Undergraduate Biology Courses and Descriptions

  • To the right of each course name: class hours per week (c), lab hours per week (l), and semester hours of credit per semester (cr). Information is from the 2015–16 Undergraduate Catalog.

    BIOL 101 Basic Biology — 2c-2l-3cr

    Deals with the principles of biology. Topics include cellular structure and physiology, growth and repair, reproduction and development, control, sources of food energy, inheritance and man’s interrelationship with his biological environment. The classification of plants and animals is reviewed briefly. Two hours lecture and two hours laboratory.

    BIOL 103 Life on Earth — 3c-2l-4cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL department majors and minors only
    A basic introduction to the concepts of ecology, biological diversity, and evolutionary biology. Students learn fundamental ecological concepts about how living things interact with each other and the physical environment and apply these to understanding the origin of the tree of life and environmental problems facing populations, communities, and ecosystems. Students also learn about mechanisms and consequences of evolution. (Does not count toward BIOL electives, controlled electives, or ancillary sciences for BIOL department majors and minors.) (Titled General Biology I before 2012-13)

    BIOL 104 Human Biology: How the Human Body Works — 3c-2l-4cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL majors and minors only
    A basic introduction to the human body using disease as a mechanism for examining how the human body functions. Students explore the internal milieu of the body and how the different body systems affect this balance. Students gain an appreciation for the human body and its interactions with the environment. (Does not count toward BIOL electives, controlled electives, or ancillary sciences for BIOL Department majors and minors.) (Titled General Biology II before 2012-13)

    BIOL 105 Cell Biology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: Enrollment restricted to students in the College of Health and Human Services
    Introduces concepts and applications for understanding human biological function from the point of view of cellular biology.

    BIOL 106 Human Genetics and Health — 3c-2l-4cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL department majors and minors only
    Offers a broad overview of the role that genetics and molecular biology play in the everyday life of humans. Organizes around a central question– how does genetics affect our health? Introduces the student to human inherited diseases, genetics therapies utilized to correct genetic disorders, and the role of genetics in the new field of individualized medicine. The student is introduced to the fields of stem cells and their therapeutic uses, the genetics of cancer, the microbial pathology of humans, and the utilization of vaccines in the treatment and prevention of human diseases. Using this background, the student will be presented with the most recent events in the field of human genetic diseases and how they will affect the student in the future. (Does not count toward BIOL electives, Controlled electives, or Ancillary Sciences for BIOL Department majors and minors.)

    BIOL 107 Introduction to Forensic Biology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisites: Non-Biology department majors and minors only
    A broad overview of basic principles underlying modern applications of biology in forensic science. The course explores the science of forensic biology, traditionally known as serology, and the broad scope of laboratory tests used to investigate crimes involving DNA, blood, and other body fluids. The course will focus on the issues related to DNA fingerprinting as they apply to public or legal proceedings in the law enforcement arena. (Does not count toward Biology Electives, Controlled Electives, or Ancillary Sciences for Biology majors and minors).

    BIOL 115 Biotic Diversity of North America — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL majors and non-BIOL minors only
    An introduction to the biological diversity of North America from Barrow, Alaska, to Tehuantepec, Mexico. All major aquatic and terrestrial biomes occurring in North America are examined with regard to plant forms, animal composition, and environmental (abiotic) conditions.

    BIOL 117 Understanding HIV Biology and AIDS — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite:Non-Biology Department majors and minors only
    An introduction to the mode of infection and prevention of AIDS virus that are used as an illustration of biological principles. Profiles biological indicators for HIV disease and its progression to AIDS. Therapeutic and non-therapeutic approaches to treat HIV infections are emphasized. (Does not count toward biology Electives, Controlled Electives, or Ancillary Sciences for Biology majors and minors.)

    BIOL 118 The History of Pain — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL Department majors and minors only
    Despite its many individual, social, and cultural characteristics, pain is based on an anatomical and physiological foundation. Looks at the history of scientific theories and hypotheses about understanding the pain mechanism. Through this type of study, students learn about the status of pain in various societies throughout the ages. (Does not count toward BIOL Electives, Controlled Electives, or Ancillary Sciences for Biology majors and minors.)

