Academics

Overview

Overview

The B.A. degree program is designed for majors who are seeking employment in the field immediately after college or as a second major for education majors who aim to become primary or secondary school biology teachers.

Students must complete Principles of Biology for Science Majors I and II (BIO 107 and BIO 109L, BIO 108 and BIO 110L) with a grade of C or better before declaring a major in biology.

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

  2023-2024
Core Curriculum 43
Pre-Major Courses 8
Major and Related Courses  52
Free Elective Courses 17
TOTAL: 120

 

A biology major must complete at least one internship in the field. 

Required pre-major courses 8 credits

This course covers the fundamentals of biomolecules, cell physiology, respiration and photosynthesis, and genetics.  This is one of two courses of introductory biology for science majors. BIO107 (Lecture) & BIO 109L (Lab) and BIO108 (Lecture) & BIO 110L (Lab) can be taken in either order. BIO 107/109 and BIO 108/110 are designed for students who want to major in biology or another science, or who plan to attend dental, veterinary, or medical school after graduation.  NOTE: Students taking the course to meet general education explore requirements may take MAT 102 while students majoring in biology or another science should take MAT 130.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Pre- or co-requisite: MAT 102 or MAT 130

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

This course covers the fundamentals of evolution, comparative biodiversity, human and animal anatomy and physiology, and ecology and environmental science. This is one of two courses of introductory biology for science majors. BIO107 (Lecture) &  BIO 109L (Lab) and BIO108 (Lecture) and BIO 110L (Lab) can be taken in either order. BIO 107/109L and BIO 108/110L are designed for students who want to major in biology or another science, or who plan to attend dental, veterinary, or medical school after graduation.

Note: Students taking the course to meet general education explore requirements may take MAT 102 while students majoring in biology or another science should take MAT 130.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Pre- or co-requisites: MAT 102 or MAT 130

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

In this laboratory course, students will develop and test hypotheses by designing their own experiments to better understand the fundamentals of biomolecules, cell physiology, respiration and photosynthesis, and genetics. Students will also learn how to use a microscope and pipettors and will write laboratory reports in the same format as professional journal articles.   This 2-hour laboratory course should be taken concurrently with BIO 107.

NOTE: Students taking the course to meet general education explore requirements may take MAT 102 while students majoring in biology or another science should take MAT 130.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

Pre- or co-requisites: MAT 102 or MAT 130.

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

In laboratory, students will develop and test hypotheses by designing their own experiments to better understand fundamentals of evolution, comparative biodiversity, human and animal anatomy and physiology, and ecology and environmental science. Students will also learn how to use computer simulation models to predict outcomes, grow and enumerate bacteria and plants, and write laboratory reports in the same format as professional journal article.  This 2-hour laboratory course should be taken concurrently with BIO 108.

Note: Students taking the course to meet general education explore requirements may take MAT 102 while students majoring in biology or another science should take MAT 130.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

Pre- or co-requisite: MAT 102 or MAT 130.

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

Required biology courses 11 credits

This course provides an overview of modern genetics, including classical Mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, genomics, and population genetics. Laboratory activities will introduce students to basic statistical and computational techniques and tools, organisms used in genetics laboratories including E. coli and Drosophila melanogaster, and wet lab techniques including gel lectrophoresis, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and DNA fingerprinting using STR polymorphism analysis. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 107 and BIO 108; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

A study of the interrelationships between organisms and physical factors in and with the natural world. The course discusses ecological parameters (physical factors, nutrient cycles, energy flow), organisms (life histories, evolutionary fitness), populations (population growth, temporal and spatial dynamics), communities (predator-prey interactions, competition, co-evolution, succession), ecosystems (biomes, biodiversity, species-area relationships). Laboratory experiences will include both field trips and modeling exercises. Three hours of lecture and one two hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 108 or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is for STM majors who are in their last year of the program. Students will produce two major products: (1) a grant proposal to a national or private agency and (2)interdisciplinary group project. In addition, students will discuss future career plans, examine contributions of different deaf scientists to science, and engage in discussions on science ethics and science literacy.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Permission of the instructor and senior standing

