General Education

Interdisciplinary Programs

Academic Units

Academic Programs

Department of Biology

Dr. Judith A. Dilts, Interim Head

Location: Burruss Hall, Room 243
Phone: (540) 568-6225
E-mail: diltsja@jmu.edu
Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/biology

[Printable Version]

Dr. Dean Cocking, Undergraduate Coordinator
E-mail: cockinwd@jmu.edu

Professors
D. Brakke, J. Dendinger, J. Dilts, N. Garrison, R. Harris, J. Monroe, M. Renfroe, B. Wiggins, G. Wyngaard

Associate Professors
S. Babcock, C. Cleland, D. Cocking, M. Gabriele, S. Halsell, J. Herrick, C. Hurney, D. Jaynes, J. Kastendiek, S. Keffer, C. Lantz, C. McMullen, C. Murphy, C. Rose, K. Slekar, R. Wunderlich

Assistant Professors
M. Bechtel, T. Bloss, J. Brown, R. Chodrow, S. Cresawn, J. Daniel, K. Gobetz, H. Griscom, T. Rife, K. Seifert

Instructor
A. Pesce

Mission Statement
Career Opportunities and Advanced Fields of Study
Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
Special Requirements
Degree and Major Requirements
Biotechnology
Dual Degree Programs
Minor Requirements
Credit by Examination
Teaching Licensure

Mission Statement
The Department of Biology holds as its primary core value a commitment to providing superlative teaching for students. To accomplish this mission, we will create an environment for learning that will include opportunities for undergraduate research, a broadly based academic program, a supportive, diverse and collaborative faculty, an understanding of the process of science, and a recognition of the importance of community outreach and involvement.

Career Opportunities and Advanced Fields of Study

1See the Biotechnology section for additional information.

Students interested in pursuing any of the career opportunities mentioned above should contact the biology office at (540) 568-6225. An appropriate adviser will be assigned for mentoring and course selection purposes.

Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
Biology majors participate in activities such as

Special Requirements
To be used as prerequisites for biology courses, grades of "C-" or higher should be earned in the following: GBIO 103, BIO 114, BIO 124, BIO 214, BIO 224, CHEM 131, CHEM 131L, CHEM 132 and CHEM 132L. In order to be considered as possible transfer credit for BIO 114 and 124, the entire year of a freshman course must be completed at the "C" or higher level. Matriculated JMU students may not obtain BIO 114 and 124 through transfer credit. In order for BIO 270 and 290 credit to be transferred, both semesters of an Anatomy and Physiology course (A&P I and A&P II) must be completed at the "C" or higher level. A single semester of either of these sequences transfers as BIO 000. Practical hands-on experience in the field and/or laboratory is important content of laboratory based courses. Transfer credit for courses including laboratories will only be awarded for those having skill and application content comparable to that of JMU courses. A maximum of four hours of lower division biology elective credit applicable toward the major or minor may be transferred as BIO 200. Upper division biology credits applicable toward the major or minor are transferred as specific courses or as BIO 300 or BIO 426. Credits not applicable toward the major or minor, but applicable toward the 120 hour degree requirement, are transferred as BIO 000. A maximum of eight credit hours of first year (100) level BIO courses may be applied to the biology major or minor requirements.

Degree and Major Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Biology
The department offers a four year B.S. degree program for a major in biology and for a major in biology qualifying for the Secondary Collegiate Professional License. Requirements for the B.A. degree can be met by adding the completion of an intermediate level foreign language and three credit hours in philosophy. Students may not receive dual credit toward the biology major for 300- and 400-level BIO courses that are applied toward the biotechnology major.

Biology majors must complete 40 credit hours of biology courses including 20 credit hours at the 300 and 400 level. Specific requirements include four core courses (BIO 114, BIO 124, BIO 214 and BIO 224), at least three upper-division laboratory courses and one course from a list of courses with an emphasis on organismal diversity. In addition, biology majors must complete a set of cognate courses in chemistry, mathematics and physics that are listed below. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research with a faculty mentor. Credits earned doing research will count toward the biology major but some restrictions apply.

When requested, senior biology majors are expected to participate in program assessment test activities as a graduation requirement. Assessment information helps the department modify the curriculum to meet student needs.

