Biology

Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics

  • DOUGLAS P. JENSEN, chair
  • SHARON STRICKLAND, associate chair
  • MAHDOKHT BEHRAVAN
  • WILLIAM CASE
  • H. NEVAL ERTURK
  • JENNIFER HAWK
  • EDNA STEELE

Mission

The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics strives to provide a rich and rigorous course of study in the natural sciences and an environment in which students explore scientific principles. The curricula are designed to enable majors to achieve employment in laboratories and secondary education, to pursue graduate degrees in biology, biochemistry, and chemistry, and to enter professional programs in medical fields.

Degrees and Programs Offered

The Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics offers majors in biology and chemistry with either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The department also offers majors in biochemistry and medical technology with a Bachelor of Science degree. Students earning biology or chemistry majors may earn secondary teaching certification; students interested in this certification should discuss this with their advisors and the Department of Education as early as possible, as secondary certification requirements may not be identical to major requirements.

The department also offers minors in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental studies. The Environmental Studies minor is described in the Interdisciplinary Minors section of this catalog. Many students with majors in the Department of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics participate in pre-health curricula, which are described in the Career and Pre-Professional Programs section of this catalog. These programs are not part of the majors, and the majors are not required for them.

The General Education Program is a requirement for all degrees. The requirements listed below are approved for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts.

ENG 101 3 hours
Language and Culture 9 hours
MTH 108 or higher 3 hours
One course designated as Quantitative reasoning 3–4 hours
Health and Well-being Wellness 2 hours
Activity course 1–2 hours
Humanities 6 hours
Literature 3 hours
Fine Arts 6 hours
Natural Science 7–8 hours
Social Science 6 hours
Total 49–52 hours

Graduation requirements but not a separate course:

  • First Year Seminar
  • Writing Intensive course
  • Non-European/non-Anglophone course. Capstone experience.
  • For more information see the GEP requirements in this catalog.

Biology Major with a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science Degree

Students majoring in biology may receive either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. The Bachelor of Science degree requires students to take more courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics than the Bachelor of Arts degree does. In addition to coursework, all biology majors must complete the research requirement and take an assessment exam.

A student interested in biology should inform her adviser as early as possible. It is highly recommended, although not necessary, that she begins the chemistry sequence (CHM 190-203) during her freshman year and that she begins biology coursework within her freshman year. She should work closely with her adviser to plan her course of study.

Research Requirement

All biology majors (BA & BS) are required to gain research experience. Students may fulfill this requirement by performing a research project under the direction of biology faculty at Converse College, by performing a research project under another person, or as part of a summer program. All research performed away from Converse must be approved by the biology faculty at Converse College. Students who prefer not to perform a research project may fulfill this requirement by successful completion of BIO 480. Chemistry projects and Biology projects satisfy the requirements for both majors for students who are double majors in Biology and Chemistry. BIO 480 does not satisfy the Chemistry research requirement.

Assessment Exam

In addition to the coursework and research requirements, all biology majors must complete an assessment exam during their senior year.

Secondary Teaching Certification

Majors who plan to complete secondary certification to teach high school must declare an Education minor, and meet with an advisor in the Education Department to discuss specific requirements. They are encouraged to do this as early as possible. Students interested in secondary certification should complete the following: Biology 190, BIO 191, 202, 203, 312 and 411; one of Physics 242 and 252; and one of BAD 300, ECN 300, POL 303, and PSY 311.

Student Learning Outcomes

Through completion of the Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, students will:

  1. acquire an intermediate understanding of the fundamental biological principles and integrate these principles from the major areas of biology (cellular biology, organismal biology, field biology, genetics, and evolution).
  2. acquire laboratory and field skills in biology.
  3. develop communication skills in written and oral forms that are appropriate for biologists.
  4. engage in the scientific process demonstrating an advanced understanding of research, methods, and analysis.

The major GPA of a biology student will be calculated by using grades earned for all required major courses and the electives in which students have earned the highest grades, up to the required number of hours. Cognate courses and additional electives will not be calculated into major GPA.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

BIO 100 : CONCEPTS IN BIOLOGY

An introduction to the fundamental principles of biological activity and scientific methodology. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered Fall and Spring Terms.

