Degree: B.S., Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
Biology encompasses the study of all living things and their interaction with the environment. The Department faculty is dedicated to providing students with a strong undergraduate education in the fundamental principles of biology, while offering opportunities and encouraging students to pursue specialized interests in ecology and conservation.
The Conservation Biology major is designed for students interested in public or private-sector careers in fields such as endangered species protection and recovery, habitat conservation, conservation biology education, and fisheries and wildlife management. Additionally, it prepares students for graduate study in conservation biology in cases where graduate degrees are required for particular careers. Students who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology with a major in Conservation Biology.
The core curriculum is designed to ensure thorough command of the scientific method and access to inquiry-based learning experiences, while providing a balanced background in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology. Elective courses cover a wide variety of specialized topics to meet students’ particular interests in biology. An array of laboratory and field experiences further develop working knowledge of the scientific method, teach specific experimental techniques, and promote ongoing development of quantitative and analytical skills.
All of the equipment and facilities in the department are available for undergraduate student use. Collections of microscope slides, vertebrate and invertebrate specimens and a herbarium are available to enhance learning. Advanced laboratory instrumentation such as spectrophotometers, thermalcyclers, ultracentrifuges, and two electron microscopes allow students to engage in sophisticated research.
Outstanding junior and senior biology majors have the opportunity to participate in the undergraduate research program. Working with a faculty mentor, the student explores the literature, defines an original research problem, and utilizes the appropriate research and analytical techniques to investigate the problem. On many occasions this work results in presentations at state, regional, and national scientific meetings. Research students who meet minimum requirements (3.0 overall GPA and a 3.25 average in biology) may pursue Honors in Biology by writing and defending a thesis on their research project. Students can also gain focused research experience via participation in the UMW Summer Science Institute. Financial support for student research is available. Additionally, biology faculty offer research opportunities through the university’s undergraduate research (URES 197 Undergraduate Research) program.
The internship program also offers students an opportunity to gain valuable career related experience. Internship credits do not count towards the biology major, but many biology majors have taken advantage of this program to gain experience and to confirm their career objectives.
In addition to the “Beyond the Classroom” requirement course list, the department has established another mechanism by which biology majors may satisfy the experiential learning general education requirement. The Biology service learning option requires students to apply knowledge and skills acquired in their formal courses and to reflect upon how such application has augmented their education.
Students will complete a service-learning contract in which they will:
- identify the agencies for which they will conduct their service,
- indicate the biology faculty members who will evaluate the academic component of their activities, and
- describe the duties that they will carry out for these agencies.
Students must complete 40 hours of service within 12 months of submitting their contracts. Students completing their community service during their last semester must complete all requirements by March 1 (November 1 for those finishing in December). Contact the biology department chair for additional details.
Students must earn a C- or better in most BIOL required courses that serve as prerequisites for other BIOL courses. Students must also earn a C- or better in the core courses (BIOL 210 Introduction to Ecology and Evolution, BIOL 260 Biostatistics and Research Design, BIOL 340 Cellular Biology, BIOL 341 General Genetics) to graduate with a degree in Biology. See also the Department of Chemistry’s minimum grade requirements for CHEM 111 General Chemistry I, CHEM 112 General Chemistry II.
A minimum of 40 credits from the following:
|BIOL 132||Organism Function and Diversity||4|
|or BIOL 126||Phage Hunters II|
|BIOL 210||Introduction to Ecology and Evolution||3|
|BIOL 260||Biostatistics and Research Design||3|
|BIOL 341||General Genetics||4|
|BIOL 428||Conservation Biology||4|
|Select one of the following:||4|
|Introduction to GIS|
|Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Cartography|
|GIS Applications in Environmental Science and Geology with Lab|
|Select two of the following diversity courses:||8|
|Biology of Fishes|
|Select one upper-level ecology course:||4|
|Select one public policy, economic, and cultural perspectives course:||3|
|Environment and Development Narratives Environment and Development Narratives|
|Environmental and Resource Economics|
|Global Environmental Problems|
|Environment and Society|
|US Environmental History|
|Select one of the following: 1||1-12|
|Research Design & Proposal Development in Biology|
As approved by the department.
Other Electives Counted Toward the Conservation Biology Concentration
|BIOL 401||Animal Behavior||3|
|BIOL 471||Topics in Biology 1||3|
|BIOL 472||Research-Intensive Topics in Biology 1||4|
As approved by the department
General Education Requirements
The general education requirements for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degrees apply to all students who are seeking to earn an undergraduate B.A. or B.S. degree.
Students seeking a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree have a separate set of BLS general education requirements.
Elective courses are those that are not needed to fulfill a general education requirement or major program requirement but are chosen by the student to complete the 120 credits required for graduation with a B.A./B.S. degree or the BLS degree. These courses may be taken graded or pass/fail (or S/U in the case of physical education and 100-level dance). No student in a regular B.A./B.S. program may count more than 60 credits in a single discipline toward the 120 credits required for graduation.
Total Credits Required for the Degree: 120 credits
Biological Sciences Department
Lynn O. Lewis, Chair
Lynn O. Lewis, Career Advisor, Pre-Veterinary
Stephen G. Gallik, Career Advisor, Pre-Medical/Dental
Deborah A. O’Dell, Career Advisor, Biology and Pre-Physical/Occupational Therapy
Alan B. Griffith, Career Advisor, Allied Health
Dianne M. Baker
Andrew S. Dolby
Stephen G. Gallik
Alan B. Griffith
Lynn O. Lewis
Deborah A. O’Dell
Theresa M. Grana
Abbie M. Tomba
Bradley A. Lamphere
Ginny R. Morriss
R. Parrish Waters
April N. Wynn
Michael C. Stebar