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Curriculum & Courses

To best prepare students for leadership careers in the biological sciences the Department maintains five general goals for its students:

  1. to develop the practice of scientific and critical inquiry;
  2. to assist students in understanding and applying scientific principles;
  3. to develop investigative and quantitative skills;
  4. to train students to operate biological equipment accurately and efficiently;
  5. to prepare students for a life of leadership and service.

To accomplish these goals, the department offers students a strong curriculum and opportunities outside the classroom to develop their biological skills. All courses are thorough and experiential; students use modern laboratory equipment and practice scientific inquiry while learning a breadth and depth of biological information. Faculty members maintain research programs and strongly encourage students to participate in projects.

Biologists study living systems. They seek to answer questions about the molecular basis for life, interactions among organisms and their environment, factors that affect the health and physiology of organisms, how best to treat diseases, and other similar questions.

To answer these and similar questions, the Biology Department prepares students for a variety of careers through two different degree tracks: B.A. or B.S. Both tracks require students to complete the same Biology Core (see below), but they differ according to the perceived long-term needs of students. The B.A. track is typically chosen by students who plan to enter the work force immediately after graduation from Waldorf University. Because it allows students to combine this program with over 20 credits from other academic departments, this flexible B.A. track can become an interdisciplinary program to maximize marketability after graduation. It also requires an internship (BIO 495) between the junior and senior years; this experience will introduce students to the professional world and begin creating professional connections for future employment.

View gainful employment information including cost of attendance, on-time graduation rates, occupational opportunities, median student loan debt, and other information about the B.A. track.

The B.S. track typically is chosen by students with goals to pursue advanced degrees (M.S. or Ph.D.) or professional schools (e.g., human or veterinary medicine, physical therapy, dentistry, optometry, etc.). It requires students to complete additional courses to deepen their preparation in mathematics and sciences, such as in-depth study in molecular, organismal, and ecological biology. (For a listing of courses required for admission into professional schools, see the section in this catalog entitled Health Professions Pre-professional Programs.) The B.S. track also requires students to complete research leading to a Senior Thesis to demonstrate their ability to use biology as a tool to answer questions and solve problems. We do not equate Senior Thesis with that completed by a student in graduate school, but we do expect results from the Senior Thesis (BIO 499) to be of sufficient quality to present at a regional scientific meeting or publish in a regional journal.

View gainful employment information including cost of attendance, on-time graduation rates, occupational opportunities, median student loan debt, and other information about the B.S. track.

In addition to the 40 credits in General Education core courses required by the University, all students majoring in biology will complete 25 credits in these core courses: BIO 100, 120, 220, 222, 332, 370, 372, and 499. Students will also need to complete up to 4 additional credits in Biology Research (BIO 491-492) or complete an Internship (BIO 495). Biology majors will also complete 32-33 credits in these supporting mathematics and science courses: CHM 131, 132, 241, and 242, PHY 221 and 222, MTH 201 and 103 or 203. Finally, to receive a B.A. in Biology, students will need to complete 4 additional credits in biology courses numbered 300 or higher; to receive a B.S. in Biology, students will need to complete MTH 203 and at least 12 additional credits in Biology courses numbered 300 or higher. Students completing a B.S. in Biology will need to complete Biology Research.

A minor in biology requires completion of BIO 120, 220, or 222; CHM 131 and 132; and three additional upper division biology courses. CHM 241 and 242 may be required for some advanced biology courses. MTH 103 or 201 is the recommended Math requirement for students pursuing a minor in biology. Students minoring in biology may elect courses within a single category to obtain a more in-depth study of one area or from several categories to obtain a more diverse overview of biology. Molecular biology courses are numbered 330s and 430s; cellular biology 340s and 440s; organismal biology 350s and 450s; and ecology and evolution 370s and 470s. Students also should realize that some advanced courses may require an additional prerequisite than those listed for the minor.


Prefix Number Course Credit
General Education Core Requirements 40-46
Biology Major Requirements 25
BIO 100 Orientation to Biological Sciences 1
BIO 120† General Biology 4
BIO 220 General Zoology 4
BIO 222 General Botany 4
BIO 332 Genetics 4
BIO 370 Ecology 4
BIO 372 Evolutionary Biology 3
BIO 499 Senior Seminar 1
Four additional credits from the following courses:
BIO 491* Biology Research I 1-2
BIO 492* Biology Research II 1-2
BIO 495** Internship 1-4
Other Requirements 32-33
Minimum of 32 credits from the following courses:
CHM 131† General Chemistry I 4
CHM 132 General Chemistry II 4
CHM 241 Organic Chemistry I 4
CHM 242* Organic Chemistry II 4
PHY 221† General Physics I 4
PHY 222 General Physics II 4
MTH 103† College Algebra and Trigonometry 5
MTH 201† Elementary Statistics 4
MTH 203*† Calculus I 4
Biology Electives 4-12
B.A. students must complete four Biology elective credits.
B.S. students must complete 12 Biology elective credits.
BIO 330 Biochemistry 4
BIO 340 Microbiology 4
BIO 350 Comparative Chordate Anatomy 4
BIO 352 Vertebrate Physiology 4
BIO 440 Cell and Molecular Biology 4
BIO 442 Developmental Biology 4
BIO 470 Conservation Biology 4
*Required for B.S. Degree
**Required for B.A. Degree
Recommended electives:
Cell/Molecular Biology: BIO 330, 340, 440, and 442
Organismal Biology: BIO 350, 352, 442
Ecological Study: BIO 470, ECO 251, and GEO 320
Health Professions: BIO 330, 340, 350, 352, and 442
Biology Minor Requirements 20
BIO 120† General Biology 4
BIO 220 General Zoology 4
BIO 222 General Botany 4
CHM 131† General Chemistry I 4
CHM 132 General Chemistry II 4
Three upper division biology courses.

