Outcomes of the Biology Major

Upon completion of the Biology major, through the completion of course work and their senior thesis, a student will have demonstrated that they can think critically and creatively about biology, plan and execute a sustained research project, and clearly communicate their understanding/findings both in written and oral presentation. The student will be able to:

  • demonstrate understanding of foundational material that spans levels of biological organization;
  • integrate perspectives to draw connections between subdisciplines;
  • choose and define important and contemporary topics of inquiry from the major field; 
  • independently investigate that topic with the support of an advisor; 
  • develop new knowledge and/or ideas; 
  • apply a wide variety of skills learned in their coursework including active involvement in the development of hypotheses and in experimental design, methodological refinement, analysis and interpretation of data, discussion and criticism of research findings, and formal presentation of their work;
  • apply ethical standards to research;
  • write a coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project; and 
  • defend their work orally to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in these areas, is the senior thesis; in addition, the junior qualifying examination offers a secondary assessment tool for student learning in the Biology major.