Saturday, May 27, 2023
HomeTechnologyNews from the Department

News from the Department

Department News: New Major and Minor Programs Offered by Michigan Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences

As the field of biological sciences evolves, so does the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University. For decades, they have offered four strong undergraduate major programs in the biological sciences, which have evolved over time. However, in recent years, the department has made significant changes by introducing two new majors and a minor program, to meet the needs of their students, faculty, and industry demand.

Introducing the Stand-Alone Human Biology Major

The pre-professional health concentration (SBL5) in the Biological Sciences major has historically had the highest enrollment in the department but was seen as being too structured towards medical and professional health school requirements. Students who were interested in human biology without a desire to follow this medical pathway had fewer options. To solve this, the department restructured the concentration option into a stand-alone Human Biology major (SHB).

The SHB major attracts students who are broadly interested in Human Biology, including those who want to pursue health professions, as well as those who wish to have careers in industry, academia, or graduate degrees in the Biological Sciences, health or other areas. The program aims to prepare students for continued education or employment with practical focus skills through a series of capstone options.

Currently, in Fall 2022, the department has 56 students enrolled in the SHB program.

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Major

The department’s Biology B.S. with a concentration in Ecology (SBL3) was seen as intensive in general natural science and general biology. Limited required experiential learning meant that graduates could have faced a disadvantage when seeking career opportunities. To enhance the degree program, the department proposed a stand-alone Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) major.

The new EEB major still provides core training in the basic sciences of Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics, essential for an integrative understanding of ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes. However, it provides opportunities for students to specialize in their training in molecular biology, genetics, field techniques, analysis of ecological, and evolutionary data, and more.

In Fall 2022, the EEB program has over 30 students enrolled.

A Pre-Health Professions Minor

In 2019, the Department of Biological Sciences introduced a minor in Pre-Health Professions, aiming to provide students with the knowledge and skills to prepare for admission to health profession schools. Students pursuing this minor will receive academic guidance to prepare for standardized tests, gain experience in the healthcare environment, and develop confidence as a leader.

Related Facts

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Biological and Biomedical Sciences is the fourth most popular undergraduate major, with 189,266 students enrolled in 2018.
The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that the number of students planning to enter medical school remained steady from 2010 to 2021, with 42,000 applications in 2021.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of biological scientists to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Key Takeaway

Michigan Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences has introduced new majors and a minor program, reflecting the changing field of biological sciences and student interests. The Department has shifted its focus to better serve the student’s needs, providing practical-focused skills with industry and health careers, and academic training in ecological and evolutionary biology.


Michigan Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences has made significant changes to its offerings to meet the needs of their faculty, industry demand, and student interests. The new stand-alone Human Biology major (SHB), the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) major, and the Pre-Health Professions minor reflect the changing ecosystem of biological sciences and the opportunities available to students. The practical-focused skills, industry and health career focused majors alongside academic training in ecological and evolutionary biology will prepare graduates of the Department of Biological Sciences for the 21st-century biological sciences workforce.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

Most Popular