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

Required chemistry courses 16 credits

Designed for science majors, this is the first of a two-semester sequence and is designed to help students become familiar with the properties and reactions of matter. This course will also address modern applications of these concepts. Specific topics for this course include: observation of properties and changes, scientific method, unit conversions and measurements, chemical formulas, balancing equations, predicting products and yields, reactions and reaction types, the Ideal Gas Law, thermodynamics, molecular and atomic structure of matter, and orbital hybridization.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

Pre- or co-requisite: MAT 101 or above

Distribution: Undergraduate

Designed for science majors, this course is the second of a two-semester sequence and is designed to help students become familiar with the properties and reactions of matter. This course will also address modern applications of these concepts. Specific topics for this course include: chemical bonding concepts, solution chemistry, colligative properties, kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, solubility and equilibria, entropy, free energy, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 107

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 107, this course enables students to develop skills appropriate to the first-year chemistry course for science majors. Experiments for this course include: observation of properties and changes, measurements, observing activities and reactions for the various types of reactions, obtaining quantitative and qualitative information regarding products, and the use of computer simulations.

Credits: 1
Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 108, this course enables students to develop skills appropriate to the first-year chemistry course for science majors. Experiments for this course include: quantifying thermodynamic changes, observing colligative properties, evaluation of chemical kinetics, evaluation of acid/base reactions via titration, and the use of computer simulations.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

CHE 109

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

This course is designed to give an introduction to the chemistry of carbon-hydrogen compounds, also known as organic chemistry. Students will study the structures, properties, synthesis, and uses of organic compounds and learn important classes of organic compounds including alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, aromatics, heterocycles, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Organic reactions will be discussed including addition, substitution, oxidation, reduction, polymerization and synthesis of organometallic reagents.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 108, and 110; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

This is the second course in a two-semester sequence. A functional group approach to organic chemistry is presented, with an emphasis on alkenes, alkynes, aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids and amines. Students will study the structures, properties, synthesis, identification and uses of organic compounds and learn important classes of organic compounds and practice use of instrumentation commonly used in organic chemistry. A number of organic reactions will be covered including addition to carbonyl compounds, substitution at carbonyl positions and aromatic positions, oxidation of alcohols and aldeydes, reduction of aldehydes, ketones and other carbonyl compounds, polymerization and organometallic reactions with carbonyl compounds.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 211 and CHE 213; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 211. This course consists of one three-hour laboratory session per week. The laboratory covers the techniques for preparing, purifying, analysis and identification of organic compounds. Students will carry out experiments aimed at studying the structures, properties, synthesis, and uses of organic compounds and learn important classes of organic compounds. Students will also learn and use analytical instruments, including the FTIR spectrometer, precision balances, and the GC-MS.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

CHE 108 and 110; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 212. This course consists of one three-hour laboratory session per week. This class covers the techniques for preparing, purifying, analysis, and identification of organic compounds. Several organic reactions will be covered including addition, substitution, oxidation, reduction, polymerization and organometallic reactions. Students will learn to perform some important organic procedures like Grignard reactions, Ester synthesis, nitration and soap synthesis. Students will also learn and use analytical instruments, including the FTIR spectrometer, GC-MS, and the NMR spectrometer.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

CHE 211 and 213; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Minor, Undergraduate

Required mathematics course 7 credits

MAT 130: Three hours count toward the general education math requirement.

This course emphasizes the meaning and application of the concepts of functions. It covers polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions and their graphs, trigonometric identities. Passing both MAT 125 and 126 is equivalent to passing MAT 130.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

A grade of C or above in MAT 055 or the equivalent, a satisfactory score on appropriate placement exam, or permission of the Mathematics Program Director.

