Program-Level Learning Objectives for Suffolk University Biology Majors


Acquisition of Basic Skills

The following is a list of the basic set of skills and proficiencies that all graduates of the Suffolk University Undergraduate Program in Biology should acquire prior to completion of their studies:

  • Ability to read and comprehend primary literature in biology.
  • Ability to design, conduct, and interpret the results of logical, critically considered, ethical experiments in biology. This assumes the attainment of basic laboratory and research skills, including:
    Ability to culture, rear, and/or prepare specimens by appropriate and ethical methods.
    Ability to collect data via qualitative and quantitative observations and measurements.
    Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues, in teams, and in interdisciplinary endeavors.
    Recognition and understanding of the importance of laboratory safety precautions.
  • Ability to write about biology in a scientific style, including proper citation of sources.
  • Ability to present biological information to others in informal and formal settings

Specific Learning Objectives for Sub disciplines in the Field of Biology

Listed below, and organized by category of the various sub disciplines that divide the broader field of Biology, are the critical concepts with which all graduates of the Suffolk University Undergraduate Program in Biology should be proficient prior to completion of their studies:

Ecology and Evolution

  • Understanding the mechanisms of evolutionary change, from molecules to ecosystems, and their central importance in explaining the world as it exists.
  • Understanding the links between genetic inheritance and the mechanisms of evolution, including variation, competition, selection, and equilibrium in natural populations and the importance of stochastic processes.
  • Examining how mechanisms of evolution lead to speciation and the diversity of life.
  • Exploring the history and evolution of life on Earth, including the evolution of particular organisms, such as humans.
  • Exploring and classifying organismal diversity, including phylogenetic systematics.
  • Examining organismal development, structure, and function.
  • Exploring species interaction and community ecology, including predation, competition, symbiosis, commensualism, mutualism, parasitism, and trophic relationships and cascades.
  • Participating in on-site exploration of the ecology and/or evolution of a natural ecosystem.
  • Examining consequences and ethical ramifications of human activities upon species distribution and abundance and the functioning of ecosystems.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

  • Understanding the fundamental laws governing matter and energy and how these underlie structure and function in living organisms.
  • Understanding the macromolecules of life, including carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins.
  • Understanding the relationships between nucleic acid and protein structure and function.
  • Understanding the Central Dogma: the processes of DNA replication, transcription, and translation.
  • Examining the molecular basis of evolutionary processes.
  • Understanding the mechanisms of Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance.
  • Understanding the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  • Understanding the basic mechanisms of cellular signal transduction and the regulation of gene expression.
  • Understanding cell physiology and the basic mechanisms of cellular communication and metabolic function, including cellular respiration and photosynthesis.
  • Obtaining practical experience in laboratory methods for studying and manipulating genes, proteins, and cells.
  • Developing the skills to utilize protein and nucleic acid sequence databases to study the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins.
  • Appreciating ethical ramifications of molecular and cellular research.