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In the belief that a firm grasp of the scientific method is of utmost importance to all liberal arts students, our basic biology courses expose students to the fundamental questions and concerns of the field and provide training in logical, analytical thinking.

Upper-division courses offer advanced study and rigorous training in the various fields of biology. All courses are taught in a highly personalized environment of encouragement, support, and guidance, and students have opportunities to work directly with professors in the laboratory and field. Students also have the opportunity to participate in faculty-directed research on campus. The Joseph & Vera Long Foundation Research Lab is available for undergraduate research and the William Joseph McInnes Memorial Botanic Garden is available for research and independent study. In addition, the resources of the Bay Area are utilized for field trips. Through the Mills internship program, majors have opportunities to expand their research experiences by working in various industrial firms and laboratories in the region.

The Biology Department’s classrooms and offices are located in the Betty Irene Moore Natural Sciences Building. The teaching and research laboratories are newly renovated and equipped with up-to-date instrumentation for the teaching of current biological techniques such as centrifuges, PCR machines, spectrophotometers, western blotting and gel electrophoresis apparatus, autoclaves, and incubators. Notable facilities in the Moore Natural Sciences Building include a darkroom with transilluminating fluorescence microscopes and digital imaging software, several laboratory spaces dedicated to undergraduate research, sterile rooms with laminar flow hoods and a walk-in cold room. The Biology Department is also home to the W.M. Keck Foundation Zoology Laboratory which houses an impressive collection of museum-quality vertebrate and invertebrate specimens for the study of zoology, behavior, ecology and comparative anatomy.

The Jill Barrett Research Program in Biology provides an invaluable opportunity for advanced students to carry out mentored research projects with faculty. Students may apply for a Barrett Award for 10 weeks of paid summer research work; awardees may be required to engage in directed research during the semester preceding the summer and the semester following the summer. These projects may also form the basis for a student’s senior thesis.

Students who major in biology select one of three options: general biology, or one of two concentrations. All three include the same set of core courses and differ only in the specified upper-division elective courses. The general biology option does not specify the elective courses, while the concentration in ecology, evolution and behavior and the concentration in cell and molecular biology each require the electives related to these subdisciplines. The two specialized concentrations are more hierarchical than the general biology option, so some students, such as transfer students, may find the specialized concentrations difficult to complete in the available time, and may prefer to elect the general biology option.

Concentration in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB)
The concentration in ecology, evolution and behavior (EEB) provides biology majors with training at the intersections of ecology, evolutionary biology, and its related disciplines. The unifying theme of this concentration is the use of an evolutionary approach to explain biological phenomena in the natural world. Recent graduates have enrolled in masters and doctoral programs in animal behavior, conservation biology, ecology, evolution, marine biology, and natural resource and wildlife management. Others are employed by federal and state agencies, private and public organizations, and consulting firms.

Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB)
The concentration in cell and molecular biology (CMB) focuses biology majors on biological mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level. The courses that comprise this concentration give students a deep appreciation of how proteins and other biological molecules mediate life’s processes. This concentration prepares students for graduate study or employment in the biomedical fields. Recent graduates have pursued interests in biotechnology, biomedical research, genomics, and molecular biology or they have attended medical school or graduate school in a variety of disciplines.

Mills College’s innovative Bachelor’s-to-Master’s Accelerated Degree Programs allow you to earn a master’s degree in one additional year of study. Combining a master’s degree with a liberal arts undergraduate education prepares you for career success and increased options upon graduation. Mills students in this major should consider one of these options:
Business Management (MBA)
Teacher Education
Interdisciplinary Computer Science
Public Policy

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Biology Course List

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Transfer Guidelines for Science Majors
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Botanic Garden

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Last Updated: 6/22/17