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Department Overview

Fall 2020 and J-term 2021 FAQs for Biology students

BLACK LIVES MATTER - Read the Biology Department’s Statement Condemning Anti-Black Racism

At Swarthmore College, learning about biology is doing biology.

At all levels of our curriculum, students are engaged in learning about the functions and evolution of diverse biological systems as well as the methods by which biologists study nature. Almost every course has weekly laboratories, taught by full-time faculty members, where students learn to become biologists by making original observations, asking questions about life processes, and designing and performing their own experiments. Scientific communication skills are emphasized in all biology courses, as students read and evaluate research articles in scientific journals, write laboratory reports according to the standards of professional scientific writing, and participate in frequent opportunities for oral presentations and critical discussion.

The curriculum prepares students to pursue careers in research and medicine or to apply their biology interests to careers as diverse as governmental policy planning, science education, public health, museum exhibit design, and writing children's books. Our advanced seminars are centered on current research in eleven different fields that span the biological disciplines. In each seminar, students present and analyze current research papers and perform substantial research projects of their own design.  Students regularly present the results of their research to the campus community and at regional and national meetings.

Singer Hall, Our New Home

In response to a 40% increase in students enrolled in biology, engineering, and psychology from 2000 to 2016, the College committed to creating a new home for these three departments. That home, Maxine Frank Singer Hall, is one of very few science buildings named for a woman on an American college campus

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