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Biology Courses

Course information found here includes all permanent offerings and is updated regularly whenever Academic Senate approves changes. For historical information, see the Course Catalogs. For actual course availability in any given term, use Course Search in the Portal.

  • BIOL 111. Zoology (1). A survey of the animal kingdom with consideration of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, structure and function, ecology, evolution, and behavior of invertebrates and vertebrates. The course stresses scientific principles and experimental methods. Students design, perform, analyze, and report on small research projects. Laboratory work requires dissection. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods per week. (4U) Offered yearly.

  • BIOL 121. Botany (1). The structure and function of plants emphasizing adaptations to the environment. The course focuses on the ecology, evolution, reproduction, physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and genetics of flowering plants. The course stresses scientific principles and experimental methods. Students design, perform, analyze, and report on small research projects. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods per week. (4U) Offered yearly.

  • BIOL 172. Topics in Introductory Biology (1). The molecular and cellular biology, genetics, structure and function, ecology, and evolution of organisms, with an emphasis on scientific principles and experimental methods. Students design, perform, analyze, and report on small research projects. Laboratory work may require dissection. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods per week. (4U) Offered occasionally.

  • BIOL 210. Paleontology (1). The history of life from its origins to the present. The preservation, distribution, and identification of invertebrate fossils as well as selected vertebrate and plant fossils. Competing evolutionary theories are evaluated in the perspective of geologic time. Fossils are studied as once-living organisms that were adapting to changing environments and part of a biological community. Lecture, discussion, laboratory, and field study. One weekend field trip. (Also listed as Geology 210.) Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: Geology 105 or Anthropology 120 or 1 course in biology. Geology 100 or 110 recommended.

  • BIOL 215. Emerging Diseases (1). An exploration of the relationships between microorganisms, environment, and diseases. General principles of genetics and evolution, as well as historical and political factors, are examined in an effort to explain the emergence of new diseases. Laboratory experiences include basic microbiology, data analysis, simulations, and survey research. Small groups of students design, perform, analyze, and report on a research project. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods per week. (4U) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: one college-level biology course.

  • BIOL 217. Evolution (1). An exploration of descent with modification and the evolutionary history of life on earth. The history and philosophy of evolutionary theory, the genetic basis of microevolution, contemporary hypotheses of speciation, and phylogenetic systematics comprise the major course material. Small groups of students design, perform, analyze, and report on a research project. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods or three lecture-discussion class periods and one laboratory period per week. Occasional Saturday field trips may be required. (4U) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: one of the following: one college-level biology course, Anthropology 120, 324, Geology 210, or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 237. Cell Biology (1). A comprehensive analysis of cell structure and function and the molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular physiology, with a focus on eukaryotic cell biology. Topics include: origin and evolution of cells and cellular organelles, structure, synthesis, and regulation of biomolecules, membrane structure and transport, the cytoskeleton, the extracellular matrix and cell adhesion, cell motility, cell signaling, cell division and cell cycle regulation, cancer and cell stress, aging, and death. Small groups of students design, perform, analyze, and report on a research project. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods or three one-hour lecture-discussion class periods and one laboratory period per week. (4U) Offered each fall. Prerequisite: one college-level biology course or consent of the instructor.

  • BIOL 247. Biometrics (1). The application of statistical methods to the solution of biological problems. Experimental design, sampling methods, and statistical analysis of data using both parametric and nonparametric methods are introduced. Computer-supported statistical packages are used in laboratory exercises. Small groups of students design, perform, analyze, and report on a research project. Three two-hour lecture-laboratory periods per week. Offered each semester. Prerequisite: one college-level biology course or consent of instructor. To register for this course, students must apply to the instructor in advance of the course registration period; preference is given to biology and biochemistry majors.

  • BIOL 256. Anatomy (1). How does anatomical structure influence cellular and organismal function? The central focus of this course will be the investigation of human anatomy evaluated by functional analysis and in an evolutionary context by comparing similarities and differences among vertebrates. Anatomy of human development will also be emphasized. Laboratory work requires dissection. Offered every other fall. Prerequisite: One biology course and one chemistry course at the college level are required, and a statistics course is preferred, or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 257. Human Physiology (1). An investigation of physiological concepts, such as structure-function relationships and homeostasis, in the human body. While the primary focus of this course is the regulation of human physiological systems in normal and diseased states, animal models are used for comparative analysis. Students are required to prepare oral and written presentations, as well as conduct and present a group research project. Laboratory work requires dissection. (CP) Offered yearly. Prerequisite: Biology 247, Chemistry 117, and at least 1 additional college-level biology course, or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 260. Nutrition and Metabolism: Biochemical Mechanisms (1). Molecular biology, bioenergetics, and regulation of cellular processes. Metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids. Laboratory experiments investigate metabolism and electron transport utilizing techniques for preparation and purification of enzymes, carbohydrates, and lipids. Three class periods and one laboratory period per week. (Also listed as Chemistry 260.) Offered each spring. Prerequisite: Chemistry 230 and either any college-level biology course or Chemistry 235.

