Biology

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The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is to provide a well- rounded education for its majors, which includes understanding core biological principles at the molecular, cellular, organismal, population, and ecosystem levels. The department also seeks to cultivate the analytical skills and curiosity about the biological world that will enable students to be successful professionals, thoughtful citizens, and caretakers of the earth.

Through a range of introductory and advanced courses, the B.S. degree program is designed to provide students with the academic preparation needed to succeed in professional schools in the health sciences (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, etc.) and in graduate programs across the biological disciplines (zoology, botany, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, evolution and ecology, etc.). In addition, the department provides an academic foundation that may lead to direct employment in education, industry, government, and many other fields. Through its broad curriculum, the department helps students to achieve this preparation by requiring them to demonstrate:

  • an understanding of the place biology holds in society and preparedness to successfully pursue a career path; 
  • an understanding of the scientific method, including construction of hypotheses, data collection and analysis and the formulation of conclusions;
  • an understanding of the basic concepts of biology, including: the unity and diversity of life, biological molecules, the cell as a functioning structure, mechanisms of inheritance, principles of ecology, and processes of evolution; and
  • an ability to understand and critique primary scientific literature and communicate effectively to peers in written and verbal form.

For more information about the Biology major leading to a teaching certification, please contact the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Degree Type: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Program Contact: Professor Rick Kopp

 

Majors and Minors

Classes

BIO100 : Science of Life

A general course designed for students other than biology or environmental science majors or minors. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Semester Offered

Fall
Spring

BIO111 : Biological Principles

An introduction to the major themes of biology: organismal diversity, evolution and ecology, and the cellular, genetic, and metabolic basis of life. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Area of Inquiry

Natural Sciences

Semester Offered

Fall
Spring

BIO212 : Cellular and Molecular Biology

An introduction to cell biology, metabolism, genetics, gene expression, and diversity of unicellular organisms. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO 111.

Semester Offered

Spring

BIO214 : Organismal Diversity

An introduction to the biology of multicellular organisms. Lecture topics include reproduction and early development, control of gene expression in development, homeostatic systems of plants and animals, signaling and coordination in plants and animals, and the history of multicellular life. Lab will emphasize the diversity and evolution of multicellular organisms. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO111.

Semester Offered

Fall

BIO260 : Preceptorship in Health Sciences or Veterinary Science

On-site supervised experience in the medical, dental, pharmacy, or veterinary sciences. Forty-eight hours of shadowing required. There will be five evening meetings to discuss topics to prepare for professional school interviews.

Credit Hour(s)

1

Prerequisites

Junior classification with a minimum GPA of 3.2 or permission of instructor.

Semester Offered

Fall
Spring

BIO300 : Marine Biology

An introduction to marine science with an emphasis on the ecology of marine life and marine ecosystems.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

214; 314 recommended.

Semester Offered

Spring (even)

BIO305 : Human Physiology I

The function of the human body with emphasis on cellular and tissue-level structure and function. Topics include cellular physiology and the physiology of the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

BIO212.

Semester Offered

Fall

BIO305L : Human Physiology I Lab: Electrophysiology

This lab is designed to introduce students to the properties of cells and tissues in the nervous, respiratory, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems.  Both the microscopic and electrical properties of cells will be examined.

Credit Hour(s)

1

Corequisites

BIO305.

Semester Offered

Fall

BIO306 : Human Physiology II

A continuation of BIO305. The physiology of the brain and sensory organs, and of the endocrine, digestive, immune, and urogenital systems, with emphasis on cell and tissue structure and function.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

BIO 305.

Semester Offered

Spring

BIO306L : Human Physiology II Lab

This lab is designed to introduced students to the properties of cells and tissues in the nervous, urinary, digestive, reproductive, and immune systems.  Both the microscopic and electrical properties of cells will be examined. 

Credit Hour(s)

1

Corequisites

BIO306.

Semester Offered

Spring

BIO311 : General Microbiology

Introduction to the diversity, cell biology, physiology, genetics, ecology, and medical impact of microorganisms and viruses. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO212.

