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The Biology Department offers a program which provides students with a comprehensive foundation in biology, preparing them to enter a variety of professional fields or transfer to a graduate or health-professional program.


Biology majors are required to take a set of core courses: BIOL 121, 122, 308, 317, 350, and 420. In addition, majors must take CHEM 121, 122, and 331; MATH 131; PHYS 201 and 202; and a statistics course. Students are encouraged to conduct a senior thesis project. Students must maintain a 2.50 grade average overall and attain a C or better in all required math and science courses.

After their freshman year, students are encouraged to select from four tracks the one which includes courses to best meet their interests, prepare them to fulfill career goals, and provide them with a comprehensive background in biology. Any area selected should include enough credits beyond required courses in Biology to fill the 40-hour requirement. Courses are listed by number, not by recommended sequence. If a particular track does not meet a student's needs, an alternate track may be designed in consultation with a department advisor.

Career Experience

To enhance the scope of their education and meet the requirement of the General Education program, students are also encouraged to enroll in at least three hours of career experience/internship or participate in a Study Tour. The Biology Department and the Career Services Office will assist the student in locating a suitable position.

Biology Minor

A Biology minor requires a minimum of 20 hours in departmental courses, to include BIOL 121, 122, 308, and 361. The remaining courses may be selected from any other department course listings at the 200 level or above. Students must maintain a 2.00 GPA overall and pass all biology courses with a C or better.

Honors Program

To be eligible for Honors in Biology, students must attain at least a 3.40 grade point average in biology courses by the end of their junior year. In addition, students must complete a written thesis project which includes original research. In order to undertake such a project, eligible students must submit a thesis proposal which is accepted by a thesis advisor who will assist them in the design of the project.

In certain cases, students may be able to undertake a thesis project with a second advisor from another institution, such as a hospital or government or nonprofit organization. In such cases, a Biology Department faculty member will serve as primary thesis advisor.


BIOL 110. Human Biology. (4) The study of the biology of the human organism, with emphasis on physiology and pathology, including nutrition, reproduction, and substance abuse. Additional topics include bioethics, human ecology, genetics, and evolution. Three class hours and two laboratory hours per week. No prerequisite. Not to be taken for credit in the Biology major Health track. Offered every spring.

BIOL 112. Animal Behavior. (4) Lectures will give students an overview of the subject. Students will engage in classroom discussions of current scientific literature relevant to the field. The laboratory portion of this course will introduce methods of observing and quantifying behavior in the context of the theories and explanations associated with the lecture. Exercises will provide students with experience using quantitative research tools and techniques employed in laboratory and field settings. These exercises will emphasize how simple studies integrate behavioral methods with hypothesis testing, experimental design, data analysis, and presentation of findings.

BIOL 120. Medical Terminology. (3) This course is designed to develop skills for understanding and effectively applying medical terminology. It will emphasize facts, concepts, and technical vocabulary pertaining to both health and illness. Prerequisite: one semester of biology. Offered every fall.

BIOL 121. General Biology I. (4) Introductory course for students needing two semesters of biology. Covers fundamental concepts of cell composition, metabolic processes, and introductory genetics. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: high school biology or consent of instructor. Offered every fall.

BIOL 122. General Biology II. (4) Second introductory course for students needing two semesters of biology. Covers evolutionary and ecological principles and processes and the diversity and complexity of living organisms. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 121 or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.

BIOL 209. Microbiology. (4) Survey of the physiology, morphology, and ecology of bacteria and viruses. Emphasis is on medical microbiology. Three class hours and two laboratory hours per week. No prerequisite. Offered every spring.

BIOL 211. Global Environmental Issues. (3) This course will cover a variety of current environmental challenges facing people around the world. Students will learn the basics of environmental biology, the threats to natural systems, and possible solutions to those threats. Emphasis will be placed on how religion, culture, and politics influence our relationship with the environment and how decisions are made about how to utilize, preserve, and/or extract resources from the natural world.

