Course Descriptions

See the University Class Schedule and University Course Catalog for more information on when  courses in the Department of Biology are offered, and for additional courses that are offered on demand. Information on the schedule for registration is available from the University Academic Calendar.

*Note that 600-level graduate courses may be taken by some undergraduates having senior status and an appropriate academic background. See https://www.ncat.edu/registrar/student-info/course-numbering-classification.php.

Undergraduate Courses

BIOL 100 - Biological Science. 4.000 Credit hours
This is a general education course that stresses the objectives presented under the general education program of the University. This course stresses central concepts in biology including; basic chemical and physical phenomena, biochemistry, cell form and function, genetics, evolution, and multicellular organization. The laboratory will examine major biological concepts. Biological Science is not open to Biology majors.

BIOL 101 - Concepts in Biology I. 4.000 Credit hours
This course is an introduction to science and the scientific method, basic biochemistry, cell structure and function, energy and metabolism, reproduction and genetics for those students planning to enroll in additional major courses in the biological sciences. The laboratory will emphasize central biological concepts. Corerequisite: CHEM 103 or CHEM 106 

BIOL 102 - Concepts of Biology II. 4.000 Credit hours
This course is a continuation of BIOL 101. It will include an introduction to evolution, basic ecological principles, and a survey of the diversity of life. The laboratory will survey life's diversity. Prerequisite: Biol 101.

BIOL 105 - Biology Orientation I. 1.000 Credit hours
This course will introduce students to the university and the Department of Biology. Special emphasis will be placed on succeeding as a biology major, the challenges and expectations, effective study skills, university support services, and university policies and procedures. Students are expected to leave the course with an awareness of how to cope with and overcome the demands of college life and to take advantage of opportunities at the university. Restricted to biology majors. Prerequisite: None.

BIOL 200 - Introduction to Research. 3.000 Credit hours
This course will offer an introduction to the basic principles of biological research. It will emphasize reading biological research literature, writing and verbal communications in scientific formats, the scientific method, and research ethics. The laboratory will emphasize hypothesis development, experimental design, data analysis, basic laboratory techniqques, and the application of mathematics in the laboratory. Students are expected to leave the course with the ability to read primary literature, properly design and perform hypothesis-driven experiments, and effectively communicate and interpret results. Prerequisites: BIOL 102.

BIOL 205 - Biology Orientation II. 1.000 Credit hours
This course is a continuation of BIOL 105. Emphasis will be placed on effective study skills, career planning, professional development, university support services, and university policies and procedures. Students are expected to leave the course with an awareness of career options in the biological sciences, requirements for pursuing advanced studies, and job-seeking skills. This course is restricted to biology majors. Prerequisites: BIOL 105 or FRST 100, Biology Major.

BIOL 210 - Writing in Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course will teach students the fundamentals of effective scientific writing. Instruction will focus primarily on the process of writing and be presented in two parts. Part I will teach students the rules of writing and how to write effectively, concisely, and clearly. Part II will emphasize scientific writing, including manuscript and grant preparation. Students will attend weekly lectures, during which they will complete writing assignments and editing exercises using prepared handouts and Criterion. Prerequisites: BIOL 102, Biology Major.

BIOL 221 - General Microbiology. 4.000 Credit hours
This is an introduction to the basic principles of microbiology. Microbial ultrastructure, growth, metabolism, molecular genetics, diversity, infectious diseases, and immunology will be discussed. The laboratory introduces students to the principles of microscopy, specimen preparation for light microscopy, aseptic techniques, cultivation techniques, and the biochemical activities of microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIOL 100 or 101, CHEM 104 or 106.

BIOL 276 - Phage Laboratory I. 2.000 Credit hours
Research-based course in which students isolate and purify bacteriophages from environmental samples, visualize the phages with electron microscopy, and isolate phage DNA for genomic sequencing. Prerequistes: BIOL 102 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 277 - Phage Laboratory II. 2.000 Credit hours
Research-based course in which students annotate sequenced genomes from bacteriophages isolated in BIOL 276. Genome sequence files are finished, oriented, evalauted and analyzed. Finalized files are reviewed for submission to GenBank. Post-annotation experimentation and research may also be carried out. Prerequisites: BIOL 102 or permission of instructor. (F;S)

BIOL 301 - Molecular Biology. 4.000 Credit hours
This course examines the molecular events in cell function using molecular genetics, cell biology, and fundamental biochemistry; using both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems. The laboratory will emphasize fundamental techniques used in molecular biology. Prerequisites: BIOL 221, CHEM 107 and 117.

