Jun 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Biology, B.S.


Program Description


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. Students may not major in both biology and biotechnology.

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 140L BIO 150 /BIO 150L BIO 240 /BIO 240L  and BIO 250 /BIO 250L ), at least two upper-division laboratory courses and one course from a list of courses with an emphasis on organismal diversity. In addition, B.S. 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.

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, geology 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 advisor and their major advisor to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education , in addition to the College of Education .

Special Requirements


In order for BIO 270 /BIO 270L  and BIO 290 /BIO 290L  credit to be transferred, both semesters of an Anatomy and Physiology course (A&P I and A&P II) must be completed with a minimum grade of “C” from the same institution. A single semester of either of these sequences transfers as BIO 000. Only BIO 290 /BIO 290L  can be applied towards biology major electives; BIO 270 /BIO 270L  does not apply towards biology electives.

Practical hands-on experience in the field and/or laboratory is important content of laboratory-based courses. Transfer credit for courses including laboratories will only be awarded for those having skill and application content comparable to that of JMU courses. Elective biology credits applicable toward the major or minor are transferred as specific courses or as BIO 200 BIO 426  or BIO 427 . Credits not applicable toward the major or minor, but applicable toward the 120-hour degree requirement, are transferred as BIO 000. A maximum of eight credit hours of first year (100) level BIO courses may be applied to the biology major or minor requirements.

Degree and Major Requirements


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

Total

31-36

120

Footnotes


1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. Some credits may be fulfilled by courses required within the major.
2 The quantitative and scientific literacy requirements are met by courses required in the major.

Additional Biology Course Requirements: 24 Credit Hours


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. Up to 8 credit hours of 200 level BIO courses may count towards the 24 credit hour requirement, excluding BIO 270 /BIO 270L . 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 499A /BIO 499B /BIO 499C ) may be used for one, but only one, of the laboratory courses. Students completing the biology major must earn a minimum grade of “C-” in BIO 140 BIO 140L BIO 150 BIO 150L CHEM 131 CHEM 131L  and CHEM 132 

Choose at least two laboratory courses from the following list:

Additional Information

Only one Topics in Biology (BIO 426 /427 ) may fulfill one of the laboratory course and/or organismal requirements. These course numbers can be repeated with a change in topic, but only 12 credits from BIO 426 /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 advisor 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 492 , BIO 493 BIO 494 , BIO 495 , BIO 496 BIO 497 , BIO 499A /499B /499C  and ISCI 450  can be counted toward the biology major.

Major Requirements Total: 40 Credit Hours


Cognate Requirements


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

Choose one of the following: 3 Credit Hours


Chemistry beyond the minimum requirement is recommended in many areas of biology. Consult with your advisor 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 courses: 3-4 Credit Hours


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

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


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

Cognate Requirements Total: 31-36 Credit Hours


Biology Concentrations


Anatomy and Physiology Concentration


Concentration Coordinator: Jess Marquardt
Emailmarquajl@jmu.edu

The Biology Department  offers a concentration in anatomy and physiology for all Biology majors with an interest in exploring the relationship between structure and function of humans and/or animals. Further, the concentration will provide a strong foundation for students interested in clinical health care, veterinary medicine, and/or research in related fields.

Program Requirements


Students choosing a concentration in anatomy and physiology must meet all the requirements for the biology major as well as the following additional requirements. Courses for this concentration can also satisfy biology major requirements.

Complete a total of at least 17 credit hours from the following courses.

Anatomy Core Requirements: 4 Credit Hours

Physiology Core Requirements: 4 Credit Hours

Anatomy and Physiology Electives: 9 Credit Hours

Note: BIO 270  and BIO 270L  cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

Choose at least one course from the following primarily anatomical or physiological courses:

Choose remaining credit hours from the list of primarily anatomical or physiological courses above, or from the following courses:

Footnotes

1 Meets the biology major requirement for an organismal diversity course.
2 Meets one of the biology major requirements for laboratory/field courses.

Anatomy and Physiology Concentration Total: 17 Credit Hours


Ecology and Environmental Biology Concentration


Concentration Coordinator: Bruce Wiggins
Emailwigginba@jmu.edu

The biology department  offers a concentration within the biology major for students with interest in ecology, field biology, natural resources, environmental biology, conservation biology, evolution, animal behavior and organismal biology. Students choosing a concentration in ecology and environmental biology must meet all of the requirements for the biology major as well as the following additional requirements. Courses for this concentration can also satisfy biology major requirements.

Students must complete at least 20 credit hours from the following list.


