Course Program For Environmental Biology Majors Who Will Graduate in 2019 or Later

Program for majors

The Environmental Biology program is described in detail below in the following sections:

  • Biology Courses (required and elective), Additional Science Courses; RISE (optional) Completion of all requirements is necessary to obtain the major.
  • All majors in the department will fulfill the University Integrated Writing Requirement by completion of the coursework in the major. Students will gain exposure and instruction in Foundations in Biology, the Gateway course in the major, and upper-level coursework. No additional coursework is necessary.
  • Declaration of the major will occur in the second year.

AP and IB credit in Biology

The Department of Biology accepts one of the following: the AP Exam in Biology, the AP Exam in Environmental Biology, or the IB Higher-level Biology exam.

  • The Biology AP or Environmental Science AP exam will apply for credit.
  • Students who receive a score of 5 on either AP exam (but not both) will receive 4 upper division elective credits, 2 of which will count towards the major.
  • Students with a score of 4 on either AP exam (but not both) will receive 3 upper division elective credits, 2 of which will count towards the major.
  • Students with a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Higher-level Biology Exam will receive 4 upper division elective credits, 2 of which will count towards the major.

Courses in the first year

Normally, the first year includes biology, chemistry, mathematics and general education courses:

Fall term: We recommend 4 courses and our first year seminar:

  • Foundations in Biology I with laboratory (BIOL-103/113) or Foundations in Biology II with laboratory (BIOL-104/114)
  • First year seminar (BIOL-101)
  • General Chemistry with laboratory (CHEM-001/009)
  • Mathematics (which course depends on background and goals)
  • General education (one course): language, English, History, Philosophy, or Theology

Spring term: 5 courses is the normal load:

  • Foundations in Biology II with laboratory (BIOL-104/114) or Foundations in Biology I with laboratory (BIOL-103/113)
  • General Chemistry with laboratory (CHEM-002/010)
  • Mathematics (unless requirement is completed)
  • General Education (two courses): language, English, History, Philosophy or Theology

Courses in the upper years

  • Second or third year, fall term: BIOL-180 Ecology
  • Second year, spring term: BIOL-190 Gateway to Environmental Biology
  • Second year, spring term: BIOL-185 Evolutionary Processes
  • Third or fourth year, fall term: BIOL-418 Experimental Design and Analysis for Biology

Programs for majors

1. Biology Courses

Required core courses

(32 credits):

  • BIOL-101 First-year seminar (1 credit, fall semester).  This course is required for first year students and is recommended for transfer students and those students who enter the program after the first year (contact the department chair or your advisor).
  • BIOL-103/113 Foundations in Biology I with lab (5 credits)
  • BIOL-104/114 Foundations in Biology II with lab (5 credits)
  • BIOL-180 Ecology (4 credits)
  • BIOL-185 Evolutionary Processes (4 credits)
  • BIOL-190 Gateway to Environmental Biology (4 credits)
  • BIOL-418 Experimental Design and Analysis for Biology (4 credits)

Distribution courses (18 credits minimum) Students must take one course from each of Groups A, B and C, and three other courses from Groups A, B or C, or Other Upper-level Electives. 

Students should note that course offerings change frequently, most courses are offered in only a single semester each year, and not all courses are offered every year. Furthermore, courses offered outside of Biology may have limited enrollments for Environmental Biology majors, and some courses may have prerequisites not listed here or require permission of the instructor. Students should talk with their advisors and also look carefully on the departmental website as well as MyAccess to identify course offerings.

Group A: Ecology and Behavior

  • BIOL-326 Animal Behavior
  • BIOL-353 Plants and Society
  • BIOL-364 Microbiology
  • BIOL-365 Conservation Biology
  • BIOL-366 Marine Biology
  • BIOL-368 Global Climate Change Ecology

Group B: Environmental and Earth Sciences

  • BIOL-368 Global Climate Change Ecology
  • STIA-227/228 Environmental Geosciences with lab
  • STIA-311 Environmental Geomorphology
  • STIA-412 Climate Science and Policy
  • STIA-441 Geographic Information Systems
  • STIA-454 Remote Sensing

Group C: Populations, Genes and Genomes

  • BIOL-360 Molecular Evolution
  • BIOL-367 Population Genetics
  • BIOL-379 Bioinformatics
  • BIOL-420 Genetic Conflict
  • BIOL-388 Microbial Genomics
  • BIOL-422 Modeling Biological Populations
  • BIOL-427 Biology of Sex

Other Upper-level Electives

  • BIOL-261 Science and Society: Grand Challenges
  • BIOL-262 Shaping National Science Policy
  • BIOL-340 Research Tutorial
  • BIOL-341/-342 RISE (see below for more information)
  • BIOL-359 Dynamic Processes in Biological Physics
  • COSC-051 Computer Science I
  • GOVT-331 Politics of Natural Resources
  • GOVT-354 Environmental Politics
  • GOVT-488 Environmental Law
  • HIST-404 War and Environment in the Modern World
  • HIST-481 The Environment in Pre-Industrial America
  • HSCI-332 Health Impacts of the Environment
  • INTH-320 Ecology of Global Hunger
  • INTH-440 Health, Environmental Issues, and Development
  • STIA-330 Green Revolutions
  • STIA-350 Gender and Sustainability
  • STIA-352 Journalism in Science, Environment & Health
  • STIA-355 Environment and Migration
  • STIA-370 Oceans
  • STIA-374 Environmental Security
  • STIA-379 Energy & Environment in China
  • STIA-408 Environmental Reconstruction and Restoration
  • STIA-418 Natural Resources and Security
  • STIA-419 Energy & Environment in Eurasia
  • STIA-497 Environmental Sustainability and Business Strategy

Total credit requirements: a minimum of 50 

2. Additional Science Courses Required

  • CHEM-001/-009 and -002/-010 General Chemistry with laboratory (10 credits total)
  • MATH-035 Calculus I (4 credits)
  • MATH-040 Probability and Statistics or MATH-140 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (4 credits total)

3. RISE – Research Intensive Senior Experience

RISE is an optional experience for Environmental Biology majors.

  • BIOL-340 (one semester only in Fall or Spring) RISE Tutorial, generally junior year
  • BIOL-341 (fall) and BIOL-342 (spring) RISE, senior year