The general requirements of the undergraduate EvoS program are:
- 20 credits of eligible courses (no more than 8 credits at the 100 level). Evolution for Everyone (BIOL 105) is recommended as an introduction.
- Breadth: at least one eligible course above the 100 level (aka 200 level and above) must be in a subject area that is different from your other coursework. EvoS 451 does not count towards this requirement.
- Depth: at least two 300 level and above EvoS courses. EvoS 451 does not count towards this requirement.
- At least two semesters of the 2 credit seminar course (BIOL 451), which counts towards the 20 credit total. Anyone may attend the EvoS seminars, but enrollment for credit is limited students with second semester sophomore standing and above. BIOL 451 does not count towards the breadth requirement.
To join, just follow the instructions to enroll in EvoS.
Types of Courses
This section describes in detail the different ways to earn the 20 required credits.
Permanent courses form the core of the curriculum. A fairly large number of courses with evolutionary content have been taught at BU prior to the program but have not been related to each other and presented to students as an integrated package. For example, most biology majors interested in evolution are unaware of courses offered in the anthropology, psychology, and even the economics and philosophy departments. The integrated curriculum provides a structured way for students to have access to all of these courses. We anticipate that new permanent courses will be added to the integrated curriculum as it develops.
Special Topics Seminars
Special topics seminars allow new subject areas to be explored that are not already covered by permanent courses. A number of individual faculty and programmatic units on campus are interested in exploring the interface between their domains and evolutionary studies. The particular topics will vary by semester and will be guided at least in part by student interest. In other words, if there is a quorum of students in the program interested in exploring a particular topic, an effort will be made to organize a special topics seminar on that subject.
Internships and Independent Study
Internships and independent study opportunities allow students to become directly involved in evolutionarily oriented research. BU has a long tradition of involving undergraduate students in scientific research and other scholarly activities. As with permanent courses, the integrated curriculum will organize these activities relevant to evolutionary studies into an integrated package, helping to connect undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty with each other. Having a group of undergraduate students who are already knowledgeable about evolution will also stimulate faculty and their graduate students to include undergraduates in their research. Internships will involve undergraduates in already established research projects. With independent study projects, the undergraduate student plays the primary role in designing the project with faculty/graduate student supervision. A listing of intern opportunities will be provided shortly and you should explore possibilities for independent study projects with your advisor.
Permanent courses outside the integrated curriculum, supplemented by evolutionary material allow students to explore specific subjects of particular interest that are not already being covered by a permanent course or special topics seminar within the integrated curriculum. This option will also allow students to resolve (the hopefully infrequent) conflicts between the requirements of their major and the EvoS integrated curriculum. For example, suppose that an English major is particularly interested in exploring literature from an evolutionary perspective. If a sufficient number of students in the program share this interest, then it might become the basis of a special topics seminar. Otherwise, the student might take an existing course in literary theory and add evolutionary content. In this case the student, his/her faculty advisor within the EvoS integrated curriculum, and the instructor of the course would meet to discuss how the student can supplement the course with evolutionary content. This might include reading additional material, writing a term paper that is already assigned for the course from an evolutionary perspective, or perhaps writing an additional paper. Once the conditions are agreed upon, the course can count toward the EvoS certificate. In all cases, the course must be approved by the EvoS Executive Committee in addition to the student, the student’s advisor, and the course instructor.