Embrace Your Curiosity and Give Back with a Biology Degree

Have you always had an unusual interest in frogs or the human body? Always dreamed about a career in medicine?

If you’re the curious type, or you’d like to give back through a career in healthcare, then you should definitely consider an AS Degree in Biology for Transfer (AD-T) at San José City College. You may be surprised to learn — that it’s not just a path for aspiring biologists.

Getting a solid education in biology is a great way to start your journey in the sciences, especially if you plan to pursue graduate studies in medicine. It’s also a great way to enhance your expertise if you’re making the transition to a career in health or STEM.

So let’s investigate the wonders of biological science (as a subject), and why you should consider becoming a biology major at SJCC.

What is Biology?

According to Britannica, biology is “the study of living things and their vital processes.” An overlapping, cross-disciplinary subject that collides with medicine, chemistry, and physics to create modern fields like biomedicine, biochemistry, and biophysics.

Popular science news website, Live Science, describes it more simply. As “the study of everything that is, or was once, alive — whether it’s a plant, animal or microorganism.” 

The vast possibilities will either thrill you or horrify you. 

Why Study Biological Science?

You may have the innate curiosity of a scientist, but even if you don’t, there are so many reasons to study biology. Choosing this field is both practical and noble.

It’s a Flexible Yet Safe Option for Aspiring Medical Professionals

If you’ve always dreamed about a career in medicine, but you’re totally undecided about which route to take — a biology degree is a wise choice.

You’ll learn the foundations of biology and see which subject interests you most. And while you’re at it, you’ll likely knock out most of the prerequisites for the medical programs that may interest you down the line.  

Choosing biology allows you to keep your potential career doors open. And it’s an opportunity to truly get to know your specific interests (we know, life is a pretty broad topic). 

“… the professors at SJCC care a lot about the success of their students, and they work hard to help prepare us for our future careers.”

Kaila Warren, biology student at SJCC

Biology Careers Are Resistant to Changes in the Economy

One of the greatest advantages of a career that begins with a degree in biology is — stability. There is always going to be a massive need for doctors, healthcare professionals, and scientists.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that all biology careers are created equal in terms of salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, when you compare a wildlife biologist’s salary to a physician’s salary — the animal lover makes just a third of what the doctor makes.

Now, there are still lots of high-paying, not to mention, critical science jobs that are in high-demand — like atmospheric and environmental scientists.

If you’re still wondering what jobs you can get as a biology major — here are a few more.

  • Occupational therapist
  • Meteorologist
  • Agriculture scientist
  • Physician’s Assistant
  • Pharmacist
  • Biology Teacher

Whether you choose occupational therapy or meteorology, you can be sure your work will be important. SJCC Biology Department faculty member Carlos Rojo stressed the significance of these jobs.

“These careers and sources of information have shown no signs of becoming less needed. Now more than ever, with the scientific misinformation and misunderstanding that is circling the pandemic, creating students and citizens that understand biology and healthcare is critical not only at the individual level but as a community.”

If you study biological sciences, you will learn to investigate, explore, and solve the greatest problems that society faces today.

SJCC’s Biology Department is Pioneering Science Education

When people think of San José City College, they should think of excellence, because that’s what we offer. And the Biology Department more than lives up to our highest standards. 

Thanks to some dedicated faculty leaders, administrators, and staff — it’s a particularly exciting time for the entire community. “The college as a whole is currently working to identify ways to shift the ‘culture’ of how we teach and assess students.” Said Professor Rojo, “Our department is hoping to help lead this change.” 

The “Flipped Classroom” Model Increases Student Success by 20%

One of the ways that biology instructors are doing this is through the “flipped classroom model.” Which, according to Rojo (who created and teaches these courses) “encourages student discussion, problem-solving, and communication as opposed to basic memorization of the material.” 

It has increased student success rates by nearly 20%, and biology students certainly seem to prefer it. “I love the ‘flipped classroom’ style, where he posts the lecture videos online and the students watch the lectures before class.” Said biology student, Kaila Warren. “The in-class practice time is also invaluable, and I really like collaborating and discussing concepts with my classmates.”

