Biology bachelor of science degree

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Building on recent advances in the molecular, cellular, and ecological disciplines, modern biology offers a rich framework that can launch your career or propel you to graduate school.

Biology encompasses all of the processes and patterns that characterize living cells, organisms, and ecosystems. Building on recent advances in the molecular, cellular, and ecological disciplines, modern biological science offers students a rich framework that can launch a career with a wide variety of skills for discoveries within cells, organ systems, species, and even ecosystems in which we live. Scientific knowledge is based on research, and students are encouraged to undertake significant research projects to enhance their educational experience and prepare them for graduate school or full-time employment.

In the College of Science, biology is something that students do, rather than something they merely learn. Courses present biology as it is done by career biologists, and hands-on laboratory and field experience is emphasized. The biology major prepares you for rewarding positions in occupations related to the life sciences, namely biomedical research, scientific management, science journalism, ecology and environmental science, agriculture, and education.

The major includes all of the course work and support services to prepare you to pursue advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, and chiropractic medicine, as well as a wide range of graduate programs in the life sciences.

Cooperative education

Cooperative education is an optional component of the major. More than 65 organizations in private industry, government, and academia employ biology students in full-time paid positions directly related to the students’ academic areas of interest. Co-op positions can be held during the summer and/or during the regular academic year. No tuition is charged for co-op participation. If a student elects to pursue co-op during the regular academic year, they may need to extend the date of graduation beyond the traditional four years.


  • Biotech and Life Sciences

  • Pharmaceuticals

  • Scientific and Technical Consulting

  • Medical Devices

  • Research

Typical Job Titles

Equipment System Specialist Eye Recovery Coordinator
Lab Technician Patient Care Technician
Product Specialist Quality Control Coordinator
Research Assistant Research Laboratory Technician


