Academics

The Department of Biology offers undergraduate educational programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Highly qualified students may enter our Departmental honors program and with further research-oriented coursework may receive their undergraduate degree with honors in biology. Specializations within the B.S. degree program include: Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology; and Science Education. Our Cell and Molecular Biology students enjoy excellent laboratory facilities and access to a wide variety of advanced equipment. Students seeking advanced training in the health professions (e.g., medical, dental, veterinary, physician’s assistant, and medical technology) often seek degrees in this concentration, and many of our Cell and Molecular Biology graduates also enter outstanding graduate programs in a wide range of lab sciences. Students in the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology concentration have access to a wide array of organismal courses that represent a broad spectrum of Earth’s biodiversity along with courses that integrate principles of ecology, conservation, systematics and toxicology. Field laboratories take advantage of the widely varying habitats and biodiversity of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Appalachian State has a tradition of teacher education and the Department seeks to extend that mission with renewed emphasis on production of high quality science teachers. Students in our Science Education concentration take a wide range of science courses that combine with professional education courses offered by our specialized science education faculty to prepare students for certification in either Biology or General Science. All of our undergraduate students have the opportunity for academic credit from travel courses taught by multiple faculty members. Recently, these courses have taken advantage of learning opportunities in locations as diverse as Costa Rica, Vietnam, Australia, Belize, South Africa, and Hawaii.
 
Undergraduate programs include the following:
  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology (208A/26.0101)
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (205A/26.1301)
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Cell/Molecular Biology (124A/26.0101)
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Secondary Education (209A/13.1322)[T] (Teaching)

Highly qualified students in any of these concentrations are encouraged to apply to the Biology Honors program. The Biology Honors program includes two research courses, an Honors thesis and presentation to the department. Participation in the University Honors program is not a prerequisite, but students participating in the University Honors program are welcome. Please contact Dr. Lynn Siefferman for more information on the Biology Honors program.

A Minor in Biology consists of a minimum of 14 semester hours taken in courses numbered 2000 and above.

  • Biology Minor (208/26.0101)

In addition to the the discipline-specific degrees offered by the department, an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science provides a broad and rigorous curriculum in the natural sciences. Students completing this degree will be prepared to enter environmental science positions in industry, business, or government as well as pursue post-graduate studies in various areas of environmental science.

Biology Assessment Exam Policy

The assessment exam is available to students who have completed an AP course with a grade of 4 or better or an IB course with a grade of 5 or better. Specific exam dates for the 2015-2016 academic year are to be determined; please contact the Department of Biology for more information.

At the graduate level, the Department currently offers the Master of Science degree with concentrations in either Cell and Molecular Biology or General Biology. Beginning in 2013, the General Biology concentration will become Ecology and Evolutionary Biology . Our M.S. program is research based, with all students completing a research thesis. Active research programs by most of our faculty members and external research funding from diverse sources (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Aeronautic and Space Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, N.C. Biotechnology Center, National Park Service, N.C. Water Resources Research Center, and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission) create a wide range of research opportunities, with many student projects drawing on the synergy created by collaborations among diverse disciplines such as ecology and molecular biology. Admission is on a competitive basis and students in our program are generally supported by teaching assistantships or research assistantships. Currently there are approximately 44 students working toward the M.S. degree under the mentorship of Biology faculty members.

The Department of Biology's Master of Science degree in Biology is offered with two concentrations:

  • Cell and Molecular Biology (207B)
  • General Biology (207C)
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (207D)

Featured Faculty

For the Fall 2016 installment of our Featured Faculty series, we sat down with Dr. Mary Kinkel, an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department, who specializes in Developmental Biology. Her philosophy of teaching and a short description of her research make for fascinating read! 

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