BIO 100 Orientation to the Biological Sciences (1 cr.)
A one-credit orientation for any student interested in majoring in the biological sciences. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to: 1) the scope and interrelated nature of the biological sciences, 2) the diversity of professions available to graduates of the biological sciences, and 3) some of the requirements students must meet for these professions. Speakers from a wide range of biological sciences will visit class to dialog with students.

BIO 105 Principles of Biology (4 cr.) 3-3
(3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of laboratory) This course is an introduction to biological principles for non-science majors. It does not satisfy the prerequisites for most advanced biology courses. The course material is presented within the context of human experience and covers topics such as cell biology, vertebrate systems, genetics, evolution, ecology, and the interaction of humans and the environment. (Course Fee $65)

BIO 120 General Biology (4 cr.) 3-3
A foundation course for science and preprofessional majors, this course includes an introduction to cellular structure and function, genetics, and principles of ecology and evolution, all based within a context of scientific inquiry. (Prerequisites: 1 year of high school biology and 1 year of high school chemistry. Concurrent enrollment in CHM 131 recommended) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 125 Introduction to Environmental Science (4 cr.) 3-3
This course is an introductory study of the environmental sciences. Students will examine how human cultures have changed habitats in their pursuit of resources and how these changes have affected ecosystems and human cultures. Examples will include local, national, and global topics. The influence of economic and political aspects on environmental issues also will be explored. Lab exercises will illustrate concepts. (Prerequisite: BIO 105 or 120 or PHY 151 or CHM 131) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 155 Basic Human Anatomy and Physiology (4 cr.) 3-3
The structure and function of the human body, including discussions of dysfunction, current issues, and practical applications. Designed for Wellness and Physical Education majors. Credit will not be given for students majoring in Biology or Pre-professional health programs.(Prerequisite: BIO 105) (Course Fee $65)

BIO/WEL 207 Principles of Nutrition (3 cr.) 3-0
Introductory course designed to familiarize students with biochemical processes of digestion, absorption, and metabolism, as well as the contributions of various nutrients to the health of individuals at various ages; appropriate for pre-health professionals.

BIO 220 General Zoology (4 cr.) 3-3
A survey of the animal kingdom. Topics include animal structure and function, growth and development, taxonomy and phylogeny, ecology and distribution. Concepts learned in BIO 120 will be applied to this study of animals. (Prerequisite: BIO 120) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 222 General Botany (4 cr.) 3-3
A survey of the plant kingdom. Topics include plant structure and function, growth and development, taxonomy and phylogeny, ecology and distribution. Concepts learned in BIO 120 will be applied to this study of plants. (Prerequisite: BIO 120) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 330 Biochemistry (4 cr.) 3-3
An introduction to biological macromolecules and their components. Topics will include enzymatic catalysis, thermodynamics and kinetics, and the control and integration of metabolic and catabolic processes. At all points in the course particular emphasis will be placed on the structure and function of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. (Prerequisites: BIO 120 and CHM 242) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 332 Genetics (4 cr.) 3-3
A survey of the principles of Mendelian,molecular, population, and human genetics. Laboratories will provide an introduction to some of the major organisms used for studying genetics and will explore both classical and molecular techniques. (Prerequisites: BIO 120 and CHM 132) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 340 Microbiology (4 cr.) 3-4
The biology of microorganisms emphasizing morphology, physiology, and ecology of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, and their importance in medicine, the environment, agriculture, and industry. Laboratory emphasis on staining, observing, culturing, and identifying microorganisms. (Prerequisite: BIO 120; CHM 132) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 350 Comparative Chordate Anatomy (4 cr.) 3-3
A rigorous study of the origin and evolution of chordates, comparing anatomy, functional morphology, and evolutionary morphology across taxa. Laboratories include comparative dissections of different chordates, ranging from primitive fish to mammals. (Prerequisite: BIO 220 (Course Fee $65)