    BIOL 119 Emerging Diseases — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: Non-biology majors and non-biology minors only
    Introduces infectious diseases and their biological basis as well as the social, historical, and ethical consequences of these types of afflictions. Covers background material such as the germ theory of disease, the cell theory, disease transmission, and the structure of scientific knowledge at a fundamental level. Emphasizes ecology, epidemiology, evolution, and control of infectious disease. Includes specific cases of emerging or re-emerging diseases with an emphasis on current events related to disease outbreaks. (Does not count toward biology electives, controlled electives, or ancillary sciences for biology majors/minors)

    BIOL 123 Perspectives in Cell and Molecular Biology — 1c-0l-1cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 202
    For those interested in entering the Cell and Molecular Biology Track. Introduces the latest advances in the fields of molecular biology and biotechnology, as well as the career possibilities and professional responsibilities in these fields. Aids students in clarifying career goals and introduces them to the literature of molecular biology, including electronic resources. Includes field trips that might take place on weekends.

    BIOL 150 Human Anatomy — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL majors only
    A study of the functional systematic anatomy of the human. Laborotory studies focus on models of human organs and systems along with a dissected human cadaver. Also included mammals whose anatomy is then related to the human condition. 

    BIOL 155 Human Physiology and Anatomy — 3c-3l-4cr

    Prerequisite: Non-BIOL majors only (nutrition, dietetics, family and consumer sciences education, health and physical education, and safety, health, and environmental applied sciences majors)
    A study of structure and function of the human body. Emphasizes normal function, with particular attention to functional anatomy, control mechanisms, and interrelationships among systems. Laboratory studies include experimentation and dissection. For students with little or no science background.

    BIOL 200 Medical Terminology — 2c-0l-2cr 

    Requires students to not only learn vocabulary, but also the proper pronunciation of mediacl terms. A class limit is requested to accommodate pedagogical approaches to developing oral pronunciation skills.

    BIOL 201 Principles of Ecology and Evolution— 3c-3l-4cr 

    Prerequisite: For science majors only 
    An introduction to ecology, including physiological and behavioral ecology, population and community ecology, and ecosystem and landscape ecology, and to evolution, including natural selection and population genetics, speciation, and phylogenetic history and systematics of life. Develops skills in the use of scientific method. For science majors.

    BIOL 202 Principles of Cell and Molecular Biology— 3c-3l-4cr 

    Prerequisite: CHEM 111 or 113
    An introduction to the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and their cellular biochemistry, with emphasis on the genetic flow of information from DNA to RNA to protein and the regulatory events, including cell-cell communication, that instruct these pathways. Develops skills in the use of the scientific method. For science majors. (Offered as BIOL 112 before 2015-16).

    BIOL 203 Principles of Genetics and Development— 3c-3l-4cr 

    Prerequisite:BIOL 202 or instructor permission
    An introduction to the science of genetics, with an emphasis on the basic principles of Mendelian genetics, the genetics of populations, molecular genetics, and the genetics of development. For science majors.

    BIOL 210 Principles of Plant Biology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 201,202
    Explores the diversity, form, and function of vascular and nonvascular plants. Focuses on the evolutionary innovations that distinguish different taxonomic groups of plants. Topics include plant anatomy and physiology, growth and development, plant classification, plant ecology, and genetically modified foods. Discusses ways that plants are important to humans, ranging from food and lumber to sequestering carbon dioxide. Provided an in-depth exploration of crop plants, including the science of biotechnology. (Titled Botany before 2014-2015)

    BIOL 211 Investigate Biological Forensics —3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 107 or equivalent or instructor permission
    The lecture-only course examines how to collect and analyze biological evidences found on clothing, bones, insects, plants, weapons, and other surfaces to help identify victims and support criminal investigations. Covers a variety of subjects intimately linking including forensic anatomy, odontology, anthropology, pathology, entomology, botany, and environmental contamination. Presents case studies for each set of biological materials like insects, plants, bones, and fluids. Features in-depth discussion and writing. 

    BIOL 220 General Zoology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 201 or 112 or instructor permission
    An examination of the evolution, form, and function of all major animal phyla, from sponges through chordates. Interactive lecture-laboratory sessions follow a phylogenetic approach to the Animal Kingdom and incorporate essentials of animal ecology, physiology, functional morphology, and behavior.

    BIOL 221 Environmental Health and Protection — 3c-3l-4cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 201; CHEM 102, 112, or 114; or instructor permission
    A survey of indoor and outdoor environmental health hazards. Hazards are addressed from the standpoint of their source and nature, human health effects, measurement and control, and management.

