Comprehensive Exam

The annual Biology Department comprehensive exam for senior biology majors is usually given on 2 nights during the second week of November. Seniors must sign up for one of the two nights on a sheet on the main bulletin board in the main hallway of the Biology Dept. This exam is meant to be a check of how much information each student has learned from the biology classes that they have taken. We use the scores on the exam to compare with previous year's scores. It is NOT a test to study for. It is a measure of how much info you have absorbed during your time here.

Junior and Senior Seminar Info

  1. Biology AND Biology Research majors are required to take Junior Seminar (Bio. 389) during the fall of their junior year. In this course, students learn how to write and present a thesis, what the components of a research thesis are, identify an actual thesis topic and a faculty thesis director and prepare an introduction, methods and materials and literature cited sections for their thesis project. They conduct research either with a Loras faculty member or with another faculty member at another university as part of a summer research internship. The results and interpretation of this project are presented to the department, fellow biology majors and any interested public in Senior Seminar during the spring of their senior year. The contents and format of this talk are shown on a link. The format for the written thesis is also shown on a link
  2. A Biology major is not required to do an actual research project. However, as juniors, they should select a topic of personal interest in the Fall semester. They should also select a faculty advisor in the Biology Dept. to help them gain ideas and find literature for their talk. Preparation of this paper and talk should be well underway before final exams start in December. This talk is presented in Senior Seminar in spring semester senior year. The contents of the talk for the Biology Major in senior seminar is summarized below. The final form of their written paper is due to their advisor by the 3rd week in April and must be approved in order to graduate.

    (18-23 minutes in length) Divide talk into 3 sections

    First Section:

    7-8 minutes - Introduce topic, define terms, start to tell a story so that the audience is familiar with what you are going to talk about in more detail later. Give them enough background so they can understand you and can draw upon their background on the topic as senior biology majors in the next parts of the talk. State what are some gaps in the current knowledge of the topic. At the end of this section, clearly state a specific hypothesis or a question that you will be addressing in the rest of your talk.

    Second Section:

    7-8 minutes - Present recent primary research papers on the topic. This section should end with a conclusion or two to show what this study found and how it fits into the original, overall question or hypothesis.

    Third Section:

    7-8 minutes - This section brings all previous information together to summarize the current status of the topic. This section should state what needs further research and what are the future challenges ahead for people investigating this topic. You have become an expert on your topic and it is your job in this talk to help the audience learn about the current status, significance and latest information on this topic.
    Be visual. Always use flow charts or actual equipment or animals or any other items that you used that could be passed around to get the audience in touch with your topic. Practice at least 3 times before your day arrives. Relax - you are talking to your fellow biologists.

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