Credits

4

BIO 105 : HUMAN BIOLOGY

Not accepted for major or minor credit. A study of the principles of biology focusing on human issues, including diseases, impact of human population on ecosystems, physiological functions of the human body, and role of biotechnology in our society. The ethical aspects of various issues will be discussed. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee.

Credits

4

BIO 106 : BIOLOGY OF HUMANS

Not accepted for major or minor credit. This course is an introduction to the basic principles of biology focusing on humans as biological creatures. Topics include anatomy and physiology, physical fitness, nutrition, genetics, health, disease, human evolution, and human ecology. Lecture only. Meets the GEP requirement for Wellness.

Credits

3

BIO 110 : MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY

Not accepted for Biology major or minor credit. An introduction to medical terminology through the study of the human body systems. The course begins with building medical terms from roots, prefixes, suffixes and combining forms and then progresses into relating these terms to the human body system. Each body system lesson includes terms for anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, medical procedures, pharmacology and abbreviations.

Credits

3

BIO 112 : HUMAN BODY AND FUNCTIONS

This course is designed to provide students with a general understanding of how the human body functions. Topics include its levels of organization and the structure and function of the major organ systems. This course is not acceptable in programs requiring two semesters of Anatomy and Physiology (e.g., Pre-Nursing, Pre-Med, and most Allied-Health Professions programs) and does not satisfy the Biology major or minor requirements. Lab Fee.

Credits

4

BIO 117 : STUDY TRAVEL PROGRAM

A special program offering the student the opportunity to learn about biological sciences in the United States and in foreign countries. The student will incur additional costs.

Credits

3 - 4

Prerequisites

BIO190 or instructor approval.

BIO 120 : SPRING FLORA

Not accepted for major or minor credit. This course introduces students to the variety of plants that live locally and form much of the spring bloom. Lectures will cover a broad range of general botany and ecology topics. Weekly laboratories will be held outdoors at a variety of plant habitats. Students will learn many of the local plants during laboratory, and they will perform field experiments and collect ecological data. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee.

Credits

4

BIO 125 : FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR

First-Year Seminars constitute a common and academically significant experience in a student’s first year at Converse University. All incoming first- year students are required to take a 3-credit hour FYS in the fall semester, choosing from a variety of discipline specific topics. Each FYS carries the corresponding departmental prefix, but with the common course number (except for designated honors sections). Each FYS course is designed to have no more than 18 students, and counts in some designated category of the General Education Program. Strong writing and speaking components are required elements of the course.

Credits

3 - 4

BIO 125 : WOMEN OF COLOR IN BIOLOGY

This is a 3-credit lecture course linked to Student Success Seminar (1-credit hour). It is designed to explore the contributions of people of color to biology. It will begin with an in-depth view of skin colors then shift to the contributions of ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Ethiopia, and Mali. From there, it will move to early advances in countries such as Ghana, India, and China. Then it will venture into modern advancements. Along the way we will look at individuals of color and what they have contributed to the vast world of biology.

Credits

3

BIO 150 : SPECIAL TOPICS

Four hour course will have a laboratory component. Some offerings may be eligible for major or minor credit. Selected topics in introductory level biology. Special topic: Human Nutrition will meet the GEP requirement for wellness. Lab Fee.

Credits

3 - 4

BIO 190 : INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE I

This is a general introduction to biology for all students, non-majors and potential majors. It serves as a natural science general education class. The course covers concepts and principles in the areas of organismal biology evolution, biodiversity, and ecology. Lab Fee.

Credits

4

BIO 191 : INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL SCIENCE II

This is a general introduction to biology for all students, non-majors and potential majors. It serves as a natural science general education class. The course covers concepts and principles in the areas of genetics (heredity and molecular biology), cell structure and function (Metabolism), and other areas. Lab Fee.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO190 or AP Biology credit.

BIO 199H : FRESHMAN HONORS SEMINAR

Not accepted for major or minor credit. A study of a selected subject within the discipline, which will vary from term to term. The course is designed to encourage student participation in the intellectual processes through class discussion, research and writing, special projects, problem solving and evaluation and defense of positions. When the subject matter duplicates that of another course, credit toward graduation will be granted for only one of the courses. Offered periodically in rotation with seminars in other disciplines. Lab fee.

