2022-2023

Biology (Major, Minor)

Department

Pamela O'Brien, Dean, School of Arts, Sciences and Business
Rebecca Zordan, Ph.D., Chair
Jewel Daniel, Ph.D.
Beth French, Ph. D
Jennifer Kerr, Ph.D.
Hangkyo Lim, Ph.D.
Paul J. Weldon, Ph.D.

Degrees offered

Major
Minor

Campuses

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.

Summary

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).

The following Empower and Engage General Education requirements may be met by the Biology courses listed:

Scientific Reasoning:  BIO-104 Chesapeake Bay, BIO-107 Human biology, BIO-110 Exploring Concepts in Biology, BIO-111 Fundamentals of Biology, BIO-115 Environmental Science, or BIO-116 Conservation Biology.

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, BIO-239, and BIO-451 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)

* For students entering with the Empower and Engage General Education program, BIO-111 may fulfill their General Education course in Scientific Reasoning requirement; it does not count towards their major. However, it must be taken as a necessary pre-requisite to subsequent courses in the Biology major

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.

Courses

BIO-111 Fundamentals of Biology

Focuses on the structure and function of the fundamental unit of life, the cell. Examines basic biological molecules, membrane structure and function, basic metabolism, photosynthesis, cellular reproduction, evolution, genetics and introductory systematics. In weekly laboratory exercises, students design and conduct experiments to answer scenario-based questions. Includes independent small-group laboratory research project that culminates in a student research symposium. Three hours lecture and four hours laboratory. Designed for students with a strong high school background in biology, chemistry and mathematics. Prerequisite: Satisfactory score on the NDMU Placement Exam or BIO-110 with minimum grade of C, or permission or chair.  For STEM majors only. Fulfills general education requirement in natural sciences.  [4 credits]

BIO-201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I

Integrates the study of structure with function of the human body. As a suite of courses, BIO-201 and 202 are intended for students interested in satisfying requirements for pharmacy, nursing, and various allied health programs. The content and level of delivery of both BIO-201 and 202 are structured so that they are compatible with similar courses offered by cooperating institutions. BIO-201 includes discussion of cellular, tissue, integumentary, skeletal, muscular and neural systems. Includes laboratory study of anatomical models of humans and skeletal components, and dissection of a cat. BIO-202 includes discussion of endocrine, circulatory, immunological, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. Strongly emphasizes study of physiological functions that includes monitoring of body systems with analog and digital hardware. Each course includes three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. A competency exam covering basic chemistry and biology may be administered at the first class meeting and weighed in the final grade. To begin the course sequence, the student must complete BIO-111 or the equivalent with a minimum grade of C or obtain permission of the instructor. BIO-201 with minimum grade of C is a prerequisite for BIO-202. [ 4 credits each term ]

BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life

Focuses on the unity of biological processes common to plants, animals and fungi, such as transport, gas exchange, and reproduction; also focuses on the diversity of organisms in their adaptation to environmental challenges. Unity and diversity are studied in both ecological and evolutionary contexts. An independent small-group research project is completed in the laboratory and culminates in a student research symposium. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-111 with minimum grade of C or permission of the instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-239 Genetics

Considers the mechanisms by which biological information is stored, accessed, and passed on from one generation to the next from both Mendelian and molecular genetic perspectives. Introduces basic techniques of molecular biology such as bacterial transformations, gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing and sequencing analysis. Includes the use of online databases such as Pub Med and sequence analysis tools such as BLAST. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-111 and CHM-110, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ] 

BIO-307 Ecology

Examines the relationships between living organisms and their environment. Emphasizes the physical and biological factors that influence evolution, the distribution, abundance and diversity of species, the structure of communities and ecosystem function. Applies ecological knowledge to current topics in global issues. Laboratory focuses on field experiences and the practical use of field techniques. An independently designed and executed field project is completed in the laboratory and culminates in a student research symposium. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life and CHM-111, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor; completion of mathematics requirement strongly recommended. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-311 Evolution

Examines the basic processes of organic evolution, including the production of genetic variation, mechanisms and levels of selection, adaptive radiation and speciation. Readings in the course focus on macroevolution and the fossil record and on microevolution and molecular evolution. Films and websites featuring evolutionary themes are examined and critiqued. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life and CHM-111, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-340 Microbiology

Examines the world of microorganisms and their occurrence and roles in nature. Focuses on the study of structure, growth, pathogenicity and genetics of microbes as well as their interactions in microbiome and biofilm communities. In the laboratory, students will learn sterile technique, staining, and culture techniques required for the isolation, identification, and enumeration of microbes, microbial metabolism, microbial genetics and will investigate various factors affecting microbial growth, including antiseptics, disinfectant, and antimicrobial drugs. An independently designed and executed, small-group research project is completed in the laboratory and culminates in a student research symposium.  Three hours lecture and four hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-239 and CHM-111, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of the instructor.  [ 4 credits ] 

