Research-rich curriculum meets real-world experience in North Central's biology program. Research-rich curriculum meets real-world experience in North Central's biology program. Research-rich curriculum meets real-world experience in North Central's biology program. Research-rich curriculum meets real-world experience in North Central's biology program. Research-rich curriculum meets real-world experience in North Central's biology program.

College of Arts & Sciences

Department of Biology

Biology

Questions?

Undergraduate Admission

(630) 637-5800

admissions@noctrl.edu

Why pursue a biology degree at North Central College?

You’ll delve into scientific research from day one as a bachelor of science biology major at North Central. Our research-rich general biology curriculum and opportunities for collaboration with faculty members on real-world research projects will help you develop the skills of a scientist. You can present your findings at North Central’s own Rall Symposium for Undergraduate Research and summer colloquium or at a national conference. When studying a bachelor’s degree in biology at North Central College, our trained staff members will even help you publish your work. You’ll gain broad experience with everything from molecules and cells to organisms and ecological systems and prepare yourself for a career in research, medicine, education, environment or biotechnology. If you think a BA in biology is right for you, view our biology degree requirements below or speak with our student admissions counselors today.

You can also:

  • Apply for our funded summer research program.
  • Attend on-campus seminar presentations by students, alumni and professionals in your field.
  • Perform field work in Costa Rica, Arizona or other locations.
  • Work with a dedicated pre-health advisor and the Pre-Health Organization for students.
  • Join the Beta Beta Beta biological honor society.
  • Minor in environmental studies, neuroscience or bioinformatics.
  • Study at the Shedd Aquarium or Morton Arboretum.
  • Be a student lab assistant.

More Department information

Dual admission bachelor's/master of occupational therapy degree

Biology, Biological Sciences Track, B.S.

The B.S. degree in Biology provides a comprehensive foundation for students with interests in any area of the biological sciences, including key support courses from chemistry, physics and mathematics. This degree is appropriate for students planning for careers at the bachelor's level as well as those preparing for graduate or professional study after graduation. All B.S. students complete a common core, then select upper-division courses that match their specific interests and career plans. Research experience is built into the program for all students, as is the development of skills in scientific writing and presentation.

Students can choose from two tracks (and can switch between the tracks if their interests change). The Biological Science track is appropriate for those preparing for research careers, graduate school or employment in any area of biology, while the Biomedical Science track is appropriate for students preparing for medical, dental or veterinary programs after graduation. Students preparing for secondary education, for careers that combine biology with another area, or for the allied health fields may wish to consider a B.A. program.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

  • BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    4.00 credit hours

    Students and faculty work as a team to conduct an authentic course-based undergraduate research project in an area of current importance. Course content is selected to support the research project and introduces students to concepts, techniques and skills of modern biology. Class activities move fluidly among lecture, laboratory, fieldwork, discussion and problem-solving modes. Gateway to the major.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Structure and function of cells and applications to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 195 or (NEUR 100 with instructor consent); CHEM 121 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to evolutionary biology and ecology. Topics include forces affecting evolution, population genetics, life history evolution, interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Laboratory required: investigation of evolutionary and ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210; or BIOL 195 and ENVI 106 with instructor consent. 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    4.00 credit hours

    Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes. Investigation of classical Mendelian genetics and modern molecular genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, epigenetics and gene regulation. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning and human genotyping.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    2.00 credit hours

    Introductory statistics course, centered on using statistical methods to design, analyze and interpret scientific data in the biological sciences. Examines types of data and variables, descriptive statistics, experimental design, hypothesis testing and the scientific method. Covers probability, analysis of variance/covariance, correlation, regression and non-parametric statistical methods. Throughout the course, the application of statistical techniques in biological science is emphasized, using data from laboratory and field studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Schedule Of Classes

Capstone

One of the following:

  • BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    4.00 credit hours

    Behavioral mechanisms of animals as they interact with their environment, including development of behavior, learning and motivation, communication, mating, aggression, orientation and navigation, and habitat selection. Examines physiological, evolutionary and ecological aspects of behavior with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in scientific ethics are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on ethics of animal research. Laboratory required: independent animal behavior project. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 310, BIOL 315 or BIOL 370.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    4.00 credit hours

    Much of current ecology depends on past natural history studies, scientific experiments and mathematical models that have simplified complex systems. This course examines topics in population and community ecology in depth, digging deep into literature and models. Students read deeply, think critically and work through models themselves. Issues in research ethics, authorship and peer review are discussed, focusing on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and anthropogenic effects on the environment. Laboratory required: students design, implement, analyze and present an independent experiment using the skills and knowledge from the course. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 320, BIOL 325, BIOL 330, BIOL 340 or BIOL 350.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    4.00 credit hours

    Current topics in biochemistry are studied, allowing students to synthesize previous biology, chemistry and general education coursework. Ethical considerations in scientific research and recent primary literature are discussed. Laboratory required. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BCHM 365, BIOL 360 or BIOL 370.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, U.S. Power Structures.

