Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Biology

Courses

Below you will find a list of our current or recent offerings.  See the course catalog for descriptions and updated information or check out an overview of our degree plans.

Introductory courses in the Biology Department can serve either as prerequisites for further study for the biology major/minor or satisfy the Life Science component of The Natural World in the Perspectives on Knowledge area of the General Education Requirements.

Non-introductory courses are designed for students seeking more in-depth information on cellular and molecular, organismal, and population biology and for students with specific vocational aims. The department also offers several non-majors courses as part of the Perspectives on Knowledge curriculum.

NOTE: Successful completion of any two of the following mini-courses (half semester, 7-week courses) will yield credit for the Area Two: Division of Natural Sciences experimental laboratory course requirement - BIO50-102, 112, 122, 162, 222, 232.

  • 50-000 Capstone
    Pseudo-course for Capstone
  • 50-001 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-002 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-003 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-004 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-100 Cell Biology Lab
  • 50-102 Cell Biology (3-3; Half-Semester)
    This course introduces biologically important molecules, cell structure and function, cellular bioenergetics (cellular respiration and photosynthesis) and cellular reproduction with an emphasis on animal and plant cells. The course includes a weekly laboratory session and night exams. The course is a foundation-building course required of students majoring in Biology. Not intended for students solely seeking to fulfill general education requirements. (Fall)...
  • 50-110 Biodiversity Lab
  • 50-112 Biodiversity (3-3; Half-Semester)
    Following a review of evolution and natural selection, this course surveys all domains of life. Emphasis is placed on how different organisms interact with their environment and with each other. The course includes a weekly laboratory session and night exams. The course is a foundation-building course required of students majoring in Biology. Not intended for students solely seeking to fulfill general education requirements. Also Environmental Studies 49-11...
  • 50-114 Human Biology Today (2-2)
    A natural science lecture/laboratory course designed for students who do not intend to major in Biology. The content of this course varies according to the specialization of the instructor. Topics may include the function of selected organ systems within the body and how they are altered by various disease processes, the human genome project, cancer, stem cell research and whole organism cloning. Laboratory exercises reinforce lecture material and promote o...
  • 50-120 Genetics and Evolution Lab
  • 50-121 Investigation Into Living Systems
    This laboratory course will provide students an opportunity to participate in the process of science as it relates to living systems through a semester long project. Also Environmental Studies 49-121. To be taken concurrently with BIO50-123 (NSL).
  • 50-123 Living Systems
    This course will introduce students to fundamental cell and biodiversity concepts, such as, cell structure and function, cellular bioenergetics, the diversity of life and how different organisms interact with the environment and with each other. This course is required for students majoring in Biology. Not intended for students solely seeking to fulfill general education requirements. Also Environmental Studies 49-123. To be taken concurrently with BIO50-1...
  • 50-131 Investigation in Genetics
    This laboratory course will provide students an opportunity to participate in the process of science as it relates to molecular and population genetics through a semester long project. To be taken concurrently with BIO50-133. (NSL)
  • 50-133 Molecular & Population Genetics
    This course will introduce students to fundamental molecular and population genetics concepts, such as, molecular basis of inheritance and gene expression, Mendelian genetics and microevolutionary processes. This course is required for students majoring in Biology. Not intended for students solely seeking to fulfill general education requirements. To be taken concurrently with BIO50-131. (NSL)...
  • 50-160 Genes & Molecules Laboratory
  • 50-184 Forensic Biology (2-2)
