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Biology

Areas of Emphasis

Biology majors have the option to complete an area of emphasis in one of three areas: Cell/Molecular Biology & Infectious Disease, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, or Physiology & Organismal Biology.

Each area of emphasis requires students to complete their Senior Capstone Experience in the selected area, as well as three additional 4-credit courses. 

Successful completion of an area of emphasis will be noted on a student’s transcript. Given that the SCE must be completed in the selected area of emphasis, a student may only complete one area of emphasis. The requirements for each area of emphasis are outlined below.

Cell/Molecular Biology & Infectious Disease

Students pursuing this area of emphasis will gain a deep understanding of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms at the cellular and molecular level.   Courses will focus on the way cells process information from their environment and initiate programs of gene expression leading to growth, development, and functional specification. Students will gain a solid foundation in the molecular biology of cells and a full appreciation of how molecular complexes interact to make a cell function through hands-on laboratory exercises.  Students may also develop a strong foundation in microbiology, focusing on the structure and function of microorganisms, infection and infectious disease, the body’s defenses against infection, and the roles of microbes in the environment.

Requirements for the BS in Biology, SCE specialization in Cell/Molecular Biology & Infectious Disease, plus three of the following:
  • BIO 203 Microbiology
  • BIO 205 Cell Biology
  • BIO 207 Biotechnology and Molecular Biology
  • BIO 302 Developmental Biology
  • BIO 310 Microbial Ecology
  • BIO 350 Toxicology
  • BIO 404 Immunology
  • BIO 409 Biochemistry
  • BIO X94 Special Topics courses with laboratories designated for this concentration
  • BIO X94 or BIO X95 Biological research on or off campus for course credit must be in the area of study (Limit of one course)

See Graduation Checklist

Ecology and Evolution

Students pursuing this area of emphasis will gain a deeper understand of organisms’ interactions with their biotic and abiotic environments and more specifically, how environmental pressures have shaped life over ecological and evolutionary time.  This area focuses on the full spectrum of biological organization, including (but not limited to) individual-level adaptations of uni- and multi-cellular organisms, evolutionary modifications of anatomy and behavior in response to evolutionary pressures, and ecosystem-level analyses relevant to today’s changing global climate and rising conservation concerns. 

Requirements for the BS in Biology, SCE specialization in Ecology and Evolution, plus three of the following:
  • BIO 211 Plant Biology
  • BIO 309 Marine and Estuarine Biology
  • BIO 310 Microbial Ecology
  • BIO 313 Wetlands Ecology
  • BIO 315 Ecophysiology
  • BIO 328 Behavioral Ecology
  • BIO 351 Evolution
  • ENV 302 Conservation Wildlife Techniques
  • BIO X94. Special Topics courses with laboratories designated for this concentration
  • BIO X94 or BIO X95. Biological research on or off campus for course credit must be in the area of study (limit of one course)

 See Graduation Checklist

 

Physiology & Organismal Biology

Students pursuing this area of emphasis will develop an integrative and broadly-based understanding of organisms through tissues, organs and organ systems, to the interaction of organisms with each other and their environments.  Form and function will be the baseline for studies of the anatomy, morphology and physiology of widely different organisms and the tissues that make them up.  Organism-wide processes such as respiration, energy acquisition, the function of muscle and nervous tissue, sensory and endocrine modalities, photosynthesis and transport in plants, and communication will be addressed. 

Requirements for the BS in Biology, SCE specialization in Physiology & Organismal Biology, plus three of the following:

  • BIO 203 Microbiology
  • BIO 211 Plant Biology
  • BIO 228 Ornithology
  • BIO 208 General Zoology
  • BIO 301 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • BIO 303 Parasitology
  • BIO 311 Neurobiology
  • BIO 315 Ecophysiology
  • BIO 336 Ichthyology
  • BIO 404 Immunology
  • BIO 424 Comparative Animal Physiology
  • BIO X94 Special Topics courses with laboratories designated for this concentration
  • BIO X94 or BIO X95. Biological research on or off-campus for course credit must be in the area of study (limit of one course)

See Graduation Checklist