outcome rate of graduates


median first-year salary of graduates


Biology, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
Introduction to Biology I
This course serves as an introduction to molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics, developmental biology, and evolutionary biology. Topics will include: a study of the basic principles of modern cellular biology, including cell structure and function; the chemical basis and functions of life, including enzyme systems and gene expression; and both the processes and patterns of the organismal development (ontogeny) and the evolution of life on Earth (phylogeny). Laboratory experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of basic cellular, molecular, developmental, and evolutionary biology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for microscopy and biotechnology, and improve ability to make, record and interpret observations.
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): General and Analytical Chemistry I
This is a general chemistry course for students in the life and physical sciences. College chemistry is presented as a science based on empirical evidence that is placed into the context of conceptual, visual, and mathematical models. Students will learn the concepts, symbolism, and fundamental tools of chemistry necessary to carry on a discourse in the language of chemistry. Emphasis will be placed on the relationship between atomic structure, chemical bonds, and the transformation of these bonds through chemical reactions. The fundamentals of organic chemistry are introduced throughout the course to emphasize the connection between chemistry and the other sciences.
LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry): General and Analytical Chemistry I Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-141 lecture material. The course emphasizes laboratory techniques and data analysis skills. Topics include: gravimetric, volumetric, thermal, titration and spectrophotometric analyses, and the use of these techniques to analyze chemical reactions.
Introduction to Biology II
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): General and Analytical Chemistry II
The course covers the thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical reactions. The relationship between energy and entropy change as the driving force of chemical processes is emphasized through the study of aqueous solutions. Specifically, the course takes a quantitative look at: 1) solubility equilibrium, 2) acid-base equilibrium, 3) oxidation-reduction reactions and 4) chemical kinetics.
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles): General and Analytical Chemistry II Lab
The course combines hands-on laboratory exercises with workshop-style problem sessions to complement the CHMG-142 lecture material. The course emphasizes the use of experiments as a tool for chemical analysis and the reporting of results in formal lab reports. Topics include the quantitative analysis of a multicomponent mixture using complexation and double endpoint titration, pH measurement, buffers and pH indicators, the kinetic study of a redox reaction, and the electrochemical analysis of oxidation reduction reactions.
LAS Perspective 7A (mathematical): Applied Calculus
This course is an introduction to the study of differential and integral calculus, including the study of functions and graphs, limits, continuity, the derivative, derivative formulas, applications of derivatives, the definite integral, the fundamental theorem of calculus, basic techniques of integral approximation, exponential and logarithmic functions, basic techniques of integration, an introduction to differential equations, and geometric series. Applications in business, management sciences, and life sciences will be included with an emphasis on manipulative skills.
Year One: College Experience
The Year One class serves as an interdisciplinary catalyst for first-year students to access campus resources, services and opportunities that promote self-knowledge, personal success, leadership development, social responsibility and life academic skills awareness and application. Year One is also designed to challenge and encourage first-year students to get to know one another, build relationships and help them become an integral part of the campus community.
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
First Year LAS Elective
First Year Writing
Wellness Education*
Second Year
Organic Chemistry I
This course is a study of the structure, nomenclature, reactions and synthesis of the following functional groups: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes. This course also introduces chemical bonding, IR and NMR spectroscopy, acid and base reactions, stereochemistry, nucleophilic substitution reactions, and alkene and alkyne reactions. In addition, the course provides an introduction to the use of mechanisms in describing and predicting organic reactions.
Organic Chemistry I Lab
This course trains students to perform techniques important in an organic chemistry lab. The course also covers reactions from the accompanying lecture CHMO-231.
Cellular and Molecular Biology
This course will address the fundamental concepts of Cellular and Molecular Biology. Lectures, assignments, and laboratory projects will explore the structure and function of molecules, organelles, and cells and the biological processes they are involved in. Students in this course will gain an understanding of various molecular mechanisms, structure/function relationships, and cellular processes as they relate to cellular and molecular biology. Students in this course will practice and carry out common laboratory techniques used by Cellular and Molecular Biologists including, recombinant DNA technology, cell trafficking, and cloning techniques.
