University of Portland Bulletin 2021-2022


Tara Prestholdt Ph.D., chair

Faculty: Ahern-Rindell, Beadles-Bohling, Cesar, Clifton, Dizney, Dyer, Favero, Flann, Greaves, Kenton, Mani, Murray, O’Reilly, Prestholdt, Ruppell, Taylor, Tower, Van Hoomissen, Weilhoefer, White, Wynne

The Department of Biology’s mission is to effectively develop students’ capacities to apply scientific thinking across a range of biological disciplines while providing a vibrant learning environment for all. As they progress through the major, students investigate three sub-disciplinary content levels within biology including cell and molecular biology/genetics, organismal biology, and population/system biology. Students majoring in biology achieve comprehensive preparation for careers as research scientists and health care practitioners, as well as a wide range of technical positions in academia, industry, and governmental agencies. Biology majors acquire a breadth of knowledge and technical/analytical competencies, while reflecting on the interplay of science and society. Undergraduate research and service opportunities are available, thus developing students’ capacity for critical thinking, independent learning, and problem solving.

The department offers curricular options that culminate in a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree, a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree, or a minor in biology. In addition, the department provides several courses that support students studying chemistry, education, engineering, environmental studies, nursing, and neuroscience. The department also serves a major role advising students from all disciplines who are interested in careers in the health professions. 

Because of the breadth within its curriculum and degree options, the Department of Biology oversees a comprehensive undergraduate program that prepares students for a wide range of careers and graduate and professional school programs. Students from this program successfully enter graduate studies in areas as diverse as wildlife conservation, ecology, and biomedical research. Biology majors also are well prepared to pursue a variety of health professional graduate programs such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, dental hygiene, pharmacy, occupational and physical therapy, optometry, and podiatry. The University offers courses that satisfy the admission requirements for all accredited U.S. medical and dental schools, and for most other health profession programs and graduate programs in the biomedical sciences. The University encourages students to pursue a major of their choice and take a broad spectrum of coursework while completing the specific requirements for a particular graduate program. 

Learning Outcomes for Biology Major

Biology graduates of the University of Portland will be able to:

  1. Competently demonstrate the ability to apply an understanding of the foundational areas of biology that include: evolution, information flow, exchange and storage, structure and function, pathways and transformations of energy and matter, and living systems across organization levels.
  2. Competently engage in the evidence-based process of science by demonstrating the ability to identify, pose problems and questions, generate testable hypotheses, troubleshoot an experimental design, evaluate and interpret data, and draw applicable conclusions.
  3. Competently engage in data analysis and interpretation by demonstrating the ability to perform mathematical computations and modeling and applying statistical methods and simulations to analyze and illustrate data (including for large data sets and pertaining to bioinformatics).
  4. Competently use concepts from other disciplines individually and collaboratively to generate and interpret biological data in a socially relevant and ethical context.
  5. Competently communicate and disseminate biological concepts, data interpretations, and significant conclusions to scientists in other disciplines and non-scientists orally and in written form.

Scholarship Requirements

As part of the biology requirements for the B.A. and B.S. degrees, as well as the biology minor, students are required to complete BIO 207/277 with a grade of C- or better before continuation to BIO 208/278. A grade of C- or better in BIO 207/277 and 208/278 is required of all biology majors and minors for entrance into upper-division (300-400 level) biology courses.