Biological sciences is a comprehensive field that prepares students for a variety of careers. Growing human populations, the increasing impacts associated with human activities, and heightened expectations of health and environmental quality are resulting in new career opportunities in the Biological Sciences. These fields are growing, and our students finish their degrees well prepared to excel in these careers. The program provides hands-on experience in biological research and focuses on student experience and interests. This represents an exciting, rewarding area of science, which requires an especially strong academic background and an ability to think both analytically and comprehensively.
A major in Biological Sciences provides an excellent foundation for a variety of careers. Our students continue on for careers as medical doctors, optometrists, dentists, genetic counselors, state and federal wildlife biologists, naturalists, wildlife rehabilitators, directors of zoological parks, conservation biologists, environmental consultants, teachers, and researchers. Students leave well-prepared to continue in graduate degree programs that require a solid background in the biological sciences. In fact, most professional scientists can anticipate graduate education as being essential for career advancement.
High School Preparation
High school students should take year-long courses in biology, chemistry, physics, algebra, advanced algebra, geometry and trigonometry. If available, an advanced science course and pre-calculus are encouraged. There should be an above-average performance in such course work, as well as in the student's overall high school program. An ACT composite score of 24 or higher also is suggested.
With its many areas of emphasis, the program integrates studies in zoology, botany, and biological sciences and offers students the flexibility to customize their field of study to align course selection with educational and professional goals. The program integrates broad-based biology foundation classes with specializations, such as biomedical science or conservation biology, in later years. With appropriate course selection, the biological sciences degree provides a broad understanding of the complex relationship between the living and nonliving world. Students choose a research-based course in biology that focuses on antibiotics, wild-life ecology and conservation, STEM education, or genomics. Students also have the option to choose an emphasis in Biomedical Science, Ecology and Conservation Science, or Environmental Science. Students planning to enter a health-professional program, such as medical school, should refer to the plan of study for the Biomedical Science emphasis.
Career opportunities are enhanced by work experiences and extra-curricular involvement. Part-time, science-related work experiences are available in several North Dakota State University departments, as well as at the nearby U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratories. Off-campus work, such as summer employment with public agencies or private organizations, is especially valuable and has sometimes been the entry point for a first permanent position after graduation. NDSU offers many extra-curricular activities, including science-related organizations such as the Pre-Med Club, the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Natural Resources Management Club, and the Range Science Club.
The Department of Biological Sciences now offers an Accelerated Bachelor and Master of Science program. The program allows students to begin thesis research during their junior year and simultaneously pursue their Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in biological sciences. Students will work closely with a faculty member in our department who will serve as a mentor. The program is designed to produce a research-based master’s degree. Students must be at junior standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5.
A Biological Sciences degree is available in a traditional broad-based sequence or with an emphasis on Biomedical Science, Ecology and Conservation Science, or Environmental Science. There are also minors available in Biological Sciences, Zoology, and Botany.