    Schedule Of Classes

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar twice as participants before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete a capstone research course (BIOL 410, BIOL 450 or BCHM 465)
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Biological Science Track Courses

Advanced Electives

Three of the following:

  • BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    4.00 credit hours

    Basic functional mechanisms of higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to basic concepts about plant physiology, such as plant morphology, photosynthesis, water relations, and growth from the seed to reproductive adults. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    4.00 credit hours

    Plants are dynamic participants in their environment and with their neighbors and other organisms. Students are introduced to the foundations of plant interactions, such as plant distributions, nutrient cycling and natural selection. Students apply these principles to understand the products of plant interactions in populations, communities and ecosystems from the perspective of rapidly changing environments. Explores topics such as climate change, invasive species and deforestation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 330 - Evolution

    BIOL 330 - Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of populations genetics plus discussions of current readings. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    4.00 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation ecology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include ecological modeling, exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    4.00 credit hours

    In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of cell division and death and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration into the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that guide cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and growth of multicellular organisms. Topics include fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, regeneration, stem cells and environmental influences on development. Laboratory emphasizes techniques used to manipulate and examine developmental processes in several key model systems. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the major classes of biological molecules. Protein structure and purification, enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways are discussed. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neuronal communication in organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans. Topics include the fundamental properties of excitable membranes, synaptic transmission, and neuronal integration. These topics are investigated utilizing classical and cutting edge molecular neuroscience techniques in this vertebrate based laboratory intensive course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210 and NEUR 200; Concurrent enrollment in NEUR 311.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses
  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the various classes of carbon compounds, with emphasis upon molecular structure, stereochemistry and mechanisms of Organic reactions. Techniques for isolating, purifying and characterizing organic compounds are learned in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Six hours in Chemistry including CHEM 121 or CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    Continuation of CHEM 251. This course builds on previously learned concepts to further explore the mechanisms of organic reactions. The emphasis shifts from physical organic to synthetic organic chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 251.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 310 - Chemical Analysis

    CHEM 310 - Chemical Analysis

    4.00 credit hours

    Discussion of analytical methods including sample collection and preparation, statistical analysis of data and quantitative analysis including theory and techniques for gravimetric, volumetric, spectrophotometric, chromatographic and electrochemical methods. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

Additional Requirements for the B.S. Degree

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • MATH 152 - Calculus II

    MATH 152 - Calculus II

    4.00 credit hours

    A continuation of single-variable calculus with emphasis on advanced integration techniques and applications, parametric equations, polar coordinates, and infinite series.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 151.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences:

Non-Calculus
  • PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Kinematics, Newton's Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 131 and Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biology, Biology Professions Track, B.A.

The B.A. degree in Biology provides the same comprehensive core, research experience and capstone as the B.S. degree, but its two tracks are tailored to be compatible with a second major (Biology Professions track) or with the requirements of professional schools in such allied health areas as nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, pharmacy, or optometry (Health Professions track). Students choosing the Biology Professions track need an additional major in a complementary area such as environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computer science, business, etc. Students seeking a degree in Secondary Education can complete a second major in Biology by choosing this track. Students planning to continue to graduate programs in the biological sciences or to medical, dental or veterinary programs should consider the B.S. degree in Biology instead.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

  • BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    4.00 credit hours

    Students and faculty work as a team to conduct an authentic course-based undergraduate research project in an area of current importance. Course content is selected to support the research project and introduces students to concepts, techniques and skills of modern biology. Class activities move fluidly among lecture, laboratory, fieldwork, discussion and problem-solving modes. Gateway to the major.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Structure and function of cells and applications to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 195 or (NEUR 100 with instructor consent); CHEM 121 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to evolutionary biology and ecology. Topics include forces affecting evolution, population genetics, life history evolution, interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Laboratory required: investigation of evolutionary and ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210; or BIOL 195 and ENVI 106 with instructor consent. 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    4.00 credit hours

    Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes. Investigation of classical Mendelian genetics and modern molecular genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, epigenetics and gene regulation. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning and human genotyping.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    2.00 credit hours

    Introductory statistics course, centered on using statistical methods to design, analyze and interpret scientific data in the biological sciences. Examines types of data and variables, descriptive statistics, experimental design, hypothesis testing and the scientific method. Covers probability, analysis of variance/covariance, correlation, regression and non-parametric statistical methods. Throughout the course, the application of statistical techniques in biological science is emphasized, using data from laboratory and field studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Schedule Of Classes

Capstone

One of the following:

  • BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    4.00 credit hours

    Behavioral mechanisms of animals as they interact with their environment, including development of behavior, learning and motivation, communication, mating, aggression, orientation and navigation, and habitat selection. Examines physiological, evolutionary and ecological aspects of behavior with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in scientific ethics are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on ethics of animal research. Laboratory required: independent animal behavior project. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 310, BIOL 315 or BIOL 370.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    4.00 credit hours

    Much of current ecology depends on past natural history studies, scientific experiments and mathematical models that have simplified complex systems. This course examines topics in population and community ecology in depth, digging deep into literature and models. Students read deeply, think critically and work through models themselves. Issues in research ethics, authorship and peer review are discussed, focusing on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and anthropogenic effects on the environment. Laboratory required: students design, implement, analyze and present an independent experiment using the skills and knowledge from the course. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 320, BIOL 325, BIOL 330, BIOL 340 or BIOL 350.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    4.00 credit hours

    Current topics in biochemistry are studied, allowing students to synthesize previous biology, chemistry and general education coursework. Ethical considerations in scientific research and recent primary literature are discussed. Laboratory required. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BCHM 365, BIOL 360 or BIOL 370.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, U.S. Power Structures.

    Schedule Of Classes

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar twice as participants before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete a capstone research course (BIOL 410, BIOL 450 or BCHM 465)
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Biology Professions Track Courses

Two of the following:

  • BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    4.00 credit hours

    Basic functional mechanisms of higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to basic concepts about plant physiology, such as plant morphology, photosynthesis, water relations, and growth from the seed to reproductive adults. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    4.00 credit hours

    Plants are dynamic participants in their environment and with their neighbors and other organisms. Students are introduced to the foundations of plant interactions, such as plant distributions, nutrient cycling and natural selection. Students apply these principles to understand the products of plant interactions in populations, communities and ecosystems from the perspective of rapidly changing environments. Explores topics such as climate change, invasive species and deforestation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 330 - Evolution

    BIOL 330 - Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of populations genetics plus discussions of current readings. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    4.00 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation ecology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include ecological modeling, exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    4.00 credit hours

    In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of cell division and death and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration into the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that guide cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and growth of multicellular organisms. Topics include fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, regeneration, stem cells and environmental influences on development. Laboratory emphasizes techniques used to manipulate and examine developmental processes in several key model systems. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the major classes of biological molecules. Protein structure and purification, enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways are discussed. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neuronal communication in organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans. Topics include the fundamental properties of excitable membranes, synaptic transmission, and neuronal integration. These topics are investigated utilizing classical and cutting edge molecular neuroscience techniques in this vertebrate based laboratory intensive course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210 and NEUR 200; Concurrent enrollment in NEUR 311.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Support Courses
  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

Second Major

Biology Professions majors must complete a second major in an area outside Biology. Note: Students seeking licensure for secondary education must complete the Secondary Education major.

Biology, Biomedical Science Track, B.S.

The B.S. degree in Biology provides a comprehensive foundation for students with interests in any area of the biological sciences, including key support courses from chemistry, physics and mathematics. This degree is appropriate for students planning for careers at the bachelor's level as well as those preparing for graduate or professional study after graduation. All B.S. students complete a common core, then select upper-division courses that match their specific interests and career plans. Research experience is built into the program for all students, as is the development of skills in scientific writing and presentation.

