Jul 15, 2024  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, B.S.

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Degree and Major Requirements

The department offers a four-year B.S. degree program for a major in biology and for a major in biology qualifying for the Secondary Collegiate Professional License. Requirements for the B.A. degree can be met by adding the completion of an intermediate level foreign language and three credit hours in philosophy. Students may not receive dual credit toward the biology major for 300- and 400-level BIO courses that are applied toward the biotechnology major.

Biology majors must complete 40 credit hours of biology courses including 16 credit hours at the 300 and 400 level. Specific requirements include four core courses (BIO 140 , BIO 150 , BIO 240  and BIO 250 ), at least two upper-division laboratory courses and one course from a list of courses with an emphasis on organismal diversity. In addition, biology majors must complete a set of cognate courses in chemistry, mathematics, statistics and physics that are listed below. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research with a faculty mentor. Credits earned doing research will count toward the biology major but some restrictions apply.

When requested, senior biology majors are expected to participate in program assessment test activities as a graduation requirement. Assessment information helps the department modify the curriculum to meet student needs.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses

  • General Education  41 Credit Hours 1
  • Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education ) 3 Credit Hours 2
  • Scientific Literacy requirement (in addition to General Education ) 3-4 Credit Hours 2
  • Biology requirements (listed below) 40 Credit Hours
  • Cognate requirements (listed below) 31-36 Credit Hours

Total: 120 Credit Hours


1 The General Education program  contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The quantitative and scientific literacy requirements are met by courses required in the major.

Major Requirements

Additional Biology Course Requirements

Students in the biology major must complete at least 24 credit hours of approved biology courses and at least 16 of these must be at the 300 and 400 levels. Also, one course must be from a group of courses on organismal diversity and two courses must have a laboratory component. Courses in both lists may count for both requirements. Three credits of independent research (BIO 497  and/or BIO 499) may be used for one, but only one, of the laboratory courses.

Choose at least two laboratory courses:

Additional Information

Only one Topics in Biology (BIO 426 /BIO 427 ) may fulfill one of the laboratory course and/or organismal requirements. A list of the topics that may be used is available in the biology department office. These can be repeated with a change in topic, but only 12 credits from BIO 426 /BIO 427  can be applied toward the 40-hour biology course requirement.

When choosing additional biology courses to complete the 40 credit hour requirement, students are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an adviser who can help select courses best suited to their needs. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research and teaching courses with a faculty mentor, though a maximum of eight credits of BIO 491, BIO 492 , BIO 494 , BIO 495 , BIO 496 , BIO 497 , BIO 499 and ISCI 450  can be counted toward the biology major.

Cognate Requirements

The following five groups of support courses are required for the biology major. Consult your academic adviser about which courses are appropriate.

Required Courses

Choose one of the following: 3 Credit Hours

Chemistry beyond the minimum requirement is recommended in many areas of biology. Consult with your adviser about which courses are appropriate. Students who take BIO 361 /CHEM 361  in addition to CHEM 242 , CHEM 353 , CHEM 354  or GEOL 355 /CHEM 355  will have BIO 361 /CHEM 361  applied toward their BIO 300-400-level elective requirements. BIO 361 /CHEM 361  may not be used for both a chemistry cognate and a biology major elective.

Choose one of the following sets of courses: 4-7 Credit Hours

Mathematics beyond the minimum requirement is desirable in many areas of biology. Consult your adviser about which courses are appropriate.

Choose one of the following courses: 3-4 Credit Hours

Statistics beyond the minimum requirement is desirable in many areas of biology. Consult your adviser about which courses are appropriate.

Total: 30-33 Credit Hours

Recommended Schedule for Majors

First semester first year biology majors are encouraged to start with a 14-15 hour course load. This will generally include BIO 140 , CHEM 131  and CHEM 131L , and/or a math course plus General Education . The work load will then be increased in the second semester based on the level of first semester success.

Total: 29-35 Credit Hours


1 Fulfills General Education: Cluster Three .

Total: 29-30 Credit Hours

Third Year

  • Upper-level biology laboratory courses 8 Credit Hours
  • Biology elective 3-4 Credit Hours
  • Physics courses 8 Credit Hours
  • General Education : from Clusters Two , Four  and Five  7 Credit Hours
  • Electives 6 Credit Hours

Total: 32-33 Credit Hours

Fourth Year

  • Upper-level biology laboratory course 4 Credit Hours
  • Biology electives 9 Credit Hours
  • General Education : from Clusters Two , Four  and Five  3 Credit Hours
  • Electives 15 Credit Hours

Total: 31 Credit Hours

Credit by Examination

When evidence of sufficient background or preparation is presented, the Department of Biology offers credit by examination in many of its non-lab courses at the discretion of the course instructor or coordinator. Students seeking such credit should make arrangements with the course instructor or coordinator and obtain approval of the department head.

Teaching Licensure

Biology majors need courses in physics and geology as well as inorganic and organic chemistry for many science education positions.

In addition to the general education and academic major requirements, biology majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must be admitted to teacher education, complete the pre-professional program in secondary education at the undergraduate level and complete the graduate level Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

It is critical that students seeking licensure consult regularly with both their education adviser and their major adviser to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education, Department of , in addition to the College of Education .


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