BIOL 304 - Pre-Medical Preparation. 3.000 Credit hours
This course exposes students to health professionals and their respective health care professions through seminars, field trips, internships, test preparations, medical ethics, and clinical research. Prerequisites: Biology major, junior level.

BIOL 305 - Cell Biology. 4.000 Credit hours
This course examines, in detail, the biology of the eukaryotic cell. The course will focus on the functions of the plasma membrane, organelles, and macromolecules within the cell. The course will also cover cellular growth, division, and cell death. The laboratory will include exercises to visualize the cell and to measure the physical and chemical properties of cellular macromolecules. Prerequisites: BIOL 221, CHEM 107 and 117.

BIOL 325 - Evolutionary Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course introduces students to the core concepts of organic evolution. It examines the basic evidence supporting organic evolution and emphasizes phylogenetic analysis, microevolutionary mechanisms of genetic change, and speciation. It also demonstrates the role of evolutionary biology in addressing the variety of phenomena observed in the organic world. Prerequisites: BIOL 102, BIOL 466.

BIOL 342 - Current Topics in Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course will explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest. Emphasis is placed on emerging and cutting edge ideas. Because the topics change each time the course is offered, this course may be repeated once for additional credit. For the same reason, a failing grade cannot be replaced by retaking the course. Prereqs: BIOL 102, CHEM 107.

BIOL 350 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I. 4.000 Credit hours
This course, which provides a comprehensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body with an emphasis on health and medical issues, is designed for biology majors and/or students preparing for careers in the health professions. It will include an overview of organ systems, basic chemical organization, cell structure and function, and tissues; followed by the study of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. The laboratory includes studies of histology, physiology experiments, model studies, computer simulations, and multimedia presentations. Prerequisites: BIOL 100 or 101, CHEM 103 or 104 or 106.

BIOL 351 - Human Anatomy and Phys II. 4.000 Credit hours
This course is a continuation of BIOL 350 and expands a comprehensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the human body with an emphasis on health and medical issuses. Lecture topics include special senses, the endocrine system, cardiovascular and respiratory physiology, immunity, digestion, nutrition and metabolism, the urinary system, and the male and female reproductive systems. Laboratory work includes physiology experiments, model studies, computer simulations, and multimedia presentations. Prerequisite: BIOL 350. (F;S;SS)

BIOL 361 - Human Anatomy & Physiology. 4.000 Credit hours
This course is a study of the general structure and function of the human body. It is not open to Biology majors. The laboratory emphasizes human anatomy and major physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIOL 100, CHEM 104 or its equivalent.

BIOL 366 - Principles of Genetics. 3.000 Credit hours
This course is a study of the traditional, classical areas of genetics as well as an introduction to gene action at the molecular level, including DNA and RNA structure, function and interactions in cellular systems. The laboratory features exercises with Drosophila. Prerequisite: BIOL 221, CHEM 107 and 117.

BIOL 369 - Human Anatomy. 3.000 Lecture hours
This course is a general introduction to human anatomy. The laboratory emphasizes the fundamental structure of the human body. This course is not open to Biology majors. Prerequisites: BIOL 100, CHEM 104 or its equivalent.

BIOL 410 - Ecology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course surveys the major principles underlying the interactions between living organisms and their environment. Both plant and animal examples will be used to illustrate the basic ecological processes. Emphasis is placed on the characterization of different physical environments; ecosystem processes such as ecological energetics and nutrient cycling; and current organismal concepts of adaptation, niche, population dynamics, life-history phenomena, organismal interactions and community organization. Major environmental issues concerning humans and their cultures will also be presented. Prerequisites: BIOL 102, CHEM 107 and 117.

BIOL 468 - Bioethic and Re Conduct in Sci. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an interactive course that engages students in the analysis of contemporary issues at the interface of science and ethics. It also covers policies and guidelines that are essential for the responsible conduct of biological and biomedical research. Course sessions include discussion periods, case studies, lectures and presentations by guest speakers with expertise in the field. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing.

BIOL 480 - Introduction to Epidemiology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course will include the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and applications of epidemiology to public health and clinical practice. Topics include measuring the occurrence of disease, identifying the cause of disease, estimation of risk, and evaluation of the validity and reliability of diagnostic and screening tests. Prerequisite: MATH 224 or permission of instructor; senior standing.

BIOL 481 - Statistical Meth for Research. 3.000 Credit hours
Introductory statistical methods for biological research including: descriptive statistics, probability distributions (binomial, normal, student's t-distribution), parametric and non-parametric hypothesis tests, confidence intervals, chi-square tests/contigency table analysis, introduction to one-way ANOVA, and bivariate regression. Laboratory excercises will provide the student with experience using statistical software packages for data analysis. Prerequisites: MATH 224 or 231; senior standing.

