College Spotlight - Life Sciences

The College of Life Sciences is the largest college on BYU’s Provo campus with over 4,800 declared undergraduate students and 200-plus graduate students. A whopping 1,194 students received their bachelor degrees from the College of Life Sciences in 2017. Despite the ever-rising number of students, graduates are leaving the university exceptionally prepared for life post-graduation, whether that is graduate or professional school, industry, or something else.

Life Sciences offers a variety of majors housed in seven departments. These majors range from Biology themed programs (i.e., Biology, Microbiology, Physiology and Development Biology, Wildlife and Wildlands, etc.) to Exercise Science, Nutritional Science, and Public Health. Our Landscape Management program has won the National Collegiate Landscape Competition two years in a row! Three of our majors lead to certification in their respective disciplines: Athletic Training, Dietetics, and Medical Laboratory Sciences. The majors discussed above represent about half of our total programs. Check out all of our majors in the newly released 2018-2019 catalog.

Life Sciences is home to over 140 full-time faculty; 40% of these were hired since 2010. The majority of the new hires have recently completed postdoctoral research at top-ranked schools. They come to BYU with the most compelling research agendas.They can’t wait to share them with students, students who come to BYU better prepared each year than they were the year before. Former Life Sciences Dean Rodney J. Brown (2005-2015) said, “Imagine the difficulty of providing enough challenge for the kind of students we work with every day. Having an outstanding faculty is the most important ingredient in building a successful college or university. Faculty members hired today have more and better preparation than any who preceded them. [They] must not only teach students, but also include students in their research work and show students the connection between their academic knowledge and their testimony of more important things. This is the key to successfully teaching our students.”

Life Sciences professors are scientists in the truest sense of the word. The college places a high priority on moving research through to publication. Publishing means having the faculty member’s research scrutinized by his or her peers and professionals in their chosen field. If faculty are not publishing, their research runs the risk of becoming little more than a hobby. Those contributing new knowledge in their fields of expertise maintain their status as scientists. Mentorships provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to complete original research under the direction of a faculty mentor, much like apprentices. Often those students end up as co-authors, or even lead authors, on papers published in leading scientific journals. It is not uncommon for an undergraduate to be mistaken for a graduate student at a professional meeting.

Students interested in finding out more about opportunities in the College of Life Sciences are encouraged to meet with a life sciences advisor. Advisor appointments can be made by calling 801-422-3042.

Farris Child works in the Life Sciences Advisement Center.