Biology Course Descriptions
111. Controversies in Biology (I; 3, 1.5)
Introduction for the non-science major. Background on molecules, cells, and genetics. Required recitation will include discussions about current advances and controversies in biology. Not for pre-health students. Will not count toward the biology major. Students who take BIOL 111 may not take BIOL 121.
121. 122. Biology for Non-majors (I and II; 3, 3*)
Introductory courses primarily for the non-biology major. BIOL 121 focuses on life at the cellular and biochemical levels, genetics, and biotechnology. The topics covered in BIOL 122 include principles of ecology and evolution, and animal diversity, behavior, structure, and function. It is not necessary to take BIOL 121 prior to taking BIOL 122. These courses are not appropriate preparation for the majority of pre-health graduate programs. Please consult the pre-health professions adviser for more information.
130. Health and Disease (I or II; 3, 0)
A biology course, for non-majors only, that explores the basic biological principles underlying normal health and the most common diseases of humans.
135. Microbiology for Non-majors (AS; 6, 6)
This course is an exploration of the world of bacteria and viruses and will focus on how these organisms impact human life.
150. Plants, People, and the Environment (AI; 3, 0)
The diversity and evolution of plants, fungi, and related organisms with special emphasis on flowering plants; their importance for food, fiber, medicine, and psychoactive compounds; origins of agriculture; domestication of plants; and the role of plants in the environment. No prerequisite required.
205. Introduction to Molecules and Cells (I; 3, 0)
An introductory course which focuses on the molecular biology of cells. Basic biochemical processes, cellular and subcellular structure and function are emphasized. First core course.
206. Organismal Biology (II; 3, 4*)
An introductory course for biology majors emphasizing organisms as dynamic systems by integrating structure with function. Laboratories introduce scientific method and collaborative learning. Second core course. BIOL 205 is strongly recommended as a prerequisite.
207. Genetics (I; 3, 1)
A comprehensive survey of genetic mechanisms and methodologies, including classical genetics, recombinational analysis in bacterial, fungi, and higher eukaryotes, molecular genetics and populational and quantitative genetics. Third core course. Prerequisite: BIOL 205.
208. Principles of Ecology and Evolution (II; 3, 3)
Introduction to systematic biology, evolutionary theory, physiological ecology, behavioral ecology, population and community ecology, and ecosystem structure and function. Fourth core course.
220. Human Anatomy (I; 3, 3*)
A course that focuses on the anatomy of and relationship between human muscles, bones, and organs. Lab involves dissection, with the cat as the primary specimen. Does not count towards the biology major.
221. Human Physiology (II; 3, 3)
A course that focuses on the functions of and interactions between human organ systems. Does not count towards the biology major.
231. Phage Hunters - Part I (I; 0, 4) Half course.
Students in this investigative laboratory course will isolate viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophages) from soil samples and characterize the genome using molecular genetics techniques. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and permission of the instructor. Corequisite: BIOL 207.
232. Phage Hunters - Part II (II; 0, 4) Half course.
Continuation of BIOL 231. Students will learn the theory and application of bioinformatics and genomics to analyze the genome sequence of a bacteriophage isolated from soil samples. Prerequisites: BIOL 231 and permission of the instructor.
245. Tropical Marine Biology (S; 5, 15)
A field course in marine biology of coral reefs in the Virgin Islands for non-science majors. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
266. Animal Behavior (I; 3, 0)
A survey of important theories, issues, and empirical techniques in the interdisciplinary field of animal behavior emphasizing both proximate and ultimate mechanisms and explanations for behavior. Crosslisted as ANBE 266 and PSYC 266.
302. Microbiology (II; 3, 4)
Ultra-structure, behavior, metabolism, molecular biology, and development of micro-organisms. Roles in disease and food production. Laboratory will emphasize cultivation and identification. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 207, and permission of the instructor.
304. Biology of Cancer (I or II; 3, 0)
The study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that create cancer. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 207, and permission of the instructor.
312. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (I; 3, 3*)
Gross morphology with emphasis on functional and evolutionary modifications of animal structure. Gross dissection and techniques used in morphology. Prerequisites: BIOL 122 or BIOL 206 and permission of the instructor.
313. Mammalogy (AI; 3, 3*)
Biology of mammals, including evolution, classification, biodiversity, behavior, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and conservation. Lab will include specimen identification, preparation, and field study. Prerequisites: BIOL 206 and permission of the instructor.
314. Amphibian Biology and Conservation (I; 3, 3)
The biology of amphibians, including classification, physiology, reproduction, ecology, evolution, and conservation. Laboratory section will include identification of amphibians and field work to identify conservation issues surrounding local amphibian populations. Prerequisites: BIOL 206, BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor.
316. Plant Growth and Development (AI; 3, 3)
The physiological and molecular bases of growth and development at the organ, tissue, and cellular levels. Effects of environmental stimuli and hormones on gene expression and the resultant changes at higher levels of organization. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 206, and permission of the instructor.
318. Principles of Physiology (I or II; 3, 3)
Emphasizes the breadth of physiology and explores physiological principles of animals from a cellular, organismal, medical, and ecological framework. Laboratory focuses on experimental design and independent research. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 206 and permission of the instructor.
319. 320. Seminar (I or II; R; 3, 0)
321. Behavioral Ecology (II; 3, 0)
The consideration of behavioral adaptations to various ecological situations. Topics include habitat choice, foraging behavior, defenses against predation, mate choice, and brood care. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 321.
322. Physiological Mechanisms (AII; 4, 3)
Integration of cell and organ physiology; emphasis on protein, ion transport, nerve and muscle physiology, cardiovascular, renal, and respiratory systems. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and permission of the instructor.
323. Mammalian Histology (II; 3, 3)
A detailed study of the microscopic architecture and associated physiology of mammalian cells, tissues, and organ systems. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 and permission of the instructor.
