Undergraduate Homepage 2017-06-20T16:28:45+00:00

Undergraduate Programs

Without a doubt, the Biology degree is the most versatile of the many degrees in the life sciences. Over half of our majors (in all of our degrees) go on for an advanced degree such as the Master of Science or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D). Historically, Biology has placed more of its majors in medical and dental schools than any other department at Texas A&M. In addition, a large number of our majors complete teaching certification in order to take positions as science teachers in secondary schools. Qualified science teachers continue to be in high demand, giving the applicant options to go to nearly any area of the state or country where they might choose to live. Business, industry, and government continues to hire many of our graduates where skills and knowledge in the life sciences are in great and growing demand. Furthermore, training in Biology provides a unique perspective in other professions such as Law, Architecture, Engineering, Business and Management.

DEGREE PLANS

An important aspect of the Department of Biology is that it offers a wider array of degrees than other departments at Texas A&M. This permits students to specialize in an area of particular interest while working toward their career goals. The Department offers seven undergraduate degree programs, which are outlined below. Detailed information about the degree plans described below is available from the Office of Undergraduate Advising.

Having a career goal in mind enables students to choose the most appropriate undergraduate curriculum and electives. Keep in mind: some careers in biology require advanced or specialized training.

The first two years of any major in biology is quite similar.  All incoming freshmen must complete the following courses within the first two years of his/her program: BIOL111, BIOL112, BIOL213, BIOL 214, CHEM101/111, CHEM102/112, CHEM227/237, CHEM228/238, MATH147 (or 151 or 171), and MATH148 (or 152 or 172).  Transfer students are admitted only after completing the first year of General Biology, General Chemistry, and Calculus.  These students have one year upon transferring to complete BIOL214, BIOL214, CHEM227/237 and 228/238.

B.A. in Biology

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program, through the availability of a large number of electives, gives the student a broad base in biology.  A minor for the B.A. degree usually requires a minimum of 18 hours, 6 or which must be in advanced courses and in a discipline other than biology. The B.A. program is recommended for students who intend to pursue further education in completion of requirements for teacher certification.

B.S. in Biology

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology is designed so that students obtain a comprehensive, solid foundation in the branches of biology combined with a suitable measure of individual flexibility. This degree plan is recommended for students seeking teacher certification, preparing for biological graduate programs or any professional program (medicine, dentistry, etc.)

B.S. in Microbiology

The  degree program in microbiology if designed to provide a comprehensive education in the biology of microorganisms.  A graduate of this program will have a thorough grounding in the classical areas of microbial physiology and biochemistry, microbial genetics, and in developing areas such as the molecular biology of microorganisms. This curriculum provides excellent training for a career in any one of many areas of industrial microbiology and public health services.  It is also an ideal preparation for advanced study or professional school in medicine, dentistry and other related fields, especially medical technology.

B.S. in Molecular & Cell Biology

Students who select molecular and cell biology as their major will receive a strong background in the cellular and molecular aspects of biology with a particular emphasis on higher organisms (eukaryotic plants and animals). This major provides an appropriate foundation for a career in biotechnology, genetic engineering, M.D./Ph.D. programs or basic biological research.

B.S. in Zoology

Zoology deals with all aspects of the study of animals from physiology and anatomy to ecology and systematics. Students with this baccalaureate degree may obtain employment directly in teaching, environmental firms, laboratories, etc. Many graduates enter into advanced studies in zoology, into specialized fields in agriculture and renewable resources, or into such professional fields as medicine, dentistry, medical technology and other health-related areas.  The B.S. degree in Zoology is also awarded to students who complete the three year Early Admission Option to Professional Schools and one year of professional school.

MINORS

Biology Minor
Neuroscience Minor
Bioinformatics Minor

OTHER PROGRAMS

Undergraduate Program for
Biological and Mathematical Science

A collaboration between the departments of Biology, Mathematics and Statistics with broad participation among faculty in several Colleges across campus. The goal of this program, funded by the National Science Foundation, is to train students in quantitative approaches, including mathematical, statistical, and computational techniques, to fundamental problems in the life sciences. For more information, visit http://math.tamu.edu/ubm/.

aggieTeach

Texas high schools are in need of qualified teachers in math and science.  Please go to http://aggieteach.tamu.edu/ to learn more about how you can become a high school science teacher and earn your degree in Biology without having to take any extra courses.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

The Department of Biology offers courses in a variety of topics. For a full listing of Biology courses and descriptions please refer to the BIOL section in the Texas A&M University Undergraduate Catalog. For information on past, current, or future course offerings, check the Howdy! Class Schedule.

Independent Research Courses (BIOL 491’s) | Seasonal Courses in Biology | Download Accessible PDF Plug-in

* Field trips may be required for which departmental fees may be assessed to cover costs.

Survey of animal life with respect to cell organization, genetics, evolution, diversity of invertebrates/vertebrates, anatomy/physiology, and interaction of animals with their environment; course includes laboratory that reinforces and provides supplemental information related to lecture topics. (Not open to students who have taken BIOL 111 and BIOL 112 or BIOL 113).

