Behavioral Biology Bulletin (major guidelines)

Advising worksheet

The study of behavior spans disciplines as diverse as evolution, ecology, neurobiology, and philosophy.

  • Why did behavior evolve?
  • What ecological functions does it serve?
  • How is it regulated by genes, hormones, and nerve cells?

Exploring the origin of behavior and its underlying mechanisms greatly increases our understanding of reproduction, speciation, cooperation, aggression, the formation of societies, the evolution of the nervous system, and the nature of humanity. Biological studies of behavior also provide important insights into anthropology, psychology, and psychiatry.

The Specialization in Behavioral Biology offers students the opportunity to develop an integrative and individualized curriculum bridging coursework in behavioral science in the Department of Biology with complementary classes in behavior taught in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. The specialization builds upon instruction in the fundamental principles of the organization of behavior through integrated coursework in biology, biological anthropology, and psychology, spanning non-human animal behavior and human behavior across multiple levels of analysis. The interdisciplinary nature of the specialization affords broad knowledge and deep insight into the evolution and ecology of behavior and its hormonal, neural, and genetic mechanisms, and prepares students for post-graduate study in basic and biomedical research. Flexibility in course selection enables students to pursue individual interests and engage in undergraduate research.

Areas of study include:

  • Behavioral ecology
  • Communication
  • Neuroethology
  • Primatology
  • Reproductive neuroendocrinology
  • Sociobiology

Students enrolled in the Specialization in Behavioral Biology are encouraged to engage in faculty-sponsored research in these areas.

For a more detailed listing of courses and requirements for this specialization, see the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of fundamental principles spanning the breadth of biology, with in-depth understanding of the ecology and evolution of animal behavior.
    • Demonstrate expertise in the scientific method, including experimental design, critical assessment of the scientific literature, and an understanding of the principles and best practices for the ethical conduct of research.
    • Attain the technical and/or analytical skills required for employment or post-graduate education in biology or biology-related careers, including professional careers and science education.