B.S. Biology

Requirements for a B.S. in Biology

Mission Statement and Student Learning Goals for a B.S. in Biology
Within the framework of a small, liberal arts college in which the main focus is education of undergraduates, the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to quality education in different disciplines of biology.  In a departmental setting that emphasizes academic excellence and direct dialog between the professor and the students through small class size and accessibility of the professor, all students taking courses in the biological sciences are taught scientific reasoning, quantitative analysis, and the powers of observation and critical thinking.
The curriculum has been designed to provide students a broad base of understanding of principles governing life processes from molecular to ecosystem levels of organization.  Students are taught respect for life, the environment and the place of humans in the biosphere.  They are made aware of biological issues that have an impact on their lives regardless of their major or career aspirations.  The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is, in summary, to provide quality education with emphasis on critical thinking and biological relevance to all students--majors and non-majors--within the context of a larger liberal arts setting.

By graduation, biology majors should possess or have demonstrated

♦ a basic knowledge of fundamental concepts in cell and molecular biology, and genetics.
♦ a general knowledge of organismal biology and biodiversity.
♦ a clear conceptual knowledge of ecological and evolutionary principles.
♦ a basic knowledge of statistical analysis.

Requirements for a Major in Biology (B.S.)

A minimum of 18 units with the following distribution:
Foundation requirements - 5 units as follows:
Biology 213, 215, 217, 219, and 221
Upper-level requirements - 2 units as follows:
Biology 311, 333
Upper-level elective requirements - 3 units chosen from the following:
Any 300-level or higher Biology or Microbiology course(s) with a laboratory, or BI 493 or CH 517
or a second Capstone Course (listed below)
Senior Learning Community and Capstone - 2 units:
Biology 400E (zero units) and 400
Biology 492 or 496
Cognate courses - 4 units of Chemistry and 2 units of Physics:
Chemistry 111, 112, 211, and either Chemistry 212 or 517 (if not used as an elective);
Physics 131, 132 or Physics 141, 142.

A laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered.  Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently.  Courses used to calculate the major index include all courses in biology.  It is strongly recommended that biology majors complete Mathematics 121 to fulfill the mathematics requirement for the college.
Download pdf of requirements and suggested course sequence.  Download pdf of Senior Learning Community.

Requirements for a Combined Major in Biology and Minor in Chemistry

18 units required for the major in biology, and any two additional units in chemistry above Chemistry 212.

Requirements for a Minor in Biology

A minimum of five units in biology, including BI 213 and at least two additional courses at the 200-level or higher.

Majors other than in microbiology may count one course in microbiology as part of the minor.
A laboratory section must be taken as part of any course for which a laboratory section is offered.  Lecture and laboratory must be taken concurrently. Students intending to minor in biology should seek the advice of a member of the biology faculty in selecting the elective courses, since there are numerous paths to the various career goals in biology.
Courses in Biology
(An asterisk indicates that a non-refundable laboratory fee is required.)
110 Environmental Biology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly. Designed for non-science majors and environmental studies minors, this course provides an introduction to the living world and human impacts on it.  Fundamental ecological concepts are presented to show how nature works as a web of interconnected factors.  Major environmental problems and their possible solutions are discussed. Offered fall and spring.

120 Human Biology. One unit. Three hours of lecture weekly. This course is designed for non-science majors only. In the beginning of the course the evolutionary origins of humans are discussed. The basics of human biology are then presented at different levels of organization. The students are introduced to the basics of atoms, molecules, cells, tissues and organs. The largest part of the course addresses at an introductory level the structure and function of the different organ systems, including their importance for human health and disease. On the level of the whole organism, the students are introduced to human development and genetics. At the end, the course discusses human ecology, including the impact of humans on the environment. Offered as needed.

121 Human Reproductive Biology. One unit. Three hours of lecture weekly. This course is designed for non-science majors. The first half of the course will provide a brief review of basic biological principles that are required for understanding the subsequent topics on human reproductive biology.  The second half of the course will cover topics that are important for the individual as well as society.  These include menstruation, contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases, gender issues including biology of attraction between partners, development of the fetus and the birth process, reproductive engineering such as 'sex selection,' egg and sperm production, fertilization, in vitro fertilization and surrogate mothers.  Differences between the male and female brain and their function will also be discussed.  Students will present an expanded discussion of a topic of interest to them related to this course and selected at random.  Offered as needed.

