Department of Biology

Introduction to the Biology Course

Students learn the fundamentals of biology and chemistry and cultivate the ability to comprehensively understand biological characteristics from the molecular level to the level of the individual. We conduct training that corresponds to the development of contemporary biology in order to cultivate graduates who can utilize the knowledge and methods they acquire to contribute to society through the fields related to biology.


Biology Course FAQ

Question 1: Why isn’t the Department of Biology and Chemistry divided into two separate departments like those at other universities?



Answer: Modern biological research cannot be performed without knowledge of additional fields such as chemistry and physics. Watson and Crick, the discoverers of the double-helix structure of the DNA molecule, were both physicists. Dr. Osamu Shimomura, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of green florescent protein, GFP, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In order to educate students who can perform work not only in biology but also in chemistry, we have created a unique department that merges these two fields. In the lower half of the program, students study chemistry and biochemistry. These studies are very important for students who wish to make careers in pharmaceuticals or similar fields.


Question 2: The Department of Biology and Chemistry breaks into two courses, the Biology Course and Chemistry Course. Is there any chance of being placed in one course even though I requested another?


Answer: Students are broken up into their respective courses at the end of their first year. Priority is given to student requests.


Question 3: What sorts of careers are available for students who graduate from the Biology Course?


Answer: Over 50% of all graduates of the Biology Course advance to a master’s course to acquire a more advanced level of academic knowledge, with the ultimate goal of entering careers in research, Biology education or technical jobs involving research and development or production controls. Careers for students who graduate from the four-year undergraduate program without entering graduate school include sales and technical positions at pharmaceutical, clinical testing, and food companies, as well as careers in education or civil service. Some unique career destinations include aquariums and museums.


Question 4: What sorts of certification can be acquired in the Biology Course?


Answer: Students with the necessary credits can obtain junior high school general teacher certification or science high school general teacher certification. Students can now also acquire curator certification. We also recommend students for the Japan Association of Biotechnology Education (JABE) certification exam.


Question 5: What type of biological research is conducted in the Biology Course?


A: Professors, associate professors, and assistant professors in the Biology Course are conducting top level research in their respective fields. For detailed information, please check the staff research list on this website. You’ll find a number of topics that can’t be found in your high school biology textbook, topics that are critical problems in contemporary Biology. There is a growing need to understand living organisms at the molecular level. We encourage you to read various books related to biology to get a sense for what topics are currently receiving focus in the Biology field. We also recommend that students take part in our open campus program at the beginning of August. Open campus is a chance for students to talk directly with instructors or staff. Most students who wish to enroll through recommendation take part in this event.


Question 6: I’m not sure if I should take the examination for biology at Yamaguchi University or another university’s biology department. What sets your department apart?


Answer: Different topics are being researched in the biology departments of each university. For example, students wishing to conduct their fourth-year graduation research on deforestation won’t be able to pursue this topic at Yamaguchi University. We have faculty members who study the molecular mechanism of cell division, so this topic is available. Students who have already chosen a specific topic they wish to pursue in their graduate studies or career should thoroughly investigate whether or not their desired topic is available at Yamaguchi University. However, majority of students change their field of inquiry during their undergraduate studies as their perspective changes.


Question 7: I’m not sure if I should take the examination for the Department of Biology and Chemistry in the Faculty of Science or the exam for the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Agriculture. How do these departments differ?


Answer: In general, the Faculty of Agriculture and the Faculty of Engineering are aimed at practical application. The Faculty of Agriculture aims to solve problems such as those related to food and the environment, and conducts research that can be more readily of use to society. See the respective homepages of the departments for more information on the types of research being conducted in their laboratories. The Faculty of Science performs detailed research on the principles of natural phenomena shared by all living organisms. Much of the fundamental research we conduct may not see application for ten or more years. Many of the technological advances we see in today’s world were borne out of this type of fundamental research. We hope that you will aim to become a scientist and take the Department of Science exam. Also, students hoping to become high school teachers may obtain a science teacher license in the Department of Science. This license is not available in the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Agriculture.


Question 8: What is involved in the fourth-year graduation research conducted in the Biology Course?


bio_img2.jpgAnswer: Fourth-year students select from a number of laboratories and conduct research on a specific topic over the course of a year. Between the third and fourth years, an instructor takes responsibility for guiding each student’s individual research. The results of this research are compiled into a graduation thesis. Just as undergraduates in art departments create works for a graduation portfolio, our students compile the results of their year of research. A student’s choice of laboratories will affect the specialized field in which he or she conducts his or her research, and students should thus begin considering which laboratory they wish to join during their second and third years.


Question 9: I’d like to enter a career in researching and developing cosmetics. Which department should I choose?


Answer: Cosmetics research and development requires a background in a variety of fields. While chemists are responsible for creating new materials, individuals who have studied biology are necessary to investigate the safety of such products. Graduates of the Biology Course have gone on to create careers in the cosmetics industry.


Question 10: I didn’t take biology in high school, but I’d like to enter the Biology Course. Will this be possible?


Answer: That’s fine. There are many such students in the Biology Course. Even if you didn’t study biology in high school, the first-year course available that teaches the fundamentals of high school-level biology. You don’t need to worry about not being able to keep up with university studies. Fields such as chemistry and physics are also essential to contemporary biological science, and students who have studied those sciences will find them useful for understanding living organisms at the molecular level in the Yamaguchi University Department of Biology and Chemistry. Actually, we also have courses on biochemistry and biophysics in our university.


Question 11: I’m interested in biotechnology. Will I be able to pursue this field in the Yamaguchi University Department of Biology and Chemistry?


Answer: Yes, you will. It’s often said that we’re entering the age of biotechnology. This refers to the methods and technologies used in relation to living organisms. In the Biology Course, you’ll learn the principles biotechnologies such as cell cultivation, gene manipulation, and microscopic technology while also gaining practical knowledge from student experiments. At Yamaguchi University, we strive to maintain a facility that includes the latest equipment necessary for education and research. Our Science Research Center includes instrumental analysis, bio-analysis, isotope analysis and genetic experimentation facilities. Think about what type of career you’d like to enter through the study of biotechnology.


Question 12: I’d like to research cell division. Is this available at the Yamaguchi University Department of Biology and Chemistry?


Answer: Yes. Cells are the fundamental elements of living organisms, and understanding how they reproduce is one of the major issues in biology. Pursuing research on the molecular mechanisms of cell division may lead to a method for controlling the division of cancer cells. Yamaguchi University’s Biology Course includes a number of instructors researching the mechanics of cell division, conducting cutting edge research.


Question 13: I’m not very good at English. Will I need it in university?


Many companies are presently recruiting new employees from abroad, and language skills are given importance even in evaluating domestic candidates. For this reason, Yamaguchi University is putting effort into English education. First year students take the nationwide examination of English competency known as TOEIC, and are placed into a course based on their abilities. While you may not be confident in your English abilities, it’s simply a language, not so different from your native language. If you’re diligent about engaging with English, you’ll certainly be able to use it.