Students can choose from two tracks (and can switch between the tracks if their interests change). The Biological Science track is appropriate for those preparing for research careers, graduate school or employment in any area of biology, while the Biomedical Science track is appropriate for students preparing for medical, dental or veterinary programs after graduation. Students preparing for secondary education, for careers that combine biology with another area, or for the allied health fields may wish to consider a B.A. program.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

  • BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    4.00 credit hours

    Students and faculty work as a team to conduct an authentic course-based undergraduate research project in an area of current importance. Course content is selected to support the research project and introduces students to concepts, techniques and skills of modern biology. Class activities move fluidly among lecture, laboratory, fieldwork, discussion and problem-solving modes. Gateway to the major.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Structure and function of cells and applications to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 195 or (NEUR 100 with instructor consent); CHEM 121 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to evolutionary biology and ecology. Topics include forces affecting evolution, population genetics, life history evolution, interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Laboratory required: investigation of evolutionary and ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210; or BIOL 195 and ENVI 106 with instructor consent. 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    4.00 credit hours

    Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes. Investigation of classical Mendelian genetics and modern molecular genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, epigenetics and gene regulation. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning and human genotyping.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    2.00 credit hours

    Introductory statistics course, centered on using statistical methods to design, analyze and interpret scientific data in the biological sciences. Examines types of data and variables, descriptive statistics, experimental design, hypothesis testing and the scientific method. Covers probability, analysis of variance/covariance, correlation, regression and non-parametric statistical methods. Throughout the course, the application of statistical techniques in biological science is emphasized, using data from laboratory and field studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Schedule Of Classes

Capstone

One of the following:

  • BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    4.00 credit hours

    Behavioral mechanisms of animals as they interact with their environment, including development of behavior, learning and motivation, communication, mating, aggression, orientation and navigation, and habitat selection. Examines physiological, evolutionary and ecological aspects of behavior with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in scientific ethics are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on ethics of animal research. Laboratory required: independent animal behavior project. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 310, BIOL 315 or BIOL 370.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    4.00 credit hours

    Much of current ecology depends on past natural history studies, scientific experiments and mathematical models that have simplified complex systems. This course examines topics in population and community ecology in depth, digging deep into literature and models. Students read deeply, think critically and work through models themselves. Issues in research ethics, authorship and peer review are discussed, focusing on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and anthropogenic effects on the environment. Laboratory required: students design, implement, analyze and present an independent experiment using the skills and knowledge from the course. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 320, BIOL 325, BIOL 330, BIOL 340 or BIOL 350.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    4.00 credit hours

    Current topics in biochemistry are studied, allowing students to synthesize previous biology, chemistry and general education coursework. Ethical considerations in scientific research and recent primary literature are discussed. Laboratory required. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BCHM 365, BIOL 360 or BIOL 370.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, U.S. Power Structures.

    Schedule Of Classes

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar twice as participants before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete a capstone research course (BIOL 410, BIOL 450 or BCHM 465)
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Biomedical Science Track Courses

Anatomy and Physiology

  • BIOL 201 - Anatomy and Physiology I

    BIOL 201 - Anatomy and Physiology I

    4.00 credit hours

    Anatomy and Physiology is about how the body maintains life. Anatomy looks at the structure and organization of body parts; physiology explains their functions. Integration of structure and function allows understanding of what systems do and how. Beginning with cells and the grouping of cells into tissues and organs, groups of organs that function together form organ systems which maintain stable internal conditions. This course examines the integumentary, skeletal, muscle and digestive systems. Laboratory required; activities connect course concepts with experiential learning, using basic chemistry, tissue slides, human and cat skeletons, and cat dissection for muscle identification and function.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 104 or BIOL 108 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 202 - Anatomy and Physiology II

    BIOL 202 - Anatomy and Physiology II

    4.00 credit hours

    Anatomy and Physiology is about how the body maintains life. Anatomy looks at the structure and organization of body parts; physiology explains their functions. Integration of structure and function allows understanding of what systems do and how. This course continues the study of organ systems with nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems. Laboratory required; activities connect anatomical and physiological concepts with experiential learning by continuing cat dissection for the nervous, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems. All students will experience alteration of some physiological systems and homeostatic mechanisms designed to maintain a stable internal environment.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 201.

    Schedule Of Classes

Advanced Electives

Two of the following:

  • BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    4.00 credit hours

    Basic functional mechanisms of higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to basic concepts about plant physiology, such as plant morphology, photosynthesis, water relations, and growth from the seed to reproductive adults. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    4.00 credit hours

    Plants are dynamic participants in their environment and with their neighbors and other organisms. Students are introduced to the foundations of plant interactions, such as plant distributions, nutrient cycling and natural selection. Students apply these principles to understand the products of plant interactions in populations, communities and ecosystems from the perspective of rapidly changing environments. Explores topics such as climate change, invasive species and deforestation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 330 - Evolution

    BIOL 330 - Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of populations genetics plus discussions of current readings. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    4.00 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation ecology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include ecological modeling, exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    4.00 credit hours