    BIOL 240 Human Physiology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 150 and CHEM 101; or BIOL 203; or BIOL 263; or HPED 221; or instructor permission
    A study of the mechanisms but with the human organism functions. Mechanisms covered range from the molecular/subcellular to the tissue, organ, and organism levels. Organ systems examined include the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, renal, digestive, and reproductive. Emphasizes three major themes: (1) that organ functions are dependent on the underlying molecular and cellular processes, (2) that all organ systems use biological control systems to maintain organ homeostasis, and (3) that each organ function is closely controlled and dependent on the interaction/integration with functions from other organ systems. (Offered as BIOL 151 before 2015-16.)

    BIOL 241 Introduction to Medical Microbiology

    Prerequisites: Non-biology majors in Health and Human Services and Natural Sciences and Mathematics only. BIOL 240; or instructor permission
    An introduction to medical microbiology that focuses on the structure, biology, and genetics of microbes in relation to human disease and to bacteriology as well as bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens and the mechanisms of disease. In addition, the course prepares students for advance study in microbiology and health sciences. Standard methods and techniques are emphasized in laboratory. (Titled General Microbiology before 2015-2016.)

    BIOL 242 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 220
    An investigation of the comparative structure and function of the vertebrate body emphasizing the diverse solutions to the problem of design for survival and the evolutionary mechanisms that provide those solutions. Meets twice per week for two-and-one-half hours. Each meeting includes both lecture and laboratory experiences.

    BIOL 250 Principles of Microbiology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 203 or instructor permission
    An introduction to microbiology focusing on the fundamental principles of microbial structure, modes of reproduction, genetics, and physiology. Emphasizes the importance of microbes in ecological, industrial, immunological, and epidemiological processes. Standard microbiological methods and techniques are emphasized in laboratory.

    BIOL 261 Ornithology — 2c-3l-3cr

    A study of birds of the region. Indoor laboratory as well as early morning and possibly weekend field trips required.

    BIOL 272 Conservation of Plant and Animal Resources — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 201-202 or 103-104
    A study of accepted practices in soil, water, forest, and wildlife conservation. Saturday field trips.

    BIOL 281 Special Topics — var-1-3cr

    Prerequisite: As appropriate to course content
    Offered on an experimental or temporary basis to explore topics not included in the established curriculum. A given topic may be offered under any special topic identity no more than three times. Special topics numbered 281 are offered primarily for lower-level undergraduate students.

    BIOL 300 Genetics and Medicine and Nutrition — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 203 or 241 or CHEM 255
    Examines how our genes play a role in disease and diet. Includes a fundamental background of genetics, as well as specific diseases that are caused by defective genes. Explores how nutrition interacts with the genome and its impact on health and disease.

    BIOL 310 Applied Entomology and Zoonoses — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 201 or 112; BIOL 220; or instructor permission
    A study of the measures for abatement or control of arthropods, rodents, birds, and other disease vectors of public importance; selection, chemistry, formulation, and safe application of insecticides, rodenticides, and fumigants; pesticiding equipment; application of biological and other measures of control.

    BIOL 313 Forensic Analysis of DNA — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 211 or equivalent or instructor permission
    This lecture-only course introduces the identification and assessment of biological evidence in criminal matters using DNA. Presents routinely used broad-based protocols for DNA typing, sample collection, and techniques applied in quality assurance during DNA profiling. Covers important questions about the use of DNA by the criminal justice system. 

    BIOL 323 Introduction to Toxicology and Risk Assessment — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 203 or 112; CHEM 102 or 112 or 114; or instructor permission
    A study of uptake, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of environmental chemicals; mechanisms of their toxicity; and their effects on major organ systems. Knowledge of these topics is applied to risk assessment procedures.

    BIOL 331 Animal Developmental Biology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 112 or 203; or instructor permission
    Considers comparative and molecular development of vertebrate animals. General principles of development are illustrated using vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant materials.

    BIOL 352 Comparative Animal Physiology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 202, CHEM 231
    A comparative study of homeostatic mechanisms and systems in animals and their relation to fundamental chemical and physical events in cells.

    BIOL 362 Ecology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 201, BIOL 210 or 220, or instructor permission
    Studies the interrelations and adaptations of organisms; includes consideration of physical and biotic environmental factors. Field Trips.

    BIOL 364 Immunology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 241 or 250; CHEM 102 or 232 or 351; or instructor permission
    Physical and chemical properties of antigens and antibodies; nature of antigen-antibody interactions; mechanism of antibody formation; and immune reaction and disease. Lab employs serological techniques.