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

This course will introduce the concepts, theories, and applications of biostatistics to biological, medical, and public health research. It will cover descriptive statistics, concepts of probabilities and distributions, graphical methods, comparisons of two variables, central limit theorem, sampling variability, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

MAT 102 or MAT 125 or MAT 130

Distribution: Bachelors, Online, Undergraduate

Elective biology courses 18 credits

You may choose to build your own tracks from the following electives:

This course covers the building blocks of basic medical terminology. The relationship of word parts to their anatomical counterparts will be studied. Rules for combining word parts into complete medical terms will be emphasized. The correct contextual use of terms will be emphasized throughout the course. Such understanding will facilitate learning of scientific and medical principles encountered during more advanced career preparation.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Undergraduate

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for freshmen. Students may enroll in 195 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Credits: 1-5
Distribution: Undergraduate

A general survey of the microorganisms, with emphasis on their morphology, physiology, growth, and methods of isolation and identification. Laboratory activities will introduce students to wet lab techniques including staining and microscopy, pipetting, streaking, preparing media, spread and pour plating, serial dilutions, plate count assays, metabolic tests for identification of bacteria, bacterial transformations and phage stock preparation. Three hours of lecture and two two-hour laboratories per week

Credits: 5
Requisites:

BIO 107 and BIO 108; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

Zoology is an introductory survey of various invertebrate and vertebrate animals, with an emphasis on their comparative and functional morphology. You will study the complex and diverse features of invertebrate and vertebrate body plans, physiology, evolution, systematic behavior, reproductive strategies, development, and ecological adaptation strategies. The course requires a minimum of one field trip, three hours of lecture, and two hours of laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 108 or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

The first part of a two-semester course sequence, this course will study the various systems of the body from a combined anatomical and physiological standpoint, with laboratory experiments which illustrate their structure and function. Students will develop their critical thinking skills by analyzing hypothetical problems relating to anatomy and physiology; many of these problems will have medical applications. The first semester will focus on the following organ systems: integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous and special sensory. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 107 and BIO 108; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

The theory of evolution is the foundation of modern biology because it explains the unity and diversity of life on earth. This course will cover the history of evolution, evolutionary processes, adaptation, and evolution as an explanatory framework at levels of biological organization ranging from genomes to ecological communities. The interplay between theory and empirical tests of hypotheses will be emphasized, thus acquainting students with the process of science.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

BIO 211 or permission of instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

This course will teach botany in the context of real-life research activities. The class will work with a partner organization to carry out botanical research that will contribute knowledge to decision-making. This will involve designing and conducting a semesterlong research study from start to finish. Students will practice skills such as reading primary literature, analyzing data, and communicating scientific findings for both a lay and scientific audience, while working collaboratively. Content may include basic morphological and physiological principles, systematics and genetics, with an emphasis on the ecology and evolution of plants. The course consists of tightly linked lecture and laboratory learning experiences. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 107 and BIO 108; or permission of the instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

We will study nutrition science, focusing on issues that currently affect Americans today including: the current obesity epidemic, fad diets, popular supplements, energy drinks, and fast food and their effects on our nutritional health. Our objective is to teach students the following lifelong skills: how to analyze popular diets and supplements, how to perform a nutrition self-analysis and analyze BMI and body fat percentage, how to lose weight effectively and safely, and how to develop a healthy, nutritious meal plan for yourself and your family.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Undergraduate

Special Topics in the discipline, designed primarily for sophomores. Students may enroll in 295 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Credits: 1-5
Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is for sophomores to develop critical thinking and data analysis skills by performing hypothesis-driven research. A large body of science education research shows that undergraduate science majors who perform research do better in their courses, are more likely to graduate from college, and are more likely to succeed in their graduate and professional careers. Students will perform experiments, collect, record and analyze data, and present their data at weekly, one-hour project meetings guided by the faculty researcher and which may include other students or technicians involved with the project. Each credit hour is the equivalent of three hours of research per week. To enroll in this course, students must obtain the permission of the faculty researcher.

