Degree Essentials 2014-2015
For information on forthcoming changes to the Biology major and course offerings, please visit the Biology Advising Guide 2015-2016
Associate Professor Jeffrey S. Thompson, Chair
Professors Eric C. Liebl, Tom D. Schultz, Geoffrey R. Smith; Associate Professors Warren D. Hauk, Rebecca N. Homan, Andrew C. McCall, Jessica E. Rettig, Laura A. Romano, Jeffrey S. Thompson, Christine L. Weingart, Lina I. Yoo; Assistant Professors Ayana Hinton, Clare C. Jen, Jenna A. Monroy, Heather J. Rhodes; Academic Administrative Assistant Jenny Etz; Lab Manager/Bioreserve Manager Whitney Stocker
Departmental Guidelines and Goals
The Department of Biology endeavors to provide a comprehensive foundation in concepts and skills across the breadth of biology through an introductory core of three courses that prepares students for a deep exploration of sub-disciplines and research methods through subsequent advanced courses. The core covers the major concepts of biology and basic skills of acquiring and processing information, problem solving, and analyzing data. Our program then allows students the flexibility to explore specific areas of biology in depth through a suite of advanced courses in which they can expand and apply their knowledge and skills.
The major prepares students for careers in science and related fields as well as graduate and professional schools (including pre-medical, pre-dental and pre-veterinary studies), while allowing students the flexibility to design the program that best suits their specific interests and career goals. In addition, biology majors are offered the opportunity to collaborate with faculty in research and laboratory instruction; to present exceptional work at professional meetings; and to assist in the maintenance of the 350-acre Biological Reserve and other departmental facilities. Related programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Medical Technology, Forestry and Natural Resources are described under Pre-Professional Programs.
Requirements for Biology Majors Students majoring in Biology (B.A. or B.S.) complete the three Biology core courses, Introduction to the Science of Biology (150), Cell and Molecular Biology (201) and Ecology and Evolution (202), preferably by the end of their second year. The Department of Biology recommends strongly that students earn a C or better in each of the three core courses before proceeding to 300-level courses. The major requires two semesters of Principles of Chemistry (CHEM 131 and 132; grades of C or better are recommended strongly), five or six 300-level advanced courses (depending on the degree sought), one of which must be designated a “biological diversity” course. Advanced Senior Research (452) is credited as a 300-level course. Any combination of advanced courses may be taken to provide a concentrated preparation in a specific discipline or a broader survey of advanced topics. Directed Study (361, 362), Independent Study (363, 364), and Senior Research (451) are not counted as 300-level advanced courses toward the requirements for majors. It is strongly recommended that majors consult with a Biology advisor in order to design the most appropriate suite of advanced courses for that student.
Student majoring in Biology must satisfactorily complete Biology Assessment I (BIOL 300 - core curriculum assessment exam) and Biology Assessment II (BIOL 301 - senior interview) in order to graduate.
Bachelor of Arts in Biology The requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology consist of the three core courses (Biology 150, 201, 202), five 300-level biology courses (one of which must be a designated “biological diversity” course), and one year of Principles of Chemistry (Chemistry 131 and 132). Advanced Senior Research (452) is credited as a 300-level course. Directed Study (361, 362), Independent Study (363, 364) and Senior Research (451) are not counted as 300-level advanced courses.