Credits

3 - 4

BIO 202 : GENERAL ZOOLOGY

A study of the morphology, taxonomy, and physiology of representative types from the Animal Kingdom. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered Fall Term.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 or consent of the instructor.

BIO 203 : GENERAL BOTANY

An introduction to plants, their activities, and their relationship to humans. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. Lab fee. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 or consent of the instructor.

BIO 205 : HUMAN ANATOMY

A study of both gross and microscopic anatomy of the organ systems of the human body with emphasis on the relationship between form and function. The laboratory portion will involve study of the anatomy of all the organ systems using models, histological slides and skeletal materials, as well as dissection of preserved non-human mammals. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Spring terms or as needed. Students may not receive academic credit for both BIO 205 or BIO 305.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 or equivalent.

BIO 211 : HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY

A study of the functions of the basic human organ systems. Physiological processes will be related to organ structures and integrated with the functioning of the whole organism. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 and CHM 190 or consent of the instructor.

BIO 270 : HUMAN SEXUALITY

A study of the human reproductive system with primary emphasis on anatomy and physiology. Consideration also will be given the psychological, religious, and ethical aspects of human sexuality. Lecture.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 190.

BIO 299H : INTERDISCIPLINARY HONORS COURSE

This course is team taught by members in two departments and is open to Nisbet Honors Program participants and to others who meet Honors Program guidelines. All students registering for these courses must register not only through the Honors Program but also with their adviser and the Registrar’s Office.

BIO 301 : GENETICS

A study of the fundamental principles of heredity with emphasis on its molecular basis. Experimental work with Drosophila melanogaster, bacteria, and viruses will be included. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered Fall Term.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent, either BIO 310 or 312, and CHM 203.

BIO 302 : EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

A survey of the theory, history, and principles of evolutionary biology. Both macro-evolutionary and micro-evolutionary topics are covered, and primary literature is discussed. Offered Spring Term.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 301. Junior or senior class standing is recommended.

BIO 303 : SYSTEMATIC BOTANY

A study of the taxonomy of the vascular plants with emphasis on the angiosperms. Laboratory will include work in the field. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 and one additional biology major course.

BIO 304 : COMPARATIVE VERTEBRATE EMBRYOLOGY

A comparative study of the development of selected vertebrates. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Fall Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and either BIO 202 or 203 or permission of the instructor.

BIO 305 : HUMAN AND COMPARATIVE ANATOMY

A comparative study of the origin, structure, and function of organ systems of humans and other selected vertebrates. The gross anatomy of organ systems in relation to their functions are studied. Laboratory includes a hands-on approach to the identification of anatomical structures. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered Spring Term. Students may not receive academic credit for both BIO 205 or BIO 305.

Credits

5

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent.

BIO 308 : INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY

A study of the morphology and biology of invertebrates. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. Lab fee.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent.

BIO 309 : PARASITOLOGY

A taxonomic approach to the ecology, physiology, and pathology of parasites, with emphasis on those of medical and veterinary importance. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Fall Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent.

BIO 310 : CELL BIOLOGY

This course is a study of the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Different areas of cellular biology including the synthesis and function of macromolecules such as proteins; membrane and organelle structure and function; bioenergetics; and cellular communication will be examined. Examples of relevant human disorders will also be used to help the student understand consequences of cellular dysfunction. Laboratory sections are designed to illustrate cellular phenomena, as well as introduction to techniques and procedures commonly utilized in modern cell and molecular biology research. Lab Fee.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and CHM 203.

BIO 312 : MICROBIOLOGY

A study of the physiology and morphology of bacteria, algae, and fungi, and their roles in sanitation, agriculture, and medicine. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Fall Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent; one of BIO 202, 203 and 310; and CHM 203.

BIO 330 : INTRODUCTION TO IMMUNOLOGY

A study of the mechanisms of the immune defense of the human body. Vaccination, grafting, tumor immunology, and autoimmune diseases are also discussed. Lecture.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent; one of 301, 310 and 312; and CHM 203.