    BIOL 401 Laboratory Methods in Biology and Biotechnology — 2c-4l-3cr

    Prerequisite: CHEM 351 or BIOC 301
    Theory and practice in a number of major analytical and preparative techniques currently in use in physiology, molecular biology, and biotechnology. (Also offered as BIOC 401; may not be taken for duplicate credit)

    BIOL 402 Advanced Human Anatomy — 3c-3l-4cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 111 or 202 or instructor permission; not open to students who have successfully completed BIOL 150; not open to students who have completed fewer than 60cr.
    An intensive study of the gross anatomical structures and their functions within the human body. Explores the organization and integration of the human body on a region-by-region basis. For each region of the body, students observe all structures within that region simultaneously. This approach allows students to appreciate the integration of different biological systems within the body. Laboratory sessions center on regional cadaver dissection by groups of students to appreciate 3-D anatomical relationships.

    BIOL 405 Biology of the Cell — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 111 or 203, CHEM 231, or instructor permission
    Introduces the cellular and modular mechanisms by which individual cells grow, receive, and respond to internal and external signals, and move. Discusses the latest advances in the discipline; students are expected to utilize current literature on their own as a means of building critical thinking skills. The student-centered laboratory portion emphasizes individual and group activities.

    BIOL 410 Molecular Biology Topics — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 203 or 263 or BIOC 301 or CHEM 351
    Involves the study of biological phenomena in molecular terms. Focuses on recombinant DNA principles as they relate to prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Emphasizes the modern methods used in recombinant DNA technology.

    BIOL 411 Forensic Biology Laboratory Operations — 2c-2l-4cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 313 or equivalent or with instructor permission
    A broad based learning experience in multiple areas of Biological Forensics with special emphasis in unique nucleic acid and protein signature(s) patterns associated with forensic biological evidence. Applies the theory and practice of presumptive and confirmatory testing methods on materials of forensic interest. Features in-depth discussion that integrates advanced characterization of biological evidences as it relates to criminal investigations and interpretation of the criminal justice system.

    BIOL 425 Herpetology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 220
    A comprehensive survey of the classes of Amphibia and Reptilia, includin their classification, structure, origin, evolution, phylogenetic relationships, distribution, and natural history. Special emphasis is placed on the herpetofauna of Pennsylvania.

    BIOL 450 Field Biology at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology — 3c-3l-4cr

    During the summer session, various field courses are offered through the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. The offerings vary depending on the summer. Possible offerings include Field Methods in Ecology and Conservation, Fish Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Aquatic Botany, Forest Ecology, and Wildlife Conservation. Information regarding specific offerings is available from the department in the spring.

    BIOL 451 Evolutionary Biology 

    Prerequisite: BIOL 201, 203                                                                                                  A comprehensive survey of evolution and evolutionary biology, including the history of evolutionary biology, including the history of evolutionary theory, natural selection, microevolutionary and macroevolutionary processes, and the phylogenetic history and classification of life on earth. In laboratory, the focus is on learning current methods in population-level and phylogenetic analysis and presenting and leading peer discussions of important and current research in the field.

    BIOL 455 Animal Behavior — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 220 or permission
    The biological study of animal behavior. Topics include the mechanisms, development, ecology, and evolution of behavior.

    BIOL 456 Ecological Toxicology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 202, CHEM 112
    A study of the impact of chemical pollutants and other stresses on nonhuman biological systems from the subcellular to ecosystem levels. An ecological risk assessment is conducted in the field and laboratory settings.

    BIOL 460 Fundamentals of Environmental Epidemiology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 112 or 203; MATH 216 or 217; or instructor permission
    A study of the health consequences of involuntary exposure to harmful chemical and biological agents in the general environment. Disease etiology, occurrence, and intervention in human populations are examined through epidemiologic study using analytical methods and applications.

    BIOL 462 Vertebrate Endocrinology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 104 or 203 or 240 or instructor permission
    Examines how hormones, or cell signaling molecules, are produced in specific endocrine tissues and alter the physiology of the respective target tissues. 

    BIOL 463 Limnology — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 362
    An investigation into the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of inland waters and their interrelationships. In the laboratory the student gains experience in the techniques involved in aquatic sampling and the analysis of data. (Saturday or Sunday labs may be required.)

    BIOL 466 Principles of Virology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 203 or 263, or CHEM 351, or instructor permission
    Topics include structure, classification, assay, and transmission of viruses; methods used in the study of viruses; viral replication, gene expression, and gene regulation; host-viral interactions and subviral pathogens.