    In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of cell division and death and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration into the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that guide cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and growth of multicellular organisms. Topics include fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, regeneration, stem cells and environmental influences on development. Laboratory emphasizes techniques used to manipulate and examine developmental processes in several key model systems. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neuronal communication in organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans. Topics include the fundamental properties of excitable membranes, synaptic transmission, and neuronal integration. These topics are investigated utilizing classical and cutting edge molecular neuroscience techniques in this vertebrate based laboratory intensive course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210 and NEUR 200; Concurrent enrollment in NEUR 311.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Required Support Courses

  • BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the major classes of biological molecules. Protein structure and purification, enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways are discussed. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    CHEM 251 - Organic Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the various classes of carbon compounds, with emphasis upon molecular structure, stereochemistry and mechanisms of Organic reactions. Techniques for isolating, purifying and characterizing organic compounds are learned in the laboratory. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Six hours in Chemistry including CHEM 121 or CHEM 122.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    CHEM 252 - Organic Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    Continuation of CHEM 251. This course builds on previously learned concepts to further explore the mechanisms of organic reactions. The emphasis shifts from physical organic to synthetic organic chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 251.

    Schedule Of Classes

Support Elective

One of the following:

  • HTSC 230 - Community Health

    HTSC 230 - Community Health

    4.00 credit hours

    Critical analysis of cultural and economic factors on the health of society. Emphasis on the facilitation of how diverse health care practices have a systemic influence on the social determinants of health. The organization and administration of school, community, health care facility, and workplace health promotion programs are introduced.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HTSC 310 - Principles of Epidemiology for the Health Sciences

    HTSC 310 - Principles of Epidemiology for the Health Sciences

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the principles and methods of epidemiology and their application to research in the health sciences. Attention given to the development of fundamental skills necessary to interpret and critically evaluate relevant literature in the health sciences and the utilization of an epidemiological approach to disease and intervention.

    Prerequisite(s)

    HTSC 210, BIOL 201 and BIOL 202.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHIL 213 - Health Care Ethics

    PHIL 213 - Health Care Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    Considers fundamental ethical questions concerning health care and applies ethics to contemporary debates such as abortion.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 343 - Health, Illness and Care

    SOCI 343 - Health, Illness and Care

    4.00 credit hours

    This course covers the theoretical orientations that guide sociological and anthropological insights into health, illness, treatment seeking and the organization of medical care and the current state of empirical knowledge in the field. Topics include the social origins of illness; lay beliefs about disease; sociodemographic variations in health care utilization; the profession of medicine; the structure of the American health care system and cross-national disparities in health and longevity. This course challenges our assumptions about the social foundations of health disparities, the sovereignty of medical providers and the administration of health care.

    Prerequisite(s)

    SOCI 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

Additional Requirements for the B.S. Degree

  • MATH 151 - Calculus I

    MATH 151 - Calculus I

    4.00 credit hours

    An exploration of the fundamental concepts of single-variable calculus including limits, continuity, differentiation and integration with applications.

    Prerequisite(s)

    MATH 140 or placement; Four years of math including algebra, geometry and trigonometry recommended.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Quantitative Analysis.

    Schedule Of Classes

Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences:

Non-Calculus
  • PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 131 - Physics I (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Kinematics, Newton's Laws, conservation laws, thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    PHYS 132 - Physics II (Non-Calculus)

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, sound, electricity and magnetism, and optics. Laboratory required. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    PHYS 131 and Precalculus (Algebra & Trigonometry) competence.

    Schedule Of Classes

Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    PHYS 161 - Physics I: Mechanics and Heat

    4.00 credit hours

    Newton's Laws of motion, energy conservation, rotational motion, thermodynamics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and an introduction to computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 131 and PHYS 161.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160; MATH 151 or concurrent enrollment.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    PHYS 162 - Physics II: Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics

    4.00 credit hours

    Oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, optics. Laboratory required, includes experimental physics and computational modeling. Credit may be earned for only one of PHYS 132 and PHYS 162.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CSCE 160, MATH 151 and PHYS 161.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biology, Health Professions Track, B.A.

