Department of Biological Sciences

BA in Biology | BS in Biology | Minors in Biology, Environmental Science, and Conservation Biology | Course Descriptions


Chair: Chad Hargrave   (936) 294-1538    

Faculty: Sibyl R. Bucheli, Madhu Choudhary, Jerry L. Cook, Tamara J. Cook, James R. DeShaw , Anne R. Gaillard, Chad W. Hargrave, James Harper, Joan E. N. Hudson, Patrick J. Lewis, William I. Lutterschmidt, Aaron M. Lynne, Diane L. H. Neudorf, Todd P. Primm, Christopher P. Randle, Matthew P. Rowe, Joni Seeling, Monte L. Thies, Justin K. Williams, and Jeff Wozniak

Website: www.shsu.edu/~bio_www/

Mission

The Department of Biological Sciences is dedicated to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and scientific discovery in the life sciences through innovative teaching and research programs. The department strives to instill in its students the philosophy of lifelong scholarship, producing scientifically literate members of society who have the knowledge to contribute and compete in a rapidly changing world.

Academic Programs

  • BA in Biology
  • BS in Biology
  • *BS in Biomedical Sciences (a new BS degree in Biomedical Sciences is currently under review by the University Curriculum Committee; students interested in this program should contact the Chair of Biological Sciences)

Biology, the study of living things, is an exciting and dynamic field that offers many areas of focus. Students may choose to study how life functions at the molecular, cellular, organismal, or ecological levels. The biological sciences provide opportunities to study viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and to investigate the biochemical, physiological, morphological, anatomical, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary processes that make each organism unique.

Highlights

The Department of Biological Sciences is located in the Lee Drain Building, which houses facilities including teaching and research laboratories, the Warner Herbarium, Sam Houston State University Arthropod Collection, Sam Houston State Vertebrate Museum and Texas Bird Sound Library, an animal rearing facility, greenhouse, outdoor aviary, and scanning electron microscopy, molecular, microbiology, flow cytometry, and morphology laboratories. The department operates the Center for Biological Field Studies, a 250 acre field station within 5 miles of campus that is dedicated to biological and environmental research and teaching.

Student Organizations

  • Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is an undergraduate national Biological Honor society. The organization was founded in 1922 and the Delta Tau chapter at SHSU was chartered in 1965. TriBeta is dedicated to advancing the understanding and appreciation of the biological sciences and encouraging/supporting undergraduate student scientific research. TriBeta membership requires: (1) a declared major in Biology, Environmental Science or related biological field, (2) completion of two biology courses (associate member) and one 300 or 400 course (regular member) with BIO GPA of 3.0, and (3) an overall SHSU GPA of 2.75. Membership invitations are sent to eligible students each fall and spring semester Dr. Anne R. Gaillard serves as faculty advisors to TriBeta.
  • Sam Houston Association of Medical Oriented Students (SHAMOS) membership is available to any student interested in pursuing a career in the medical or allied health field. Activities include fundraisers, community service projects, blood drives with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, and canned food drives. SHAMOS sponsors an outside speaker program to inform students of the opportunities and benefits of the various disciplines of the medical arts (e.g., general and specialist dentistry, general and specialist medicine, occupational therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, forensic pathology, and EMS). Dr. Madhu Choudhary and Dr. Aaron M. Lynne serve as faculty advisors to SHAMOS.

Internships and Undergraduate Research

The Department of Biological Sciences believes that "hands on" experiences, through either internships or faculty directed undergraduate research projects, are an important complement to a student's formal coursework. Moreover, undergraduate research experience is critical for students applying to graduate programs or professional schools. We therefore strongly encourage Biology students to consider participating in an undergraduate research project. Students seeking information regarding internships and/or undergraduate research experiences should contact the Department Chair Dr. Chad Hargrave.  Individual faculty members may be contacted for details regarding their research programs and independent research possibilities.

Scholarships

Academic scholarships are available from both the Department of Biological Sciences and the University to support student studies.

The Department of Biological Sciences scholarships include:

  • Biology & Environmental Science Academic Scholarship
  • Claude McLeod Academic Scholarship
  • Emma Normand Academic Scholarship
  • Everett Wilson Biology Endowment
  • Harold F. Foerster Scholarship Endowment
  • James D. Long Biology Endowment
  • James Patrick Weber Environmental Science Award
  • Patrick Neil O'Bryant Academic Scholarship
  • Roy Turner Scholarship Endowment
  • S.R. Warner Academic Scholarship
  • William (Bill) R. Brinkley Scholarship Endowment
  • Wilson-Warner Endowed Scholarship in the Biological Sciences


Departmental scholarship information may be obtained by writing to Scholarships, Department of Biological Sciences, Box 2116, SHSU, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2116 or by visiting www.shsu.edu/~bio_www/scholarships.html. Information on University scholarships may be obtained at Office of Academic Scholarships or telephone (936) 294-1672.

