Biology Courses

Biology Courses

Included here are course requirements for the Biology major, as well as requirements for Wildlife Biology major, Biology minor and a 7-12 Biology endorsement. Course listings and descriptions are also included.

Biology Major (38 hours of Biology courses)

A major in Biology begins with a two-semester sequence of courses. The first, Biological Systems I (BIO 101) and its laboratory (BIO 107), and Seminar (BIO 102), examine the diversity of biological organisms and phenomena. The second, Biological Systems II (BIO 103) and its laboratory (BIO 107), emphasize those aspects of Biology which are common to all living organisms. These five courses (BIO 101, 102, 103, 105, and 107) are required as prerequisites for all other upper division Biology courses.

In order to insure that all students majoring in Biology experience the breadth of knowledge which is Biology, every student must take at least one course from each of the three main subdivisions of Biology: Cellular and Molecular Biology, Organismal Biology and Ecology/Behavioral Biology.

The courses from which students may choose are:

Cellular and Molecular Biology

  • Cell Biology (BIO 371)
  • Biochemistry (BIO 404)
  • Genetics (BIO 474)

Organismal Biology

  • Botany (BIO 314)
  • Vertebrate Form and Function (BIO 344)
  • Parasitology (BIO 354)
  • Invertebrate Zoology (BIO 384)
  • Mammalogy (BIO 476)

Ecology/Behavioral Biology

  • Aquatic Ecology (BIO 362 + 363)
  • Ecology (BIO 434)
  • Evolution (BIO 444)
  • Animal Behavior (BIO 478)

The capstone course for the Biology major, also required of all Biology majors, is the two-semester sequence of Senior Seminar (BIO 481 and BIO 483).

The remaining required hours of Biology courses may be selected from the courses offered by the Department.

Supporting coursework required for a major in Biology includes:

  • College Chemistry (CHM 151, 155, 153, and 157)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHM 261, 265, 263, and 267)
  • Mathematics (MTH 140 or 150 or 210)

Chemistry and Math courses do not count towards the 38 hour requirement for the major.

The Biology Department recommends Biology majors take one year of Physics (PHY 201 and 203; or PHY 211 and 213). Only one Biology Interim trip may be applied to the major. A maximum of 16 hours of Biology transfer credit may be applied to the Biology major. Only one sequence (BIO 111 and 113; or BIO 414 and 424), may be applied toward the major.

Wildlife Biology Major (38 hours of Biology courses)

A major in Wildlife Biology begins with a two-semester sequence of courses. The first, Biological Systems I (BIO 101) and its laboratory (BIO 105), and Seminar (BIO 102), examine the diversity of biological organisms and phenomena. The second, Biological Systems II (BIO 103) and its laboratory (BIO 107), emphasize those aspects of Biology which are common to all living organisms. These five courses (BIO 101, 102, 103, 105, and 107) are required as prerequisites for all other upper division Biology courses.

Other Biology courses required for the Wildlife Biology major are:

Conservation Biology (BIO 324)

  • Ecology (BIO 434) or Aquatic Ecology Theory/Methods (BIO 362/363)
  • Genetics (BIO 474)
  • Senior Seminar I (BIO 481)
  • Senior Seminar II (BIO 483)
  • Internship (BIO 490) or Research (BIO 485-487)

In addition, students must pick 3 of the following courses:

  • Botany (BIO 314)
  • Parasitology (BIO 354)
  • Birds and the Environment (BIO 364)
  • Invertebrate Zoology (BIO 384)
  • Mammalogy (BIO 476)

Supporting coursework required for a major in Wildlife Biology includes:

  • College Chemistry (CHM 151, 155, 153, and 157)
  • Statistical analysis (MTH 210 or BIO 235)

The Biology Department recommends Wildlife Biology majors take one year of Physics (PHY 201 and 203), one year of Organic Chemistry (CHM 261/265 and CHM 263/267), ENG 383 (Advanced Composition), SOC 201 (Introduction to Justice), and MTH 150 Calculus I.