Credits: 1-3
Distribution: Undergraduate

This course will discuss the pathogenesis and clinical manifestations of infectious diseases and the mechanisms by which microorganisms subvert host defenses and cause infections, resulting in tissue damage and perhaps death. Students will study the epidemiology, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment and prevention of infectious diseases caused by bacteria and viruses. This course will also cover a number of case studies giving students an opportunity to diagnosis patients suffering from infectious diseases.

Credits: 5
Requisites:

BIO 221 or permission of instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

The second part of a two-semester course sequence, this course will cover the remaining physiological systems of the body Students will develop their critical thinking skills by analyzing hypothetical problems relating to anatomy and physiology; many of these problems will have medical applications. This semester will focus on the following organ systems: endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary and male and female reproductive systems. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.

Credits: 4
Requisites:

BIO 233 or permission of instructor

Distribution: Bachelors, Undergraduate

This course will offer students an opportunity to take an intensive look at aquatic systems, beginning with an overview of the chemical, geological, and physical aspects of the world's oceans. Students will learn about the ecology of marine systems of microscopic (bacteria, phytoplankton, and zooplankton) to macroscopic organisms (fish and marine mammals). A variety of current events will be discussed (e.g. harmful algal blooms, iron fertilization, recent discoveries in bacteria and phytoplankton genomes). Three hours of lecture per week and one all-day field trip to the Chesapeake Bay.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

BIO 241 or permission of instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for juniors. Students may enroll in 395 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Credits: 1-5
Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is for juniors to develop critical thinking and data analysis skills by performing hypothesis-driven research. A large body of science education research shows that undergraduate science majors who perform research do better in their courses, are more likely to graduate from college, and are more likely to succeed in their graduate and professional careers. Students will perform experiments, collect, record and analyze data, and present their data at weekly, one-hour project meetings guided by the faculty researcher and which may include other students or technicians involved with the project. Each credit hour is the equivalent of three hours of research per week. To enroll in this course, students must obtain the permission of the faculty researcher.

Credits: 1-3
Distribution: Undergraduate

Students whose capstone research project requires more than one semester of work may also enroll in this course for the second semester to obtain additional course credit. The student and instructor will need to draw up a work contract which specifies the parameters of this work as well as meeting times.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

STM 403 and permission of the instructor

Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is cross-listed and is otherwise known as BIO 711. An in-depth examination of the mechanisms involved in producing genetic variation in humans and medical/clinical aspects of genetic variation and disease. Topics include human cytogenetics and chromosomal disorders, nontraditional inheritance, genetic counseling, and the ethical, legal, and social impact of genetics technology. Hereditary variations in deaf people are also discussed. Three hours of lecture per week.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

BIO 211

Distribution: Undergraduate

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Credits: 1-5
Distribution: Undergraduate

Reading, research, discussion, writing in the discipline, or laboratory work, according to the goals of the student. The student and instructor will need to draw up a work contract which specifies the parameters of this work as well as meeting times.

Credits: 1-3
Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is for seniors to develop critical thinking and data analysis skills by performing hypothesis-driven research. A large body of science education research shows that undergraduate science majors who perform research do better in their courses, are more likely to graduate from college, and are more likely to succeed in their graduate and professional careers. Students will perform experiments, collect, record and analyze data, and present their data at weekly, one-hour project meetings guided by the faculty researcher and which may include other students or technicians involved with the project. Each credit hour is the equivalent of three hours of research per week. To enroll in this course, students must obtain the permission of the faculty researcher.

