Undergraduate Programs

The primary mission of the Department of Biology is to provide the student with a well-balanced background in the life sciences. A student majoring in biology will examine the characteristics of life at all levels, from the workings of a single cell to the dynamics of an ecosystem. In addition to providing the student with a broad understanding of and appreciation for life and its processes, the curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in biology or for studies at the graduate level. To meet these objectives the department has established the degree concentrations listed below, each with a somewhat different focus within the discipline. 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.

All majors in biology require a minimum of 128 semester hours for the degree. The Bachelor of Arts degree requires a minor. In addition to general education, major and minor requirements, electives must be taken to meet the total required minimum hours. Two semester hours of free electives OUTSIDE the major discipline are required.

All biology majors are required to complete 44 semester hours of general education requirements. Additionally, they must complete the course requirements indicated in the degree they select as the one most suited to their educational needs.

The following information, along with course descriptions, is also available in the Biology Undergraduate Bulletin. Information on other degree programs within the College of Arts and Sciencesare available on the Office of the Registrar website.

Programs of Study

Degree Concentrations

Bachelor of Arts

This is the most flexible program in the Department of Biology. It is designed for highly directed students who wish to focus on disciplines not addressed by the other degree concentrations. In addition to the biology core (BIO 1801 and BIO 1802), students pursuing the B.A. degree must complete BIO 2400 or BIO 2700; BIO 3436; BIO 4501 or BIO 4700 or BIO 4910; and 17 s.h. in biology including completion of a junior-level writing course. It is required that at least one course be selected from each of the following areas

  • Area A: Cellular or Subcellular
  • Area B: Evolution or Ecology or Environment
  • Area C: Anatomy or Physiology
  • Area D: Biodiversity

The following 31 s.h. of cognate courses are also required: CHE 1101 & CHE 1110; CHE 1102 & CHE 1120; CHE 2201 & CHE 2203; CHE 2202 & CHE 2204; MAT 1110; STT 2810; and a minimum of 8 s.h. in either Physics or Geography. Students pursuing a B.A. degree must also select a minor and complete foreign language requirements as listed elsewhere in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Students will complete 128 semester hours for this degree. A candidate for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology may count no more than a total of 46 semester hours above general education requirements in biology.

Area A: Cellular or Subcellular

BIO 2400 Genetics*, BIO 2410 Genetics Laboratory, BIO 2600 Cell Biology*, BIO 2610 Cell Biology Laboratory, BIO 2700 Human Genetics*, BIO 3308 Microbiology, BIO 3309 Developmental Biology, BIO 3800 Molecular Biology, BIO 4564 Microscopy, BIO 4568 Immunology

Area B: Evolution or Ecology or Environment

BIO 2000 Introduction to Botany, BIO 2001 Introduction to Zoology, BIO 3302 Ecology, BIO 3312 Environmental Studies*, BIO 3320 Air Pollution*, BIO 3436 Intro to Evolution, BIO 4571 Plant/Insect Interactions, BIO 4601 Animal Behavior

Area C: Anatomy or Physiology

BIO 3301 Human Systems Physiology, BIO 3314 Comparative Vertebrate Zoology, BIO 4555 Plant Physiology, BIO 4563 Biology of Aging*, BIO 4569 Invertebrate Zoology

Area D: Biodiversity

BIO 2000 Introduction to Botany, BIO 2001 Introduction to Zoology, BIO 3304 Systematic Botany, BIO 3310 Marine Sciences, BIO 4551 Ornithology, BIO 4552 Entomology, BIO 4556 Mycology, BIO 4557 Ichthyology, BIO 4558 Taxonomy of the Fleshy Fungi, BIO 4559 Mammalogy, BIO 4560 Herpetology, BIO 4569 Invertebrate Zoology, BIO 4570 Parasitology

Courses marked with an asterisk (*) either do not have a laboratory or the laboratory is a separate 1 s.h. course.

Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (205A/26.1301)

The degree requires 128 semester hours including the biology core (BIO 1801 and BIO 1802); and completion of a minimum of 51 s.h. from the following: BIO 2400 or BIO 2700; BIO 3302; BIO 3436; BIO 4501 or BIO 4700 or BIO 4910; one course selected from either Area A or Area C (see list above); two courses with labs selected from Area B (listed above); two additional courses selected from Area D (listed above); and additional elective hours in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, and selected courses in Anthropology, Geography, or Sustainable Development. At least one of the courses must fulfill the requirements for a junior-level writing course. The following cognate courses are also required: CHE 1101 & CHE 1110; CHE 1102 & CHE 1120; CHE 2101 & CHE 2203*; MAT 1110; STT 2810. *[Note: The sequence of CHE 2201/CHE 2203 and CHE 2202/CHE 2204 can substitute for CHE 2101/CHE 2203.]

Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Cell/Molecular Biology (124A/26.0101)

In addition to the general objectives of the department, this degree is designed to prepare students for successful admission into professional schools or to continue their studies in graduate and health-care programs. The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Cell/Molecular Biology requires 128 semester hours including the biology core (BIO 1801 and BIO 1802); and completion of the following: BIO 2400 or BIO 2700; BIO 2600; BIO 2410 or BIO 2610; BIO 3301 or BIO 3314 or BIO 4555; BIO 3436; BIO 3800; BIO 4501 or BIO 4700 or BIO 4910; one course from Area B or Area D; and additional courses from Area A or Area C to equal a minimum of 78 s.h. At least one of the courses must fulfill the requirements for a junior-level writing course. The following cognate courses are also required CHE 1101 & CHE 1110; CHE 1102 & CHE 1120; CHE 2201 & CHE 2203; CHE 2202 & CHE 2204; CHE 4580; PHY 1103 & PHY 1103; MAT 1110; and STT 2810.

Pre-professional students pursuing health-related careers may be interested in the undergraduate minor in Medical Humanities (605/30.9999). Consult the Honors College section of this catalog for course requirements and additional information.

Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Secondary Education (209A/13.1322)[T] (Teaching)

In addition to the general objectives of the department, this degree is designed for students intending to pursue careers in teaching. Students successfully completing this degree will meet the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requirements to teach biology full-time in grades 9-12 and will be eligible for a North Carolina Secondary General Science teaching license.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Secondary Education (Teaching) requires 128 semester hours including the biology core (BIO 1801 and BIO 1802); and completion of the following: BIO 2400; BIO 2410; BIO 3436; BIO 3301 or BIO 4555; BIO 3312; BIO 3521; BIO 3800; one course from Area D (see list above) (3 s.h. minimum); CHE 1101, CHE 1110, CHE 1102, CHE 1120; CHE 2101, CHE 2203; MAT 1110; STT 2810; PHY 1103 and PHY 1104; GLY 1101; GS 4403 and RE 4630 (minimum grade of ā€œCā€ required in GS 4403 and RE 4630); plus course work required by the Reich College of Education for teacher licensure. The student should consult the requirements for licensure listed under the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science (121A/03.0104)

This degree consists of 123 semester hours including 44 semester hours of general education requirements. Seventy-four semester hours in the major and cognate disciplines are required, which includes the following:

  • the science core (BIO 1110, BIO 2000 or BIO 2001, GLY 1101, GLY 2250, PHY 1150, PHY 1151, CHE 1101 and CHE 1110, CHE 1102 and CHE 1120, CHE 2101 and CHE 2203, MAT 1110, MAT 1120, and STT 2810);
  • completion of BIO 3302, CHE 2550, GLY 4630, PHY 3140, GHY 3820, and PLN 4460;
  • completion of 12 semester hours from at least two of the following categories:
    • Chemistry (CHE 2210, CHE 2211, CHE 3301, CHE 3303, CHE 3560, CHE 3561, and CHE 4620),
    • Geophysical Sciences (GHY 3310, GLY 3150, GLY 3333, GLY 3530-3549, GLY 3800, GLY 4705, GLY 3160 or PHY 3160, PHY 3150, PHY 3230, PHY 3850, PHY 3851, PHY 4020, PHY 4330, PHY 4730),
    • Biology (BIO 3304, BIO 3310, BIO 3320, BIO 3530-3549, BIO 4555, BIO 4571, and up to two organismal biology courses from the following list: BIO 4551, BIO 4552, BIO 4556, BIO 4557, BIO 4558, BIO 4559, BIO 4560, BIO Biology 4567);
  • three semester hours of science electives;
  • the environmental science capstone course, ENV 4100.

Health Professions Advising Office 

The Appalachian State University Health Professions Advising Office is designed to assist students who wish to enter schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, physician assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other graduate programs in health-related fields. The HPA Office has experienced tremendous success in placing students into medical and other health professional schools, with acceptance rates traditionally around 75%. For more information, visit the HPA website at www.hpa.appstate.eduhpa@appstate.edu, or phone (828) 262-8590.

Undergraduate Advising

Advising for non-declared majors is performed in the General Studies Academic Advising Center but also requires that you attend one of the general advising sessions held in the Biology Department prior to registration. After completing English 1000 and 1100 and 30 semester hours, with a 2.0 GPA or better, you may declare your major at General Studies Academic Advising Center in 101 D.D. Dougherty. You will then have a Biology faculty advisor assigned to you. Each semester prior to registration, faculty members will post advising sign-up sheets at their office. Please come to that session prepared with your check sheet filled out for what courses you have taken and what courses you plan to take. Students are responsible for their own program of study, career planning and personal development; however, faculty advisors consider their role to be an important part of your college program and career preparation. Faculty have an open-door policy that encourages students to discuss all of these issues.

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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