Degree Requirements

Required Courses
Credit Hours
General Education1
41
Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education)
3
Scientific Literacy requirement (in addition to General Education)
3-4
Major requirements (listed below) and electives
70-74

 
120

1The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.

Major Requirements

Core Courses
Credit Hours
BIO 114. Organisms
4
BIO 124. Ecology and Evolution
4
BIO 214. Cell and Molecular Biology
4
BIO 224. Genetics and Development
4

Cognate Requirements
The following five groups of support courses are required for the biology major. Consult your academic adviser about which courses are appropriate.

Credit Hours
1) Complete all of the following:
8
     CHEM 131. General Chemistry I
3
     CHEM 131L. General Chemistry Laboratory
1
     CHEM 132. General Chemistry II
3
     CHEM 132L. General Chemistry Laboratory
1
   
2) Complete all of the following:
8
     CHEM 341. Organic Chemistry Lecture I
3
     CHEM 342. Organic Chemistry Lecture II
3
     CHEM 346L. Organic Chemistry Laboratory
2

Note: Chemistry beyond the minimum requirement, especially biochemistry, is recommended in many areas of biology. Consult with your adviser about which courses are appropriate.

3) Choose one of the following sets of courses:
4-8
     MATH 231. Calculus with Functions I
4
     MATH 232. Calculus with Functions II
4
     OR
     MATH 235. Calculus I
4

Note: Mathematics beyond the minimum requirement is desirable in many areas of biology. Consult your adviser about which courses are appropriate.

4) Choose one of the following courses:
3-4
     MATH 220. Elementary Statistics
3
     MATH 285. Data Analysis
4
     MATH 318. Introduction to Probability and Statistics
4

Note: Statistics beyond the minimum requirement is desirable in many areas of biology. Consult your adviser about which courses are appropriate.

5) Choose one of the following sets of courses:
8
     PHYS 125. Principles of Physics with Biological Applications I
4
     PHYS 126. Principles of Physics with Biological Applications II
4
     OR
     PHYS 140-140L. College Physics I with Laboratory
4
     PHYS 150-150L. College Physics II with Laboratory
4

Upper-level Biology Course Requirements
Students in the Biology major must complete at least 20 credit hours at the 300 and 400 level. One course must be from a group of courses on organismal diversity. Three courses must have a laboratory component. Independent research (BIO 495, 497 and 499) will not count for this laboratory course requirement.

1) Choose at least one course from the following list of organismal diversity courses:

2) Choose at least three courses from the following list of laboratory courses:

Only one Topics in Biology (BIO 426/427) or the previously offered BIO 325/326 may fulfill one of the laboratory course and/or organismal requirements. A list of the topics that may be used is available in the Department of Biology Office, Burruss 242. These can be repeated with a change in topic. However, only up to 12 credits can be applied toward the 40-hour biology course requirement.

Elective Biology Courses
Additional biology courses must be selected to complete the 40 credit hour program. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their career interests with an adviser who can help select courses best suited to their needs. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research with a faculty mentor (to a maximum of eight credits).

A maximum of eight credits of BIO 494, 495, 496, 497, 499 and ISCI 450 can be counted toward the biology major.

Recommended Schedule for Majors
First semester first year biology majors are encouraged to start with a 14-15 hour course load. This will generally include BIO 114, CHEM 131 and CHEM 131L, and/or a math course plus General Education. The work load will then be increased in the second semester based on the level of first semester success.

First Year
Credit Hours
BIO 114. Organisms1
4
BIO 124. Ecology and Evolution
4
CHEM 131-132. General Chemistry Lectures1
6
CHEM 131L-132L. General Chemistry Laboratories
2
Mathematics courses1
4-8
General Education: Cluster One
9-12

 
29-33
1Fulfills General Education: Cluster Three

 
Second Year
Credit Hours
BIO 214. Cell and Molecular Biology
4
BIO 224. Genetics and Development
4
CHEM 341-342. Organic Chemistry Lecture
6
CHEM 346L. Organic Chemistry Laboratory
2
Mathematics course
3-4
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
12

 
31-32

Third Year
Credit Hours
Upper-level Biology laboratory courses
8
Biology elective
3-4
Physics courses
8
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
7
Electives
6

 
32-33

Fourth Year
Credit Hours
Upper-level Biology laboratory course
4
Biology electives
9
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
3
Electives
15

 
31

Concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology
Students choosing a concentration in ecology and environmental biology (biology/ EEB majors) must complete 40 credit hours of biology courses. Specific requirements include four core courses and at least 24 credit hours chosen from a list of elective courses at the 300 and 400 level (including at least three upper-division laboratory or field courses, and one course with an emphasis on organismal diversity). In addition, biology/EEB majors must choose from a set of cognate courses that include chemistry, geography, mathematics, statistics and physics. Students are encouraged to participate in independent research with a faculty mentor. Credits earned doing research will count toward the biology/EEB major, but some restrictions apply.

