Animal Behavior and Zoology is now full for 2010-2011.

This program will comprise an investigation of how evolutionary theory can be generated and applied to better understand how and why animals do what they do. Humans are animals; as such, we will be including discussion of humans in this program. Unfortunately, there is no longer a study-abroad component of the program in Winter quarter; due to the recession and related budget cuts, we can not travel as a whole program to Central America. However, students who are prepared to work independently in Central America will have the option of conducting empirical field research in a tropical rainforest in Spring quarter.

We will likely run another iteration of this program in the 2012-2013 academic year, with study abroad in the tropics in Winter quarter.

Applications for the program were due on Friday, May 14.

FAQs regarding getting in to the program in 2010 (last updated March 31, 2010)

Q: I’m hoping to get technical skills that I can put on my resume—things like analyzing leaf litter samples, using an SEM, or how to run a PCR. Is this program a good choice for me?
A: Probably not. In this program, the focus will be on all aspects of the scientific process—from generating all of the plausible hypotheses that could explain an observed pattern, researching the theory that underlies the process, designing experimental or observational protocols that best discriminate between the hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting what it means, and presenting it to an audience of your peers. That process—the research cycle that emphasizes creative idea generation and reliance on meshing empirical observation with theory—is science. The data that the process generates is only one small part of the scientific process. Furthermore, we will emphasize on-the-ground problem solving skills, especially for the tropical portion of the program: one goal is to rely only on equipment that you, the researcher, can fix when it breaks. Our equipment will therefore tend to be low-tech, which will allow the rigor and logic of our scientific ideas to be exposed more clearly.

Q: Why is “college-level writing” a prerequisite for this program?
A: Being able to write well is a necessary skill for all informed citizens, including scientists. The better your basic writing and math skills are coming in to the program, the greater our advances as a learning community can be in scientific investigations and critical thinking.

Q: How much upper-division science credit will be possible through this program?
A: We will probably give 12 upper-division science credits in the Fall, 14 in the Winter, and 16 in the Spring. It will not be possible to earn 48 upper-division science credits through this program for two reasons: First, the statistics that we will be learning is not at an upper-division level; second, students pursuing a B.S. should get at least some of their upper-division science credits from another program.

Q: I will be transfering to Evergreen, so don’t have an evaluation from a previous program to include with my application. What should I do?
A: Have a former professor write you a letter of recommendation. The letter should, if possible, speak to your intellectual breadth, science background, and level of dedication to your academic work.

Q: I was in one of your programs previously. Do I need to give you an evaluation from a faculty member?
A: No, if you’ve been my student in the past, then I already have an evaluation of you, so just fill out the application. You also don’t need to supply the name of a different faculty who will recommend you, unless you think that you showed better academic potential with another faculty.

Q: I am interested in the program, but only for Fall, or only for Fall or Winter. Could I still be a good candidate for the program?
A: Yes. There will be more students enrolled in Fall than in the Winter, and more in Winter than in Spring: we expect that, and hope that it will be true as well. We will not be taking new students in Winter or Spring however, so if you are interested in some part of the program, you will need to start in Fall quarter.

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