Scholars bring expertise in the sciences, humanities, education, and arts
Major in Biology
Life finds a way. We find out how.
Biology is the study of life at all levels: molecular, cellular, individual, ecological, and systemic. Thanks to our hands-on approach to learning, the building blocks of all life — from amoebas to zebras, plants to people — will become your own real-world explorations.
As a Clark biology major, you’ll learn from some of the leading minds in the field—who will also be your collaborators as you join their research projects in areas such as animal locomotion, cancer biology, cell division, epigenetics, virus-host interactions, gene expression, and more. You’ll see why biology is one of our most popular majors as you experience life as never before.
Why Study Biology at Clark?
- Delve into diverse subfields of biology, including ecology and evolution, molecular and cell biology, marine biology, conservation biology, botany, neuroscience, and animal behavior.
- Conduct research in Clark’s LEED Gold-certified Lasry Center for Bioscience, a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot facility, and use specialized biology research equipment normally found only in much larger departments.
- Benefit from a wealth of other experiential learning opportunities, from internships in industry labs to summer research fellowships to study abroad programs.
- If you’re interested in a health-related career, chart your course with the guidance of our pre-health advising program.
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Your Will. Your Way.
The Major Path
You’ll begin the major by obtaining a broad foundation in biology before choosing an area of focus (e.g., cell and molecular biology, ecology and evolution, among others), or the pre-health careers track. In consultation with your faculty adviser, you’ll select courses appropriate to your area of specialization. You should include one course that develops research techniques in biology, a seminar course, and a capstone experience, which can be an upper-level research course, internship, or directed research (on or off campus).
In addition to 10 courses in biology, you’re required to complete one or two courses in chemistry, two courses in mathematics, and another two from mathematics, computer science, or the natural sciences.
If you’re considering a career teaching biology at the high school level, we encourage you to check out the Noyce Scholarship program. A robust Pre-health Advising Program is available if you’re interested in pursuing a career in the health professions.
Skills you will learn include:
- How to design a hypothesis, and collect and interpret relevant data
- How to communicate information, both orally and in writing
- How to work as part of a team
M. Margaret Comer Memorial Award for Undergraduate Studies in the Biological Sciences
The M. Margaret Comer Award for Undergraduate Research was established by Clark University in memory of Professor Margaret Comer, a member of the Clark faculty from 1976 to 1992. Upon Professor Comer’s unexpected early death, the University decided to recognize her “extraordinary personal commitment to exacting scientific research” by annually supporting an undergraduate who demonstrates achievement or high potential in biology or biochemistry research.
The David Potter Award for Excellence in Biology
The Potter Award was established by Dr. and Mrs. Warren Litsky, AB ’45 in honor of Botany Professor David Potter. This fund is used to provide a prize to an outstanding senior biology major.
During your junior year, you might be accepted into the biology honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice. Examples of recent honors thesis topics are:
- Characterization of British Columbia Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)
- Identification of the Potential Zinc Finger Motif in Dictyostelium discoideum Ima1 Protein
- Investigating the Role of CG4096 in the EGFR Signaling Pathway
- Copy Number Variation in the Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus gattii
Diversification of Gene Families Involved in Fruiting Body Development in Agaricomycetes Inferred Using Comparative Genomics
Building your foundation
The Clark Experience
We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.
We’ve Got It Covered
The Genome Project
In this course, working with an organism with no existing reference genome, you’ll work in teams to isolate its DNA, assemble those pieces into a full genome, and determine which genes the sequence contains.
Ecology of Atlantic Shores
Get your feet wet developing skills in field ecology in this course on Atlantic flora and fauna. You’ll focus on two locations: the rocky intertidal zone along the local Atlantic coastline and the island of Bermuda.
Dive into the diversity of life in the oceans and its impact on human welfare, starting with basic physical oceanography and marine ecology, and then explore marine ecosystems like kelp forests and salt marshes.
Why can one kind of lizard run fast on sand but not rock, while it’s the other way around for another type of lizard? Here in our lab you’ll use high-speed video to analyze the mechanics of animal locomotion.
Our nervous system enables us to learn, remember, think, and experience emotion. Explore how these critical systems develop and function—especially in mammals—and their relationship to behavior and disease.
Small-Scale Land Conservation in Massachusetts
Participate in training activities at nearby study sites and engage with local conservation experts to gain insight into the issues and processes that shape small-scale land conservation efforts in Massachusetts.
Explore what the Biology Department has to offer