Organic Chemistry II
This course is a continuation of the study of the structure, nomenclature, reactions and synthesis of the following functional groups: aromatic systems, alcohols, ethers, epoxides, and carbonyls. This course will introduce the use of mechanisms in describing and predicting organic reactions.
Organic Chemistry II Lab
This course teaches students to apply basic lab techniques to organic synthetic experiments reactions covered in the accompanying lecture COS-CHMO-232. This course will also help students to solidify the concepts taught in lecture. The course will continue to instruct students in maintaining a professional lab notebook.
Choose one of the following:
   LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Introduction to Statistics
This course introduces statistical methods of extracting meaning from data, and basic inferential statistics. Topics covered include data and data integrity, exploratory data analysis, data visualization, numeric summary measures, the normal distribution, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. The emphasis of the course is on statistical thinking rather than computation. Statistical software is used.
   LAS Perspective 7B (mathematical): Introduction to Biostatistics
Choose one of the following:
   General Ecology (WI)
This course is an introduction to population, community and ecosystem ecology, stressing the dynamic interrelationships of plant and animal communities with their environments. The course includes such ecological concepts as energy flow and trophic levels in natural communities, population and community dynamics, biogeography and ecosystem ecology.
   Evolutionary Biology (WI)
This course investigates the historical framework of evolutionary biology and the meaning/nature of evidence pertinent to biological evolution. Topics will include: earth history, the evolution of proteins and the genetic code, molecular evolution, neutral theory vs. selection, genetic variation, natural selection, migration, mutation, genetic drift, fitness, population dynamics and genetics, speciation, systematics and classification systems, molecular phylogenetics, the evolution of eukaryotic organisms, behavioral evolution, historical biogeography, and human evolution and variation.
Choose one of the following:
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels.
   Introduction to Population Genetics
This course consists of a study of DNA, genes, inheritance, genetic variation, genetic architecture, and change within and among populations. Fundamental genetics topics include DNA, gene, and chromosomal structure and function along with, transmission genetics, Mendelian inheritance patterns, sex-linked inheritance, genetic linkage, and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. Population based topics will include genetic variation, its importance, how it originates and is maintained as well as inbreeding, random mating, mutation, migration, selection, genetic drift, the effects of small population size, fitness, population subdivision, the shifting balance theory, inter-deme selection, kin selection, neutral theory, molecular evolution, molecular clocks, multi-gene families, gene conversion, artificial selection, the genetic basis of quantitative traits and the fundamental theorem of natural selection.
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic)
LAS Perspective 3 (global)
Third Year
College Physics I
This is an introductory course in algebra-based physics focusing on mechanics and waves. Topics include kinematics, planar motion, Newton’s laws, gravitation; rotational kinematics and dynamics; work and energy; momentum and impulse; conservation laws; simple harmonic motion; waves; data presentation/analysis and error propagation. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings.
College Physics II
This course is an introduction to algebra-based physics focusing on thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics, and elementary topics in modern physics. Topics include heat and temperature, laws of thermodynamics, fluids, electric and magnetic forces and fields, DC electrical circuits, electromagnetic induction, opyics, the concept of the photon, and the Bohr model of the atom. The course is taught using both traditional lectures and a workshop format that integrates material traditionally found in separate lecture, recitation, and laboratory settings.
Choose one of the following:
   Developmental Biology
This course is a study of the processes of growth, differentiation and development that lead to the mature form of an organism. The course will also address how developmental biology is integrated with other aspects of biology including disease, ecology, and evolution.
   Comparative Animal Physiology
This course is a comparative study of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It covers a broad range of organisms studied from the standpoint of evolution of functional systems, the mechanisms and morphological variations that exist to deal with functional problems posed by the environment, and the special mechanisms used to cope with extreme environments.
Program Electives
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
LAS Immersion 1
Fourth Year
Experiential Education Requirement in the Life Sciences
The experiential learning (EL) requirement may be fulfilled through a variety of methods including co-op, undergraduate research, summer research experiences, study abroad relevant to the major, designated EL courses, etc. All experiences must be approved by the GSOLS EL Committee.
Program Electives
Open Electives
LAS Immersion 2, 3
Total Semester Credit Hours