125 Genes to Genomics.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture weekly.  This course is designed for non-science majors interested in the problems and promises associated with modern-day genetics.  Discoveries and technological advances in genetics are taught with an emphasis on the social, moral, ethical issues facing society today. Offered as needed.

130 Exploring Biology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  This course is designed for non-science majors only.  Topics to be discussed include the scientific method, cells and metabolism, microbiological organisms, animal and plant systems, genetics, evolution, and ecology. Offered as needed.*

135 Evolution. One unit. Three hours of lecture weekly.  This course, designed for non-science majors, discusses fundamental evolutionary principles that determine the vast diversity of life, including Darwin's journey of discovery and the roles of genes and environments in natural selection.  The course will also focus on scientific questions such as how life itself evolved, as well as controversial social issues such as the evolution of social behavior and the concept of intelligent design. Offered as needed.

209 Human Anatomy and Physiology I.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  The study of human anatomy and physiology. Lecture topics include animal cell structure and function, tissues, and a survey of human physiological systems.  The anatomy and physiology of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, and respiratory systems are covered relative to their roles in homeostatis.  Laboratory exercises demonstrate the anatomy and processes of these systems. Primarily for majors in health sciences.  Not recommended as a sole course in biology to meet distribution requirements.  Instructor's permission required.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

210 Human Anatomy and Physiology II.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  A continuation of Biology 209. Lecture topics include the anatomy and physiology of the nervous, digestive, urinary, and endocrine systems.  Emphasis is placed on the interaction between systems in maintaining the tissue environment.  Prerequisite: Biology 209 or permission of the instructor.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

213 Cells, Genes, and Evolution.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  A course designed to familiarize students with fundamental biological principles emphasizing evolution and speciation; cell chemistry, structure and function; Mendelian and population genetics.  Laboratory experiments give students hands-on experience with various aspects of evolution, cell biology, and genetics.    Cross-listed as Microbiology 213.  Primarily for science majors.  Not recommended as a sole course in biology to meet distribution requirements. Offered fall and spring semesters.*

215 Biodiversity and Ecology.  One unit.  Five hours of combined lecture and laboratory weekly.  This course is designed to familiarize students with the classification of organisms within their respective kingdoms, as well as fundamental principles of ecology. This course is not recommended for non-science majors.  Prerequisite: Biology 213.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

216 General Pathology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  A course in the principles, techniques, and clinical significance of standard clinical laboratory procedures in hematology, clinical biochemical analyses, and immunohematology.  Cross-listed as Microbiology 216.  Prerequisites: Two units of biology or microbiology; Chemistry 112.   Offered spring semester.*

217 Forms and Functions of Life.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly. In the beginning, this course familiarizes the students with the energetic basis of life, discussing the processes of photosynthesis, fermentation and respiration. The course then addresses the anatomy and physiology of plants and animals in general, as well as on the level of a number of specific functions, including water and electrolyte balance, nutrition and sensory systems. This course discusses comparative aspects of forms and functions as various organismal groups adopt similar structural and physiological solutions to address similar environmental challenges. This course is not recommended for non-science majors. Prerequisite: Biology 213. Offered fall and spring semesters.*

219 Gene Expression and Development.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly. A course designed to familiarize students with fundamental biological principles emphasizing DNA replication, transcription, translation, control of gene expression, and genomics. Gametogenesis, fertilization, early embryonic development, sex, and reproduction are considered in light of the molecular mechanisms involved.  Laboratory experiments give students hands-on experience with various aspects of molecular biology and development. This course is not recommended for non-science majors.  Prequisite: Biology 213.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

221 Biostatistics and Experimental Design.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and one hour of recitation weekly.  This course provides an introduction to hypothesis testing, experimental design, and the statistical treatment of biological information.  Fundamental aspects of data analysis are presented, including parametric and nonparametric testing procedures commonly used in biological research. Cross-listed as Microbiology 221.  Offered fall and spring semesters.

291 Special Topics in Biology.  One unit.  Weekly lecture(s).  Discussion and analysis of problems in biology which are not covered in regular course work.  The specific content of the course will remain flexible in response to student and departmental interest. Special topics may be taken more than once with differing subject matters.  Offered periodically; consult department chair.

