Growth in biology majors prompts new degree tracks at UOG
University of Guam student Colleen Naden dissects a fetal pig in her anatomy and physiology class while classmate Joel Oyrado looks on.
Biology majors at the University of Guam can better customize their degrees starting this semester with three new degree tracks under the Bachelor of Science in Biology Program. What was previously a single-track program is now three distinct degree tracks: biomedical, integrative biology, and applied biology.
“The new tracks, along with several new courses and changes to existing courses, will help us address the increased number of declared biology majors, while also accommodating their diverse interests,” said G. Curt Fiedler, professor of biology and chairperson of UOG’s Biology Program.
The number of declared biology majors at UOG has grown 238% in the last 10 years — from 68 in 2007 to 227 in 2017 — and the majority of that growth has been in the last six years. Additionally, the number of UOG students indicating interest in a premedical degree has grown seven times what it was in 2007.
“A large portion of our majors come into the program with a health professional focus,” Fiedler said. “So, the biomedical track will be a preparatory path for them to pursue medical, dental, pharmacy, or veterinary school or to attend graduate school for biomedical research.”
The biomedical track requires core biology courses in addition to microbiology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and human anatomy and physiology.
The integrative biology track prepares students for a range of careers or a graduate degree in the biological sciences and gives the student the most options in their future endeavors. It is the most similar to the previous biology program and requires classes in plant biology, animal physiology, zoology, vertebrate anatomy, and biometrics.
Lastly, the applied biology track is for students intending to pursue an entry level career with a government agency, consulting firm, medical testing lab, or educational venue. It requires the same core biology classes as the other tracks, but instead of higher level calculus and organic chemistry courses, it requires introductory versions instead. It also omits physics from the requirements and offers a greater variety of possible electives than the other tracks.
New courses available for biology students include pharmacology, animal physiology, an animal physiology lab, ethology, and oceanography. The title and focus of several existing classes has changed and been modernized as well – Plant Taxonomy is now Plant Systematics, and Plant Diversity & Microscopy is now Plant Biology, to name a few. And two courses focused on scientific literacy have been refocused to help majors better understand and write scientific reports.
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