Another student, Vernon Obiena, attributes this style of teaching to his success in class. “This was such a life-changer for me! In previous college classes, I struggled to pay attention to the lessons because I was always catching up to my notes as my professors were lecturing. In this flipped course that Prof. Rojo offered, I was able to keep rewatching the lecture videos if I was confused on a certain part.”

The biology faculty at SJCC is truly dedicated to constantly improving students’ learning experiences through evidence-based instruction methods.

Students Get Hands On Experience with Simulation Labs and Cadavers

Biology students at SJCC also get access to some incredible technology and programs that you don’t see at other bay area community colleges. 

For the past three years, Professor Rojo has been designing a state-of-the-art clinical simulation and virtual reality laboratory on campus. This lab will be equipped with virtual reality headsets and life-size robotic mannequins that can simulate real-life patient cases. Originally scheduled for completion in the fall of 2021, it is now expected to be fully functioning in 2024 (due to the pandemic).

While there are many clinical simulation labs at nursing schools and other graduate healthcare institutions, the simulation lab at SJCC would be the first of its kind to serve undergraduate, pre-health students.

And if that’s not enough, SJCC also allows students to get face-to-face experience with cadavers. Yes, cadavers. “We are proud of our revitalized cadaver dissection laboratory (overseen by Thu Nguyen), which allows students an unparalleled up-close, personal, and hands-on view of biology.” Said Rojo.

This is another big draw for students interested in health careers. “When I heard that we would get to work with cadavers in my Anatomy lab last spring, I was very excited, because that is an excellent way to get hands-on biology experience and see what different anatomical landmarks look like in a real human body.” Said Warren.

Further opportunities like Peer-Led-Team Learning and the supplemental instructor (SI) program provide students with additional support. As you can see, at SJCC, biology students get access to the best of the newest technologies, innovative instruction, and a truly hands-on experience.

“… creating students and citizens that understand biology and healthcare is critical not only at the individual level, but as a community.”

SJCC biology proffesor, Carlos Rojo

Our Biology Programs Are Practical and Affordable

If the top-notch education isn’t enough to convince you, our low-cost courses, extensive student support programs, and diverse class offerings certainly will. They make SJCC a great option for first-time and returning students alike — at any step in their educational journey.

Guaranteed Transfer to a 4-year University

Like all of our other Associate’s Degrees for Transfer (AD-T), the biology degree at SJCC partners with California Community Colleges to offer the Degree with A Guarantee Program.

So, when you complete your general and biology major requirements with a 2.0 or higher, you are guaranteed a spot at a select number of California State Universities (CSUs). This is a fantastic option if you’re pursuing a Bachelor’s in biology.

Affordable Biology Courses Can Help Launch Your Health Career

If you’re hoping to embark on a health career or even a career in STEM — you can greatly benefit from our biology courses too. Even if you already have a bachelor of science in biology — lots of graduate programs require students to complete specific (often additional) coursework. 

“I am gearing up to apply for Physician Assistant master’s programs, and there are some prerequisite courses that I need that were not offered at my alma mater,” said Warren. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend SJCC and complete these prerequisite courses for much less than I would have paid at a 4-year university.”

Obiena, who already holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, needed to fulfill some prereqs for nursing school. “The biology courses at SJCC are exactly what I was looking for! I needed a physiology lab and lecture (separate from anatomy), and SJCC is one of the only colleges I saw that was offering those courses separately.” Said Obiena.

A few classes at SJCC, might be just what you need to catalyze your career.

We’ll Help You Achieve Your Goals

At SJCC, we’re here to help you unleash your brilliance — whether you’re hoping to pursue an associate degree in biology or brush up on your anatomy. Our incredible faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and dedicated staff will provide you with life-changing opportunities to learn about — life — so you can achieve your goals as a biology major.

Now, check out our biology programs today! Or take a look at our other STEM and health options that might interest you — like mathematics, kinesiology, or medical assisting.