-level or research-oriented positions may require graduate study in a specific area of expertise. Opportunities for advancement are also greater with an advanced degree. Topics of study for some recent graduates include toxicology, microbiology, molecular genetics, and fisheries ecology. 

Additionally, many biology students are interested in pursuing a career in health care. Monmouth College has a cooperative agreement with Rush University for students interested in nursing. After 4 years of study earning a B.A. in Biology at Monmouth and completing appropriate coursework, qualified students are guaranteed entrance into Rush's prestigious 2-year Masters program in nursing.

Students with an interest in occupational therapy, physical therapy, or physician's assistant should plan on four years of study at Monmouth culminating in a B.A., and plan to attend specialized graduate programs for these careers.

Career Opportunities

  • Quality Control Technician
  • Geneticist
  • Pharmacist
  • Safety Inspector
  • Botanist
  • Microbiologist
  • Biomechanics

Recent Monmouth Biology Graduates

Caleb Ruyle ’12
Environmental Specialist
Illinois DNR

Jillian Hennenfent ’11
Plant Specialists
Leider Horticulture

Michelle Tank ’11
Chemist
Sigma Aldrich

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