  • BIOL 289. Genetics and Evolution (1). Mendelian, population, quantitative, and molecular genetics are developed through a problem-solving approach. Small groups of students design, perform, analyze, and report on a research project. Three lecture-discussion class periods and one laboratory period per week. Offered each fall. Prerequisite: one college-level biology course and Biology 247 (concurrent enrollment permitted) or consent of instructor .

  • BIOL 300. DNA and Protein Biochemistry (1). At the fundamental chemical level, how do cells maintain and extract information from DNA to build and utilize proteins? Considerable emphasis on the chemical basis of biological information storage and processing, structure and function of proteins, enzyme catalysis theory, and quantitative analysis of enzyme kinetics. Two three-hour combined class and laboratory periods per week. (Also listed as Chemistry 300.) Offered each fall. (CP) Prerequisite: Chemistry 220, 235, and either any college-level biology course or Chemistry 240.

  • BIOL 340. Neuroscience (.5, 1). A structure/function-based analysis of the nervous system from molecules to systems. The course will investigate cellular neuroscience, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurotransmission, and sensory and motor systems organization to understand information integration within the nervous system. Laboratory exercises may include anatomy, physiological measurements of neural conduction, cell biology techniques, dissection, and experiments with mice. Students improve their understanding of a specific topic of neuroscience by working in small groups to conduct and present a research project. Offered occasionally. (CP) Prerequisite: Biology 247 or another statistics course, Chemistry 117, and at least 1 of the following courses: Biology 237, 256, 260, 289, 300, 345, 357, Chemistry 260, 300, or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 345. Molecular Biology (.5, 1). Molecular biology lies at the intersection of biochemistry and genetics, investigating how genes are stored and transmitted from one generation to the next and how genes affect physical traits in individual cells and whole organisms. Main topics may include: transcription, translation, replication and repair, molecular organization of genes, gene and protein structure, and molecular biotechnology. This course will focus on experimental design in modern molecular biology. Offered occasionally. (CP) Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and Biology 289, or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 347. Food Microbiology (1). This course will investigate the molecular, physiological, and ecological mechanisms of bacterial and archaeal microbes that are relevant to the production, preservation, and spoilage of foods. Topics may include: foodborne diseases, principles of food preservation, food spoilage, and foods produced by microbes. Students will learn methods of microbe isolation, culturing, and identification in the lab and use these methods to analyze foods made in the kitchen. Prerequisite: three college level biology courses

  • BIOL 372. Ecology (1). Ecology is the study of interactions among organisms and interactions between organisms and the nonliving environment. Ecologists study these interactions to understand the patterns of organism abundance and distribution of organisms that occur in different ecosystems. In this course, students examine these interactions at the population, community, ecosystem, and landscape levels through classroom, field, and laboratory activities. Contemporary questions about sustainability, biological diversity, and global change will be examined at each of these levels using quantitative methods. Students design, perform, analyze, and report on a major research project. Three lecture-discussion class periods and one laboratory period per week. Offered every other year. (CP) Prerequisite: junior or senior standing, 2 college-level biology courses and a statistics course (Biology 247, Mathematics 106, Anthropology 240, Psychology 162, or Sociology 205), or consent of instructor.

  • BIOL 375. Advanced Topics in Biology. (.5,1). Topics vary. Designed to pursue advanced topics in biology. May be repeated for credit if topic is different. (CP) Offered occasionally. Prerequisite: established individually for each offering.

  • BIOL 391. Directed Readings in Biology (.5, 1). Individual study under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor and chair of biology department.

  • BIOL 392. Independent Research in Biology (.5, 1). Research project conducted by a student with supervision by a faculty member. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor and chair of biology department.

  • BIOL 395. Teaching Assistant (.5). Work with faculty in classroom and laboratory instruction. Graded credit/no credit. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor and chair of biology department.

  • BIOL 396. Teaching Assistant Research (.5). Course, laboratory, and curriculum development projects with faculty. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Consent of faculty supervisor and chair of biology department.

  • BIOL 398. Professional Experience (Non-Credit). An opportunity to acknowledge on a student¬ís permanent transcript experience as a teaching assistant, in the preparation or design of laboratory materials, or as a research assistant. Prerequisite: consent of faculty supervisor. Consent of faculty supervisor and chair of biology department.