Bachelor of Science in Biology The requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology consist of the three core courses (Biology 150, 201, 202), six 300-level biology courses (one of which must be designated a “biological diversity” course), one year of Principles of Chemistry (Chemistry 131 and 132) and five additional courses in mathematics or science. Advanced Senior Research (452) is credited as a 300-level course. Directed Study (361, 362), Independent Study (363, 364) and Senior Research (451) are not counted as 300-level advanced courses. Students pursuing a B.S. in biology increase their experience in biology and become more broadly trained in the sciences. Thus students fulfill the B.S. by taking an additional biology course beyond the requirement for a B.A. and by taking five additional non-biology science or math courses, with no more than three taken in a single department or program. Because the B.S. trains students more liberally as scientists, students are encouraged to fulfill these non-biology courses by selecting classes that “do” science, such as classes that include laboratories. However, any non-biology course within the science division, any environmental studies (ENVS) science course, or Applied Anatomy (PHED 204) will fulfill the B.S. requirement. Biology majors preparing for medical school or most graduate programs, and enrolling after Fall 2012, are advised to take Intermediate Organic Chemistry (CHEM 251) and Biochemistry (CHEM 258), General Physics (Physics 121-122), and two semesters of college-level math (e.g., Calculus (Math 121,123,or 124) or Statistics (Math 102)).
The Biology Minor consists of six courses in Biology. All students electing a minor in Biology must complete the three core courses (Biology 150, 201, 202) plus one semester of chemistry (Chem 131) and three additional 300-level courses. Senior Research (451), Advanced Senior Research (451), Directed Study (361, 362) and Independent Study (363, 364) are not counted as 300-level advanced courses. One of the 300-level courses must be designated a “biological diversity” course.
Biological Diversity Courses: Courses that fulfill the biological diversity requirement emphasize the importance of scientific studies at the level of the whole organism. In these courses students gain a holistic perspective on the study of organisms, explore a variety of living forms through a broad survey of taxa, and evaluate the role of phylogenetic history in taxonomy. Students also use careful observation to learn morphology and diagnostic traits, identify organisms to meaningful taxonomic units, and learn the principles of scientific nomenclature. The 300-level biology courses designated as biological diversity courses are: BIOL 312 Herpetology, BIOL 313 Vertebrate Zoology, BIOL 317 Diversity of Microorganisms, BIOL 320 Plant Systematics, BIOL 326 Plant Evolution & Reproduction, and BIOL 327 Biology of Insects.
Additional Points of Interest
Students may complement their major in biology through study off-campus. Denison University is a member of several consortia that offer course credit through off-campus programs. Those with course offerings relevant to Biology students include: the School for Field Studies, the Organization of Tropical Studies, the Duke University Marine Laboratory, the Semester in Environmental Science, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Institute for Study Abroad, Denmark's International Study Program, and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest Wilderness Field Station. The Department of Biology is committed to awarding credit for courses offered through those programs that provide a sufficient focus on biological concepts and methods (lecture and laboratory). With prior approval from the department, a maximum of two off-campus courses may be credited as advanced electives and counted toward the requirements of the major. The Richard C. and Linda G. Seale Scholarship provides support to qualified Denison students for participation in summer courses at the Duke University Marine Laboratory. Financial aid may be available for other off-campus programs.
Courses for Non-Majors Non-majors are invited to take Modern Topics in Biology (100, 103, or 104), courses designed to explore scientific inquiry and biological concepts through specific topics in the instructor's area of expertise. Introduction to the Science of Biology (150) may be taken by any student to fulfill the General Education requirement for science, but is recommended only for Biology and related majors. Students with Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate credit in Biology may receive credit for Biology 100 without General Education credit. In addition, students who have had extensive biology training in secondary school may petition the Biology department for Biology 100 credit without General Education credit. However, such petitions must be made before the completion of the student's third year at Denison.
Biology and Computational Science Students with an interest in both Biology and Computational Science may pursue a major in Biology with a concentration in Computational Science. Students interested in this option should refer to the description of the Computational Science concentration in the Computer Science section of the catalog, and should consult with a faculty member early in their Denison curriculum.
Biology and Environmental Studies Students with an interest in both Biology and Environmental Studies may pursue a major in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies, or a major in Environmental Studies with a concentration in biology. Students are advised to choose the programmatic path that best suits their post-graduate goals, and to seek early consultation with faculty in Biology and/or Environmental Studies.
Biology and Neuroscience Students with an interest in both Biology and Neuroscience may pursue a major in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Students interested in this option should consult with a Neuroscience faculty member early in their career.