With prior approval from the concentration coordinator, BIO 426  and/or BIO 427  may be substituted. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an advisor who can help select courses best suited to their needs. In addition to the courses listed below, a maximum of eight credits of BIO 495 BIO 496 BIO 497  and BIO 499A /BIO 499B /BIO 499C  can be counted toward the EEB concentration.

Footnotes

1 Meets the biology major requirement for an organismal diversity course.
2 Meets one of the biology major requirements for laboratory/field courses.

Students must take two additional cognate courses:


Note: Biology courses that fulfill these additional cognates (BIO 454 BIO 456 , and BIO 457 ) can also be used to fulfill other Biology major requirements.

Ecology and Environmental Biology Concentration Additional Information


It is highly recommended that students take additional upper-level degree elective courses in geography/GIS (such as GEOG 466  or GEOG 467 ) and in statistics (such as MATH 322  or MATH 324 ). Students should consult with their advisor about which courses are appropriate.

Footnote


1 Meets one of the biology major requirements for a laboratory/field course.

Ecology and Environmental Biology Concentration Total: 20-26 Credit Hours


Microbiology Concentration


Concentration Coordinator: Steve Cresawn
Emailcresawsg@jmu.edu

The biology department  offers a concentration within the biology major for students with interest in bacteriology, virology, immunology, parasitology and infectious disease. Students choosing a concentration in microbiology must meet all the requirements for the biology major, including the following specific requirements.

Complete a total of at least 18 credit hours from the following courses.

General Microbiology Requirements: 5 Credit Hours


Take all of the following courses:

Laboratory Requirement: 1-3 Credit Hours


Choose at least one of the following laboratory courses:

Footnote

1 Meets one of the biology major requirements for an upper-level BIO 300-400 level laboratory course.

Microbial Requirements: 6 Credit Hours


If a student takes an elective course that is listed in both Microbial Pathogenesis and Microbial Ecology categories below, the course may only satisfy one category requirement, but not both.

Microbial Pathogenesis

Choose at least one of the following courses:

Microbial Ecology

Choose at least one of the following courses:

Footnotes

Meets one of the biology major requirements for an organismal diversity course.
May be used to fulfill either the Microbial Ecology or Microbial Pathogenesis requirement, but not both.

Microbiology Electives: 4-6 Credit Hours


Microbiology courses from any of the above listed courses to reach 18 credit hours.

Microbiology Concentration Total: 18 Credit Hours


Neuroscience Concentration


Concentration Coordinator: George Vidal
Email:  vidalgx@jmu.edu

The biology department  offers a concentration within the biology major for students with interests in cell and molecular, systems, and behavioral aspects of the nervous system and its functionality. Students choosing a concentration in neuroscience must meet all of the requirements for the biology major in addition to the following requirements. Courses for this concentration can also satisfy biology major requirements.

Choose one: 3 Credit Hours


Neuroscience Concentration Electives: 9 Credit Hours


Choose remaining credit hours from the list of principally neurobiology courses above, or from the following courses:


Footnotes


1 Meets one of the biology major requirements for a laboratory/field course.
2 BIO 445  and BIO 415 /CSD 415 : The course not taken as part of required neuroscience concentration core may be used to fulfill elective requirements.

Neuroscience Concentration Additional Information


Students should choose additional BIO courses at the 300-400 level, including a course that fulfills the organismal diversity major requirement, and are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an advisor who can help select courses best suited to their needs. With prior approval from the concentration coordinator, BIO 426  and/or BIO 427  may be substituted. It is recommended that students participate in independent research (BIO 497 /BIO 499A /BIO 499B /BIO 499C ) with a faculty mentor. 

Neuroscience Concentration Total: 15-16 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 /BIO 140L CHEM 131 /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.

Footnote


Fulfills General Education: The Natural World .

First Year Total: 29-35 Credit Hours


Second Year


Second Year Total: 29-30 Credit Hours


Third Year


  • Upper-level biology laboratory courses Credits: 8.00
  • Biology elective Credits: 3.00 - 4.00
  • General Education  Credits: 7.00
  • Electives Credits: 11.00-12.00

Third Year Total: 30 Credit Hours


Fourth Year


  • Upper-level biology laboratory course Credits: 4.00
  • Biology electives Credits: 9.00
  • Physics courses Credits: 4.00-8.00
  • General Education  Credits: 3.00
  • Electives Credits: 5.00-12.00

Fourth Year Total: 29 Credit Hours


Program Total: 120 Credit Hours