The department offers introductory biology courses suitable for both majors and nonmajors. Some 100-level seminars, such as A Green World are small classes designed especially for first-year students.
Upper-level courses provide in-depth study of such topics as genetics, cell biology, evolution, protein biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, ecology, plant diversity, and physiology.
In the fall semester, three different introductory biology courses will be offered. Any of these courses count for Distribution as a Laboratory Science. All are suitable for the major in Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies, Neuroscience and Behavior, and Biochemistry. Students should choose the one that most interests them.
“Animal Bodies Animal Functions” (Biology 145AB-01) We will survey the great diversity of life on earth from the archaebacteria that live in hot sulfur springs to giant sequoia trees to singing birds. Labs will explore biological diversity via collecting trips around campus as well as laboratory experiments and will introduce students to data collection, manipulation, and analysis.
"A Green World” (Biology 145GW-01) This course examines the plant life in the woods and fields around us, the exotic plants in our greenhouses, and the plants we depend on for food. We will study plants living in surprising circumstances, settling into winter, escaping from gardens, reclaiming farmland, cooperating with fungi and insects, and fighting for their lives. We will find that plants challenge some conventional, animal-based assumptions about what matters to living things. In labs, students will seek to answer their questions about how plants grow in nature, by studying plant structure and function, ecology, and evolution.
(Biology 145BN-01) This class will help students develop a basic understanding of how knowledge in biology is generated, and begin to acquire the skills necessary to conduct their own research and understand basic data analysis. Students will discuss socially relevant sciences issues with an emphasis in learning about evolution and organismal biology, as they gain experience formulating hypotheses and critically evaluating evidence.
In the spring semester, the department will offer courses that are equally suitable for potential majors and for those seeking distribution credit for laboratory science.
"Organismal Biology" (Biology 145RG-01) This course encompasses a broad range of concepts central to our understanding of how organisms function and evolve. We will investigate important biological processes, such as photosynthesis and metabolism, and systems, such as the cardiovascular and immune systems. We will also take a holistic view of biology and use our newly acquired knowledge to explore such diverse topics as: the evolution of infectious diseases, the consequences of development and design on the evolution of organisms, and how the physiology and behavior of animals might affect their responses to global climate change.
All 100-level courses in the department serve as an entry into Biology 200, offered only in the spring. A delay in taking this course limits one’s course selection choices later on, so first-year students who are contemplating a major in biology are best served by a 100-level course in the fall and then Biology 200 in the spring. It is possible to delay beginning the biology major until the sophomore year, but this requires careful planning and will probably restrict the options for study abroad in the junior year.
Students who know that they wish to major in Biological Sciences should consider taking the first year Biology sequence and the first year Chemistry sequence simultaneously. This is not required, but doing so will allow greater flexibility.
First-year students may consider enrolling in:
BIOL-145ABf-01 Introductory Biology: Diversity of Life
BIOL-145GWf-01 Introductory Biology: A Green World
BIOL-145BNf-01 Introductory Biology: Biological Inquiry
BIOL-145RGs-01 Introductory Biology: Organismal Biology