May 25, 2018  
Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2013-2014 
Undergraduate Academic Catalog 2013-2014 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Chair Dorothy Boorse, Gregory Keller, Craig Story, Justin Topp, Yuanming Zheng. Part-time: Donna Seibert.

MISSION: The mission of the Department of Biology is to graduate men and women with a foundational perspective of the diverse fields of biology and an awareness of their interrelations. A wide range of biology courses covering topics from molecular biology to  ecosystem dynamics, together with required support courses in mathematics, chemistry and physics provide our students with the resources to be successful in the postundergraduate world of work and continued academic pursuit. Student research experiences, together with off-campus internship, cooperative education and summer work opportunities in biology are encouraged to clarify vocational direction. Throughout the biology program a serious effort is made to engage students in careful thought about the relationship of biology to the Christian faith and issues of global concern.

Environmental Science

Gordon College participates in the program of Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies in Washington state, Michigan, India and Costa Rica. Courses are designed to prepare students for work or further study in environmental endeavors. These courses may be taken by any Gordon student who meets the course prerequisites. In addition, through a combination of courses offered at Gordon and at Au Sable, a student may complete a biology major with an environmental concentration (see requirements below) or nonscience majors may minor in environmental studies (see Minors) and any student may earn certification from Au Sable as an environmental analyst. Au Sable courses taken during the summer are available at half the normal Gordon tuition. See course descriptions below and in Off-Campus Curriculum.

Special Studies in Marine Biology

A summer Marine Biology Institute (offered in even-numbered years) and regular course offerings during the school year utilize diverse aquatic environments on or near the campus. See course descriptions.

Gordon belongs to the regional Marine Studies Consortium. Students may take courses through the Consortium, with an additional fee. These courses include Introduction to Marine Mammals, Coastal Zone Management, Biology of Fishes, Water Resources Planning and Management and others. Courses are held at other New England sites. Arrangements made through Biology Department Chair. Additional Information at

Honors in Biology

Majors who research and write an honors thesis will be eligible to graduate with honors. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, candidates will develop a thesis proposal and register for 4-8 credits of research (BIO 471 , BIO 472 ). In consultation with a faculty advisor, the candidate will select a thesis committee of three faculty members: the advisor as the chair of the committee and two other faculty members, one of which must be from a department outside the student’s major.The role of the committee includes: first, to approve the research proposal from the candidate; second, to help shape and monitor the progress of the candidate’s research; and third, to read and approve the candidate’s final thesis. Each candidate is responsible for calling  periodic meetings with his/her thesis committee to report progress and receive feedback. The minimum GPA for an honors candidate is 3.50 in the major and 3.00 overall.

Completed research must be presented in the biology senior seminar class or in a scheduled seminar open to the public, and defended orally with the Honors Thesis Committee prior to exam week. Once the committee approves the thesis, four bound copies of the final thesis must be produced by the candidate, each with a cover page followed by a signed signature page following the format of “The Guidelines for Honors Theses within the Department of Biology, Gordon College.” Once bound, the thesis will be distributed to the candidate, the advisor, the Department of Biology and the Jenks Library.

Marine Science Studies Consortium

Gordon is a member of the Marine Studies Consortium, which offers students the opportunity to take courses in marine biology through the Consortium, for an additional fee. Courses include Introduction to Marine Mammals, Coastal Zone Management, Biology  of Fishes, Water Resources Planning and Management, etc. Courses are held at other New England sites. See courses.html. Arrangements made through Biology Department Chair.

Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies

Gordon is one of the charter members of Au Sable Institute, an environmental science program that teaches field courses for a variety of Christian liberal arts colleges. Campuses are located in Michigan and Washington state, with additional courses offered in India and Costa Rica. Au Sable students can get certificates as naturalists or as land, water or environmental resources analysts. Offerings may vary annually. See Au Sable representative Dr. Dorothy Boorse. Course information is available on the Au Sable website at




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