BIO-341 Vertebrate Anatomy

Examines the major evolutionary trends in structure and function of the vertebrates. Analyzes the anatomy of fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals in the context of phylogeny, ecology and the physical and chemical environment. Laboratory exercises involve examination of commercially prepared specimens to develop the skills for dissection.  Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life with a minimum grade of C or permission of the instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-343 Animal Behavior

Analyzes the behavior of animals from many perspectives, including the role of genetics and the environment, hormonal influences, and the neurobiology of behavior, as well as the evolutionary causes and consequences of behavior. Emphasizes the organizing mechanisms employed by organisms responding to complex environments and the value of behavioral strategies in finding food, avoiding predators, choosing mates, parenting, communicating and forming groups. Uses video and living examples to illustrate techniques in the study of animal behavior. An independently designed and executed research project is completed in the laboratory and culminates in a student research symposium. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-230 Unity and Diversity of Life or PSY-101, with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-345 Nutrition

Focuses on the basic biochemical, physiological and psychosocial principles of the science of nutrition, and their applications to the nutritional requirements during the human life span in health as well as disease. Methods used in evaluating and meeting current nutritional norms will be investigated. Students will learn to read and evaluate the current literature, as found in refereed nutritional journals as well from popular electronic sources. Three hours lecture. Prerequisites: BIO-111 and CHM-210 each with a minimum grade of C, or permission of Instructor. [ 3 credits ]

BIO-403 Immunology

Covers the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in humoral and cell-mediated immunity. Topics include tissues and cells of the immune response, antigen and antibody structure and function, the major histocompatibility complex, genetics of antibody and T-cell receptor formation, immune effector mechanisms and aberrations of the immune response. Three hours lecture. Prerequisites: BIO-111 and CHM-211, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of the instructor; BIO-239 Genetics and BIO-340 Microbiology strongly recommended. [ 3 credits ]

BIO-410 Cell and Molecular Biology

Discusses the structure and function of the eukaryotic cell. Special attention is given to the function of cellular organelles, the structure of the genome, and the production and modification of proteins. In the laboratory, students employ basic molecular techniques to study cellular functions. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-239 Genetics, with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-411 Special Topics in Biology

Explores, in depth, a focused topic in biology based on instructor's expertise. Topic will change from year to year and to reflect trends and developments in biology. Prerequisite: Will be noted for specific course, based on topic. [ 3 credits ]

BIO-413 Neurobiology

Focuses on the mechanisms by which neural systems control animal behavior. Integrates neural function with underlying biochemistry, cell biology and organ physiology. The laboratory places strong emphasis on data acquisition from electrophysiological hardware and data analysis from computer software. Includes small group research in which each group independently designs, implements, analyzes and presents a semester-long research project in the context of a simulated symposium. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: PSY-223 or BIO-341 Vertebrate Anatomy, CHM-210 each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-415 Developmental Biology

Focuses on the comparative mechanisms by which a single cell gives rise to a complex, multicellular organism. Uses the perspective of classical embryology, modern cell biology and molecular genetics. Includes recent advances in developmental biology with emphasis on species comparisons and evolutionary relationships. Includes small student groups that independently design, implement, analyze and present a semester-long research project that culminates in an audiovisual presentation in a simulated symposium-style format. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-239 Genetics, BIO-341 Vertebrate Anatomy and CHM-210, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-425 Biochemistry I

Focuses on biomolecules, enzyme kinetics, the biochemistry of energy production, and a description of basic metabolic pathways as well as their regulation and integration in functioning organisms. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO-111, CHM-211 each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-426 Biochemistry II

Focuses on biomolecules, enzyme kinetics, the biochemistry of energy production, and a description of basic metabolic pathways as well as their regulation and integration in functioning organisms. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-425 with minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [ 4 credits ]

BIO-431 Animal Physiology

Investigates how specific physiological functions and animal behavior have underlying biochemical, cellular and organ system structural designs. Focuses on comparative physiology in the context of how animal systems can be influenced by environmental conditions and how these have been modified through evolution. Includes small group projects in which students independently design, implement, analyze and present semester-long research projects in the form of a simulated symposium. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO-341 Vertebrate Anatomy and CHM-211, each with a minimum grade of C or permission of instructor. [4 credits]

BIO-451 Senior Seminar

Serves as the capstone experience in the major. Focuses on critical synthesis and analysis of biological literature. Includes student-led discussions of research papers on topics of individual student interest. Develops knowledge of a topic, library research skills and interpretation of the original research literature in biology. Culminates in a written review of scientific literature on a topic of individual interest. Prerequisite: senior biology major or permission of instructor. [3 credits]

BIO-473 Biological Research

Investigates a topic of current interest in the biological sciences under guidance of Biology Department faculty.  Includes a literature search and design and execution of original laboratory research project. Culminates in a written paper or scientific poster. Course is designed for students of Junior or Senior class status.  Permission of instructor required. Can be taken multiple times. [4 credits; may be split over successive semesters.]