    A natural science lecture/laboratory course designed for students who do not intend to major in Biology. This course focuses on a variety of biological techniques and theories used in examining evidence from a crime scene. The laboratory component will involve molecular biology techniques in DNA analysis, blood typing and blood spatter analysis, anatomy including the bones of the body, and microscopy of hair, fibers and fingerprints. (NSL)...
  • 50-222 Methods in Ecology and Evolutionary
    This lecture/laboratory course is a foundation-building course that contains instruction on reading the primary literature in ecology and evolutionary biology, conducting literature searches, designing experiments, writing scientific papers, using quantitative methods, exercising critical thinking skills for data analyses, creating graphs, and developing specific laboratory and field research skills for ecology and evolutionary biology. Prerequisite: Biolog...
  • 50-232 Methods in Cellular/Molecular Biology
    This lecture/laboratory course is a foundation-building course that contains instruction on reading the primary literature in cellular/molecular biology, conducting literature searches, designing experiments, writing scientific papers, using quantitative methods, exercising critical thinking skills for data analyses, creating graphs and developing specific laboratory skills for cellular/molecular biology. Prerequisites: Biology50-123/121 and 50-133/131. (Fa...
  • 50-244 Human Anatomy
  • 50-301 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-302 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-303 Selected Topics
    May be repeated with change in topic.
  • 50-304 Selected Topics
  • 50-314 Genetics
    An introduction to the study of genetics, including the principles of heredity, structure and variation of chromosomes, the molecular nature of genetic information, DNA replication, transcription, translation, control of gene expression, genomics, quantitative genetics and population genetics. The course includes discussion of current findings of genetic research. Laboratory exercises emphasize hypothesis testing and the analysis of genetic crosses, along w...
  • 50-324 Botany
    This course explores the life histories and adaptations of terrestrial plants, with an emphasis on plant evolutionary biology, ecology and physiology. The laboratory explores these same themes, and additionally emphasizes plant identification skills and knowledge of the local woody flora. Prerequisite: Biology 50-123/121, 50-133/131 and Biology 50-222 or Kinesiology 48-314 or Psychology 33-204 or Animal Behavior 09-204. (Organismal Biology) (NSL)...
  • 50-334 Evolution (3-3)
    An exploration of the possible mechanisms of evolution. Topics to be discussed include natural selection, punctuated evolution, population genetics, adaptation, units of selection, speciation, evolutionary biogeography and macroevolution. Prerequisite: Biology 50-123/121, 50-133/131 and Biology 50-222 or Kinesiology 48-314 or Psychology 33-204 or Animal Behavior 09-204. (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) (NSL)...
  • 50-344 Plant Physiology
  • 50-354 Neurobiology
    The anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology of nervous systems are studied; the human nervous system is emphasized. Half of the course is cellular neurobiology and half is organismal neurobiology. Specific topics include resting potentials, action potentials, synapses, neurotransmitters, sensory and motor processing, nerve regeneration, vision, audition, development and memory/learning. Prerequisite: Biology 50-123/121 and 133/131and Biology 50-2...
  • 50-364 Comparative Vertebrate Morphology
  • 50-384 Human Anatomy
  • 50-404 Cancer Biology (3-4)
    A bench-to-bedside approach to the study of human cancer, including in-depth analysis of the variety of molecular mechanisms that contribute to cancer development and progression, examination of how biomedical research findings are translated into clinical practice and issues related to patient care. In the lab, current techniques in molecular biology will be used to characterize genetic aberrations in tumor cells. Prerequisite: Biology 50-232 and Chemistry...
  • 50-414 Global Change Biology (3-0)
    A survey of the biological implications of anthropogenic changes to the geosphere/biosphere, with an emphasis on plants. Topics include rising atmospheric CO2, depletion of stratospheric ozone, alterations to the global nitrogen cycle and global climate change. The course includes discussion of major biotic changes with a global dimension, including worldwide declines in amphibian populations and shifts in the geographic distributions of species. Also Envir...
  • 50-424 Organ Physiology (3-3)
