Biology Major

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Students will gain an appreciation and understanding of cell structure and function, the organization of biological systems, and the evolution of biological diversity.

Objective 1.1: Students will be able to describe evolution and the basic mechanisms of evolutionary change.

Objective 1.2: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major domains of life on earth and the distinctive characteristics of major groups.

Objective 1.3: Students will demonstrate knowledge of anabolic and catabolic pathways used by living organisms to provide energy and macromolecules for synthesis.

Objective 1.4: Students will be able to describe the components of the major trophic levels and diagram the flow of nutrients through food webs in the environment.

Objective 1.5: Students will be able to describe how organisms respond to physiological, environmental and physical challenges.

Objective 1.6: Students will be able to describe the role of genetics at both cellular and organismal levels.

Objective 1.7: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of protein structure and function.

Goal 2: Students will develop skills in experimental design, surveying of scientific literature, data collection, and the interpretation of results, including statistical analysis.

Objective 2.1: Students will demonstrate competency in operating basic laboratory equipment.

Objective 2.2: Students will demonstrate competency in data reduction and presentation, including choosing and interpreting the appropriate statistical tests.

Goal 3: Students will develop skills in presenting scientific information both orally and in writing.

Objective 3.1: Students will be able to develop cogent, well structured, and researched written and oral presentations of scientific content.

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

MAT 155Fundamentals of Calculus3
or MAT 161 Calculus I
Natural Science
BIO 101Bio I: Cells (first semester freshman year)4

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

CHM 120
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Lab I
CHM 210
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
PHY 101
General Physics I
and General Physics Laboratory I

GEP Electives

At least six courses

Biology majors may graduate with 38 or 39 courses instead of the usual 40 course requirement. The student retains the option to take 40 courses.

Major Concentration

Thirteen courses

BIO 102Bio II: Genetics (second semester, freshman year)4
BIO 201Bio III: Organismic Biology (first semester, sophomore year)4
BIO 390Biology Seminar (required each semester for sophomores, juniors and seniors)0
Select one from each of the following groups: 1
Group A: Cell Structure and Function
Advanced Cell Biology
Light and Electron Microscopy
Molecular Genetics
Molecular&Cellular Biophysics
Group B: Systemic Organization
Biometrics and Modeling
Developmental Biology
Plant Physiological Ecology
Systemic Physiology
Bacterial Pathogenesis
Group C: Evolution and Diversity of Life
Animal Behavior
Comparative Anatomy
Plant Systematics
Invertebrate Zoology
Applied&Environmental Micro
Four additional 400-level biology courses
CHM 125General Chemistry II (second semester, freshman year)3
CHM 125LGeneral Chemistry Lab II (second semester, freshman year)2
CHM 215Organic Chemistry II (second semester, sophomore year)3
CHM 215LOrganic Chemistry Lab II (second semester, sophomore year)1
MAT 128Applied Statistics (first semster, sophomore year)3
PHY 102General Physics II (second semester, junior year)3
PHY 102LGeneral Physics Laboratory II (second semester, junior year)1

Note: Directed readings, special topics Biology Graduate courses and other Biology courses without a lab component can only be counted as a Biology elective and in most cases no more than one such non-lab course may be applied to this requirement. Students with the appropriate Mathematics background and interests can substitute University Physics for General Physics.