Semester Offered

Fall

BIO312 : Immunology and Pathogenesis

A study of the bacteria pathogenic to humans and the mechanisms of infection and immunity. Methods of isolation, growth, and identification of the pathogens and serology are emphasized. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

Semester Offered

Spring (odd)

BIO314 : Evolution and Ecology

Study of populations, communities, and ecosystems, and the evolutionary forces that shape them. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

Semester Offered

Spring

BIO316 : Plat Taxonomy and Spring Flora

Principles of classification, identification, and nomenclature of vascular plants. Fieldoriented laboratory emphasizes collection and identification techniques, as well as on-sight recognition of local flora in winter and spring conditions.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO214.

Semester Offered

Spring (odd)

BIO320 : Vertebrate Ecology

An investigation of vertebrate animals emphasizing their ecology, biogeography, and conservation. Special emphasis is placed on life history strategies. Field-oriented laboratory activities include the collection and identification of animals, as well as the gathering and analysis of baseline population data.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO214.

Semester Offered

Fall (odd)

BIO325 : Vertebrate Anatomy and Embryology

A course on the organization, development, and function of the vertebrate body, with emphasis on understanding why vertebrates, including humans, are built as they are. Laboratory includes detailed dissection of sharks and cats and microscopic study of frog and chick embryos. This course provides a strong foundation for the study of medical or veterinary gross anatomy, but it is not intended solely for pre-medical and pre-veterinary students. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO214 or BIO212 or BIO305.

Semester Offered

Spring

BIO327 : Freshwater Biology

Freshwater systems and the nature and interactions of their physical and biotic components. Includes taxonomic identification, emphasizing the algae, invertebrates, and vertebrates. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO214.

Semester Offered

Fall (even)

BIO335 : Genetics and Molecular Biology

Introduction to both classical and molecular genetics using microbial, plant, and animal systems. Modern recombinant DNA techniques and their applications are also discussed. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO212.

Semester Offered

Fall
Spring

BIO337 : Cell Biology

Relationships of intricate cell structures to specialized cell function, including mechanisms associated with growth, differentiation, biochemical activity, physiological behavior. Laboratory.

Credit Hour(s)

4

Prerequisites

BIO212.

Semester Offered

Spring (even)

BIO402 : Seminar I

A topical capstone course which draws upon skills, knowledge, and experiences students have gained throughout their years of college study, particularly in biology. Emphasizes library research, scientific writing, oral presentations, discussion, and critical thinking.

Credit Hour(s)

2

Prerequisites

Junior classification and completion of two of the following with a C or better (BIO212, 214, 314) or
permission of instructor.

Semester Offered

Fall

BIO421 : Developmental Biology

The genetic and cellular mechanisms underlying the development of multicellular organisms. Topics include control of gene expression, pattern formation, and selected topics in animal and plant development. Emphasis on reading and discussion of current research literature.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

BIO212 and BIO402

Semester Offered

Spring (even)

BIO423 : Neurobiology

Selected topics in the function of neurons and brain systems, with an emphasis on reading and discussion of current research literature. Topics include membrane potential and synaptic transmission, mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and memory, visual perception, and the neural basis of consciousness. This course satisfies the senior seminar requirement for the Biology major.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

BIO 212 and 402

Semester Offered

Spring (odd)

BIO435 : Conservation Biology

Examination of the major anthropogenic threats to biological diversity and solutions for preserving this diversity. Topics include the rationale for preserving biodiversity, threats that arise at population community and ecosystem levels, and in- and ex-situ conservation strategies.

Credit Hour(s)

3

Prerequisites

BIO314 and BIO402 or permission of the instructor.

Semester Offered

Spring (even)

BIO440 : Independent Study

An independent research project supervised by a member of the department.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 3

Prerequisites

BIO212 or BIO214 and consent of supervising professor.

Semester Offered

Fall
Spring

BIO460 : Internship

Students may receive graduation credit for internships with appropriate disciplinary content that meet the facultyapproved criteria for academic internships. Such experiences include a significant reflective component and must be supervised by a full-time member of the Georgetown College faculty.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 3

Prerequisites

BIO 111.

BIO470 : Advanced Topics in Biology

Significant topics in biology. Course content varies. Not offered on a regular basis; students should consult the current class schedule.

Credit Hour(s)

1 - 4

Prerequisites

Consent of instructor.