Biology (BIO) Courses of Study

Link to Biology Courses

Program Overview

The mission of the Biology Department is to ensure that students understand how a scientific approach to the natural world leads to both insight and an altered perception of the breadth and depth of life on our planet. This is done through reinforcing in students the knowledge, skills, and habits of thought that characterize the biologically trained mind.

The goals of the Biology Department are the following:

  1. To ensure that every Biology major has a working and up-to-date knowledge of the fundamental concepts of biology.
  2. To provide a B.S. degree curriculum that will allow students to succeed in any standard graduate program in a biology-related field.
  3. To develop in its students–majors and non-majors–the skill of critical evaluation of scientific information and the ability to relate scientific concepts to real-world problems.
  4. To encourage in its students an appreciation of and respect for biodiversity and natural systems.
  5. To nurture its faculty by providing a work environment conducive to growth as teachers and scientists.

The Department of Biology awards a Bachelor of Science degree through a broad and rigorous academic study of the living world within the context of a liberal arts education. Courses emphasize the process of gathering scientific information and building knowledge based on critical evaluation of experimental observation. All students majoring in Biology follow a program of study that provides a broad fundamental understanding of all areas of the life sciences as well as chemistry, physics, and mathematics. In addition, all students conduct an independent research project on a topic of their choosing and present the results to the College in the form of the Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence (NSURS). Concurrent training in environmental studies is possible.

Major in Biology

Grades: Students must pass courses at a grade of C- or better to count toward fulfillment of the major. This includes courses with BIO, CHM, MAT, PHY, and SCI prefixes. Prerequisites must also be passed with a grade of C- or better.

Total Credit Hours: Students must earn a minimum of 34 credit hours in biology, with an additional 27 credit hours in physics, chemistry, math, and natural sciences (as specified below), to fulfill the major requirements.

Requirements: Biology majors and minors may not take BIO courses numbered 110 or below to meet Biology requirements.

  1. Core Requirements:
    1. BIO 116 General Biology
    2. BIO 202 Ecology
    3. BIO 322 Genetics
    4. SCI 390 Research Design
    5. SCI 486-489 Natural Science Research (minimum 2 credit hours.)
    6. SCI 493 Communication: Natural Science Seminar
    7. (See Courses of Instruction: Science, Section 4.26, for requirements of the Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence.)
  2. Other Requirements:
    1. CHM 116 General Chemistry I
    2. CHM 117 General Chemistry II
    3. CHM 225 Organic Chemistry I
    4. MAT 241 Calculus I
    5. PHY 251 Physics I
  3. Area Requirements: Students must complete a minimum of one course in each of the following three areas.
    1. A. Cellular and Subcellular Biology:
    2. BIO 208 Cell Biology
    3. BIO 345 Developmental Biology
    4. CHM 407 Biochemistry I
    5. BIO 450 Microbiology
    6. B. Botany:
    7. BIO 219 Plant Morphology and Anatomy
    8. BIO 340 Plant Ecology
    9. BIO 342 Plant Physiology
    10. BIO 440 Plant Taxonomy
    11. ENS 233 Forest Biology
    12. C. Zoology:
    13. BIO 217 Introduction to Animal Science
    14. BIO 235 Vertebrate Zoology
    15. BIO 241 Invertebrate Zoology
    16. BIO 345 Developmental Biology
    17. BIO 348 Animal Behavior
    18. BIO 349 Herpetology
    19. BIO 351 Mammalian Physiology
    20. BIO 435 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  4. Electives: Students must complete additional electives for a total of 34 credit hours in biology.

Honors Program

Graduation in Biology with honors is possible for qualified students. See description under Honors Program Natural Sciences (Section

Minor in Biology

Grades: Students must pass courses at a grade of C- or better to count toward the minor.

Total Credit Hours: Students must earn a minimum of 25 credit hours to fulfill the minor requirements.


  1. All of the following:
    1. CHM 116 General Chemistry I
    2. BIO 116 General Biology
  2. One of the following:
    1. BIO 202 Ecology
    2. ENS 201 Applied Ecology
  3. One of the following:
    1. BIO 322 Genetics
    2. BIO 208 Cell Biology
  4. Plus an additional 8 credit hours of Biology courses at or above the 200 level.