304 Animal Behavior.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture, one hour of recitation, and two hours of laboratory weekly.  This course examines the principles of animal behavior from several perspectives, such as classical ethology, behavioral ecology and sociobiology, comparative psychology, behavior genetics, behavioral endocrinology, and neuroethology.  Such topics as communication, social organization, sexual selection, habitat selection, and the nature-nurture debate are investigated. Prerequisites: Biology 213 and either Biology 215 or Psychology 101.  Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.*

306 Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory/recitation weekly. A study of the nervous system with special emphasis on the human brain and spinal cord.  Chemical, histological, anatomical and physiological aspects are covered.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217 and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have two major courses in biology and permission of the instructor.  Offered spring semester.*

311 Genetics.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory and one hour of recitation weekly.  Topics covered include classical genetics. human genetics, developmental and cancer genetics, population and evolutionary genetics. A weekly recitation deals with problems from the end of each chapter.  Laboratory exercises include chromosome preparation from plants and animals, including humans; karyotyping and pedigree analyses;Drosophila experiments using a virtual fly laboratory; cancer genetics; and testing the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium model.  Movies on recent developments in genetics and journal articles are assigned for classroom discussions and student presentations.  Prerequisites include the following five foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217, 219, and 221. Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 219 and 221 (or equivalent) and permission of the instructor.  Chemistry 112 is a prerequisite for all students.  Offered fall semester.*

312 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy.  One unit.  Two hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory weekly. In the beginning of this lab-intensive course, the evolution of vertebrates within the phylum Chordata is discussed. The morphological and anatomical similarities and diversities of the vertebrate classes are then studied on the level of their organ systems. Through these studies students uncover evolutionary relationships between the different vertebrate groups and become aware of different adaptations to environmental challenges. Laboratories use the vertebrate collection and concentrate on dissections of representatives of the different vertebrate classes. During the laboratories the students compose their personal dissection guide for vertebrates.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217 and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 217 and permission of the instructor.  Offered fall semester of odd-numbered years.*

316 Invertebrate Zoology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory weekly.  A study of the structure, function, classification, and life histories of the major groups of invertebrates.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217 and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 130 or 215 and permission of the instructor.  Offered as needed.*

319 General Botany.  One unit.  Two hours of lecture and two laboratories of two hours weekly.  A basic survey of the Plant Kingdom, including anatomy, development, reproduction, physiology, and evolution.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217, and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 130 or Biology 215 and permission of the instructor.  Offered as needed.*

323 Basic Medical Histology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory weekly.  This course covers light-microscopic characteristics of the four basic tissue types of the body of vertebrate animals including humans.  It also focuses on microscopic anatomy of different organs.  Emphasis is made on the relationship between the structure and function of cells and tissues that is fundamental for maintaining homeostasis and central to understanding histopathology, which in turn is crucial to medicine.  In the laboratory, students familiarize themselves with the concepts of light microscopy, learn the basic procedures of tissue preparation (histotechniques), and practice light microscopic tissue analysis.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217, and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 217 and permission of the instructor.  Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.*

324 Endocrinology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture weekly.  A survey of the various endocrine glands of the human body.  Attention is given to the secretion of hormones, their effects on target tissue metabolism, and resulting physiological effects.  The relations between the endocrine and nervous systems are emphasized.  Controls over higher-center hormone release and target secondary hormone secretion are discussed. Prerequisite: Biology 333. Offered as needed.

326 Environmental Issues.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and discussion weekly. Lectures focus on principles of conservation biology and environmental science. A large portion of the course involves discussion of current environmental issues, such as global warming, resource use, and biodiversity. Prerequisite: Biology 110 or 215.  Offered as needed.

333 Animal Physiology.  One unit.  Six hours combined lecture, laboratory, and seminar weekly. This course is a comprehensive study of the basic concepts, principles, and mechanisms of the function of animals. After familiarizing the students with the structure and function of different specialized animal cells and tissues (cell physiology), the course addresses the anatomy and physiology of animal organs and organ systems (systems physiology) in a comparative approach. The course involves oral and poster presentations by students about selected topics of comparative animal physiology. During laboratories the students work in groups on supervised experimental projects conducted with invertebrate animals that are collected and maintained by the students themselves.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217 and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 217 and permission of the instructor.  All students are required to have completed Chemistry 112. Offered fall semester.*