The B.A. degree in Biology provides the same comprehensive core, research experience and capstone as the B.S. degree, but its two tracks are tailored to be compatible with a second major (Biology Professions track) or with the requirements of professional schools in such allied health areas as nursing, physical therapy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, pharmacy, or optometry (Health Professions track). Students choosing the Biology Professions track need an additional major in a complementary area such as environmental studies, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, computer science, business, etc. Students seeking a degree in Secondary Education can complete a second major in Biology by choosing this track. Students planning to continue to graduate programs in the biological sciences or to medical, dental or veterinary programs should consider the B.S. degree in Biology instead.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Major Requirements

Core Courses

  • BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    4.00 credit hours

    Students and faculty work as a team to conduct an authentic course-based undergraduate research project in an area of current importance. Course content is selected to support the research project and introduces students to concepts, techniques and skills of modern biology. Class activities move fluidly among lecture, laboratory, fieldwork, discussion and problem-solving modes. Gateway to the major.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Structure and function of cells and applications to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 195 or (NEUR 100 with instructor consent); CHEM 121 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to evolutionary biology and ecology. Topics include forces affecting evolution, population genetics, life history evolution, interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Laboratory required: investigation of evolutionary and ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210; or BIOL 195 and ENVI 106 with instructor consent. 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    4.00 credit hours

    Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes. Investigation of classical Mendelian genetics and modern molecular genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, epigenetics and gene regulation. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning and human genotyping.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    BIOL 240 - Biostatistics

    2.00 credit hours

    Introductory statistics course, centered on using statistical methods to design, analyze and interpret scientific data in the biological sciences. Examines types of data and variables, descriptive statistics, experimental design, hypothesis testing and the scientific method. Covers probability, analysis of variance/covariance, correlation, regression and non-parametric statistical methods. Throughout the course, the application of statistical techniques in biological science is emphasized, using data from laboratory and field studies.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Schedule Of Classes

Capstone

One of the following:

  • BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    BIOL 410 - Animal Behavior

    4.00 credit hours

    Behavioral mechanisms of animals as they interact with their environment, including development of behavior, learning and motivation, communication, mating, aggression, orientation and navigation, and habitat selection. Examines physiological, evolutionary and ecological aspects of behavior with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in scientific ethics are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on ethics of animal research. Laboratory required: independent animal behavior project. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 310, BIOL 315 or BIOL 370.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    BIOL 450 - Environmental Ecology Through Models and Experiments

    4.00 credit hours

    Much of current ecology depends on past natural history studies, scientific experiments and mathematical models that have simplified complex systems. This course examines topics in population and community ecology in depth, digging deep into literature and models. Students read deeply, think critically and work through models themselves. Issues in research ethics, authorship and peer review are discussed, focusing on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and anthropogenic effects on the environment. Laboratory required: students design, implement, analyze and present an independent experiment using the skills and knowledge from the course. Capstone course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BIOL 320, BIOL 325, BIOL 330, BIOL 340 or BIOL 350.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    BCHM 465 - Advances in Biomedical Research

    4.00 credit hours

    Current topics in biochemistry are studied, allowing students to synthesize previous biology, chemistry and general education coursework. Ethical considerations in scientific research and recent primary literature are discussed. Laboratory required. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One of BCHM 365, BIOL 360 or BIOL 370.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Ethical Dimensions, U.S. Power Structures.

    Schedule Of Classes

Research Experience

Students must complete a research experience which is presented in BIOL 490 - Seminar; students take the zero-credit BIOL 290 - Seminar twice as participants before presenting. The research experience could be any of the following:

  • Complete a capstone research course (BIOL 410, BIOL 450 or BCHM 465)
  • Complete an on- or off-campus summer research program
  • Complete an independent research project with a faculty member
  • Complete a research-based internship or other project approved by the department chair

Health Professions Track Courses

Anatomy and Physiology
  • BIOL 201 - Anatomy and Physiology I

    BIOL 201 - Anatomy and Physiology I

    4.00 credit hours

    Anatomy and Physiology is about how the body maintains life. Anatomy looks at the structure and organization of body parts; physiology explains their functions. Integration of structure and function allows understanding of what systems do and how. Beginning with cells and the grouping of cells into tissues and organs, groups of organs that function together form organ systems which maintain stable internal conditions. This course examines the integumentary, skeletal, muscle and digestive systems. Laboratory required; activities connect course concepts with experiential learning, using basic chemistry, tissue slides, human and cat skeletons, and cat dissection for muscle identification and function.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 104 or BIOL 108 recommended.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 202 - Anatomy and Physiology II

    BIOL 202 - Anatomy and Physiology II

    4.00 credit hours

    Anatomy and Physiology is about how the body maintains life. Anatomy looks at the structure and organization of body parts; physiology explains their functions. Integration of structure and function allows understanding of what systems do and how. This course continues the study of organ systems with nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems. Laboratory required; activities connect anatomical and physiological concepts with experiential learning by continuing cat dissection for the nervous, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, urinary and reproductive systems. All students will experience alteration of some physiological systems and homeostatic mechanisms designed to maintain a stable internal environment.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 201.