First half of an introductory two-semester survey of contemporary biology that covers the chemical basis of life, structure and biology of the cell, molecular biology and genetics. Course includes laboratory that reinforces and provides supplemental information related to the lecture topics.

The second half of an introductory two-semester survey of contemporary biology that covers evolution, history of life, diversity and form and function of organisms. Course includes laboratory that reinforces and provides supplemental information related to the lecture topics. Prerequisite: BIOL 111

Biology 113 is a one-semester course (4-credits) in introductory biology for non-majors.  The course covers the chemical basis of life, cellular and molecular biology, genetics, evolution, biodiversity, and interaction of organisms with their environment, and current topics in biology.  The course includes a discussion session that reinforces information related to the lecture topics.

Basic microbiology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes; main topics include morphology, physiology, genetics, taxonomy, ecology, medically important species and immunology; mandatory laboratory designed to give hands-on experience and to reinforce basic principles. Prerequisites: CHEM 102 or 104; BIOL 111 or biology equivalent. May not be used for credit by biology, botany, microbiology, zoology, predentistry or premedicine majors.

Explores the molecular basis of cell structure, function and evolution; gene regulation, cell division cycle, cancer, immunity, differentiation, multicellularity and photosynthesis. Students may not take concurrently with, or after the completion of, BIOL 413. Prerequisites: BIOL 112; CHEM 227 or concurrent enrollment. Course Homepage

A genetically-based introduction to the study of ecology and evolution; emphasis on the interactions of organisms with each other and with their environment. Prerequisite: BIOL 112.

Problems in various phases of plant, animal and microbial science. Prerequisites: Freshman or sophomore classification; approval of ranking professor in field chosen and Undergraduate Advising Office.

Selected topics in an identified area of biology. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Approval of instructor.

Active research of basic nature under the supervision of a Department of Biology faculty member. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Freshman or sophomore classification and approval of faculty member.

Integrated approach to cellular, neural, skeletal, muscular anatomy and physiology; includes some histology, histopathology, radiology and clinical correlations. Prerequisites: BIOL 111 and 112, or BIOL 107

Continuation of BIOL 319. Integrated approach to endocrine, cardiovascular, respirtary, digestive, urinary, reproductive and developmental anatomy and physiology; includes some histology, histopathology, radiology and clinical correlations. Prerequisites: BIOL 111 and 112, or BIOL 107; BIOL 319; or approval of instructor.

Morphology, taxonomy, natural history and phylogeny of invertebrate animals, with emphasis on biodiversity; class includes both lecture and lab. Labs include study of preserved material and demonstration of living animals in aquaria and terraria. Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or approval of instructor.

Introduction to general and comparative embryology; molecular and cellular mechanisms of development; genetics and early development of selected invertebrates (C. elegans, Drosophila and sea urchin) and emphasis on vertebrates (frog, fish, chick and mouse). Prerequisite: BIOL 213 or GENE 302.

Hands-on approach to obtaining, organizing and analyzing genome-related data; emphasis on asking and answering biologically relevant questions by designing and performing experiments using computers; understanding biology from a computational perspective. Prerequisite: Junior or senior classification in life sciences, engineering, mathematics, chemistry.

Introduction to modern microbiology with emphasis on prokaryotes; includes microbial cell structure, function, and physiology; genetics, evolution, and taxonomy; bacteriophage and viruses; pathogenisis and immunity; and ecology and biotechnology; includes laboratory experience with microbial growth and identification. Prerequisites: BIOL 112; CHEM 227, and CHEM 237 or CHEM 231; or approval of instructor.

Practical experience in handling, isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms using biochemical tests and rapid identification techniques. Prerequisite: BIOL 206 or 351.

Analysis of ecosystems at organismal, population, interspecific and community levels. BIOL 358 is the laboratory for this lecture course. Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or approval of instructor.

Quantitative analyses of freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems; includes data sampling and presentation of results in written and oral formats; required fieldtrips; analysis of competition and predator-prey interactions using ecological models. Prerequisite: BIOL 357 or concurrent enrollment; junior or senior classification.

Introduction to how animals function, including basics of neaurophysiology, endocrinology, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, ormoregulartory, and metabolic physiology; broadly comparative in scope and encompassing adaptation of physiological systems to diverse environments; the laboratory stresses techniques used for monitoring and investigating physiological mechanisms and responses to environmental changes. Prerequisites: BIOL 112, CHEM 228.

Reading scientific papers and writing short synopses of papers with a focus on learning how to think and write like a scientist; fills one of the current Writing Intensive “W” course requirements for biology. Prerequisites: BIOL 213 and 214; junior or senior classification.

Basic principles of endocrinology including structure and functions of hormones in vertebrates; hormonal control of growth, metabolism, osmoregulation, and reproduction; endocrine techniques and mechanism of action of hormones. Prerequisite: BIOL 213 and CHEM 227; BIOL 320 or 388 strongly recommended.

A problem oriented course surveying the manipulation and mechanisms of genetic systems in bacteria; recombination, structure and regulation of bacterial genes, plasmids and phages. Prerequisites: BIOL 351; GENE 302. Cross-listed with GENE 406.