Minor (five Biology courses)

A Minor in Biology consists of Biological Systems I (BIO 101), Biological Systems II (BIO 103) and one course from each of the three areas of Biology described above.

7-12 Biology Subject Endorsement

In addition to Professional Education Requirements (see Teacher Education) and the Science Endorsement Core Courses (BIO 101, 102, 103, 105, 107, CHEM 151, 153, 155, 157, PHY 201 or 211, SCI 203 or 223, and SCI 420) Students take: BIO 314, 321, 111 or 414, and one of the following: SCI 311 or BIO 434 or BIO 404 (or CHM 404).

Biology Class List

BIO 100 General Biology — 4 hours
This is an elective course designed to allow students who complete the Biology AP or CLEP Examination the opportunity to receive credit. The Biology Department will review the test scores and the written essays according to college standards and make a credit recommendation to the Academic Dean and the Registrar.

BIO 103 Biological Systems II — 3 hours
Introducing the basic concepts of unifying principles of biology. This is a foundation course for all biology majors. Topics include scientific method, biochemistry, metabolism, cell biology, molecular and Medelian genetics, and natural selection. Three lectures weekly. Students must also enroll in BIO 105. Prerequisite: BIO 103. Spring semester.

BIO 102 Biology Resource Seminar — 1 hours
Students will learn critical thinking skills by working on problem sets that require higher-level thinking such as analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. Students will also be introduced to scientific writing and resources within the Biology department. Fall semester.

BIO 101 Biological Systems I — 3 hours
Examines biological principles in action over evolutionary to ecological time scales, including a survey of major taxa and their adaptive innovations. Three lectures weekly. Although this course fulfills the LAP requirement, the difficulty of this course is intended for students continuing in the sciences or pursuing a science endorsement in education. Students must also enroll in BIO 102 and 107. Fall semester.

BIO 107 Laboratory for Biological Systems II — 1 hour

BIO 105 Laboratory for Biological Systems I — 1 hour

BIO 110 Health Professions Seminar — 1 hour
This course will investigate health careers in the context of today's health care delivery system. The undergraduate preparation for these careers, the selection and admission process, appropriate study skills, interview techniques, and course sequencing will be explored. Students will become acquainted with the various careers, and options will be provided for those unsure of their interests. Students will each develop an individual program of preparation for their particular professional school. This course is intended for freshman biology majors, or any other student planning to eventually make application for any health profession school. Spring semester.

BIO 111 Human Anatomy and Physiology I — 4 hours
A general consideration of structural and functional relationships of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems in the human organism. Normal and abnormal events of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems are analyzed in lecture and laboratory. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall semester.

BIO 113 Human Anatomy and Physiology II — 4 hours
Continuation of BIO 111. Normal and abnormal events of the endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring semester.

BIO 234 Medical Terminology — 2 hours
Students will study the Latin and Greek roots of medical terms: their proper pronunciation and usage, and the places, procedures, pathologies, and phenomena they refer to. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 242/342 BioEthics — 3 hours
Objectives: To understand what ethics are (or should be) based upon and apply ethical logic to situations and controversies that arise as a consequence of new technology, biological knowledge, and societal changes. Format: Short lectures on philosophical inquiry and relevant biological perspectives. Discussions on important, current issues in both medical and broader societal ethics related to the biological sciences. Activities will involve students in the dynamics of ethical decision making. Presentations (and essays for upper-division) by students on selected topics are required. No Biology prerequisites. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 304 Developmental Biology — 4 hours
This course covers the development of selected organisms. Primary emphasis is on the vertebrates. Three lectures plus 1 lab weekly. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 314 General Botany — 4 hours
An introduction to the plant kingdom with emphasis on gross and microscopic morphology, taxonomy, reproduction, evolution, and physiology. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall, even-numbered years.

BIO 321 Microbiology — 5 hours
An introduction to the study of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa which are of medical or economic importance to man. Morphology, physiology, genetics, control methods, methods of culture, and general immunology are considered. Three lectures and two laboratories weekly. Fall semester.