    Schedule Of Classes

Advanced Electives

Two of the following:

  • BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    4.00 credit hours

    Basic functional mechanisms of higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to basic concepts about plant physiology, such as plant morphology, photosynthesis, water relations, and growth from the seed to reproductive adults. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    4.00 credit hours

    Plants are dynamic participants in their environment and with their neighbors and other organisms. Students are introduced to the foundations of plant interactions, such as plant distributions, nutrient cycling and natural selection. Students apply these principles to understand the products of plant interactions in populations, communities and ecosystems from the perspective of rapidly changing environments. Explores topics such as climate change, invasive species and deforestation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 330 - Evolution

    BIOL 330 - Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of populations genetics plus discussions of current readings. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    4.00 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation ecology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include ecological modeling, exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    4.00 credit hours

    In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of cell division and death and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration into the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that guide cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and growth of multicellular organisms. Topics include fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, regeneration, stem cells and environmental influences on development. Laboratory emphasizes techniques used to manipulate and examine developmental processes in several key model systems. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the major classes of biological molecules. Protein structure and purification, enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways are discussed. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    NEUR 310 - Advanced Molecular Neuroscience

    4.00 credit hours

    Examination of the cellular and molecular underpinnings of neuronal communication in organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans. Topics include the fundamental properties of excitable membranes, synaptic transmission, and neuronal integration. These topics are investigated utilizing classical and cutting edge molecular neuroscience techniques in this vertebrate based laboratory intensive course.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210 and NEUR 200; Concurrent enrollment in NEUR 311.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

Support Courses
  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to chemical principles within the context of the environmental issues of fuel and energy, water treatment and acid rain. Major chemical topics include gas laws, aqueous reactions and solubility, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, buffers, thermochemistry, redox, electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 121.

    iCon(s)
    Sustaining Our World.

    Schedule Of Classes

Chemistry or Physics Sequence

One of the following sequences (which best matches requirements of student's intended professional program):

Additional Requirements for the B.A. Degree

Foreign Language

Students must demonstrate elementary competence in a foreign language. For more information, see the B.A. Degree Requirements within the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

One of the following:

  • HTSC 230 - Community Health

    HTSC 230 - Community Health

    4.00 credit hours

    Critical analysis of cultural and economic factors on the health of society. Emphasis on the facilitation of how diverse health care practices have a systemic influence on the social determinants of health. The organization and administration of school, community, health care facility, and workplace health promotion programs are introduced.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    U.S. Power Structures.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • HTSC 310 - Principles of Epidemiology for the Health Sciences

    HTSC 310 - Principles of Epidemiology for the Health Sciences

    4.00 credit hours

    An introduction to the principles and methods of epidemiology and their application to research in the health sciences. Attention given to the development of fundamental skills necessary to interpret and critically evaluate relevant literature in the health sciences and the utilization of an epidemiological approach to disease and intervention.

    Prerequisite(s)

    HTSC 210, BIOL 201 and BIOL 202.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • PHIL 213 - Health Care Ethics

    PHIL 213 - Health Care Ethics

    4.00 credit hours

    Considers fundamental ethical questions concerning health care and applies ethics to contemporary debates such as abortion.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Humanities, Ethical Dimensions.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • SOCI 343 - Health, Illness and Care

    SOCI 343 - Health, Illness and Care

    4.00 credit hours

    This course covers the theoretical orientations that guide sociological and anthropological insights into health, illness, treatment seeking and the organization of medical care and the current state of empirical knowledge in the field. Topics include the social origins of illness; lay beliefs about disease; sociodemographic variations in health care utilization; the profession of medicine; the structure of the American health care system and cross-national disparities in health and longevity. This course challenges our assumptions about the social foundations of health disparities, the sovereignty of medical providers and the administration of health care.

    Prerequisite(s)

    SOCI 100.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Global Understanding.
    iCon(s)
    Examining Health.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biology Minor

The Biology minor provides a comprehensive introduction to Biology, including the same common core courses taken by B.A. or B.S. students and the opportunity to choose an advanced elective in the student's area of interest. The Biology minor would complement a major in areas where biological science interfaces with other fields, such as mathematics, computer science, environmental studies, neuroscience, psychology, or management.