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

Biology electives
Introduction to Microbiology
This course is an introduction to microorganisms and their importance. Principles of structure and function, metabolic diversity, taxonomy, environmental microbiology, bioremediation, and infectious diseases of bacteria are discussed. Basic laboratory techniques covered include: microscopy; staining, culturing, isolation, and identification of bacteria; isolation and identification of normal flora; identification of unknown bacteria; antibiotic resistance; metabolic tests; clinical and commercial testing protocols; and detection and counting of bacteria in environmental samples (foods, water, soils).
Animal Behavior
This course is a comparative study of animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures will examine the organization of behaviors including survival behaviors, social dynamics, and human behavior. Labs will demonstrate methods of gathering and interpreting behavioral data in the laboratory and in the field.
Galapagos: Ecology and Evolution
A semester-long lecture course followed by a 14-day field trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. Students meet weekly on the RIT campus during spring semester to learn about the wildlife and geology of the islands, and about their influence on Darwin’s theory of evolution. Galápagos is still an area of vibrant research and students will be introduced to current ecological, genetic, and geological studies. We will explore ongoing difficulties of balancing human needs with environmental conservation in the Galápagos. The field trip occurs shortly after the close of the semester in which the course is given. We will visit various sites in the islands, with excursions focusing on the unique wildlife and the geology. There are frequent snorkeling opportunities. The course provides outstanding opportunities for nature photography. Enrollment is limited to 15 students. A travel fee is required. (Permission of instructor)
Invertebrate Zoology
A study of the biology of invertebrate animals with emphasis on phylogeny and functional morphology.
Vertebrate Zoology
This course provides a synthesis of the ecological, behavioral, anatomical, and physiological characteristics of vertebrates in an evolutionary context.
Biology of Plants
This course will focus on aspects of plant anatomy and diversity and their impact on plant physiology. Adaptations to the environment and biotechnological approaches to unraveling the physiology of plants will be explored. A feature of this course will be discussion groups on plant topics from the popular scientific literature- e.g. Biofuels, Bioengineered Plants. The laboratory classes will follow the lectures closely, to give an opportunity to examine the structure and physiology of different plant genera.
Bioinformatics Languages
This is an introductory course in scripting languages focusing on the Perl programming language, the R statistical analysis program, and their application to biological data. We will investigate the use of Perl and R for processing sequence and "-omics" data, managing a variety of biological data types, and providing effective Web and graphical interfaces to existing tools for analysis of these data.
Vertebrate Evolution
This course is a study of the major changes in vertebrate functional morphology through time. The course will begin with fossilized fish records. The vertebrate evolution will then be traced to the era of mammals and end with humans. Additionally fossil evidence depicting major transitions between the vertebrate classes, modern taxonomy, including cladistic analysis, geologic time and stratigraphy, and plate tectonics will be presented.
Evolution and Creationism
This course explores the current controversy over the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Topics covered include pre-Darwinian views of natural history, Natural Theology and the argument from design, pre-Darwinian views of evolution, On The Origin of Species, and the public and scientific reception of natural selection. The major 20th and 21st century court cases, beginning with Scopes, and the Creationist responses, will be presented. The social and philosophical implications of evolution will be a major underlying theme.
Ethical Issues in Biology and Medicine
This course explores major ethical issues in medicine and biology via lecture, readings, films, and presentation and discussion of cases. Students report on current events in ethics as researched on the internet or other news media. The first portion of the course is in a lecture format. Students learn about various theories of ethical analysis that are in current use. Subsequent classes are devoted to particular ethical areas. Relevant cases are given to the students for presentation in both written and oral formats. Any additional background material that may be required to discuss the cases is presented by the instructor and the remainder of the period is discussion based on the philosophical foundation provided at the beginning of the course.
Cell Physiology
This course is a study of functional eukaryotic cellular physiology with an emphasis on the role of global gene expression in cellular function and disease. Nuclear and cytoplasmic regulation of macromolecular synthesis, regulation of cellular metabolism, control of cell growth, and the changes in cell physiology in disease are covered. This course also covers the technology used for studying changes in gene expression associated with cell differentiation and disease. The associated laboratory covers microarray techniques. This includes design and implementation of an experiment to acquire gene expression data, analyzing the acquired data using simple computer programs, such as MAGIC, and writing a research paper explaining findings.
Plants, Medicine, and Technology
Plants have played a significant role in the shaping of our world. This course will explore the utilization of plants for foods, fuels, materials, medicine, novel genetic information, and social aspects of different cultures. All cultures depend on about fifteen plant species, most of which have been changed by plant improvement methods to enhance human benefits. This course will explore these changes in important crops, plant constituents used in medicine, and the technology used to produce important plant-produced medicines.
Food Microbiology
This course presents the microbiology of foods. Topics include microbial food spoilage, foodborne pathogens, food preservation techniques, and environmental parameters found in foods important in the survival of food spoilage microbes and foodborne pathogens. The lab will include exercises on isolating heterotrophs from all kinds of food, isolation of fungi from various foods, and the survival of various pathogens in food and beverages.
Microbiology of Wastewater
