Goals and Objectives

Learning Goals and Objectives for the SBE Undergraduate Programs in Biology, Botany, and Zoology

When students successfully complete their programs they will be able to meet the following goals:

I. Area Specific Goals

Goal 1. Understand the fundamentals of the subdisciplines in biology including:

Area I – Cell and Molecular Biology

Goal 1a: Understand the fundamentals of the structure and function of cells as the basic units of all living things and as the building blocks of multicellular organisms, and understand the processes underlying development in organisms.

  • Objective 1: Identify and explain the mechanisms leading from DNA to proteins.
  • Objective 2: Identify and illustrate the components of subcellular infrastructure of a eukaryotic or a prokaryotic cell.
  • Objective 3: Describe a way in which cell communication drives development, behavior, or physiology.
  • Objective 4: Describe the functions of individual cells in a given tissue of a multicellular organism.

Area II – Genetics

Goal 1b: Understand principles of inheritance from the molecular level to the population level, and learn applications of genetics to problems in integrative biology and ecology.

  • Objective 1: Describe the mechanisms governing Mendelian inheritance, gene interactions, and gene expression.
  • Objective 2: Describe mechanisms that generate variation in traits.
  • Objective 3: Apply principles of genetics to real-world problems in biology.

Area III – Physiology

Goal 1c: Understand the fundamental processes underlying metabolism and homeostasis at the organismal level.

  • Objective 1: Describe how an organism obtains and uses energy.
  • Objective 2: Define mechanisms underlying communication and coordination within and among organisms.
  • Objective 3: Describe how organisms adjust to changes in their environments.
  • Objective 4: Illustrate the concepts of homeostasis and regulation.
  • Objective 5: Exemplify how the structure of a cell or tissue is related to its function.

Area IV – Biodiversity

Goal 1d: Understand the scope of biological diversity and the phylogenetic relationships that underlie the organization of major groups of organisms.

  • Objective 1: Explain the importance of biodiversity to ecosystems or to applied sciences such as medicine and agriculture.
  • Objective 2: Interpret phylogenetic trees.
  • Objective 3: Explain how form and function of cells, tissues, or organ systems are related in the context of biodiversity.
  • Objective 4: Demonstrate the ability to identify organisms to taxonomic group.

Area V – Ecology

Goal 1e: Understand the interactions of organisms and their environments and the consequences of these interactions for population, community, and ecosystem dynamics.

  • Objective 1: Describe behavioral and physiological mechanisms by which organisms interact with other organisms and with their physical environment.
  • Objective 2: Describe biotic and abiotic factors that influence the dynamics of populations.
  • Objective 3: Describe how the biogeochemistry, energy flow, or biodiversity of ecosystems responds to climate change or another disturbance.
  • Objective 4: Use ecological principles to explain the consequences of human activity (current economic and social issues).
  • Objective 5: Apply a mathematical or conceptual model to population or community dynamics.

II. School – Wide Goal

Goal 2: Gain insight into the process and pattern of biological evolution and the role of evolution as the central unifying concept of biology.

  • Objective 1: Characterize mechanisms of organic evolution.
  • Objective 2: Link processes and patterns of evolution to earth’s history.
  • Objective 3: Apply principles of evolution to real-world problems in biology.

III. General Skill Goals

Goal 3: Possess the tools for life-long learning.

  • Objective 1: Use resources at hand to gather information.
  • Objective 2: Clearly articulate questions and answers to others.
  • Objective 3: Assess the accuracy of science reports presented in the media.


Goal 4: Understand basic methods and aims of the science of biology.

  • Objective 1: Given a biological phenomenon, formulate questions about that phenomenon.
  • Objective 2: Use the scientific method in conducting experimental research.
  • Objective 3: Perform original observations of biological material.


Goal 5: Can apply mathematics, physics, and chemistry to biological phenomena.

  • Objective 1: Apply statistics to interpret experimental findings.
  • Objective 2: Use mathematical models to understand complexity.
  • Objective 3: Apply principles of physics to understanding biological organisms and communities.
  • Objective 4: Explain the underlying chemistry of biological functions.


Goal 6: Be able to communicate the fundamentals of biology effectively to peers and members of the public.

  • Objective 1: Present an oral explanation of a biological principle or other biological information.
  • Objective 2: Write an explanation of a biological principle or information from the biological literature.
  • Objective 3: Create and interpret a graph or other visual representation of information.
  • Objective 4: Evaluate arguments supporting different points of view.


Goal 7: Understand the historical and social context of biology and its contributions to social, ethical, and environmental issues.

  • Objective 1: Describe the historical development of a basic principle in biology.
  • Objective 2: Explain how biology affects social issues and how social issues affect biology.
  • Objective 3: Discuss ethical dilemmas that are introduced into society through science or introduced into science through the social views of research methods.