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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 BIOL213, BIOL214, CHEM227/237 and 228/238.
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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.
107. (BIOL 1313 and 1113, 1413*) Zoology. (3-3). Credit 4.
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).
111. (BIOL 1306 and 1106, 1406*) Introductory Biology I. (3-3). Credit 4. I, II, S
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.
112. Introductory Biology II (3-3) Credit 4. (BIOL 1307 and 1107, 1407) I, II, S
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
113. Essentials in Biology (3-3). Credit 4. I, II (BIOL 1308 & 1108)
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; includes a laboratory to supplement and reinforce lecture topics.
206. (BIOL 2321 and 2121, 2421) Introductory Microbiology (3-4). Credit 4. I, II, S
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.
213. Molecular Cell Biology. (3-0). Credit 3. I, II
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
214. Genes, Ecology and Evolution (3-0). Credit 3. I, II
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.
285. Directed Studies. Credit 1-4. I, II, S
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.
289. Special Topics in… Credit 1-4.
Selected topics in an identified area of biology. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Approval of instructor.
291. Research. Credit 1-4.
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.
302. Careers in Biology. Credit 1.
Development of job search skills; utilization of career resources; self-assessment of career interests and career objectives; strategies for professional correspondence and networking; business etiquette and interviewing techniques; insight into life science career opportunities.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior classifications; Biology Dept. Majors only; or approval of instructor
318. Chordate Anatomy. (3-3). Credit 4.
Classification, phylogeny, comparative anatomy, and biology of chordates; diversity, protochordates, vertebrate skeletons, shark and cat anatomy studied in laboratory.
Prerequisites: BIOL 214 or approval of instructor
319. Integrated Human Anatomy and Physiology I. (3-3). Credit 4. I, S
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
320. Integrated Human Anatomy and Physiology II. (3-3). Credit 4. II
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.
328. Plants and People. (2-3). Credit 3.
Development and uses of principal economically important plants of the world; plants and plant parts used in production of important commodities; vascular plants
Prerequisites: BIOL 101, 111, or 112 or approval of instructor
335. Invertebrate Zoology. (3-3). Credit 4. II
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.
344. Embryology. (3-3). Credit 4. II
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.
350. Computational Genomics. (2-2). Credit 3.
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.
351. Fundamentals of Microbiology (3-4). Credit 4. I, II, S
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.
352. Diagnostic Bacteriology (2-6). Credit 4. S
Practical experience in handling, isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms using biochemical tests and rapid identification techniques. Prerequisite: BIOL 206 or 351.
357. Ecology. (3-0). Credit 3. I, II, S
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.
358. Ecology Laboratory. (0-3). Credit 1. I, II, S
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.
388. Principles of Animal Physiology . (3-3). Credit 4.
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.
395. Directed Investigation in Bioinformatics. Credit 1.
Second course of four in capstone research program in biology; conduct individual research projects utilizing bioinformatic tools.
Prerequisites: BIOL 213 or approval of instructor.
401. Critical Writing in Biology. (1-0). Credit 1.
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.
405. Comparative Endocrinology. (3-0). Credit 3. I
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 214 and CHEM 227
406. Bacterial Genetics (3-0). Credit 3. I, II
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.
413. Cell Biology. (3-0). Credit 3. I, II, S
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.
414. Developmental Biology. (3-0). Credit 3. I
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.
423. Cell Biology Laboratory. (0-3). Credit 1. I
Modern methods of study of cell structure and cell function. Prerequisites: BIOL 413 and BICH 412 or registration therein; approval of instructor.
430. Biological Imaging. (3-3). Credit 4. II
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.
434. Regulatory and Behavioral Neuroscience. (3-0). Credit 3. I
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.
435. Laboratory for Regulatory and Behavioral Neuroscience. (0-3). Credit 1. II
Study of modern methods and tools used to investigate nervous system structure and function. Prerequisite: Approval of instructor.