BIO 324 Conservation Biology — 3 hours
This course will explore man’s relationship with his environment in the context of natural resource management. Topics will include wildlife, fisheries, forest, rangeland and watershed management, threatened and endangered species and the policy and laws surrounding utilizing critical habitat for T&E species. Students will develop a management plan for species of concern. Course offered as needed.

BIO 334 Mathematical Biology — 3 hours
Students will explore mathematical applications in genetics, ecology, physiology, behavior and biomechanics in problem-solving assignments. Prerequisite: MTH 140 recommended. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 344 Vertebrate Form and Function — 4 hours
This course examines the comparative anatomy and physiology of the vertebrates through laboratory dissections and lectures. Emphasis will be placed on adaptive grades and phylogeny as well as the ecological significance of these adaptations. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 354 Parasitology — 4 hours
This course will examine a variety of parasitic organisms of humans and other species. Life cycles, parasite-host interactions, epidemiology, disease processes and methods of control of these organisms will be studied. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 362 Aquatic Ecology: Theory — 1 hour
This lecture/discussion course focuses on applications of ecology to aquatic systems and seminal studies of aquatic systems that have shaped ecological theory. Students should plan to take the companion course, BIO 363 in the summer session.

BIO 363 Aquatic Ecology: Method — 3 hours
A field course based at the Nature Conservancy Preserve near Valentine, Neb. We will examine the environments and organisms of streams and lakes, with emphasis on the adaptations and interactions occurring there. We will have opportunities to study a variety of streams and rivers, natural and man-made lakes, and focus on the unique Niobrara River ecosystem. Beginning the second day after Memorial Day through the third Friday in June for 13 full days of field instruction exclusive of weekends. Prerequisite: BIO 362 Aquatic Ecology: Theory.

BIO 364 Birds and the Environment — 4 hours
The study and appreciation of birds has been a lifelong hobby and passion of many, but also provides some of the most impressive examples of biological adaptation (Darwin’s finches), environmental issues (Silent Spring) and extraordinary behavior (migration). Ornithology is the scientific study of birds including their anatomy, evolution, behavior, and species identification. This class will also focus on environmental impacts of habitat destruction, pollution, and global warming on this most unique order of vertebrates. Saturday morning field trips and labs will provide students with skill in identification as well as reasons and opportunities to be active in bird conservation. Satisfies L.A.P. for life science with lab. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 371 Cell Biology — 4 hours
A detailed study of the fundamental unit of all living systems, the cell. This course will examine the structures and functions of the major components of the cell. The discovery, molecular composition, microscopic appearance, function and relationships of these cellular organelles will be investigated. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring semester.

BIO 384 Invertebrate Zoology — 4 hours
Of the 1.5 million named species of animals, only about 3% are supported by a backbone. The rest are invertebrates. They show a great diversity of body plans, behaviors, and life histories. Many impact us medically and economically (both positively and negatively), others aesthetically (beautiful and fascinating, or simply frightening), while still others have global impacts on climate and nutrient recycling. This course surveys the many solutions to survival presented by invertebrates, including those that haven't survived. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall, odd-numbered years.

BIO 390 Biology for Elementary Teachers — 4 hours
This course focuses on the methods, principles, and concerns of teaching biology in the elementary school. A survey of basic biological concepts and unifying principles as well as the incorporation of professional and Nebraska K-12 Science Standards are also emphasized. Required simulated and field experience activities may also be scheduled outside of the regular course meeting times. Three lectures, and three one-hour laboratories weekly. Candidate must be admitted to the Teacher Education Program. Fall semester.

BIO 404 Biochemistry I (also CHM 404) — 4 hours
The first half of a two-semester biochemistry sequence, this course will examine basic principles of biochemistry, including structures and functions of biological molecules and basic aspects of enzyme kinetics and energy metabolism. Prerequisite: CHM 263. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall semester.

BIO 405 Biochemistry II (also CHM 405) – 4 hours
An extension of BIO 404, this class will focus on metabolism and metabolic pathways, including detailed examination of enzyme kinetics, metabolic regulation, and biochemical aspects of gene function and regulation. The laboratory will consist primarily of long-term, problem-based research investigations. Prerequisite BIO 404. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring semester.

