May 25, 2018  
2014-2015 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2020 
2014-2015 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2020 [Archived Catalog]

Mathematical Biology Minor

Affiliation: Interdisciplinary Studies

The interdisciplinary Mathematical Biology Minor requires the successful completion of fifteen credits, with at least 9 credits at or above the 300-level, and the approval of the student’s portfolio by the minor’s oversight committee. These credits must include Introduction to Mathematical Biology (BIOL 345/MATH 345), three credits of undergraduate research (e.g., BIOL 441, BIOL 442, or BIOL 443 or CS 485 or MATH 473) for an interdisciplinary research experience in mathematical biology, and two credits of readings or independent study on a topic related to mathematical biology (e.g., MATH 489 or CS 484 or BIOL 444). In addition, the minor requires that students attend at least 10 meetings of the Mathematical Biology Seminar series or seminars of its allied programs (e.g., mathematics, biology, agricultural science, chemistry).

Only courses that count toward a major or minor in mathematics, biology, or computer science (or their required support) can count toward the Mathematical Biology Minor. Further, courses taken must enable a student seeking the minor to assemble a portfolio that demonstrates proficiency in the following areas.

  • Data Acquisition: Acquiring data on biological phenomena in a lab, in the field, or both.
  • Modeling: Developing or applying mathematical models in a biological context.
  • Computation: Developing or applying computational tools in a biological context.
  • Statistical Analysis: Applying statistical testing of biological hypotheses.
  • Research: Investigating an open-ended question by conducting research at the intersection of the life and mathematical sciences.

Evidence of proficiency in each area should be roughly equivalent to what might be done for a substantial end-of-term project in a three-credit course. Evidence provided by students seeking the minor is compiled in a portfolio and evaluated by the minor’s oversight committee.

Students interested in the minor should complete a learning plan (; to formulate the learning plan, consultation with faculty members associated with the Mathematical Biology program is recommended. Submitting this plan to the minor’s oversight committee for approval initiates a formal process of interdisciplinary advising provided by the minor program. At its most basic, a minor learning plan shows when and how the minor’s course-based requirements are satisfied. More importantly, the learning plan helps students explain how the courses and experiences they select for their minor relate to one another and how they facilitate development of the evidence of proficiencies that define the minor. Finally, the plan helps students anticipate how the courses lead to a deeper understanding of conducting interdisciplinary work at the interface of the life and mathematical sciences.