CHM-110 General Chemistry I

Focuses on fundamental chemical concepts and principles with emphasis on inorganic compounds. Explores descriptive and quantitative aspects of chemistry, including atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, states of matter, solutions, basic thermodynamics, electrochemistry, equilibrium, acids and bases, and kinetics. Laboratory is coordinated with lecture and emphasizes basic techniques such as titration, spectroscopy, and quantitative and qualitative analysis, along with inorganic synthesis and calculator-based experiments. Three lectures, one discussion period and one laboratory each week. High school algebra required. Satisfies the general education requirement in natural science. [4 credits]

CHM-111 General Chemistry II

Focuses on fundamental chemical concepts and principles with emphasis on inorganic compounds. Explores descriptive and quantitative aspects of chemistry, including atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, states of matter, solutions, basic thermodynamics, electrochemistry, equilibrium, acids and bases, and kinetics. Laboratory is coordinated with lecture and emphasizes basic techniques such as titration, spectroscopy, and quantitative and qualitative analysis, along with inorganic synthesis and calculator-based experiments. Three lectures, one discussion period and one laboratory each week. High school algebra required. Prerequisites: CHM-110 with a minimum grade of C or permission of Chair. Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in CHM-111 if the prerequisite CHM-110 was not fulfilled at Notre Dame. [ 4 credits ]

CHM-210 Organic Chemistry I

Focuses on functional group classification, nomenclature, synthesis, and reactions with a strong emphasis on reaction mechanisms of organic compounds. Laboratory is coordinated with lecture material and stresses basic techniques such as distillation, recrystallization, extraction, and chromatography, along with organic synthesis using  macroscale applications.  Three lectures, one discussion and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisites: CHM-111 with a minimum grade of C or permission of Chair. [4 credits]

CHM-211 Organic Chemistry II

Focuses on functional group classification, nomenclature, synthesis, reactions, and spectroscopic analysis with a strong emphasis on reaction mechanisms of organic compounds. Laboratory is coordinated with lecture material and stresses basic techniques such as distillation, recrystallization, extraction, and chromatography, along with organic synthesis using  microscale applications. Laboratory also includes an introduction to organic structure determination using a variety of spectral methods, including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Three lectures, one discussion and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisites for: CHM-210 with a minimum grade of C or permission of Chair. Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in CHM-211 if the prerequisite CHM-210 was not fulfilled at Notre Dame. [4 credits]

MAT-107 Elementary Functions

Provides preparation for study of calculus, and is also designed for pre-service elementary educators with a strong interest in mathematics. Covers polynomial, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions and their applications. Graphing calculator is used throughout the course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of two years of high school algebra. Fulfills the General Education Requirement in Mathematics. [3 credits]

MAT-211 Calculus I

Introduces functions, limits, continuity, differential calculus of polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions, as well as basic integration techniques. Applications are considered throughout the course with an emphasis on the life sciences. Weekly laboratory is an integral part of the course. Graphing calculators used to explore topics covered. Fulfills the General Education Requirement in Mathematics Prerequisite: Placement in MAT 211 or successful completion of MAT-107.  [4 credits]

MAT-212 Calculus II

Studies trigonometric functions, integration by parts and tables, improper integrals, functions of two variables, partial derivatives, double integrals, differential equations, geometric and power series, basic convergence tests, Taylor polynomials and series, and Fourier polynomials and series. Applications are considered throughout the course with an emphasis on the life sciences. Weekly laboratory is an integral part of the course. Graphing calculator is used to explore topics covered. Prerequisite: Calculus I or placement into MAT-212. [4 credits]

MAT-215 Basic Statistics

Introduces the basic ideas of statistics: descriptive statistics, central tendency variability, probability distributions, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression, multinomial experiments, contingency tables and analysis of variance. A statistical software package is used. Designed for students in a variety of fields that rely on regular statistical analysis in decision-making. Fulfills general education requirement in mathematics. Prerequisite: Placement in MAT 215 or successful completion of MAT 100 or MAT 103 is recommended. [3 credits]

PHY-101 General Physics I

Examines the fundamental physical laws of nature and their use in understanding natural phenomena. Course provides a knowledge base for study in all areas of science and mathematics. Topics include kinematics, conservation of energy and momentum, dynamics of motion, Newton's laws, rotational mechanics, and waves. Special topics such as the universal law of gravity and fluids will be covered depending on time and student interest. Development of the concepts of vector algebra and calculus are provided as needed. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory weekly. Course must be taken with PHY-101L. Pre-requisites: MAT-107 or MAT-110 or MAT-211. Students intending to continue with PHY-102 should take MAT-211. [4 credits]

PHY-102 General Physics II

Continues studies of the fundamental physical laws of nature and their use in understanding natural phenomena. Topics include classical wave motion, acoustics, optics, electricity and magnetism. Development of the concepts of vector algebra and calculus are provided as needed. Three lectures, one three-hour laboratory weekly. [4 credits]