This is an advanced course in the microbiology of wastewater treatment, solids treatment, and the generation and maintenance of drinking water. Topics include activated sludge processes, clarification processes, disinfection processes, trickling filters, rotating biological contactors, waste stabilization ponds, sludge microbiology, anaerobic digestion of biosolids, microbial aspects of drinking water and drinking water distribution systems, and public health aspects of wastewater and biosolids disposal on land and in marine systems.
Biology of Cancers
This course will address the fundamental concepts of the molecular and cellular biology of cancer cells. Class discussions, reading and writing assignments will explore the function of tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes, growth factors, and signal transduction pathways in the context of cancer cell growth, organization, and communication. Students in this course will gain an understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the process of tumorigenesis, will become aware of landmark findings, current research, and practice how to communicate effectively through scientific writing. This is a designated writing intensive course.
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
This course is a comparative study of the evolution of organ systems among vertebrate animals with an emphasis on structural changes in homologous characters among representative vertebrate lineages. The course will explore the concepts of allometry, biomechanics, biophysics, ontogeny, phylogeny using examples from vertebrate integument, skeletal, muscular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, urogenital, endocrine, nervous, and sensory systems.
Bioenergy: Microbial Production
This course presents how microbial processes are used to produce various biofuels from renewable feedstocks. The topics presented include bioethanol production, biobutanol production, methane (biogas) production, biodiesel production, and the economics involved with the production of alternative fuels.
Human Genetics
Tissue Culture
This course will present the techniques and applications of culturing eukaryotic cells, tissues, and organs in vitro. Emphasis will be placed on mammalian systems. Lectures will cover the historical background of tissue culture, how to authenticate cell lines, basic cell culture techniques; as well as stem cells, tissue engineering, and the role of cell culture in regenerative medicine. In the laboratory, students will be introduced to growth curves, cloning techniques, primary cell culture, and making a cell line; as well as detecting mycoplasma and other cell culture contaminants.
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels.
Bioinformatic Analysis of Macromolecules
This course addresses the fundamental concepts of bioinformatics, especially in regards to computational analysis of nucleic acids and proteins. The nature and extent of information available in bioinformatic databases will be presented. Discussion and utilization of computational programs for analysis of individual and multiple sequences for functional and evolutionary information will be discussed. The computational laboratory will highlight the multitude of web-based applications available for analysis of molecular sequences.
Bioinformatics introduces students to the analysis of biological sequences: DNA, mRNA, and protein. Emphasis is placed on classical bioinformatics analyses such as gene prediction, sequence alignment, and phylogenetics. The methods are applicable to both human and model organism studies in medical, biotechnological, and classical biology research.
Phage Biology
Viruses that infect bacteria (phages) are ubiquitous wherever their hosts reside– whether in soil, a hot spring or our own digestive tract. Phages are also the most abundant and diverse biological entities, consequently phage research is relevant to health, industry, agriculture, ecology and evolution. Phage Biology is a research-intensive course designed to explore the fundamental properties of phages, how they interact with their bacterial hosts, the major techniques used to characterize them and their applications. Since phage particles are comprised of DNA and protein the techniques employed in this course have relevance to many other biological disciplines. This course will develop both laboratory and analytical skills as students will isolate and characterize mutant phages in a novel model system, becoming mutation sleuths to determine mutation locations and their effect.
This course introduces students to the analysis of complex genomes. Emphasis is placed on genetic information derived from the human genome project but advances with genomes of other model systems will be discussed. Lectures cover scientific techniques used to map and sequence the human genome, as well as strategies for identification of disease susceptibility genes. The laboratory utilizes an automated DNA sequencer to demonstrate the acquisition of genetic sequences. Laboratory sessions emphasize cycle sequencing of cloned DNA fragments using an automated fluorescent DNA sequencer.
Synthetic Biology
The goal of the emerging field of synthetic biology is to design and construct novel biological systems that are useful. Synthetic biology examines the whole system of genes and gene products, their regulation, co-regulation and the interactions among their products, not individual genes. This course will cover organisms with known and characterized processes that are used to add or modify biological functions. Students will become proficient in the understanding of synthetic biology concepts and will master basic laboratory techniques utilized in synthetic biology.
Tropical Ecology
Molecular Ecology
This course explores the biology of populations and communities of organisms using molecular data. As DNA, RNA and proteins are nearly universal between organisms, the principles taught in this course will have wide applications, both within ecology and throughout many sub-disciplines of biology. Furthermore, this course will prepare students to apply the techniques in numerous research fields. The primary literature and worldwide applications of the field of molecular ecology will be incorporated into the course.
Computational Genomics
Introduction to Population Genetics
This course consists of a study of DNA, genes, inheritance, genetic variation, genetic architecture, and change within and among populations. Fundamental genetics topics include DNA, gene, and chromosomal structure and function along with, transmission genetics, Mendelian inheritance patterns, sex-linked inheritance, genetic linkage, and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. Population based topics will include genetic variation, its importance, how it originates and is maintained as well as inbreeding, random mating, mutation, migration, selection, genetic drift, the effects of small population size, fitness, population subdivision, the shifting balance theory, inter-deme selection, kin selection, neutral theory, molecular evolution, molecular clocks, multi-gene families, gene conversion, artificial selection, the genetic basis of quantitative traits and the fundamental theorem of natural selection.
Environmental Biology