Program Specific Requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology are required to complete a Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) in Biology to be eligible for graduation. The Department of Biological Sciences administers the MFAT once during both the Fall and Spring semesters at no cost to the student. A student is eligible to take the MFAT upon completion of all required biology credits or during the semester immediately prior to graduation (August graduates must take the examination during the Spring semester immediately prior to graduation). The student, with written permission from the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, may substitute another national or state examination (MCAT, DAT, OAT, TExES) in place of the MFAT; however, the student is responsible for the examination costs. The exam score, although part of the student's record, has no effect on the student's GPA.

Curriculum

Major in Biology: All students majoring in Biology will develop competence in the fundamental principles of biology and will gain experience in botany, zoology, cellular biology, microbiology, genetics, and ecology. Students take an active role in creating a degree plan that best meets their interests and their career goals. Most students pursue careers in terrestrial ecology, animal physiology, animal behavior, medical professions, biotechnology, or teacher education. Students interested in forensic science combine an extensive background in biology with substantial coursework in chemistry and criminal justice to prepare them for work with state and federal agencies.

Required Courses for the Major
The biology major may choose from two degree programs, the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. All majors must complete the following core courses:

BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111>, 162/112 <1313/1113>, 244 <2440>, 340 <3409>, 345 <3450>, 347 <3470>, 461 <4361>, 410 <4110>, and 411 <4111> (29 hrs.).

Students may choose their area of specialization contingent upon completion of the required core courses.

Note: SHSU no longer offers BIO 138/118 and BIO 139/119. However, the department will permit students who successfully completed the BIO 138/118 and BIO 139/119sequence at another institution to substitute these courses for BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111> and BIO 162/112 <BIOL 1313/1113>, respectively.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Biology

SHSU Course Number

Hours

Recommended Sequence

Core Curriculum

Component Area I (Communication)
ENG 164 <ENGL 1301> and ENG 165 <ENGL 1302>

6

Freshman

Component Area II (Mathematics)

3

Sophomore

Component Area III (Natural Sciences)

8

Freshman

Component Area IV (Humanities/Visual/Performing Arts)    

9

Throughout

Component Area V (Social/Behavioral Sciences)

15

Throughout

Component Area VI (Institutionally Designated Option)
KIN 215 <KINE 2115>

1

Freshman

Degree Specific Requirements
MTH 170 <MATH 1314>

3

Sophomore

MTH 379 <MATH 3379> or STA 379 <STAT 3379> or
BIO 474 <BIOL 4374>

3

Sophomore

CHM 138/118 <CHEM 1311/1111>

4

Freshman

CHM 139/119 <CHEM 1312/1112>

4

Freshman

Foreign Languages 141 <1411> and

142 <1412> (must be from same group)

8

 
Foreign Languages 263 <2311> and
264
<2312> (must be from same group)

6

 
Major Core
BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111>

4

Freshman

BIO 162/112 <BIOL 1313/1113>

4

Freshman

BIO 244 <BIOL 2440>

4

Sophomore

BIO 345 <BIOL 3450>

4

Sophomore

BIO 340 <BIOL 3409>

4

Junior/Senior

BIO 347 <BIOL 3470>

4

 

BIO 410 <BIOL 4110>

1

Senior

BIO 411 <BIOL 4111>

1

Senior

BIO 461 <BIOL 4361>

3

Junior/Senior

Major
Advanced BIO <BIOL> electives1
(Select four 300-400 level <3000-4000 level> courses.)

12-16

Junior/Senior

Minor (required)
Select any minor2

18

 
Advanced General Electives3

Any advanced (300-400 level <3000-4000 level>) courses from any department needed to meet 120 hour and SHSU advanced hour

requirements

5-8

 
Total Hours: 

1204

 

Notes:

1 Advanced Biology Electives should be selected according to specific areas of study as determined by the student and their academic advisor. . Students who take BIO 380 <3380>, BIO 494 <4394>, or BIO 495 <4095> are allowed to apply only one of these courses to their Advanced Biology Electives requirement.

2 Recommended minor is Chemistry or Mathematics.

3 Students should use the elective and/or minor hours to meet the 42-advanced hour requirement for graduation.

4 This total reflects MTH 170 <MATH 1314> satisfying Component Area II, BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111> and BIO 162/112 <BIOL 1313/1113> satisfying Component Area III, and Foreign Languages 263 satisfying part (3 hours) of Component Area IV.