324. Neurophysiology (I; 3, 0)
A study of neural signaling via stimulus-response with an emphasis on cellular integration. Sensory-motor as well as more complex brain systems will be explored. Prerequisities: BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 or NEUR 100 and permission of the instructor.
326. Cytogenetics (II; 3, 3)
Study of chromosome structure, organizations, aberrations, and behavior. Multiple eukaryotic systems will be considered, with links to human disease. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 207 and permission of the instructor.
327. Molecular Biology (I and/or II; 3, 3)
Synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein, and the regulation of these processes both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; laboratory experience in the manipulation and analysis of genes. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 207 and permission of the instructor.
328. Endocrinology (I; 3, 0)
Regulation and function of hormones and their receptors from molecular to organismal levels. Role of hormones in development, physiology, and behavior; endocrine disease. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 and permission of the instructor.
330. Plant Systematics (II; 3, 3)
Exploration of the diversity of plant life on Earth through lectures, labs, and field trips; includes biogeography, natural history, evolutionary relationships, ethnobotanical uses, and identification. Prerequisite: BIOL 206 or permission of the instructor.
332. Developmental Neurobiology (II; 3, 0)
Primary literature-based senior seminar on topics in developmental neurobiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 207, and either BIOL 206 or NEUR 100, junior or senior status, and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as NEUR 332.
334. Limnology (I; 3, 3)
The physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of freshwater communities are studied. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor.
337. Biology of Aging (I; 3, 0)
This course will explore questions in the biology of aging from a physiological, genetic, and evolutionary framework with an emphasis on critical reading of primary literature. Prerequisite: BIOL 206 or NEUR 100 and permission of the instructor.
339. Developmental Biology (II; 3, 3*)
This course provides an introduction to early animal development with emphasis on the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that drive the formation of the embryo. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 or NEUR 100 and permission of the instructor.
340. Biochemical Methods (II; 2, 6)
A course in laboratory techniques including cell fractionation and analysis of proteins and nucleic acids. Spectrophotometry, chromatography, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and methods of molecular cloning are emphasized. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and CHEM 351 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as CHEM 358.
341. Organic Evolution (AII; 3, 3)
The principles and mechanisms of evolution in plants and animals, covering population phenomena, speciation, life history strategies, adaptation, systematics, and biogeography. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 341.
342. Neuroethology (I or II; 3, 0)
A course that integrates neurobiology and behavior in natural contexts. Emphasis on signal detection, recognition, discrimination, localization, orientation, and the control of complex acts. Neuronal and hormonal mechanisms, ontogeny and evolution of behavior will be considered. Prerequisites: BIOL 206 or NEUR 100 and BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 342.
347. Virology (II; 3, 2)
The study of virus structure, genome organization, replication and host-interactions. Emphasis will be on animal and bacterial viruses. Prerequisites: BIOL 205, BIOL 207, and permission of the instructor.
348. Immunology (II; 3, 3*)
Development and function of the immune system in animals. The immune response in health and disease. Techniques in immunology. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and BIOL 206 or NEUR 100 and permission of the instructor.
349. Special Topics in Biology (I or II; 3, 0)
Topics vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
351. Field Botany (I; 3, 1)
Outdoor field experience in plant diversity and ecology. Excursions to natural areas focused on identification, community dynamics, and ecological interactions/adaptations. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor.
352. Cell Biology (I; 3, 3)
Covers biomembranes, cell growth patterns, cell signaling, the cytoskeleton, cell organelles, and microscopic technique. Laboratory includes experience with cell culture. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and permission of the instructor.
353. Ecosystem Ecology (AI or AII; 3, 1)
Interactions between organisms and physical and chemical environment including nutrient cycling and energy flow, global biogeochemistry, temporal and spatial dynamics of ecosystems. Prerequisites: BIOL 208, junior or senior status, and permission of the instructor.
354. Tropical Ecology (I or II; 3, 0)
Introduction to tropical ecology, including life history strategies of vertebrates and invertebrates, biodiversity management and conservation. Emphasis on class and individual projects, data collection, and journal keeping. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 354.
355. Social Insects (I; 3, 3)
Evolution and genetics of social behavior, caste, communication in foraging and colony defense, queen and worker control over reproduction, social homeostasis, and population dynamics. Occasionally may be taught as a laboratory science. Prerequisites: BIOL 208 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 355. Juniors and seniors only.
358. Invertebrate Zoology (AI; 3, 3)
A survey of the invertebrate phyla covering phylogenetic relationships, functional morphology, ecology, life histories, symbiosis, ontogeny, and behavior. Includes hands-on study of organisms in lab and field. Prerequisites: BIOL 206, BIOL 208, and permission of the instructor.
359. General Entomology (AI; 3, 3)
The biology of insects and their kin: anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior, development, evolution, systematics, and diversity. Prerequisites: BIOL 206, BIOL 208, and permission of the instructor.
365. Introduction to Microscopy (II; 3, 3)
This course is designed as an overview of light and electron microscopy, with emphasis placed on the use of instrumentation. Prerequisites: BIOL 352 and permission of the instructor.
370. Primate Behavior and Ecology (I; 3, 3*)
Introduction to research on prosimians, monkeys, and apes, including diversity, social evolution, sexual selection, reproduction, social behavior, and cognitive abilities. Prerequisites: BIOL 122 or BIOL 208, or BIOL 266 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE/PSYC 370.
399. Undergraduate Research (I or II or S; R; 0, 6* or 12*) Half to two courses.
Open to qualified juniors and seniors with the permission of the instructor.
Courses offered occasionally
331 Functional Genomics, 346 Environmental Physiology, 356 Plant Animal Interactions, 357 Ornithology, 361 Systematic Biology