This course presents the microbiology of soils, freshwater, marine environments, and extreme environments. Topics include nutrient cycling in soils by microorganisms, the diversity of microorganisms in soils, the role of microorganisms in freshwater environments such as lakes, rivers, and wetlands and marine environments such as the open ocean, coastline environments, and salt marshes, and the diversity of microorganisms in extreme environments including highly acidic, highly alkaline, and highly saline environments. Laboratory experiments will explore the types of bacteria in different types of soils in Western New York, types of bacteria in different freshwater environments in Western NY, determining total and fecal coliform counts in freshwaters, determining the presence of antibiotic resistant coliforms in sediment samples, and examining the survival of various human pathogens in surface waters.
Freshwater Ecology
This course will explore the ecology of freshwater ecosystems, including rivers, lakes, and wetlands; with an emphasis on ecosystems in Western New York. The chemical and physical environment of each system and the resulting biological communities will be explored. Threats to the ecosystem services supplied by freshwater resources will also be investigated.
Advanced Immunology
This course is an in-depth treatment of the molecular and cellular events associated with innate and adaptive immune responses. The response of the host to the environment of microbes and pathogens will be emphasized. Recognition and response of the host to the infectious agents and the resolution of the disease state will be examined at the cellular and molecular levels. The immune response to tumors will be treated and medical advances in treating neoplastic disease using immunological therapy will be presented. The laboratories will focus on the cellular and molecular techniques employed in the modern immunology laboratory. A laboratory module employing hybridoma techniques will provide an intensive experience with monoclonal antibodies and their use in diagnostics and disease treatment.
Directed Research in Developmental Biology
In this lab-based course, students perform original research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of development. Students use classical embryological, bioinformatics, molecular biology, and/or microscopy techniques, depending on the project. Students read and discuss primary scientific literature in a lab meeting setting, write a research paper and present their research findings in a talk or poster. Lab meets in two three-hour blocks; students are also expected to work independently for an additional three hours per week.
This course is an introduction to bioremediation focusing on the interactions between engineers, chemists, hydrologists, and microbiologists to develop, design, and implement strategies to remediate contaminated soils or water. Topics include microorganisms involved in bioremediation, types of chemical pollutants, economics of remediation, environmental factors important in bioremediation, in situ processes, and ex situ processes. The laboratory project involves the isolation of hydrocarbon degrading bacteria from soils and sediments and further characterization of the hydrocarbon degrading isolates with respect to types of hydrocarbons degraded and rate of degradation.
Seneca Park Zoo Internship
This course will combine in-class lecture from specialists in the zoological field with volunteering in a zoo. This course will require the use of knowledge gained to design an exhibit for a selected species as a group. Topics covered will include the purpose of zoos, the history of the Seneca Park Zoo, wildlife medicine, population (conservation) genetics, biological exhibit design, zoo research, animal behavior, zoo management, zoo community education, and zoo ethics. There will be an opportunity to develop an understanding of the biological basis of the zoo’s activities. This course will provide an intensive hands-on experience by assisting zoo staff in one department area for 8 hours, plus 2 hours of classroom work, per week over the semester.
Biological Separations: Principles and Practices
This is a laboratory-based course that teaches classic concepts and techniques to enable the use of these techniques to purify small molecules and macromolecules from whole organisms. Detection techniques will include the use of bacterial biosensors, coomassie-blue staining, silver staining, and immunoblot analysis. Separation techniques will include SDS Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) analysis, thin layer chromatography, and paper electrophoresis. Purification techniques will include ammonium sulfate precipitation, affinity chromatography, and thin layer chromatography.
Fundamentals of Plant Biochemistry and Pathology
This course is primarily focused on biochemical and pathological aspects of a plant's life. This course provides an understanding of why protein catalysts are important in the field of plant biochemistry and plant pathology. More specifically, the role enzymes play in the basic cellular processes of plant growth and development is presented. Topics related to plant pathology are presented; such as plant disease epidemics, plant diagnosis, plant diseases caused by fungi, bacteria, nematodes, viruses, and plant-pathogen interaction, at the ecological, physiological and genetic level.
Animal Nutrition
In this course, students will explore applied topics in companion, agriculture, and wildlife animal nutrition. Emphasis will be placed on an overview of nutrient classes and methods of nutrient analysis, biological nutrient requirements and common problems arising from nutrient deficiencies, comparative digestive strategies, and specialized adaptations of animal with different feeding strategies. Class discussions will focus on reading and interpretation of primary literature and investigating applied nutritional research questions.
This course is an introduction to virology with specific emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of virus infection of eukaryotic cells and virus-cell interactions. Virus structure, genetics, the infectious cycle, replication strategies, pathogenesis, persistence, effects on host macromolecular synthesis, viral oncogenesis, viral vectors, emerging viral diseases, and strategies to protect against and combat viral infection will be discussed.
Plant Biotechnology
In this course aspects of plant biotechnology will be investigated. Areas of concentration will include: tissue culture, genetic transformation of plant cells, regeneration of transgenic plants, and the construction and characterization of transgenic plants for food production, experimental biology investigations, and novel product(development. The laboratory will provide experiences to complement(the lecture information in plant cell culture and experiences in the use of Agrobacterium as the gene shuttle to introduce novel genetic information into plants.
Plant Molecular Biology