BIOL 490 - Independent Study. 1.000 Credit hours
Independent study under the direction of a faculty member. The submission of a written report is required. This course should be taken as a precursor to Undergraduate Research (BIOL 499) by students who plan to conduct their research on campus. Permission of instructor required.

BIOL 492 - Senior Seminar. 1.000 Credit hours
Oral and written presentations of primary scientific literature and recent advances in the field of Biology. Prerequisites: Biology majors, senior classification.

BIOL 496 - Senior Project. 3.000 Credit hours
This course will require that students develop an independent hypothesis-based project in the area of biology. Each student will be required to submit a written paper followed by a public analysis, scientific writing and presentation will be major elements of the course. Prerequisites: Biology major, senior classification.

BIOL 499 - Undergraduate Research. 3.000 Credit hours
Biological research under the direction of a faculty member. The research may be carried out in the department or as part of an internship in an off-campus academic or industrial setting. A written paper, an abstract, and an oral presentation open to the public are required. Limited to Biology majors with a 3.0 GPA overall and in the major. The student should register for the course the semester the research will be completed or in the fall for research done the previous summer. Permission of instructor required.

Graduate Courses

*BIOL 615 - Principles of Virology. 3.000 Credit hours
This course is a study of viruses and their effects on living organisms. Special emphasis will be placed on virus structure and classification, virus replication, viruses that infect bacteria, plants, and humans, and strategies for preventing virus infections. The contribution of viruses to the development of immunology, biotechnology, and other areas of science, and the role of viruses in evolution, the development of cancer, and bioterrorism will be examined. Prerequisites: BIOL 101, BIOL 221.

*BIOL 640 - Intro Bioinformat & Genomi Rsc. 3.000 Credit hours

*BIOL 671 - Prin & Pract of Immunology. 3.000 Credit hours
A study of mammalian immune response; particularly in humans. Special emphasis will be placed on the physiology, genetics, and regulation of immune responses. Interrelationships between nonspecific and specific immune reactions, humoral and cell-mediated immunity, effector cells, and diseases are also stressed along with research and diagnostic methodologies. Prerequisites: Biology 221 and 466; Chemistry 221 and 222.

*BIOL 685 - Special Topics in Biology. 3.000 Credit hours

BIOL 702 - Biological Seminar. 1.000 Credit hours
Oral and written presentations by students on special topics and recent advances in the field of Biology. Strategies for writing a thesis will be discussed, and the preparation by students of a short proposal for thesis research will be encouraged. Prerequisites: None.

BIOL 703 - Experimental Methods Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
An introduction to the scientific method, basic techniques, and equipment used in experimental research in Biology. The course will provide a foundation for enabling students to initiate and conduct independent research. Prerequisites: None.

BIOL 710 - Introduction to Research in the Biological Sciences. 3.000 Credit hours
This course is designed to provide graduate students the foundation needed to successfully design and implement their thesis research. Each student will focus on understanding the literature, techniques, and equipment that will be used to complete his/her thesis research. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

BIOL 730 - Evolutionary Medicine. 3.000 Credit hours
This course focuses on the application of evolutionary principles to both biomedical research and clinical practice. Students will read and discuss the established principles of evolutionary medicine along with new materials as it arises from the primary literature. The pedagogy of this course requires students to think critically about the origin, maintenance, and approaches to curing diseases in humans. Prerequisites: BIOL 301, 325, 366 or permission of instructor.

BIOL 749 - Recent Advances in Cell Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
A course designed to present recent trends concerning functions of organized cellular and subcellular systems. Current research as it relates to the molecular and fine structure basis of cell function, replication, and differentiation will be discussed.

BIOL 762 - Molecular Pathogenesis of Cancer. 4.000 Credit hours
This course examines pathobiological features of cancer. An interdisciplinary approach will be utilized that will draw from epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, and clinical medicine to investigate cancer etiology, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment. Students in this course will also be required to develop innovative supplemental instruction materials for undergraduate students taking a concurrent course. Students in this course will also be required to present oral presentations based on cancer literature during the departmental journal club. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

BIOL 785 - Writing for the Biological Sciences. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an advanced graduate level course designed to allow graduate students in the biological sciences to develop proficiency in writing scientific manuscripts and research proposals following the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other federal agency guidelines. Students will improve their ability to read and understand scientific journal articles, ask questions, develop clear hypotheses about issues for which there is no answer in the literature, design experiments to test hypotheses and present them very clearly and concisely in writing. Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

BIOL 788 - Masters Comprehensive Exam. 0.000 Credit hours
This course is the recording mechanism for students to meet the Comprehensive Examination requirement. The student must register for this course the semester he/she will take the Comprehensive Examination and the student must earn a P for pass.

