The University of Minnesota is one of the few institutions in the US that has a college specifically dedicated to the biological sciences. Usually, these courses fall under the college of liberal arts and sciences or the college of engineering, failing to recognize the biological and life sciences as a separate area of study and research, with its own specialized research methods and foci. Having a college dedicated to the biological sciences helps enrich education provided on research techniques and areas in biology specifically. As a CBS major, you can take up a concentrated course of study in microbiology, plant biology, biochemistry, biology or neuroscience. But for each major, the college requires you to take a comprehensive set of pre-requisite courses encompassing core science methodology courses, like Organic chemistry, Foundations Biology and Physics for biological science majors. The Foundations Biology course series, especially, provides a solid foundation for biological science research, because each course requires you to work in a group to prepare a genetic/molecular research proposal and protocol, and in the end, prepare a presentation in the form of a poster. Your group simulates a team of lab scientists, and instructors provide continuous critical feedback on your project so that you exercise your analytical skills to the best of your ability in designing the research protocol, effectively using biology principles learned in the lecture part of the course. At the end of the course series, students are much better equipped with skills and techniques that enable them to decide on majors and research interests!
Another great thing about CBS, as I have experienced it, is that the learning environment is friendly and advanced. The career advisors and guidance counsellors are very dedicated to students' success and thoroughly enjoy their job. CBS students are a unified, amicable and hard-working group and it is fascinating for me to see how diverse the research and career interests of my peers are, ranging from soil microbiomes to cancer therapies. We have the opportunity to collaborate with other departments on long-term research projects, such as the medical school or the school of public health, and make use of the U's stunning research infrastructure in the process. For example, as part of my neuroscience major, I will be taking a magnetic resonance imaging course at the U's nationally-renown Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) next semester, in the hope of using that skill in a summer research project, and I am very excited about it! So if you are interested in going into the biological sciences or a health-related career, I highly recommend that you consider the U's College of Biological Sciences!
My group presenting our poster of our designed research protocol at the end of Foundation Biology Part 1
Me and my lab partner at the end of our Foundations Biology Part 2 Lab microbiology research project!