    Processes/functions of organ systems: nervous, muscular, cardiac, circulatory, respiratory, renal, digestive and endocrine. Human physiology is emphasized. Prerequisite: Biology 50-123/121, 50-133/131 and Biology 50-232 or Kinesiology 48-314 or Psychology 33-204 or Animal Behavior 09-204, and Chemistry 51-543/541, or permission of instructor. (NSL)...
  • 50-434 Ecology (3-3)
    This class explores the interactions of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environment. In particular, the course looks at the influence of nutrients, climate, competition, predation and symbiotic relationships on individuals, populations and communities. This course includes a mandatory weekend field trip. Also Environmental Studies 49-434. Prerequisite: Biology 50-123/121, 50-133/131 and Biology 50-222 or Kinesiology 48-314 or Psychology 33-204 or An...
  • 50-444 Invertebrate Ecology (3-3)
    This class explores the amazing diversity found across marine, terrestrial and aquatic habitats. The lecture component involves taxonomic descriptors of different groups, but more specifically focuses on the ecology of these organisms through critical reading of the primary literature. Through the semester, the course confronts topics that impact many invertebrates, such as exotic species, habitat degradation, chemical communication, predator-prey interacti...
  • 50-454 Tissue Mechanics
  • 50-464 Molecular Biology
  • 50-484 Microbiology (3-3)
    An introduction to the study of microbes. This course is not strictly a bacteriology course as some attention is given to fungi and viruses. This course includes microbial cell structure and function, growth, metabolism and genetics. Microbial diversity is a recurring theme throughout the course. The course includes a weekly laboratory session. Prerequisites: Biology 50-232 and Chemistry 51-543/541, or permission of instructor. (Cellular and Molecular Biolo...
  • 50-494 Biology of Reproduction
  • 50-514 Cellular Physiology (3-3)
    The general functions of eukaryotic cells are studied primarily in animal cells. Topics include transcription, translation, protein functions, cell motility, secretion and endocytosis, cell signaling and cell cycling. Laboratory experiments teach techniques and concepts of cellular physiology. Prerequisites: Biology 50-232 and Chemistry 51-553/551. (Cellular and Molecular Biology) (NSL)...
  • 50-524 Endocrinology (3-3)
    This course undertakes a detailed exposure to the structure and function of the endocrine system. The course emphasizes the biosynthesis, mechanism of action and homeostatic function of hormones. Topics demonstrate the chemical and physiological principles of hormonal integration with emphasis on humans. Prerequisite: Biology 50-232 and either Chemistry 51-553/551 or 51-553/561. Chemistry 51-574 is recommended but not required; or permission of the instruct...
  • 50-534 Fundamentals of Immunology (3-0)
    An introduction to the immune system as studied in mammals. Emphasis is placed on acquired immunity, specifically as it pertains to the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. This course deals with the cellular and biochemical mechanisms involved in the education and regulation of both the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Prerequisites: Biology 50-232 and 50-474. Chemistry 51-574 is recommended but not required; or permission of instructor. ...
  • 50-574 General Biochemistry I
  • 50-584 General Biochemistry II (3-0)
    Prerequisites: Biology 50-574 or Chemistry 51-574. See Chemistry 51-584. (Cellular and Molecular Biology) (NS)
  • 50-901 Tutorial
  • 50-902 Tutorial
  • 50-903 Tutorial
  • 50-904 Tutorial
  • 50-941 Academic Internship
    Must be taken Pass/D/F. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
  • 50-942 Academic Internship
    Must be taken Pass/D/F. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
  • 50-943 Academic Internship
    Must be taken Pass/D/F. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
  • 50-944 Academic Internship
    Must be taken Pass/D/F. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
  • 50-951 Independent Study
  • 50-952 Independent Study
  • 50-953 Independent Study
  • 50-954 Independent Study
  • 50-971 Introduction to Independent Research
  • 50-972 Introduction to Independent Research
  • 50-973 Introduction to Independent Research
  • 50-974 Introduction to Independent Research
    Students must make arrangements with a faculty member in the Biology Department prior to enrolling in this course. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor and a completed course description report. May be repeated with changed content. Also Animal Behavior 09-971, 09-972, 09-973, 09-974.
  • 50-983 Honors
  • 50-984 Honors