Biology Courses

Current Biology Courses

Please see the College Catalog (under Courses of Study) for a complete listing of biology courses with full descriptions. Abbreviations for upper-level biology courses: L = lab course, P = plant-related course, D = diversity and taxonomy course.  

College Course Catalog


BIOL 101 Biology in Practice (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Fall, J-term & Spring; Instructors: Allen, Crooker, Fauth, Kuhlmann, and Sessions). An introductory course designed to teach students to locate, understand, and communicate scientific information, develop and test hypotheses, and understand the interactions between science and society. Each course learns these skills while studying a particular scientific topic. Current topics are: Microbiology of Food; Insects, Arachnids and Man; Conservation Biology; Animal Behavior; and Salamander Biology.

BIOL 202 Concepts of Biology: Biological Information (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Fall & Spring; Instructors: Cooper). An exploration of the foundations in biology with emphasis on cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101)

BIOL 203 Concepts of Biology: Energy and Resources (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; L; Fall & Spring; Instructors: Swift and Malloy). An exploration of the foundations in biology with emphasis on diversity, physiology and ecology. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101)

BIOL 300 Animal Development (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Spring; Instructor: Sessions) Study of the patterns and processes of animal growth and development, from fertilization to adulthood, including aging and death. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 202; Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 203)

BIOL 300L Animal Development Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Spring; Instructor: Sessions; L) Investigation of living embryos, tissues and cells using procedures such as microsurgery, tissue culture, cytogenetics, histology, immunocytochemistry, and microscopy. (Corequisite: BIOL 300)

BIOL 303 Ecology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Spring; Instructor: Fauth; P) An introduction to ecology, the study of interactions between organisms and their environments, with emphasis on theoretical principles and empirical examples of population ecology. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 303L Ecology Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Spring; Instructor: Fauth; L) Students engage in hands-on activities on animals and plants in local ecosystems to learn how ecologists conduct research. (Corequisite: BIOL 303)

BIOL 304 Medical Physiology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Spring; Instructor: Swift) A study of physiological processes of mammalian tissues, organs, and systems with emphasis on medical diseases and applications. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 202; Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 203)

BIOL 304L Medical Physiology Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Spring; Instructor: Swift; L) Students use computer-interfaced physiological workstations to collect and analyze for data. (Corequisite: BIOL 304 LAB)

BIOL 305 Plant Biology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall; Instructor: Hamilton; P, D) A survey of major classical groups of plants with a focus on their reproductive biology. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 202; Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 203)

BIOL 305L Plant Biology Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Spring; Instructor: Hamilton; L) Laboratory activities involve microscopic and macroscopic analysis of plants. (Corequisite: BIOL 205)

BIOL 306 Microbiology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall; Instructor: Allen; D) A study of Bacteria, Archaea and viruses, including evolutionary origins of microorganisms and cell structure, physiology, genome organization and regulation, and reproduction. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, 203)

306L Microbiology Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Fall; Instructor: Allen; L) Students learn basic principles of microbiology using standard laboratory methods for working with bacteria and bacterial viruses. (Corequisite: BIOL 306)

BIOL 307 Vertebrate Zoology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall; Instructor: Sessions; D) Investigation of the adaptive diversity in form and function among living and extinct species of vertebrate animals, including fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 307L Vertebrate Zoology Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Fall; Instructor: Sessions; L) Dissection-based comparative anatomy, morphometric and functional analyses of vertebrate body designs and field expeditions to survey vertebrates at Pine Lake and other nearby areas. (Corequisite: BIOL 307)

BIOL 309 Medicinal Plants (3 credits: 1 three-hour meeting weekly; Fall; Instructor: Swift; P) Students explore the physiology of disease and the Native American and imported European medicinal plants used to treat those diseases. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 202; Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 203)

BIOL 312 Molecular Biology of the Cell (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall & J-term; Instructor: Cooper) Students examine how proteins know where to localize in the cell, structures and functions of organelles, relationship between the cell cycle, signaling pathways and cancer, how cells move and communicate with each other, and how cells use energy, build membranes, and respond to the environment. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 312L Molecular Biology of the Cell Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Fall & J-term; Instructor: Cooper; L) Student learn current techniques used in cellular studies, including cell culture, PCR, and immunochemical techniques. (Corequisite: BIOL 312)

BIOL 313 Genetic Analysis (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Spring; Instructor: Sessions) Students of the science of heredity: what genes are, how they are transmitted from generation to generation, how they are expressed, and how this expression is regulated. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 313L Genetic Analysis Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; Spring; Instructor: Sessions; L) Learn experimental methods to study mechanics of inheritance, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, molecular cloning, and genetic engineering. (Corequisite: BIOL 313)

BIOL 314 Immunology (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall; Instructor: Cooper) Examination of the innate and adaptive immune systems, response to infection with pathogens, mechanisms used by pathogens to evade the immune system, and what defects in the immune system, such immune deficiency diseases and autoimmunity, can tell us about the function of the immune system. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 315 Pathological Processes (3 credits; two 1.5-hour lectures weekly; Spring; Instructor: Syed) An investigation of the mechanisms of disease, including structural and functional changes in cells, tissues, and organs of the human body and background for preventive and therapeutic health care. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 317 Exercise Physiology (4 credits: 3 one-hour lectures, two 1.5-hour laboratories weekly; Fall; Instructor: Malloy; L) A study of the principles of physiology that explain exercise performance and the dynamic interdependence of physiological systems during exercise. (Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 203; prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 202)