BIO 414 Medical Anatomy & Physiology I — 4 hours
Organization, function, and integration of organ systems is emphasized as well as clinical disfunctions. Topics include tissues, skeletal, muscle, and nervous system physiology. The laboratory exposes students to details of human anatomy, focusing on skeletal and muscular structures. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall semester.

BIO 424 Medical Anatomy & Physiology II — 4 hours
Continues a survey of major organ systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, immune, reproductive, urinary, and digestive. Laboratory investigations focus on the principles of physiologic measurement and data interpretation. Prerequisite: BIO 414. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring semester.

BIO 434 Ecology — 4 hours
A study of the interrelationships among organisms and relationships between organisms and their environment. Ecology seeks to explain both the abundance and distribution of species, and their origins. Unique to ecology is the study of communities connected by predator-prey, competitive, mutually beneficial, and parasitic interactions. We will study local flora and fauna as well. Much of ecology has implications for the survival of our species and our stewardship of others. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall, odd-numbered year.

BIO 444 Evolution — 3 hours
A study of the factors in the continuity and modification of life through time; hereditary basis of evolution; effect of environmental change; diversity and the origin of life on earth. Theories of evolution from Lamarck and Darwin to the modern synthesis and theories on extinction will also be considered. Three lectures weekly. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 459 Molecular Biology — 4 hours
A detailed examination of the structure, replication, expression, and regulation of genes in viral, prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. Prerequisite: BIO 474 OR permission of the instructor. Spring odd-numbered years.

BIO 464 Immunology — 3 hours
An introduction to the discipline and study of the basic mechanisms of the vertebrate immune system. Investigation will focus on the development and physiology of the immune response. The application of immunologic principles to diagnostic, therapeutic, and research techniques will be addressed throughout the course. Three lectures weekly. Spring, even-numbered years.

BIO 474 Genetics — 4 hours
A study of the mechanisms underlying the process of heredity including classical, molecular and population genetics. The patterns of inheritance in cells, individuals and populations will be considered, with an emphasis on classical genetics and cytogenetic processes. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Fall semester.

BIO 475 Cell Physiology — 3 hours
Cell Physiology is an advanced course examining the molecular and biochemical mechanisms of cellular processes, specifically those involved in coordinating the individual activities of cells in a multi-cellular organism. Special emphasis will be placed on mechanisms of cellular communication and specialization. Prerequisite: BIO 371 Cell Biology. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 476 Mammalogy — 4 hours
Classification, evolution, distribution, and life history of mammals with emphasis on plains species. The laboratory will concentrate on identification of Nebraska species, collection techniques and unique life history patterns. Three lectures and one laboratory weekly. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 478 Animal Behavior — 4 hours
The behavior of the individual is a manifestation of that species' "behavioral repertoire" the "what" of behavior. The "how" involves physiology, sensory capabilities, anatomy, and biochemistry. The "why" explores the selective advantage of the behavior in ecological and evolutionary terms. Tools used in animal behavior range from DNA analysis to binoculars and notepads. Three lectures weekly. Lab meets weekly March through April and culminates in a 5-day field trip in early May. Spring, odd-numbered years.

BIO 481 Senior Seminar — 2 hours
This course will involve student research on an approved biological topic. Techniques of biological research, scientific writing, editing of scientific writing, and formal presentation of results will be discussed and analyzed. Fall semester.

BIO 483 Senior Seminar — 1 hour
This course will involve formal presentation of a biological research paper and techniques of critiquing oral and written scientific works. Must be taken consecutively with BIO 481. Spring semester.

BIO 485 Senior Research Project — 0-2 hours
This course provides an opportunity for the student to pursue a biological research subject of their own design. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Each semester.

BIO 486 Senior Research Project – 0-2 hours
This course provides an opportunity for the student to continue in a research project for a second semester. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Each semester.

BIO 487 Senior Research Project – 0-2 hours
This course provides an opportunity for the student to continue in a research project for a third semester. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and permission of the instructor. Each semester.