The course will introduce molecular biology concepts and encourage the application of these concepts to the particular plant gene being studied. This upper-level elective course has a strong laboratory element. Small groups will study different plant genes during the semester. The laboratory element will be a self-paced group project to amplify, clone, sequence, and examine the expression profiles of plant genes. Gene databases such as TAIR and NCBI, as well as sequence analysis software, will be used throughout the course. The groups will be guided to make week-by-week project plans, to troubleshoot problems, and record results in laboratory notebooks. In addition, weekly results and progress will be shared via an interactive wiki.
Microbe-Host Interaction
This course focuses on the bacterial and host (human, insect, plant, animals and fungi) mechanisms used in interactions with hosts during both pathogenesis and symbiosis. We will explore molecular, microbiome and genomic levels, drawing on the disciplines of genomics, biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology. Several of the agonistic and antagonistic interactions will illustrate broader principles and contribute to our fundamental understanding of biological processes. The results of these interactions have a strong impact on biological productivity, and so are also ever increasing important in human health. An emphasis will be on the roles of molecules and cell structures in determining the outcome of an interaction. Course is intended to allow students to develop knowledge of host-bacterial interactions at the molecular to organismal level, with an emphasis on several model symbiotic- and patho-systems. Knowledge about bacterial mechanisms use to associate with host organisms and the different strategies bacteria employ to gain entry, damage host tissue and obtain nutrients for growth will be explored. We will also illustrate several mutualistic relationships between eukaryotic hosts with partner symbiotic bacteria. Genomic approaches to describe microbiomes (microbial communities) on host organisms and in environments will also be explored.
Ethics in Bioinformatics
This course focuses on individual and organizational responsibilities in bioinformatics research, product development, product commercialization and clinical and consumer genetic testing.
Microbial and Viral Genetics
This course will examine bacterial and viral genetic systems. These systems will be studied with the idea that they are simple examples of the genetics systems found in higher organisms, and can also be used as biotechnological tools. This course will show how these prokaryotic systems have served as excellent model systems for studying the genetics of higher organisms. This course will examine how these systems can be genetically manipulated using transformation, transduction, transposition, and conjugation. Bacteria and viruses will be discussed as important tools for many of the greatest discoveries in biology; especially in molecular biology and genetics. In addition some of the primary research journal articles will be critiqued.
Eukaryotic Gene Regulation and Disease
This course presents an overview of gene expression in eukaryotic systems, with an emphasis on how disease can result when gene regulation is disrupted. Points of control that are examined include: chromatin structure, transcription initiation, transcript processing, stability and modification, RNA transport, translation initiation, post-translational events, and protein stability. The mechanisms involved in regulating these control points are discussed by exploring specific well studied cases. The significance of these processes is highlighted by a discussion of several diseases that have been shown to be due to defects in gene regulation.
Bioinformatics Algorithms
Advanced Applied Genomics
Tropical Ecology
This course will cover the major principles in ornithology from evolutionary origins to the study of physiology, flight, behavior, life history traits and conservation. Exploration of current topics in avian biology and exploration of bird diversity will be key features of the lecture and lab. Labs will introduce current techniques in applied avian research and monitoring in both the field and lab.
Genetic Engineering
This course is a laboratory-intensive introduction to the theoretical basis, laboratory techniques, and applications of gene manipulation.
This course is the study of the distribution of biodiversity on the earth. Patterns of past and present animal and plant distributions are used to help understand the mechanisms of basic biological processes including speciation, dispersal, divergence, and extinction. This course will cover the character and history of the science of biogeography, as well as its basic principles and applications. We will also examine the assumptions, methods, and conclusions of historically significant biogeographic studies.
Marine Biology
This course explores marine biology by focusing on the diversity of life and influence of oceanographic phenomena on the various ecosystems. Morphological and physiological adaptations along with environmental threats will also be investigated.
Conservation Biology
This course focuses on the application of ecological principles to conservation issues. Human impact on species diversity is emphasized as it relates to agricultural, forest, coastal and wetland ecosystems. Case studies of management practices used to manage and restore disturbed ecosystems are included.
Molecular Modeling and Proteomics
This course will explore two facets of protein molecules: their separation and their structure. The structure component will build upon information from earlier bioinformatics courses. Protein separation techniques will be addressed in lectures with descriptions of 2D gel electrophoresis and chromatography. Algorithms of protein secondary structure prediction will be implemented. Experimental techniques for tertiary structure determination such as NMR will be covered. The course will also include the analysis of inter-molecular interactions, such as ligand/receptor pairing, by employing software that permits modeling of molecular docking experiments.
Advanced Biology Research
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research involving laboratory or field work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in their final two years of study.
Advanced Biology Independent Study
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in their final two years of study.
Research Scholars I
Research Scholars II
Research Scholars III
Research Based Writing (WI)
This course is intended for students with significant research experience to work closely with their faculty mentors to prepare a manuscript for publication or write a proposal for external funding. Students will devote significant time to writing, revision and peer review. A submission-quality manuscript or proposal is expected at the end of the semester.
Genetic Diseases and Disorders