BIO 350 : SPECIAL TOPICS: LABORATORY TECHNIQUES IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES

At the end of this course students will acquire an understanding of tissue culture, molecular biology, cell biology, toxicology, and molecular genetic laboratory techniques that are required to carry out tasks in biomedical laboratories. The course will cover principles of these techniques as well as practical applications.

Major, Minor, Elective credit.
 

Credits

3

BIO 391 : JUNIOR SEMINAR

Junior standing in major is required. Directed reading, study, and discussion designed to reemphasize the fundamental principles of biology, to correlate and summarize the coursework of the major program and related fields, to introduce new areas and ideas, and to provide experience in literature review and oral presentation. Conferences as needed. Offered Fall Term.

Credits

1

Prerequisites

BIO 191 and one additional major level course or consent of the instructor.

BIO 401 : BIOLOGY FOR TEACHERS

A special course covering the modern techniques for the teaching of biology on the secondary level. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. Offered Summer Session I.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and either BIO 202 or 203.

BIO 408 : MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL

The study of molecular mechanisms lying behind the workings of the cell, with emphasis on DNA, RNA and proteins. Both lecture and laboratory will involve the study and use of modern biotechnological protocols and procedures. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Spring Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent; one of BIO 301, 310, and 312; and CHM 203.

BIO 409 : BIOLOGY OF CANCER

This course will explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to cancer development. Mechanisms causing changes in normal growth and division process leading to the formation of tumors will be explored through discussing journal articles. Lecture only.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 310 and CHM 203.

BIO 411 : ECOLOGY

A study of the principles governing the relationships between organisms and their environment. Laboratory will include extensive field work. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee. Offered alternate Fall Terms.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 or its equivalent and one of BIO 202 or 203.

BIO 420 : HISTOLOGY

The study of animal tissues with emphasis on how structure and function interrelate. The laboratory emphasizes tissue recognition at the microscopic level. Lecture and laboratory. Lab fee.

Credits

4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and either BIO 202 or 203 or consent of the instructor.

BIO 480 : RESEARCH METHODS IN BIOLOGY

This course fulfills the research requirement for the biology major. This course introduces students to scientific research from both philosophical and practical perspectives. Activities include reading and discussions of philosophical approaches to science and biology and research project design and criticism.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and completion of two additional biology courses.

BIO 481 : INTERNSHIP IN BIOLOGY

A special course to afford the student practical work experience for academic credit. Open to juniors and seniors with an adequate background in biology. A journal and oral report of the internship are required. Credit and work to be arranged according to the experience desired. Pass/fail grading.

Credits

3 - 4

Prerequisites

BIO 190 or its equivalent and consent of instructor.

BIO 485 : RESEARCH

A special course to allow the student to pursue a research project. May be repeated for a maximum of six credit hours. Lab fee.

Credits

1 - 4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and consent of the instructor.

BIO 490 : DIRECTED INDEPENDENT STUDY IN SPECIAL TOPICS

A special course to allow the student to pursue independent study or research. Credit and work to be arranged according to the problem, and topic must be approved by the instructor. May be repeated for credit.

Credits

1 - 4

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent and consent of the instructor.

BIO 491 : SENIOR SEMINAR

Capstone course for Biology major. Directed reading, study, and discussion designed to reemphasize the fundamental principles of biology, to correlate and summarize the coursework of the major program and related fields, to introduce new areas and ideas, and to provide advanced experience in literature review, writing and oral presentation. Conferences as needed. Offered Fall Term. Writing intensive and capstone.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

BIO 391 or consent of the instructor.

BIO 497 : HONORS

This course is for qualified students pursuing honors in biology. Students perform independent research and write a thesis under the direction of a biology faculty member.

Credits

3

Prerequisites

BIO 191 or its equivalent, senior class standing, approval by the department, and consent of the instructor.

ENV 102 : INTRODUCTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

An introduction to the environment as it relates to humans.  This interdisciplinary course explores the way that humans impact and are impacted by their natural environment.  Students may not receive credit for this class and ENV 101. Non-lab science course.

Credits

3