 


3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Science, Major in Biology

SHSU Course Number

Hours

Recommended Sequence

Core Curriculum
Component Area I (Communication
ENG 164 <ENGL 1301> and ENG 165 <ENGL 1302>

6

Freshman

Component Area II (Mathematics)
Note: See Degree Specific Requirements

3

Freshman

Component Area III (Natural Sciences)

8

Freshman, Junior

Component Area IV (Humanities/Visual/Performing Arts)

3

Freshman

Component Area V (Social/Behavioral Sciences)

3

Junior

Component Area VI (Institutionally Designated Option)
KIN 215 <KINE 2115>

3

Senior

Degree Specific Requirements
MTH 142 <MATH 1420>

4

Sophomore

MTH 143 <MATH 1430> or MTH 379 <MATH 3379> or
STA 379 <STAT 3379>

3-4

Sophomore

CHM 138/118 <CHEM 1311/1111>

4

Freshman

CHM 139/119 <CHEM 1312/1112>

4

Freshman

CHM 238/218 <CHEM 2323/2123>

4

Sophomore

PHY 138/118 <PHYS 1301/1101>

4

Junior

PHY 139/119 <PHYS 1302/1102>

4

Junior

Major Core
BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111>

4

Freshman

BIO 162/112 <BIOL 1313/1113>

4

Freshman

BIO 244 <BIOL 2440>

4

Sophomore

BIO 345 <BIOL 3450>

4

Sophomore

BIO 340 <BIOL 3409>

4

Junior/Senior

BIO 347 <BIOL 3470>

4

Junior/Senior

BIO 410 <BIOL 4110>

1

Senior

BIO 411 <BIOL 4111>

1

Senior

BIO 461 <BIOL 4361>

3

Junior/Senior

     
Major
BIO advanced electives
Select five 300-400 <3000-4000> level courses.1

15-20

Junior/Senior

Minor (required)
Recommended minor is CHM2 or MTH

10

 

Advanced General Electives3
Any advanced (300-400 level)<3000-4000 level> courses from any department needed to meet 120 hour and SHSU advanced hour requirements

8

 

Total Hours:  120-126 Hours

1204

 

Notes:

1 Students who are not Chemistry minors may substitute CHM 239/219 <CHEM 2325/2125> for one of these advanced BIO <BIOL> electives. Students who take BIO 380 <3380>, BIO 494 <4394>, or BIO 495 <4095> are allowed to apply only one of these courses to their Advanced Biology Electives requirement.

2 Students choosing CHM <CHEM> as their minor cannot substitute CHM 239/219 <CHEM 2325/2125> for an advanced BIO elective.

3 Students should use the elective and/or minor hours to meet the 42-advanced hour requirement for graduation.

4 This total reflects MTH 142 <MATH 1420>satisfying Component Area II, and BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111>and BIO 162/112 <BIOL 1313/1113> satisfying Component Area III.

 


 

Choice of Restricted Electives in Biology
A student working toward a BA degree must complete a minimum of four advanced (300/400 level) courses in addition to the core courses. A student working toward a BS degree must complete the core curriculum courses and specialize their degree program by taking a minimum of five advanced (300/400 level) courses from their area of focus. Students pursuing the BS have the option of substituting CHM 239/ 219 for one advanced biology elective. Students choosing to generalize their program, such as those working toward teacher education, may elect to take their courses from several focus groups. Students should consult with an academic advisor in the Biological Sciences early in their degree program regarding appropriate choices for their restricted electives.

Teacher Certification in the Life Sciences

Biology Majors
Students may receive teacher certification in the Life Sciences for grades 8-12 by pairing a major in Biology (BS only as outlined above) with a Secondary Teacher Certification from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Students pursuing this degree combination should include BIO 392 <BIOL 3492> as one of their advanced biology electives.

For students seeking a Secondary Teacher Certification in the Life Sciences, no grade below C in the science coursework in BIO <BIOL> is accepted. The required education courses are: SED 464 <CIES 3384> 374 <3374>, 464 <4364>, 477 <4377>, 494 <4394>, 496 <4396>, 497 <4397>, and RDG 492 <READ 4320>.

Curriculum

Bachelor of Science

Minor in Biology 1

Students seeking a minor in biology are required to complete CHM 138/118<CHEM 1311/1111> , 139/119<1312/1112> , BIO 161/111<BIOL 1311/1111>, 162/112<1313/1113>, 244 <XXXX>, and two additional courses chosen from BIO 340 <3409>, 345 <3450>, 347 <347O> or 461 <4361>.

Minor in Environmental Science

A minor in Environmental Science is available. Students in the minor are required to take BIO 137/117* <BIOL 1301/1101*>, 247<2420> or 347 <3470>, ESC 330 <ENVR 3305>, BIO 343 <BIOL 3430>, 430 <4430>; CHM 138/118 <CHEM 1311/1111>, 139/119 <1312/1112>, 241 <2401>, and 442 <4442>.

Minor in Conservation Biology1

A minor in Wildlife Ecology (WECO) is also available. Students in the minor are required to take CHM 138/118 <CHEM 1311/1111>, 139/119<CHEM 1312/1112> , BIO 161/111 <BIOL 1311/1111>, 162/111 <BIOL 1313/1113>, 336 <3461>, 340 <3409>, 364 <3364>, and one course chosen from BIO 430 <BIOL 4430>, 433 <4330>, or 470 <4470>

This minor is most commonly paried with the Interdisciplinary Argiculture--Animal Science major, although not restricted to that.  Note: Students who major in Biology can take the Wildlife Ecology minor from the Department of Agricultural Sciences.

Notes:
1 These minors are not available to students majoring in Biology.

 


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