BIOL 789 - Biological Seminar I. 1.000 Credit hours
Faculty will present lectures on their research areas to acquaint students with research opportunities in the department. Prerequisites: None.

BIOL 794 - Biology Thesis I. 6.000 Credit hours
Master's level research in biology. Prerequisite: Consent of advisor.

BIOL 796 - Master's Project. 6.000 Credit hours
In this course the student will conduct a research project under the supervision of an advisor. A written proposal, a final report, and an oral presentation and defense of the project before the project committee are required. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

BIOL 797 - Biology Thesis II. 6.000 Credit hours
Master's level research in biology. Prerequisites: Biology 862 and consent of advisor.

BIOL 799 - Con't of Thesis for Biology. 1.000 Credit hour
Master's level research in biology. Prerequisites: BIOL 794, 797, consent of advisor and Graduate Program Coordinator.

BIOL 830 - Advanced Techniques in Integrative Biosciences. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an advanced course that encompasses how technologies and protocols work together to investigate the hierarchical organization and many dimensions inherent to biological systems, i.e., integrative biology. The content covered in this course relates to an understanding and learning of advanced techniques of biological investigations based on different technologies and protocols for the generation of results, along with associated standards of analysis and scientific report.

BIOL 831 - Cellular and Molecular Biology of Disease. 3.000 Credit hours
This course is designed to provide a solid introduction to graduate-level cell and molecular biology, with an emphasis on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie human disease. The course format will involve in-depth discussion on topics in cell and molecular biology and how they relate to specific diseases caused by dysregulation of the relevant pathways. Specifically, the course will emphasize the diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

BIOL - 832 Microbial Pathogenesis. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an advanced microbiology course that will cover the mechanisms by which microbial pathogens cause infections in humans and/or animals. Microbial pathogens include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites and together account for a significant percentage of acute and chronic human diseases. Emphasis will be placed on discussing how both microbes and their hosts have co-evolved molecular and cellular mechanisms to evade and overcome the offensive and defensive mechanisms of one another.

BIOL 833 - Recent Advances in Immunology. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an advanced immunology course that will focus on the mammalian immune response and, in particular, the human immune response. Special emphasis will be placed on the physiology, genetics, and regulation of immune responses. This course emphasizes the purpose and design of experiments, and how their interpretation has led to current concepts in immunology. Sessions take the form of background presentation by the lecturer followed by analysis of primary research articles. Participation by students in the form of discussion and inquiry is a central objective.

BIOL 834 - General Physiology I. 3.000 Credit hours
Physiology is the study of the how living systems function from the molecular to organismal level. This is the first part of a recommended two-part course series. In this course, students will gain knowledge of advanced concepts of the physiologic processes of cellular organization, membrane, nerve and muscle physiology, the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems, the lymphatic, microcirculation, metabolism and temperature regulation, gastrointestinal physiology and the endocrine and reproductive systems. They will learn to apply the fundamentals of normal physiology in the understanding of pathophysiology while developing skills as biomedical researchers. This is the first part of a recommended two-part course series and will address Cellular Physiology, Nervous System, Muscular System, and Cardiovascular System in humans. Assignments often cover the ailments and issues impacting the systems covered.

BIOL 835 - General Physiology II. 3.000 Credit hours
Physiology is the study of the how living systems function from the molecular to organismal level. This is the second part of a recommended two part course series where students will gain knowledge of advanced concepts of the physiologic processes of cellular organization, membrane, nerve and muscle physiology, the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems, the lymphatic, microcirculation, metabolism and temperature regulation, gastrointestinal physiology and the endocrine and reproductive systems. They will learn to apply the fundamentals of normal physiology in the understanding of pathophysiology while developing skills as biomedical researchers. This is the second part of a recommended two-part course series and will address the physiology of the Respiratory System, Gastrointestinal Physiology, the Renal System, and the Endocrine and Reproductive Systems in humans.

BIOL 855 - Systems Biology. 3.000 Credit hours
This is an advanced graduate level course designed to present recent trends on the systematic study of complex interactions in biological systems, and how these interactions give rise to function and behavior of the biological system. Genomics, transcriptomics, protemomics, cytomics, RNA interference, and relevant bioinformatics concepts and applications will be studied. The course will also focus on how high through put data is analyzed, integrated and applied to the understanding of complex biological systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 749.

BIOL 885 - Special Topics. 1.000 TO 4.000 Credit hours
This course allows the introduction of potential new courses on a trial basis or a special content courses on a one-time basis at the doctoral level. The topic of the course and title are determined prior to registration.