335  Natural History of the Mid-Atlantic States. One unit. Combined lecture and laboratory. This class is an intensive summer field course involving trips to several nearby locations, such as the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Jamaica Bay, the Hackensack Meadowlands, and the American Museum of Natural History. There will be also two overnight trips, to witness the horseshoe crab spawning/shorebird migration spectacle in Delaware Bay and to hunt for marine fossils in the Pocono Mountains. Students will gain exposure to the organisms, ecology, and geology of a wide variety of habitat types, as well as to basic methodology for field studies. Prerequisites: Biology 215 or permission of the instructor. Offered in summer as needed.*

397 G, P, or N  Internship in Biology.  One or zero units.  Research or teaching experience for at least 105 hours at a research facility or in a teaching laboratory where there is supervised, hands-on involvement in daily activities.  The student will maintain a log describing day-to-day activities and the times and hours worked.  A final paper in which the student evaluates the work experience is required.  Other possible requirements will be determined by the faculty member overseeing the student’s progress.  The student’s on-site supervisor will complete a written evaluation of the student’s performance and submit it to the faculty supervisor.  Students registered for this course as BI 397G will receive a letter grade; those registered as BI 397P will be taking the course on a pass/fail basis; those registered as BI 397N will be taking the course for no credit (registration fee required).  This course cannot be used to meet requirements for the senior Reflective Tutorial in Biology (BI 400) nor does it count towards completion of the requirements for the biology major.  Interested students should contact the Center for Academic and Career Development.  Prerequisites:  Biology 213 and permission of department chair.  Offered as needed.

400E Experiential Component of Senior Thesis in Biology.  Zero units.  This zero-unit course is the experiential component of the senior learning community and is linked to Reflective Tutorial in Biology (Biology 400).  It includes at least 100 hours of research.  The research experience must be completed prior to Biology 400, as determined by the chair of the student's senior thesis committee.  This experiential component serves as the basis for the research paper completed in Biology 400.  Prerequisite:  Biology 221 or Psychology 116.  Cross-listed with Microbiology 400E.  Permission of Departmental Senior Reflective Tutorial Coordinator required.  Offered fall, spring, and summer.*

400 Senior Thesis in Biology.  One unit.  This course is linked to a completed research experience which includes at least 100 hours of research.  This course must be taken during the senior year, as part of the senior learning community, by all biology majors, as well as biopsychology majors who have advisors in the Department of Biological Sciences. The student analyzes his/her own data and completes an original research paper.  Writing follows standard scientific journal formats.  Each student is required to successfully defend his/her paper before a senior thesis committee.  All students are also expected to present their findings publicly in oral or poster form using venues that are deemed appropriate by the instructor.  Cross-listed with Microbiology 400. Prerequisite: Completion of research experience (BI 400E), as determined by the chair of the student's senior thesis committee, is required prior to the beginning of this course.  Offered fall and spring semesters.

412 Developmental Biology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory weekly.  This course examines the principles and mechanisms that govern the development of multicellular organisms.  Differentiation and pattern formation, morphogenesis and organogenesis in plants and animals are explored in this course.  Other topics of interest include formation of symmetry, sex determination, metamorphosis, and problems associated with development. Prerequisites:  The following four foundation Biology courses: 213, 215, 217, and 219.  Students not majoring in Biology should have BI 219 and permission of the instructor.  All students are required to have completed CH 112.  Offered as needed.

413 Marine Ecology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture weekly.  After a general description of physical and chemical parameters in marine waters, the course focuses on benthic and pelagic life in different marine environments such as the sunlit ocean surface, deep-sea communities, upwelling areas, coral reefs, submerged vegetation communities, and estuaries.  The main emphasis is on those biological factors that allow selected species to survive in different marine ecosystems.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  213, 215, 217, and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should have Biology 215 and permission of the instructor.  Offered as needed.

490 Biology Research for Elementary School Teachers.  One unit.  Independent but supervised research experience open only to dual majors in Childhood Education and Natural Science.  Recommended for students in their junior or senior year.  The student spends at least four hours per week researching, designing, and possibly testing pedagogical tools to enhance teaching and learning of biological concepts required to be taught in elementary school by the New York State Department of Education.  Prerequisites: Biology 120, 213, 215, Nursing 224, and permission of the department chair.  Offered as needed.