The biology/EEB concentration differs from the biology major in the following ways:

Note: It is highly recommended that students take additional upper-level degree elective courses in geography/GIS (such as GEOG 466, GIS & Geographic Databases, or GEOG 467, GIS Project Management) and in statistics (such as MATH 322, Applied Linear Regression, or MATH 324, Applied Nonparametric Statistics). Students should consult with their adviser about which courses are appropriate.

Biotechnology

Dr. Jonathan Monroe, Director
Phone: (540) 568-6649
E-mail: monroejd@jmu.edu
Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/biology/biotechnology.shtml

In cooperation with the Department of Integrated Science and Technology and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Biology offers a four year, interdisciplinary B.S. degree program for a major in biotechnology. Students may not receive dual credit toward the biotechnology major for 300- and 400-level biology courses that are applied toward the biology major.

Biotechnology majors must complete 47-53 credit hours of science foundation courses, 17 credit hours of biotechnology transition and core courses, and 15 credit hours of concentration courses including a capstone experience. With the advice and approval of a concentration adviser, each student selects the courses for his or her concentration area. Three broad areas of concentrations are suggested to serve a spectrum of student needs and desires. A research concentration would prepare students for graduate school or entry into a research laboratory. An industry concentration would prepare students for entry into the biotechnology industry. A custom concentration can be assembled for a specialized area of study such as bioinformatics, genomics or agricultural biotechnology.

Major and Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology Degree Requirements

General Education1
41
Quantitative requirement2
3
Scientific Literacy requirement2
3-4
Major requirements (listed below) and electives
79

 
126

1The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2In addition to General Education.

Major Requirements

Science Foundation Courses
Credit Hours
Complete all of the following:
BIO 114. Organisms
4
BIO 124. Ecology and Evolution
4
BIO 214. Cell and Molecular Biology
4
BIO 224. Genetics and Development
4
CHEM 131. General Chemistry I
3
CHEM 131L. General Chemistry Laboratory
1
CHEM 132. General Chemistry II
3
CHEM 132L. General Chemistry Laboratory
1
CHEM 341. Organic Chemistry Lecture I
3
CHEM 342. Organic Chemistry Lecture II
3
CHEM 346L. Organic Chemistry Laboratory
2
   
Choose one of the following sets of courses:
1
MATH 231. Calculus with Functions I
4
MATH 232. Calculus with Functions II
4
OR
MATH 235. Calculus I
4
   
Choose one of the following courses:
MATH 220. Elementary Statistics
3
MATH 285. Data Analysis
4
   
Choose one of the following sets of courses:
PHYS 125. Principles of Physics with Biological Applications I
4
PHYS 126. Principles of Physics with Biological Applications II
4
OR
PHYS 140-140L. College of Physics I with Laboratory
4
PHYS 150-150L. College of Physics II with Laboratory
4

Biotechnology Transition and Core Courses Credit Hours

Complete all of the following:
BIOT 260. Biotechnology Seminar
1
ISAT 305. Biotechnology Lab
1
CHEM/BIO 361. Biochemistry I
3
CHEM 366L. Biochemistry Lab
2
BIO 480. Advanced Molecular Biology
4

ISAT 451. Biotechnology in Industry and Agriculture

3
ISAT 456. Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Biotechnology
3

Biotechnology Area Concentration
Students must complete 12 credit hours of courses in one of the biotechnology concentrations areas listed below.

Upon declaration of the major, each student will be assigned a concentration adviser. The student and the adviser will define the specific courses taken to fulfill the concentration requirement. The student will choose upper division (300 level or higher) BIO, ISAT, CHEM, PHYS or MATH courses, but other appropriate course offerings from other academic units may be substituted with the approval of the concentration adviser. Students are encouraged to include academic credit for research and/or internship experience.

