Guide to Academic Planning 2017-2018

Biology

Students interested in pre-medical or other health-related fields requiring MCAT, DAT, or similar exams in the spring term of their junior year should also refer to the Pre-Professional Guidelines section of this guide.

Major

Students majoring in Biology must take BIOL 150 Cell Biology, BIOL 190 Botany, BIOL 220 Zoology, BIOL 250 Genetics, BIOL 365 Ecology and Evolution, BIOL 497 Biology Seminar, CHEM 110 General Chemistry I* and CHEM 120 General Chemistry II*, and four biology elective courses at the 300 or 400 level, one of which may be CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry.  Students must also take a course in statistics and may choose between BUSI 250 Principles of Statistics, Math 215 Statistical Analysis, PSYC 290 Statistics, SOCI 210 Social Statistics.  Statistics is a pre-requisite for BIOL 365 Ecology and Evolution.

Minor

Students who wish to earn a minor in biology must complete any five biology courses numbered 150 or above, two of which must be at the 300 or 400 level and may include CHEM 330 Biological Chemistry. The Biology Department highly recommends that students pursuing a biology minor also take at least CHEM 110 General Chemistry I* and CHEM 120 General Chemistry II*.

Course Planning

First-year Planning

Because a biology major needs a total of about 16 science/math courses by graduation (an average of 4/year) in order to be well-prepared for graduate and professional school programs or for employment, the minimum science load suggested for the first year is three science/math courses. Five science/math courses in a given year should be considered a maximal science load. As shown below, it is possible to start the biology and chemistry sequences in the sophomore year, but this requires taking more lab courses in the junior and senior years. It is recommended that any science sequence designated I and II be taken sequentially within one academic year.
First-year students who are prospective majors should take in this order:

  1. BIOL 150 Cell Biology
  2. BIOL 190 Botany

It is strongly recommended that these students also take CHEM 110 General Chemistry I* and CHEM 120 General Chemistry II* in their first year and MATH 120Functions and Models or MATH 130 Calculus I, based on the recommendation of the Math Department. Students experiencing difficulty in the first semester should reconsider their load before starting the next semester.  We do not allow first year students to take BIOL 250 Genetics and strongly discourage them from taking BIOL 250 Zoology.

Other first-year students interested in biology as a possible major, but wanting or needing a slower start should take at least BIOL 150 Cell Biology. It is highly recommended that these students consider taking either General Chemistry I* and II* or a mathematics course (Functions and Models or CalculusI) during this first year.

Upper-level Planning    

Though not required, all biology majors should take mathematics through Calculus I (preferably through Calculus II), Chemistry through Organic II (preferably through Biological Chemistry), and physics through General Physics II in order to keep graduate school, professional school, and employment options open. The Biology “core” curriculum is designed so that the five required courses (Cell Biology, Botany, Zoology, Genetics, and Ecology and Evolution) will provide an overview of biology allowing a student to then “specialize” by choosing four electives that best fit their needs.

We encourage students to plan early if they want to study abroad or perform independent research. This planning will often entail increasing science course loads to ensure adequate course background for research or to compensate for the fact that science courses may not be available in study abroad programs.

We advise students taking courses off-campus to consult a biology faculty member about the selection of those courses. We encourage students to attend Hendrix Biological Society meetings, departmental informational meetings, departmental seminars and other special events.

Students planning to certify to teach biology should contact their major advisor and the Education Department for a list of courses required within the major and by the professional societies for licensure.

The following are general guidelines for courses required by many graduate and professional schools. It is recommended that students refer often to the Catalogand to this Guide to Academic Planning and work closely with their academic advisors to ensure adequate course preparation for specific post-graduate programs.

Preparation for graduate school is best achieved by:

  1. Two years of Biology;
  2. Two courses in General Chemistry* and two courses in Organic Chemistry;
  3. Two courses in Physics;
  4. At least one course in Calculus;
  5. At least one course in Statistics (preferably from the psychology department).

Independent research experience is highly desirable and will be expected by selective graduate programs. Some graduate schools also require Biochemistry, basic programming skills and, occasionally, a reading knowledge in at least one foreign language.

Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience for the biology major consists of (1) a comprehensive examination and (2) participation in BIOL 497 Biology Seminar. BIOL 497 Biology Seminar is a one semester course that meets weekly. During the course each senior presents a formal seminar. The grade for the Senior Capstone Experience is based on both the comprehensive examination and the Biology Seminar grade.

Typical Course Sequences

Typical four-year course sequence (suitable for taking the MCAT or other professional exam during the Junior year)

Fall Spring
First Year Biol 150 Cell Biology  BIOL 190 Botany 
  CHEM 110 General Chemistry I* CHEM 120 General Chemistry II*
  TEC & Explorations Elective
  Elective Elective 
One of the 3 first-year electives should be Functions and Models or Calculus I 
Second Year  BIOL 220 Zoology BIOL 250 Genetics 



  Elective Elective 
  Elective Elective 
CHEM 240 Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 250 Organic Chemistry II are suggested as 2 of the 4 second-year electives
Third Year  BIOL 365 Ecology and Evolution  Major Elective 2 
  Major Elective 1 Elective 
  Elective  Elective     
  Elective  Elective     
Fourth Year  BIOL 497 Senior Seminar
or
Elective
BIOL 497 Senior Seminar
or
Elective
  Major Elective 3 Major Elective 4     
  Elective Elective     
  Elective Elective     

Typical three-year course sequence

Fall Spring
First Year Elective Elective 
  Elective  Elective 
  Elective  Elective 
  Elective Elective 
Second Year  BIOL 150 Cell Biology BIOL 190 Botany 
 

  CHEM 110 General Chemistry I*  CHEM 120 General Chemistry II* 
  Elective Elective 
 Third Year BIOL 220 Zoology  BIOL 250 Genetics
or
Major Elective 1 
 

BIOL 250 Genetics
or
Major Elective 1

Major Elective 2 
  Elective  Elective 
  Elective Elective 
 Fourth Year BIOL 365 Ecology and Evolution  BIOL 497 Senior Seminar
  Major Elective 3 Major Elective 4 
  Elective Elective 
     

*Taking CHEM 150 Accelerated General Chemistry in the fall semester can substitute for the two-course CHEM 110 and CHEM 120 sequence.