492 Ecological and Evolutionary Theory.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture, two hours of laboratory, and one hour of recitation/discussion weekly.  Theoretical issues in ecology and evolutionary biology are discussed, including models or population growth and community interactions, behavioral ecology, population and quantative genetics, macroevolution, and current controversies. Senior status required. Prerequisites: BI 213, 215 and permission of the instructor.   Offered spring semester.*

493 Undergraduate Research in Biology I.  One unit.  A minimum of eight hours per week of supervised research on a selected topic culminating in a research paper using the format of any preferred scientific journal in biology.  A minimum of 10 references to the selected topic is required.  Students taking this course for credit may not use the research experience to meet Biology 400E requirements for the senior learning community.  Permission of the instructor is required.  Prerequisites include the following four foundation biology courses:  Biology 213, 215, 217, and 219.  Students not majoring in biology should seek permission of chairs of his/her own department and of the Department of Biological Sciences.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

494 Undergraduate Research in Biology II.  One unit.  A minimum of eight hours per week of supervised research on the same selected topic as in Biology 493.  A rare student has the possibility of completing the research started as Biology 493 for publication consideration.  The course culminates in a research paper using the format of the scientific journal selected for consideration for publication.  An additional 10 references to the selected topic are required.  Students taking this course for credit may not use the research experience to meet Biology 400E requirements for the senior learning community.  Permission of the instructor is required.  Prerequisite: Biology 493.  Offered fall and spring semesters.*

496 Molecular Cell Biology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory weekly.  An examination of current knowledge concerning eukaryotic cell structures and functions.  Topics covered include cell organelles, membranes and membrane trafficking, the nucleus and nuclear membrane, cell signaling and communication.  A molecular perspective is emphasized throughout the course. Cross-listed as Microbiology 496.  Senior status required. Prerequisites: Biology 213, 219 and permission of the instructor.    Offered spring semester.*

497 G, P, or N  Internship in Biology.  Two or zero units.  Research or teaching experience for at least 210 hours at a research facility or in a teaching laboratory where there is supervised, hands-on involvement in daily activities.  The student will maintain a log describing day-to-day activities and the times and hours worked.  A final paper in which the student evaluates the work experience is required.  Other possible requirements will be determined by the faculty member overseeing the student’s progress.  The student’s on-site supervisor will complete a written evaluation of the student’s performance and submit it to the faculty supervisor.  Students registered for this course as BI 497G will receive a letter grade; those registered as BI 497P will be taking the course on a pass/fail basis; those registered as BI 497N will be taking the course for no credit (registration fee required).  This course cannot be used to meet requirements for the senior Reflective Tutorial in Biology (BI 400) nor does it count towards completion of the requirements for the biology major.  Interested students should contact the Center for Academic and Career Development.  Prerequisites:  Biology 213 and permission of department chair.  Offered as needed.
517 Electron Microscopy. One unit.  Six hours of combined lecture and laboratory weekly.  The principles and use of the transmission and scanning electron microscopes are covered.  Students learn the basic techniques of electron microscopic tissue processing and microphotography.  Each student must prepare a final technical report including examples of their own microphotographs.  Cross-listed as Microbiology 517.  Prerequisites: Biology/Microbiology 213 or Microbiology 200, and CH 111, 112.  Not open to students completing Microbiology 615.  Offered as needed.*
524 Molecular Biotechnology.  One unit.  Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory weekly.  A course in the application of molecular knowledge to the problems of genetic engineering.  A comparison between the genetic systems of prokaryotes and eukaryotes and their role in molecular genetic techniques used in the fields of molecular biology and microbiology are explored.  The development of current concepts and methods in molecular genetics as they apply to research, agriculture, industries, pharmaceutical companies, and medicine is studied.  The laboratory explores the most current techniques used in recombinant DNA technology as it relates to the course material. Cross-listed as Microbiology 524.   Prerequisite:  Biology 311. Offered as needed*

591 Special Topics in Biology.  One unit.  Weekly lecture(s).  Discussion and analysis of problems in biology that are not covered in regular course work. The specific content of the course remains flexible in response to student and departmental interests.  Special topics may be taken more than once with differing subject matter. Offered periodically; consult the department chair.

593 Independent Study in Biology.  One unit.  Supervised independent research projects developed by the student, with faculty advisement. Restricted to advanced majors. Offered fall and spring semesters.