Seventy-five percent of all Biology concentrators are pre-meds, but department members insist the field offers more than just a way to meet medical school requirements. Most students in the field agree.
Students will find a surprising amount of brand new scientific discoveries discussed in undergraduate courses.
If you are not a premed, but just interested in science, you can get a good general education in this field. But this is another heavy lab department.
Requirements for concentrators are are not difficult. But with so many premeds and graduate school candidates, competition is pretty stiff. There are no general exams or thesis required of honors candidates, who are chosen solely on the basis of marks.
World famous research professors abound in the department. A lot of them are good lecturers, too, William H. Weston is rated tops. Kenneth V. Thimann, Frederick L. Hisaw, Alfred S. Romer, and George Wald all win praise for interesting well-planned courses.
A common complaint of students in the big courses like Bio 1 is that too much of your mark is determined by a "section man's whim."
Biology 1, the required survey course, has too much ground to cover, according to many students. Innumerable professors take turns lecturing in it. This makes for variety, but often hinders continuity.
Botany courses with field trips are popular, notably Bio 103, Taxonomy of Flowering Plants. Bio 104, Plants and Human Affairs, is considered interesting and easy. Beware of courses which pre-meds flock to, like Bio 122, Comparative Anatomy; they're bound to be highly competitive.