Structure, function, and biogenesis of cells and their components; interpretation of dynamic processes of cells, including protein trafficking, motility, signaling and proliferation. Prerequisite: BIOL 213 and BICH 410.

Concepts of development in systems ranging from bacteriophage to the mammalian embryo; use of recombinant DNA technology and embryo engineering to unravel the relationships between growth and differentiation, morphogenesis and commitment, aging and cancer. Prerequisite: BIOL 413 or concurrent enrollment or approval of instructor.

Modern methods of study of cell structure and cell function. Prerequisites: BIOL 413 and BICH 412 or registration therein; approval of instructor.

Still and video photography and photomicrography, computer-based digital image analysis and processing of biological images; theory and principles of light and electron microscopy including transmission and scanning electron microscopy; optical contrast methods for light microscopy including phase contrast, DIC, polarizing light and confocal laser scanning microscopy. Prerequisite: Junior classification or approval of instructor.

Cell biology and biophysics of neurons; functional organization of the vertebrate nervous system; physiological basis of behavior. Prerequisites: BIOL 319 or BIOL 388 or PSYC 335/NRSC 335; BIOL 213 strongly recommended. Cross Listing: NRSC 434.

Study of modern methods and tools used to investigate nervous system structure and function. Prerequisite: Approval of instructor.

Structure and function of prokaryotic calls, with emphasis on evolutionary adaptations to different environmental, developmental, and pathogenic selections pressures; students form teams and prepare presentations on specific topics in microbiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 351 and BIOL 406/GENE 406; BICH 410, BICH 431/GENE 431 and GENE 302 strongly recommended.

Introduction to biology of common organisms inhabiting bays, beaches and near-shore oceanic waters with special reference to Gulf of Mexico biota; emphasis on classification, distribution, history, ecology, physiology, mutualism, predation, major community types and economic aspects of marine organisms. Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or approval of instructor.

Structure, composition and life cycles of viruses; methods used to study viruses; their interaction with host cells; mechanisms of pathogenicity and cellular transformation; responses of the host to viral infection, and vaccine applications; in-depth study of the life cycles of the major classes of viruses and discussion of emerging viruses. Prerequisite: BIOL 213 or 351 or approval of instructor.

The study of genomic data includes consideration of the logic behind the most important genomic approaches, as well as their capabilities and limitations in investigating biological processes; the science of accessing and manipulating genomic data; and practical applications, including development of an hypotheses-driven datamining experiment. Prerequisite: BIOL 213, GENE 301 or 302, BICH 431 or GENE 431, or BIOL 351; junior or senior classification or approval of instructor. Cross Listing: BICH 450

Introduction to the entire field of bioinformatics; theoretical background of computational algorithms, with an emphasis on application of computational tools related to modern molecular biological research. Prerequisite: Junior or senior classification, or approval of instructor.

Introduction to basic immunological concepts and principles of serology. Prerequisite: BIOL 351 or equivalent or approval of instructor.

Practical application of serological principles which include precipitation, agglutination and blood banking principles, techniques in tissue culture and hybridoma technology also included. Prerequisite: BIOL 454 or registration therein.

Microbiology, epidemiology and pathology of human pathogens with an emphasis on bacterial agents. Prerequisite: BIOL 351 or approval of instructor.

Understanding of antimicrobial agents, limitations of use, biosynthesis and regulation, and challenges in development as new therapeutics. Prerequisites: BICH 410 or BICH 440 and BIOL 351 or VTPB 405.

Evolutionary patterns, mechanisms and processes at the organismal, chromosomal and molecular levels; modes of adaptation and the behavior of genes in populations. Prerequisite: GENE 302 or approval of instructor.

Examines how behavior contributes to survival and reproduction, and how evolutionary history and ecological circumstance interact to shape the expression of behavior; focus on integrative nature of behavior: how the interaction of evolutionary processes, mechanistic constraints, and ecological demands determine behavioral strategies. Prerequisite: Any one of the following: BIOL 214, BIOL 357, BIOL 388, BIOL 405, BIOL 434/NRSC 434, BIOL 466, or approval of instructor.

Recent advances. Restricted to senior undergraduate majors in biology, microbiology, botany or zoology.

Directed internship in a private firm or public agency to provide research experience appropriate to the student’s degree program and career objectives. May be taken two times. Prerequisite: Approval of internship agency and advising office.

Problems in various phases of plant, animal and bacteriological science. Prerequisites: Junior classification; approval of ranking professor in field chosen and Undergraduate Advising Office.

Selected topics in an identified area of biology. May be repeated once for credit.

Active research of basic nature under the supervision of a Department of Biology faculty member. May be taken two times. Registration in multiple sections of this course is possible within a given semester provided that the per semester credit hour limit is not exceeded. Prerequisite: Approval of departmental faculty member.

Culmination of capstone research experience; formalization of research results in written and oral forms; introduction to primary genres or scientific writing; apply principles of rhetoric and composition to diverse methods of professional communication. Fills one of the current Writing Intensive “W” course requirements for biology.  Prerequisite: BIOL 452, BICH 464, BIOL 400, BIOL 493 or BIOL 491 or approval of instructor.