For additional programs and courses in this department, see Biology.

Minor Requirements

At least 24 credits, including:

  • BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    BIOL 195 - Investigating Biology

    4.00 credit hours

    Students and faculty work as a team to conduct an authentic course-based undergraduate research project in an area of current importance. Course content is selected to support the research project and introduces students to concepts, techniques and skills of modern biology. Class activities move fluidly among lecture, laboratory, fieldwork, discussion and problem-solving modes. Gateway to the major.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    BIOL 210 - Cells and Systems

    4.00 credit hours

    Structure and function of cells and applications to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 195 or (NEUR 100 with instructor consent); CHEM 121 or concurrent enrollment.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    BIOL 220 - Ecology and Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduction to evolutionary biology and ecology. Topics include forces affecting evolution, population genetics, life history evolution, interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Laboratory required: investigation of evolutionary and ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 210; or BIOL 195 and ENVI 106 with instructor consent. 

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    BIOL 230 - Genes and Genomics

    4.00 credit hours

    Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes. Investigation of classical Mendelian genetics and modern molecular genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, epigenetics and gene regulation. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning and human genotyping.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 220.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Writing Intensive.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I

    4.00 credit hours

    A discussion of chemical principles through examples from the chemistry of carbon compounds and the molecules found in living systems. Major topics include atomic and electronic structure, ions, molecules, Lewis structures, VSEPR, hybridization, intermolecular forces, chromatography, equilibria, kinetics, stereochemistry and polymer chemistry. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    One year of high school chemistry and two years of high school algebra.

    Cardinal Directions Designation(s)
    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

One of the following:

  • BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIOL 310 - Biology of Animals

    4.00 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    BIOL 315 - Animal Physiology

    4.00 credit hours

    Basic functional mechanisms of higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    BIOL 320 - Plant Growth and Function

    4.00 credit hours

    Introduces students to basic concepts about plant physiology, such as plant morphology, photosynthesis, water relations, and growth from the seed to reproductive adults. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    BIOL 325 - Plant Interactions in a Changing World

    4.00 credit hours

    Plants are dynamic participants in their environment and with their neighbors and other organisms. Students are introduced to the foundations of plant interactions, such as plant distributions, nutrient cycling and natural selection. Students apply these principles to understand the products of plant interactions in populations, communities and ecosystems from the perspective of rapidly changing environments. Explores topics such as climate change, invasive species and deforestation. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 330 - Evolution

    BIOL 330 - Evolution

    4.00 credit hours

    Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of populations genetics plus discussions of current readings. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    BIOL 340 - Infectious Disease

    4.00 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    BIOL 350 - Conservation Ecology

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation ecology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include ecological modeling, exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230; or BIOL 220 and ENVI 106.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    BIOL 360 - Molecular Biology of Cancer

    4.00 credit hours

    In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of cell division and death and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    BIOL 370 - Mechanisms of Development

    4.00 credit hours

    Exploration into the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that guide cellular differentiation, morphogenesis, and growth of multicellular organisms. Topics include fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, regeneration, stem cells and environmental influences on development. Laboratory emphasizes techniques used to manipulate and examine developmental processes in several key model systems. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    BIOL 230.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    BCHM 365 - Principles of Biochemistry

    4.00 credit hours

    Survey of the major classes of biological molecules. Protein structure and purification, enzyme kinetics and the major metabolic pathways are discussed. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)

    CHEM 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

Biology Internships and Jobs

A North Central education integrates career preparation with rich academic study. Our faculty encourages you to refine and apply your knowledge in an interconnected world. Here you'll learn to think independently and work globally to solve problems and lead.

Graduate Schools

Recent graduates in biology have been accepted at:

  • University of Illinois 
  • University of Iowa
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Texas
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Southern California

Medical and Professional Schools

Schools attended by recent graduates in biology include:

  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • University of Iowa College of Dentistry
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Rush University College of Nursing
  • Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine
  • Pennsylvania College of Optometry
  • Midwestern University physician assistant program

Careers

Recent graduates in biology include people working at:

  • Edward Hospital
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Loyola University Medical Center
  • Oswego East High School, Oswego, Ill.
  • PharmaPro, Inc.
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • Morton Arboretum
  • Therapeutic Proteins International
  • Teach For America
  • Prairie Analytical Systems
  • University of California-San Francisco
  • Midewin Tallgrass Prairie
  • Indiana Department of Natural Resources
  • US Forest Service

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