Capstone Experience
To meet the requirement for a capstone experience, students must complete three credit hours of one of the following:

Three credit hours of BIO or CHEM 497, Biological/Chemical Research, may be substituted to meet the capstone requirement, provided that the experience includes a presentation or paper as a requirement for completing the experience.

Recommended Schedule for Majors
First semester, first year Biotechnology majors are encouraged to start with a 14-15 hour course load. This will generally include a biology course (four credit hours), CHEM 131 and CHEM 131L, and or a math course, plus General Education. The work load will be increased in the second semester based on the level of success during the first semester.

First Year
Credit Hours
BIO 114. Organisms1
4
BIO 124. Ecology and Evolution
4
CHEM 131 and CHEM 131L. General Chemistry I1
4
CHEM 132 and CHEM 132L. General Chemistry II
4
Quantitative course1
4-8
General Education: Cluster One
9

 
29-33
1Fulfills General Education: Cluster Three.

 
Second Year
Credit Hours
BIOT 260. Biotechnology Seminar
1
ISAT 305. Biotechnology Lab
1
BIO 214. Cell and Molecular Biology
4
BIO 224. Genetics and Development
4
CHEM 341-342. Organic Chemistry Lecture
6
CHEM 346L. Organic Chemistry Laboratory
2
Quantitative course
3-4
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
9

 
30-31

Third Year
Credit Hours
CHEM/BIO 361 and CHEM 366L. Biochemistry Lab
5
BIO 480. Advanced Molecular Biology
4
Concentration Electives
4
Physics courses
8
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
7
Electives
4

 
32

Fourth Year
Credit Hours
ISAT 456. Social and Ethical Issues
3
ISAT 451. Biotechnology in Industry
3
Concentration Electives
8
Capstone Course
3
General Education: from Clusters Two, Four and Five
6
Electives
6

 
29

Dual Degree Programs

Forestry

Mark Hudy, James Madison University Liaison

Phone: (540) 568-2704
Email: hudymx@jmu.edu

This dual degree program makes it possible for the student to earn a B.S. degree in biology from James Madison University and a Master of Forestry degree from Virginia Tech in five years.

During the first three years at JMU, the student must complete 96 credit hours, all JMU general education requirements, the biology core requirements, BIO 455 and five additional hours in biology. Also, the student must take the cognate courses for biology majors in chemistry, mathematics and physics, courses in business (ACTG 241, ECON 201 and GECON 200) and a course in geology (GEOL 110). During the fourth year of study the student will take further courses (at least 30 hours) at Virginia Tech for credit toward the B.S. in biology from JMU.

A total of 38 semester hours of biology and biology-related courses (taken at JMU and Virginia Tech) will be required for the JMU B.S. in biology, which will be conferred after the fourth year of study. If the student's academic record is satisfactory, then they will be admitted into the graduate program of the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech, where they will spend approximately three semesters (12 months) taking additional forestry and forestry-related courses to obtain the degree of Master of Forestry. To apply for the dual degree program, the student must have the permission of the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics. Information about the program can be obtained from the Department of Biology. Students are encouraged to inquire as early as possible in their undergraduate careers.

Minor Requirements

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Minor
See the interdisciplinary biochemistry and molecular biology minor for details.

Biology Minor
Students choosing to minor in biology must complete a program of at least 20 credit hours including:

 
Credit Hours
BIO 114. Organisms
4
BIO 124. Ecology and Evolution
4
BIO 214. Cell and Molecular Biology
3-4
or BIO 220. Cell Biology
Biology electives
8-9

 
20

Credit by Examination
When evidence of sufficient background or preparation is presented, the Department of Biology offers credit by examination in most of its courses at the discretion of the course instructor or coordinator. Students seeking such credit should make arrangements with the course instructor or coordinator and obtain approval of the department head.

Teaching Licensure
Biology majors need courses in physics and geology as well as inorganic and organic chemistry for many science education positions.

In addition to the general education and academic major requirements, biology majors desiring secondary teacher licensure must be admitted to teacher education, complete the pre-professional program in secondary education at the undergraduate level and complete the graduate level Master of Arts in Teaching degree.

It is critical that students seeking licensure consult regularly with both their education adviser and their major adviser to support their progression through the programs. For a full description of the program in secondary teaching, refer to the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education, in addition to the College of Education section of the catalog.

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