437. Molecular and Human Medical Mycology (3-0). Credit 3.
Principles of fungal pathogenesis, diagnosis and antifungal therapies, and relevant genetic and molecular tools for studying human pathogens and drug delivery.
Prerequisites: BIOL 351; junion or senior classification; or approval of instructor
438. Bacterial Physiology (4-0). Credit 4.
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 or concurrent enrollment; BICH 410, BICH 431/GENE 431 and GENE 302 strongly recommended.
440. Marine Biology. (3-3). Credit 4. I
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.
445. Biology of Viruses (3-0). Credit 3. I
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.
450. Genomics. (3-3). Credit 4. I
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
451. Bioinformatics. (3-0). Credit 3. II
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.
452. Fungal Functional Genomics. (4-3). Credit 4
Extensive research experience in eukaryotic molecular genetics using the fungus Neurospora crassa as the primary model system; analysis of Neurospora gene-deletion strain collection to examine the effects of genes on the organism’s traits; introduction of molecular techniques for genome manipulation and analysis.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior classification in any life science major, or approval of instructor.
454. Immunology (3-0). Credit 3. II
Introduction to basic immunological concepts and principles of serology. Prerequisite: BIOL 351 or equivalent or approval of instructor.
455. Laboratory in Immunology (0-6). Credit 2. II
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.
456. Medical Microbiology (4-0). Credit 4. I
Microbiology, epidemiology and pathology of human pathogens with an emphasis on bacterial agents. Prerequisite: BIOL 351 or approval of instructor.
461. Antimicrobial Agents. (1-0). Credit 1.
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.
462/WFSC 462. Amazon River Tropical Biology (3-0). Credit 3.
History, ecology, evlutionary-biology, geography, and culture of the Amazon River and Rio Negro; exploration of the world’s most bio-diverse river during a 10-day expedition from Manaus, Brazil; survey biota, record observations about the ecosystem, select research topics, development of presentations.
Prerequisites: BIOL 107, BIOL 112, BIOL 113, BIOL 357, or RENR 205 or approval of instructor
Cross Listing: WFSC 462/ BIOL 462
466. Principles of Evolution. (3-0). Credit 3. II
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.
467. Integrative Animal Behavior. (3-0). Credit 3.
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.
480. Departmental Colloquium. (1-0). Credit 1.
Attend presentations given by renowned scientists from various fields of biology; learn about new developments in science; stay abreast of current and trending research topics.
Prerequisites: Senior classification, majors in BIOL, MICRO, BMCM, and ZOOL
481. Seminar in Biology. (1-0). Credit 1. I, II, S
Recent advances. Restricted to senior undergraduate majors in biology, microbiology, botany or zoology.
484. Internship. Credit 1 to 4.
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.
485. Directed Studies. Credit 1 or more. I, II, S
Problems in various phases of plant, animal and bacteriological science. Prerequisites: Junior classification; approval of ranking professor in field chosen and Undergraduate Advising Office.
487/VTPB 487. Biomedical Parasitology. (3-2) Credit 4.
Helminth and protozoan parasites of medical and veterinary importance; life cycles, morphology, taxonomic classification, economic and public health aspects and current topics in parasitic diseases.
Prerequisites: BIOL 107, BIOL 112; junior or senior classification or approval of instructor
Cross Listing: VTPB 487/BIOL 487
489. Special Topics in … Credit 1 to 4. I, II
Selected topics in an identified area of biology. May be repeated once for credit.
491. Research. Credit 1 to 4.
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.
492. Biomedical Therapeutics Development. Credit 1.
Basic aspects of the biotechnology business; includes key aspects of biotechnology patents, the main steps in preclinical drug development and company structure and funding.
Prerequisite: BIOL 213 or equivalent; CHEM 227 and CHEM 228
495. Biology Capstone: Research Communication in the Life Sciences. (2-0). Credit 2.
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.