Biology (Major, Minor)

Biology Department

Kenneth Sossa, Ph.D., Chair

Jennifer Kerr, Ph.D.

Hangkyo Lim, Ph.D.

Paul J. Weldon, Ph.D.

Rebecca Zordan, Ph.D

Degrees offered



Main Campus

The Biology Department of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business offers a Major and Minor in Biology to students in the Women's College. It also offers Women's College students preparation for pharmacy, medical, dental, veterinary, graduate schools, and secondary teaching certification. The Department provides a broad view of the biological sciences consistent with the liberal arts tradition of the University.


The Biology Program of Study incorporates emerging areas of biology; it also integrates these with traditional organismal studies. Small classes, lectures, and seminars explore current trends and provide a climate for individualized learning. Laboratory facilities offer opportunities for hypothesis-driven experimentation that demands student initiative and creativity. In addition, independent student research is embedded in many courses within the Major. Students may pursue basic or applied research either on campus or at universities or research institutions local, national, and international.

The Program of Study prepares students for employment opportunities in research laboratories, medical and government facilities, pharmaceutical companies and other industries.

The General Education Requirement in the Natural Sciences may be fulfilled by taking BIO-104 Chesapeake Bay, BIO-107 Human Biology, BIO-110 Exploring Concepts in Biology, BIO-111 Fundamentals of Biology, BIO-115 Environmental Science, BIO-116 Conservation Biology or BIO-150 Principles of Evolution (Adult Undergraduate only).

Biology majors must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all courses taken to complete the requirements of the Major. Grades of "C" or better in BIO-111, BIO-230 and BIO-239 are required to complete the Biology Major.

The Biology Program of Study offers a broadly based approach to biological systems, ranging from molecular and cellular to ecological and evolutionary biology.

Required Courses for a Major In Biology

       BIO-111 Fundamentals of Biology (4)
       BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life (4)
       BIO-239 Genetics (4)

Six courses from the following, including either BIO-307 or BIO-311 and at least three at the 400-level

       BIO-201 Human Anatomy & Physiology I (4) & BIO-202 Human Anatomy & Physiology II (4) count as one of six courses 
       BIO-307 Ecology (4)
       BIO-311 Evolution (4)
       BIO-340 Microbiology (4)
       BIO-341 Vertebrate Anatomy (4)
       BIO-343 Animal Behavior (4)
       BIO-345 Nutrition (3)
       BIO-403 Immunology (3)
       BIO-410 Cell and Molecular Biology (4)
       BIO-411 Special Topics (3)
       BIO-413 Neurobiology (4)
       BIO-415 Developmental Biology (4)
       BIO-425 Biochemistry I (4) 
       BIO-426 Biochemistry II (4)
       BIO-431 Animal Physiology (4)
       BIO-473 Biological Research (3-4)

All the following

       BIO-451 Senior Seminar (3)
       CHM-110 and CHM-111 General Chemistry I, II (8)
       CHM-210 and CHM-211 Organic Chemistry I, II (8)
       One course in Mathematics (MAT-107 Elementary Functions, MAT-215 Basic Statistics or MAT-211 Calculus I) (3 or 4)

       It is strongly recommended students intending to take upper-level chemistry courses or preparing for graduate school take
       MAT-212 Calculus II (4) and PHY-101 and PHY-102, General Physics I, II (8)

Secondary Education Certification—Approved Program in Biology

All requirements for the Major. Upper level courses must include both BIO-307 Ecology and BIO-311 Evolution. Students are required to take PHY-101 General Physics I. PHY-102 General Physics II is strongly recommended. In addition, students take the professional education courses offered by the Education Department.

Minor in Biology

       BIO-111 Fundamentals of Biology

       BIO-239 Genetics

       BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life

       Plus three additional Biology courses at the 300/400 level, including BIO 202; at least one of which must be a laboratory course.

Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental/Pre-Veterinary Programs

All required courses for a Major in Biology plus General Physics I and II (PHY-101, PHY-102), Mathematics through Calculus I (MAT-211), and Biochemistry I and II. The following course choices strongly recommended: Vertebrate Anatomy, Microbiology, Animal Physiology, Immunology and Cell and Molecular Biology. Calculus II (MAT-212) and Basic Statistics (MAT-215) are highly recommended. 

Pre-Pharmacy and Biology-Pharmacy Accelerated (3-4) Program

 See Pharmacy Studies for a detailed description of program.

Liberal Arts

The student follows the Program of Study that is outlined in the Liberal Arts section of the Catalog. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty adviser and be aware that course cycling will impact upper-level course selection.

Biology Four-Year Plan

Within the Program of Study for the Biology Major, many alternatives of a Four-Year Plan are possible; please consult a department representative to discuss options. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty adviser and be aware that course cycling will impact upper-level course selection.