The identification of genetic causes of disease has been one of the major modern scientific breakthroughs. This course examines a range of inherited diseases, how causative genetic variations were or are being identified, and what this means for the treatment of the diseases. Scientific literature will be utilized, both current and historical.
Bioinformatics Seminar
The course provides opportunities for students and faculty to develop and share professional interests while discussing current trends and developments in bioinformatics. Material for this course will be drawn from the current scientific literature.
Molecular Modeling and Proteomics
This course will explore two facets of protein molecules: their separation and their structure. The structure component will build upon information from earlier bioinformatics courses. Protein separation techniques will be addressed in lectures with descriptions of 2D gel electrophoresis and chromatography. Algorithms of protein secondary structure prediction will be implemented. Experimental techniques for tertiary structure determination such as NMR will be covered. The course will also include the analysis of inter-molecular interactions, such as ligand/receptor pairing, by employing software that permits modeling of molecular docking experiments.
Cell Molecular Genetics
Chemical Separations
Biochemistry I
This course introduces the structure and function of biological macromolecules and their metabolic pathways. The relationship between the three-dimensional structure of proteins and their function in enzymatic catalysis will be examined. Membrane structure and the physical laws that apply to metabolic processes will also be discussed.
Biochemistry of Infectious Diseases
Biology of Bird Banding
Medical Genetics
Applications of GIS
Through hands-on projects and case studies, this course illustrates concepts and applications of raster and vector geographic information systems (GIS) in a variety of disciplines, such as environmental science, biology, geology, geography, sociology, and economics. Students will learn how to use GIS software and spatial analyses, plan a project, create a database, and conduct an independent project. Students should have completed a foundational course in their major and be comfortable working with computers. Experience with programming is also useful. (Foundational course in student's major field of study or permission of instructor).
Environmental Science Field Skills
Environmental Science Field Skills presents an integrated approach to the interrelated, interdisciplinary principles of environmental science through case studies, site visits and field work. In this course, the focus will be on learning methods for environmental analysis, including experimental design, water and soil quality, primary production and biodiversity, land use/land cover change and ecosystem restoration. The course will culminate in a stressed stream analysis of a local watershed. Additional topics may include geographic information systems, wetlands, environmental education and sustainable food production. The interdisciplinary nature of environmental science will be illustrated through elements of government/political science/policy, ethics, economics, sociology, history and engineering.
This is a course on the interactions of vegetation, soils, and hydrology that characterize wetlands. Ecosystem characteristics and processes are emphasized. Wetland policies, regulations, classification, and value systems are also covered. Field work and hands-on learning are integrated into the course through projects and field trips.
Human Anatomy and Physiology I
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects.
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects.
Human Immunology
Introduction to Pharmacology
This course provides an overview of the pharmacy profession (educational requirements, professional responsibilities and opportunities, role of the pharmacist in the health care team) and a detailed look into basic pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetic, and pharmaceutical principles. The pharmacodynamics principles covered include mechanisms of drug action, drug-receptor interaction theory, dose-response relationships, structure-activity relationships, and principles of drug metabolism. Pharmaceutical topics include formulations, drug product design, excipients, dosage forms, and elimination rate. Lastly, specific disease states will be covered that will clearly, and effectively demonstrate many of the topics taught. The diseases will be approached by presenting the etiology followed by the pharmacotherapy, including the details of the multiple drug classes that are used for any one-disease state.
Introduction to Infectious Disease
This is an advanced course in the mechanisms by which bacteria and fungi cause disease in humans. The course topics include the clinical signs of each disease, diagnosis of each disease, pathogenic mechanisms used by the organisms to cause disease, treatment of the disease, and prevention of the disease. The laboratory component of this course will consist of a mixture of methodologies used in the identification of the infectious agents, evaluation of the host response to the infection, case studies, student presentations of articles related to infectious disease and other assignments aimed at deepening the understanding the infectious disease process.
Medical Pathophysiology
Human Histology
Introduction to parasites of medical importance and the diseases they cause. It includes study of a variety of parasites classified by diseases such as blood and intestinal protozoan parasites, nematodes, trematodes, and cestodes. Examples of important parasitic diseases to be covered include malaria, sleeping sickness, elephantiasis, river blindness, leishmaniasis, amebic dysentery, and babesiosis. Coursework includes an examination of the distribution and transmission, pathogenesis, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and control. Contribution of parasitic infections to economic and health inequities between developed and developing countries will be analyzed.
This course will combine lecture, literature review, and small group discussions/presentations to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of human endocrinology. Topics covered will include: digestion and metabolism; growth and aging; arousal/mood; sexual dimorphism and reproduction; and neuroendocrinology. Discussion of relevant human diseases/disorders will be used to illustrate related biochemical/anatomical pathways and mechanisms.
Human Gross Anatomy
This course exposes students to details of human anatomy through cadaver dissection. Lecture material stresses functional and clinical correlates corresponding to laboratory exercises.

Admission Requirements

Freshman Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • 3 years of math required; pre-calculus recommended
  • Biology and chemistry required

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in liberal arts, sciences, and math

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

AS degree in biology or liberal arts with biology option

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