First-year Biology Students

REGISTRATION INFORMATION FOR FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS
Welcome to the Department of Biology at Gordon College! Most of you reading these pages are first year students entering Gordon—and about to make your first choices about what courses to take. These notes should help you think things through.

THE BIG PICTURE
Gordon’s Department of Biology offers one major with several concentrations:

  • Biotechnology
  • Pre-Health Professions
  • Environmental
  • Marine Science
  • Professional

All of these concentrations begin with the same foundational courses. You will later choose upper level courses to reflect your concentration. The professional concentration is the most flexible and the one most often chosen by people who are going into education, for example.

HOW DOES MY MAJOR “PLAY OUT” IN THE FIRST TWO YEARS?
Biology Courses are tracked pretty closely in the first two years. Here is a little about the major, but we will tell you more at the first meeting during Orientation.

Gordon’s “core” (or general education) requirements are as important a part of your education as your major. All Gordon students must take these courses, and many students register for mostly core in the first year. In contrast to some other majors, however, it is important not to take too much core early, but to make sure you are starting on the Biology major requirements, too. Having core later in your college career will also help you avoid semesters with too many labs.

Biology majors take not only Biology, but also associated courses in Chemistry, Physics and Math. In general, you will take Biology I and II and General Chemistry I and II in the first year and typically two other Core courses each semester.

WHAT SHOULD I SIGN UP FOR IN MY FIRST TERM?
First term for biology majors is usually filled with:

  • BIOLOGY I:  BIO150 Cells and Genetics
  • CHEMISTRY: CHE 111 General Chemistry I
And usually two core course such as:
    • COR107 The Great Conversation—required of first-year students
    • BCM101 Old Testament
    • BCM102 New Testament
    • PHI118 The Examined Life
    • HIS121 Historical Perspectives on Culture, Belief and Civilization

In addition, First year Students are required to take either La Vida (an outdoor leadership camping trip run in the summer) or Discovery (an outdoor leadership-focused PE course during the semester) in their first year or in the summers immediate prior or following the first year. Please plan which of these options you will do.

Special considerations:
Language Study—Zero, four, or eight credits are required in the core, based on your prior coursework and languages. If you are pretty good in a language and think you might test out of it, PLEASE TAKE THE LANGUAGE PLACEMENT EXAM DURING ORIENTATION. If you test out of one semester, it is better to take the second semester during your freshman year, before you start to forget what you have learned previously.
    
Concerns: If you have serious concerns about taking both Biology and Chemistry in your first semester, talk to your advisor and register for the Biology, but not the Chemistry. 

WHAT IF I AM INTERESTED IN THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS?
Gordon has a pre-health professions advisor, Dr. Craig Story, from the Biology department, and there are two different Gordon web pages just for questions about that career track. People interested in medical school specifically can major in any subject, but the majority of people who apply to medical school (over 55%) choose to major in Biology. Why? Medical schools prefer breadth, and Biology is a broad major, and, the requirements for Biology track most closely with medical school's prerequisites than requirements of any other major at Gordon.

If you are in the biology major and want to go into the health professions, please plan to check in with Dr. Story sometime in the first semester, and to take the first course in the Pre-Health Professions Seminar starting in the fall of your SOPHOMORE year. You do not need to do anything else when you first arrive.

The public Health Professions website will probably answer many of your health professions/premed related questions.

WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO CAMPUS IN THE FALL?
Check the orientation schedule for the exact time and location of a meeting with Biology Department faculty, on the Monday morning before classes begin.

At this meeting, we first gather as a group for an information session about the Department and our majors. You then meet individually with your faculty advisor to fine-tune your registration. At that meeting any problems with your pre-registration are sorted out and your registration is finalized.

Then we will have lunch and some fun together.
    
It will be good to meet you that day, if not before! We’re very pleased you’re coming to Gordon and look forward very much to working with you during your college career!

Dorothy, Boorse, PhD
Chair of Biology