    BIOL 469 Circadian Rhythms and Sleep — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 104 or 203 or 240 or instructor permission
    Introduces the functions and mechanisms of biological clocks and rhythms in humans and animals, focusing primarily on circadian, or daily, rhythms. Examines how biological clocks keep time and influence keep time and influence behavior and physiology from the molecular level. Explains how circadian rhythms control sleep-wake and other important neurological functions to optimize biological fitness. Explores the consequences of disrupted circadian timing on physical and psychological health and performance.

    BIOL 471 Dendrology of the Eastern U.S. — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 210 or instructor permission
    A comprehensive survey of the tree species in the eastern portion of North America with an emphasis on Pennsylvania forests.

    BIOL 473 Seedless Vascular Plants: Ferns and Allied Flora — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 210
    A comprehensive survey of morphological and habitat characteristics of seedless vascular plants (generally ferns and their allies) of Pennsylvania and the surrounding states.

    BIOL 475 Mammalogy — 2c-3l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 220
    A general discussion of mammals emphasizing systematics, distribution, and structural and functional modifications related to evolution of this group. Lab work samples numerous techniques that can be applied to mammalian biology.

    BIOL 477 Neurobiology — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL 105 or 111, or BIOL 202 or 240, or PSYC 350, or instructor permission
    Presents the underlying mechanisms through which the nervous system mediates behavior, from the molecular to the organismal level. Emphasizes two major themes: (1) the roles of synapses and neuronal excitability in shaping the input/output functions of neurons and neuronal networks and (2) the role of neuronal development and neuronal experience upon resultant neuronal organization.

    BIOL 479 Nuerobiology of Addiction — 3c-0l-3cr

    Prerequisite: BIOL 104 or 203 or 240 or instructor permission
    Examines the biological foundations of addiction, with special emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms. Studies: (1) the effects of a wide range of drugs of abuse on brain function, (2) the neural circuitry of addiction, (3) the neurobiological influence of genes and environment on drug taking, and (4) the biological basis for traits linked to drug use, such as personality, memory, and mood. Discusses how cutting-edge biological methods are answering key questions about addiction and how the results of such research can be used to improve clinical treatment. 

    BIOL 480 Biology Seminar — 1c-0l-1cr

    A discussion of recent trends in biological thought and research. Students report on assigned readings and/or personal research.

    BIOL 481 Special Topics — var-1-3cr

    Prerequisite: As appropriate to course content
    Course varies from semester to semester covering diverse topics in specific areas of biology.

    BIOL 482 Independent Study — var-1-3cr

    Prerequisites: Prior approval through advisor, faculty member, department chairperson, dean, and Office of the Provost. A 2.5 cumulative GPA and in major courses is required.
    Students with interest in independent study of a topic not offered in the curriculum may propose a plan of study in conjunction with a faculty member. Approval is based on academic appropriateness and availability of resources. Work is supervised by a faculty member but does not involve regular class or laboratory hours.

    BIOL 483 Honors Thesis/Independent Study — var-1-6cr

    Prerequisites: Admission to departmental honors program; prior approval through advisor, faculty member, department chairperson, dean, and Office of the Provost.
    An intensive, focused study involving independent research culminating in a written thesis approved by a thesis director and two faculty readers/ committee members. May be taken more than once to a maximum of 6cr.

    BIOL 484 Honors Seminar — 2c-0l-2cr

    Prerequisite: Admission to the Biology Honors Program
    Selected topics in biology. Use of the literature in preparation for advanced course work and BIOL 483. Analyzes the literature, develops a literature review, and develops a thesis proposal. Guest speakers provide additional exposure to major areas of biology.

    BIOL 490 Field Studies in Biology — var-1-4cr

    Prerequisites: Specific prerequisites, as are appropriate to the course, will be set by individual instructors; instructor permission
    Various specialized field courses instructed by biologists from IUP. Explores the rich diversity and ecology of the flora and fauna that inhabit specialized regions of Pennsylvania, the United States, or other countries. Emphasizes ecology, behavior, and natural history of organisms in their natural surroundings. Must meet travel and living expenses. May be taken more than once for credit and grade if course content is different.

    BIOL 493 Biology Internship — var-3-12cr

    Prerequisites: BIOL major with at least 60cr, 2.5 cumulative GPA, and permission of the director of internships and the chairperson
    Selected students have the opportunity, under department supervision, to gain off-campus practical experience in area of interest. Only 6cr may be applied toward major; total number of credits is decided in consultation involving student, his/her advisor, and director of internships.