Credits: 1-3
Distribution: Undergraduate

A study of the principles and reactions that involve proteins and DNA in biological systems. The course investigates the structure and chemistry of amino acids, the combination of the amino acids in the formation of proteins, the function and structure of proteins, the building blocks of DNA, the chemistry and structure of DNA, the structure of RNA, the replication of DNA, and current topics in biochemical/biomedical engineering.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 212; BIO 102 or 107

Distribution: Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 325. Qualitative and quantitative experiments related to ordinary biological-chemical materials. One three-hour laboratory.

Credits: 1
Distribution: Undergraduate

A study of the principles and reactions that occur upon the intake of nutrients (including carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) in biological systems. The course will evaluate the processes by which nutrients are metabolized. The breakdown of substances taken in from the environment will be studied. This will be followed by an analysis of the reactions that create the molecules necessary and usable by living organisms.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 212; BIO 102 or 107

Distribution: Undergraduate

A laboratory course to accompany CHE 326. Qualitative and quantitative experiments related to ordinary biological-chemical materials. One three-hour laboratory.

Credits: 1
Requisites:

CHE 327

Distribution: Undergraduate

This course is cross-listed and is otherwise known as HSL 785. This course provides the student with a better understanding of pharmacology from chemical and biochemical perspectives. The areas covered in this course include: classifications of drugs, routes of ingestion, chemical and biochemical structures of medications, metabolism of drugs, effects of drugs, and the relationship between the structures of some drugs and the structures of some important chemicals in the body. The course also covers material specifically related to ototoxic medications.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

CHE 211 or enrollment in the graduate Hearing, Speech and Language Sciences program or Permission of Instructor.

Distribution: Undergraduate

This course provides an overview of the goals, functions, and methods of public health. After an introduction to the core concepts and tools used in public health research and practice, applications of these methodologies are considered in the context of five current controversies/problems in public health. Students work together to develop strategies for prevention and control that take into consideration different points of view, outside research, and impacts on individuals and communities.

Credits: 3
Distribution: Bachelors, Online, Undergraduate

The course introduces students to ArcGIS Online, an online Geographic Information System (GIS) application from Esri. With GIS, the student can explore, visualize, and analyze data; create 2D maps and 3D scenes with several layers of data to visualize multiple data sets at once; and share work to an online portal. GIS analytics tools are used in many disciplines and fields of practice including public health, history, sociology, political science, business, biology, international development, and information technology. In the end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take additional training on GIS applications in their specific field of interest.

Credits: 3
Requisites:

GSR 104 or MAT 125 or MAT 130 or permission of instructor. This section is designed for undergraduate students.

Distribution: Minor, Undergraduate
Program Outcomes

1. Demonstrate knowledge of current theories of biology and concepts basic to biology, including: Levels of complexity (molecular/cellular through population/communities/ecosystems); biological principles and processes; connections among concepts across disciplines (physical sciences, mathematics, social sciences).

2. Demonstrate critical thinking skills through: Identifying appropriate questions, issues or problems to be explored; analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating evidence; constructing well-supported, clearly articulated arguments and conclusions.

3. Demonstrate information literacy and research skills through effective use of: Sources of information in biology including published literature and scientific databases; computer applications to acquire and analyze experimental data and develop graphic models.

4. Demonstrate experimental research methods including: Scientific methods and instrumentation; safe and appropriate use of laboratory equipment; experimental design; data analysis; familiarity with professional standards in science.

5. Demonstrate effective communication with varied audiences and media by: Providing clear structure and transitions; demonstrating substantial understanding via research, credible sources, and supporting evidence; demonstrating audience-appropriate purpose, agenda, language, and style.

6. Demonstrate preparation for future career and educational goals by: awareness of personal competencies (strengths and weaknesses); ability to work in a team to accomplish a goal; understanding of professional and ethical behavior.

Job Outlook

Faculty

Derek Braun

Professor

Alicia Wooten

Associate Professor

Sara Konkel

Lecturer II

Gaurav Arora

Associate Professor

Adebowale Ogunjirin

Associate Professor

Caroline Solomon

Dean, Faculty

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B.A. in Biology

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