BIOL 220. Plants in Society. (4) This course uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine the important relationship between plants and people. Students will take part in an in-depth examination of past and present roles of plants in human society. Lectures cover the historical development of human migration and agricultural practices, ethnobotany, conservation, and plant diversity on both a local and global scale. The role of biotechnology in food production and pharmaceuticals is also investigated. Classes will include a combination of lectures, laboratories, field trips, and student-led seminars throughout the course. Three class hours and two laboratory hours per week.

BIOL 241. Contemporary Issues in Biology. (3) This course examines how biology relates to our everyday lives. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the basic biology and recognizing areas of controversy within public health, research, environmental biology, and population biology. Three class hours per week.

BIOL 308. Genetics. (4) The principles of heredity with an emphasis on molecular genetics. Topics include the chromosomal basis of inheritance, human genetics, DNA metabolism, gene expression, and its control. In addition, the methods and implications of genetic engineering are discussed. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 121 and CHEM 121. Offered every fall.

BIOL 312. Zoology. (4) Explores the form, function, behavior, and ecology of animals in an evolutionary context. Starting with sponges, different phyla are examined with respect to their external and internal features. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: two semesters of biology. Offered every other fall.

BIOL 317. Cell and Molecular Biology. (3) An in-depth study of cellular processes from a molecular and biochemical point of view. Essentials of metabolism, energy production, nucleic acid metabolism, and molecular physiology will be discussed. Three class hours per week. Prerequisite: two semesters of biology and one semester of chemistry. Offered every other spring.

BIOL 320. Human Anatomy and Physiology I. (4) The study of human organ system structure and function. Representative diseases/disorders are selected for each unit with pathophysiological processes stressed. Topics covered are cytology and histology, plus the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, and sensory systems. Three class hours and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: one semester of biology or chemistry. Offered every fall.

BIOL 321. Human Anatomy and Physiology II. (4) The study of human organ system structure and function. Representative diseases/disorders are selected for each unit with pathophysiological processes stressed. The systems covered are endocrine, immune, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and reproductive. Three class hours and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 320. Offered every spring.

BIOL 333. Biochemistry. (4) The basic concepts which give rise to the vast diversity of biochemical processes in living organisms. Topics include anabolism and catabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and nucleic acids, generation of energy, and selected topics from physiological and developmental biochemistry. Three class hours and three laboratory hours per week. May be taken for biology or chemistry credit (see CHEM 333). Prerequisites: two semesters of biology and one semester of organic chemistry (CHEM 331). A second semester of organic chemistry is strongly recommended. Offered every other spring.

BIOL 347. Independent Study. (2-4) A project to be conducted with faculty supervision. Prerequisite: permission of individual instructor. Offered on demand.

BIOL 350. Biology Research Methods. (3) This course offers students a comprehensive understanding of research design, data collection and analysis, and presentation of scientific findings. Students will develop and complete scientific investigations, analyze their data using statistics, and create poster presentations of their results. Three class hours per week. Prerequisite: PSYC 221 or BUSA 367.

BIOL 361. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. (4) This course will cover the basics of ecological and evolutionary theory. Students will learn about natural selection and biological diversity. Lecture topics will include speciation, species interactions, and ecosystem ecology. Laboratory activities will focus on ecological sampling, population dynamics, and ecosystem ecology.

BIOL 420. Topics in Science. (2) A comprehensive examination and analysis of selected biological topics. Involves the use of primary literature and seminar presentations. Two class hours per week. Prerequisites: senior standing in biology and course in statistics (BUSA 367 or PSYC 221). Offered every spring.

BIOL 479. Undergraduate Science Mentor. (2-3) The goal of this course is to provide the student one-on-one mentoring with a faculty member in biology in order to provide the student with individualized guidance in science theory and/or advanced laboratory/field skills. Practical application to peer mentorship is a crucial aspect of this course meant to strengthen science fundamentals and leadership skills essential for careers in the biomedical, physical and laboratory sciences, and field biology, as well as in teaching. Two credits for lecture or laboratory only participation or three credits for lecture and laboratory course participation. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

BIOL 497. Senior Thesis in Science. (2-4) Development, execution, and presentation of biological research project under supervision of faculty. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing and permission of specific thesis instructor. Offered on demand.