BIO 352 Vertebrate Physiology (4 cr.) 3-3
A rigorous study of the physiological systems and adaptive mechanisms of vertebrates to environmental variables. Topics include cellular, cardiovascular, neural and muscular, respiratory, renal, digestive, hormonal, and reproductive physiology, and pathophysiological conditions. Emphasis on mammalian physiology. (Prerequisites: BIO 350 and CHM 132; CHM 242 recommended) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 370 Ecology (4 cr.) 3-3
The study of ecological systems, including energy flow and nutrient cycles; factors that limit the distribution and abundance of organisms; population and physiological ecology; and the impact of humans on the environment. The laboratory will include field trips (Saturdays possible), the application of statistics, and an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). (Prerequisites: BIO 220, 222, CHM 132, and MTH 201) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 372 Evolutionary Biology (3 cr.) 3-0
Evolutionary theory forms the foundation for all modern biological thought. This course will examine the processes of evolution in detail (selection, genetic drift, genetic mutation on the molecular level, gene flow, speciation, and phylogeny), the methods by which biologists reconstruct the history of life on the planet, and directions of current research. (Prerequisite: BIO 220, 222, or 332)

BIO 440 Cell and Molecular Biology (4 cr.) 3-3
An introduction to the cell as a biological unit and various molecular aspects of DNA, RNA, and protein structure, function, and expression. Topics include ultrastructure of the cell, macromolecular organization and function of cell components, recombinant DNA and genetic engineering, and regulation of gene activity. The laboratories focus on modern methods and instrumentation in cell and molecular biology. (Prerequisites: BIO 330, 332) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 442 Developmental Biology (4 cr.) 3-2
A study of the developmental processes that occur within the organelles, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems of both plants and animals. Topics will include gametogenesis through organogenesism morphogenesis, and senescence. Laboratories will include observation and experimentation with animal and plant systems. (Prerequisite: BIO 220, 222, and 332; BIO 440 recommended) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 470 Conservation Biology (4 cr.) 3-3
The biological basis of biodiversity and factors that affect it. Topics will include the history and development of resource conservation, introduction to population viability, landscape processes, restoration, and other current topics. Terrestrial systems will be emphasized. Students will complete a project in the geospatial analysis lab. Some Saturday trips. (Prerequisite: BIO 370, 372) (Course Fee $65)

BIO 491 Biology Research I (1-2 cr.)
A preparatory course using a literature search and proposal preparation for a research project. Students meet periodically with a research advisor and submit a literature review and project proposal at the end of the semester. (Prerequisite: completion of at least 36 credits in the Biology major)

BIO 492 Biology Research II (1-2 cr.)
The completion phase for the research project proposed in BIO 491. At the end of the semester, students prepare a written report and an oral summary to be presented in BIO 499, Senior Seminar. (Prerequisite: BIO 491)

BIO 493 Special Problems for Secondary Education Majors (3 cr.)
A capstone, investigative experience for Secondary Education majors pursuing a Science Endorsement. Students will apply their knowledge and skills in the biological sciences to design and complete a research-type project. A final paper is required. (Prerequisite: Senior status)

BIO 495 Biology Internship (1-4 cr.)
Supervised work experience in a biology lab or area related to career choice. At the end of the internship, students prepare a written report and an oral summary to be presented in BIO 499, Senior Seminar. (Prerequisite: completion of at least 36 credits in the Biology major)

BIO 499 Senior Seminar (1 cr.) 1-0
A capstone course required for graduation that is designed to provide an integration of concepts in biology with a discussion of the ethics of applied biology. Students submit a written paper and make an oral presentation based on the completed work for either BIO 492 (Research II) or BIO 495 (Internship). (Prerequisite: Senior status as a Biology major)

BIO 1030 Principles of Biology (3 cr.) Online Course
An introduction to biological principles for the non-science major; it does not satisfy the prerequisites for most advanced biology courses. The course stresses many of the basic principles behind biological processes and relates many topics to the human experience when practical. Topics include the nature of science, cell biology, basic biochemistry, homeostasis, genetics and inheritance, ecology and evolution. Together with its accompanying residential lab course (Biology Lab Camp; BIO 4900), these courses are designed to be transferable to residential college degree programs.

BIO 4900 Biology Lab (1 cr.) Online Course
Optional Three-Day, Face-to-Face Residency Elective
Biology Lab Camp is a residency course designed to accompany Principles of Biology (BIO 1030). Students will travel to Waldorf University in Forest City, IA, and spend three days in our laboratories, and on short field trips, testing central ideas and biological principles covered in BIO 1030. Topics include cell structure, cellular metabolism, genetics and basic biotechnology, the diversity of life, processes of ecology and evolution, and the nervous system and sensory perception, all within the context of the nature of science. Together with Principles of Biology, these courses also are designed to be transferable to most residential college programs and satisfy their general education laboratory science requirement. (Prerequisite: BIO 1030)