Biology Colloquium

Biology Colloquium (BCQ) is a student-run course designed to introduce students to a wide range of fields within the biological sciences.  

BIOL 1020 (1 cr) looks into the career paths and job opportunities that build on a degree in the biological sciences. This course builds community among students and allows them to meet faculty at the U of M, learn about other courses they will be taking and find out about research opportunities. BCQ makes the U of M seem like a much smaller place and includes activities and opportunities such as:

Large group seminars

Students meet biweekly for seminars given by faculty members and biology experts from the local biotechnology community who discuss their career paths, jobs and research interests. An off-campus tour to a local biology-related company, hospital or research facility is also scheduled each semester.

Small group tours

In alternate weeks, students meet in groups of 5-7 to tour research laboratories and campus research facilities. These small groups are facilitated by Student Leaders who were previous Colloquium students. Through weekly self-reflection assignments and a final career paper, students consider which careers would be a good fit for them.

Undergraduate research opportunities

The BIOL 1093 course (1 cr), taken after at least one semester of BIOL 1020, gives students an opportunity to do undergraduate research with U of M faculty of their choice and then to share their research results with fellow BCQ students. The projects often become a stepping stone to longer term research opportunities that enrich the undergraduate experience.

Leadership development

The BIOL 3600 course (1-2 cr) focuses on leadership development. Students enrolled in this course are Student Leaders with previous experience in BCQ. They are responsible for arranging and leading BIOL 1020 small group tours around campus and for providing feedback on reflective journals. Student Leaders serve as peer mentors, helping students to meet faculty at the U of M, learn about classes they will be taking and finding out about research opportunities. Student Leaders produce a bi-weekly newsletter featuring biology-related events. Student Leaders often continue as informal peer mentors for their students and maintain long-term connections.

The Biology Colloquium program is led by Student Coordinator Teaching Assistants who have participated extensively in BCQ activities. Working with faculty advisors, the Coordinators plan and implement all aspects of BCQ courses and activities. These leadership experiences have led to university-wide recognition in the form of President's Student Leadership and Service Awards for several BCQ Student Coordinators. 

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What students say about BCQ?
  • "It is a great way to explore the different branches of medicine."
  • "This class will open your eyes to all the places biology can take you."
  • "Great first step toward research and internship opportunities."
  • "You get to dabble in a little bit of everything so you find out what you like."