BIOL 318 Evolution (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; Fall; Instructor: Fauth; D) Exploration of the unifying principle of biology: patterns and processes of organismal evolution. Emphasis is on theoretical concepts and methods used to test evolutionary hypotheses in biology and other fields of study. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 319 Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Fall; Instructor: Crooker; L) A course emphasizing the important concepts, terminology, and interrelationships of human structure and function of the skin, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 320 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Spring; Instructor: Crooker; L) A course emphasizing the important concepts, terminology, and interrelationships of human structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems.  (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203, BIOL 319)

BIOL 321 Electron Microscopy (3 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week; J-term; Instructor: Crooker) An investigation of specimen preparation, instrumentation, optics and resolution, digital photography, light and electron microscopy, and the interpretation of cellular and histological structure. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 321L Electron Microscopy Lab (1 credit: 3-hour lab once per week; J-term; Instructor: Sessions; L) Students examine and photograph prepared biological specimens in the scanning and transmission electron microscopes and learn how to interpret micrographs. (Corequisite: BIOL 321)

BIOL 392 Research Methods in Biology (2 credits: 2 one-hour meetings weekly; Fall; Instructor: Kuhlmann) Research methods preparing junior students for BIOL 490. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203)

BIOL 435 Behavioral Ecology (3 credits; 3 one-hour lectures weekly; Spring; Instructor: Kuhlmann) An advanced examination of animal behavior that is set in an ecological and evolutionary context. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203 and a 300-level biology course, ideally BIOL 303 or BIOL 318)

BIOL 490 Senior Project I (Arranged individually; 2 credits; ideally taken in Fall of senior year; Instructors: all Biology Faculty) The first part of a full-year research project in which the student identifies a research project, constructs one or more hypotheses or perspectives, locates background information, and designs and begins to implement a research plan using appropriate scientific procedures. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203 and BIOL 392)

BIOL 490 Senior Project II (Arranged individually; 2 credits; ideally taken in Spring of senior year; Instructors: all Biology Faculty) The second part of a full-year research project in which the student must complete research, generate logical, clear and well-supported conclusions, explore the significance of the project results, and communicate the process and results effectively in a final written report and public presentation in proper scientific forma. (Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 202, BIOL 203 and BIOL 392)


Biology Courses for Nursing

BIOL 206, Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Fall; Instructor: Russo) A course for nursing majors that emphasizes the important concepts, terminology, and interrelationships of human structure and function of skin and musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Dissection of cats is used as a model for human anatomy.

BIOL 207 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (4 credits: 3 hours of lecture per week and a weekly 3-hour lab; Spring; Instructor: Russo) A course for nursing majors that emphasizes the interdependence of the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Dissection of cats is used as a model for human anatomy. (Prerequiste: BIOL 206)

BIOL 210 Microbiology of Disease (4 credits; 3 one-hour lectures, 1 three-hour laboratory weekly; Spring; Instructors: Allen & Syed) The study of bacteria and viruses related to infectious disease in humans and standard methods for working with bacteria in the clinical laboratory. (Prerequisites: BIOL 206, BIOL 207 and CHEM 105)

BIOL 344 Pathophysiology (3 credits; two 1.5-hour lectures per week; Fall; Syed) An advanced examination of specific diseases from a physiologic and developmental perspective. Mechanisms of disease, etiology, manifestations, analyses of laboratory data and primary medical and surgical interventions are reviewed. (Prerequistes: BIOL 206 and BIOL 207 or BIOL 319 and BIOL 320, BIOL 210 or BIOL 306/306L, CHEM 105 or CHEM 107/107L and 108/108L or CHEM 109, NURS 134, NURS 234; for accelerated nursing majors, permission of instructor required)


 Off-Campus Biology Courses

BIOL 240 Island Biogeography (4 credits; Course does not fulfill a requirement in the biology major and is appropriate for non-biology majors; J-term 2017; Hamilton and Kuhlmann) Biogeography is the scientific study of the patterns and causes of the distribution of organisms using a combination of ecological and evolutionary theory, geology, and geography: what species are where, and why? The course covers the important elements of biogeographic theory within the context of islands using the marine and terrestrial flora and fauna of San Salvador Island. Students spend three weeks in residence at the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador Island.

BIOL 241/341 Natural History of Costa Rica (4 credits; BIOL 241 is intended for non-biology majors and BIOL 341 is for biology majors; J-term 2018; Fauth and Sessions) An introduction to tropical biodiversity and its conservation in Central America. Students observe and analyze data from communities of organisms in tropical rainforests, dry forests, wetlands, and coastal habitats throughout Costa Rica. In addition, we will explore volcanoes, national parks, and historical sites. (prerequisite: BIOL 340, offered in the fall proceeding the J-term in which BIOL 344 is offered must be taken with BIOL 340 to fulfill a requirement in the biology major)

BIOL 242 People and Plants of Thailand (4 credits; J-term 2017; Swift and Syed) This interdisciplinary course offers a unique opportunity to learn about the culture and beliefs of Northern Thailand by staying with families in the hillside villages. Students educate the villagers about nutrition, agriculture, water treatment and hygiene to help them attain optimal growth and health in their environment.

BIOL 244 Madagascar: Culture, Conservation, and Natural History (4-credits, J-term 2018; Crooker) Madagascar, the world’s fourth largest island, is a living laboratory of extraordinary natural environments with almost 80% of its flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. The course will concentrate on exploring the natural history and ecology of native habitats, plants, and animals while seeking to explain Madagascar’s uniqueness and extremely high biodiversity. The delicate balance between human needs, development, and conservation will be observed and the influence of Malagasy culture on natural resource management practices will be assessed. (Prerequisite: BIOL 243, offered in the fall proceeding the J-term in which BIOL 344 is offered)

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