Degrees and Courses of Study

There are three graduate degree programs in the Department of Biological Sciences:

• Master’s degree in Biological Sciences (M.S.)

• Master’s degree in Marine Science (M.S.)

• Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biological Sciences (Ph.D.)

Course Descriptions
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
Courses at the 500 level are not open to students who have received credit for the same courses at the 400 level.

BSC 500 Vertebrate Functional Morphology. Four hours. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisites: BSC 114:115, BSC 116:117, BSC 300, or permission of the instructor.
Morphology of animals, primarily vertebrates, with emphasis on functional aspects of anatomy. Laboratory deals mainly with comparative anatomy of the vertebrates.

BSC 503/BSC 504 Introduction to Biological Sciences Instruction. Two hours.
Prerequisites: Strong background in biological sciences, formal application, and interview.
Students in the MS program who are not teaching assistants may receive up to 2 hours’ credit. Students in the PhD program who are not teaching assistants may receive up to 4 hours’ credit provided they teach two different laboratories.

BSC 506 Introduction to Research in Biological Sciences. One hour.
Corequisite: Student must be in the first year of the graduate program.
Surveys research programs in biological sciences.

BSC 507 Research Techniques in Biology. One to six hours.
Individualized instruction and the application of research techniques to specific problems for graduate students in the department.

BSC 512 Limnology. Three hours. May be taken separately or with BSC 513.
A study of freshwater environments and organisms living in lakes, ponds, and streams.

BSC 513 Limnology Laboratory. Two hours. One laboratory period.
An optional laboratory accompanying BSC 512.

BSC 514 Dendrology. Three hours. One lecture and one four-hour laboratory period.
Identification, classification, characteristics, and distribution of the principal forest trees of the United States. Two weekend field trips are required.

BSC 516 Aquatic Vascular Plants. Four hours. Two lectures and one four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 434 or BSC 534.
Identification, classification, characteristics, and distribution of aquatic plant species. One weekend field trip is required.

BSC 517 Environmental Modeling. Three hours. Two lectures and one discussion period.
Prerequisites: BSC 114:115, BSC 116:117, CH 101, CH 102, and MATH 125 (or equivalent).
An integrated survey of quantitative principles and computer-based solution techniques important for understanding environmental systems and for environmental problem solving.

BSC 520 Principles of Systematics. Three hours. Three lectures.
One organismal class (e.g., BSC 360, Plant Biology, BSC 373, Vertebrate Zoology, BSC 376, Invertebrate Zoology) AND BSC 383, Evolution, or permission of instructor.
An introduction to the principles, methods, and applications of systematic zoology and the zoological classifications.

BSC 521 Geomicrobiology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: One year of chemistry (CH 101:102); either physical science (GEO 101:102), ecology (BSC 385), microbiology (BSC 310), or permission of the instructor.
This interdisciplinary course examines the interrelationships between microorganisms and earth processes and environments. Topics will focus on microorganismal involvement in mineral precipitation and dissolution and processes that control distribution of elements at and below the surface of the earth, as well as geochemical and mineralogical factors that exert important controls on microbial evolution and the structure of microbial communities.

BSC 522 Climate Dynamics. Three hours.
Prerequisites: PH 101:102, MATH 125, GY 101:102.
This course will provide students with a quantitative introduction to the earth’s climate on global and regional scales, including interaction between atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere.

BSC 523 Freshwater Ecosystems. Three hours.
Prerequisites: CH 101:102, CH 231:232 recommended, MATH 125, BSC 412/BSC 512 or equivalent. This course addresses the integration of physical and chemical components of drainage basins with biological metabolism, growth and reproduction along functional gradients of river, wetland, reservoir, and lake ecosystems.

BSC 524 Human Physiology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 300. May be taken with BSC 525 or separately.
Examines the cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, muscular, neural, renal, reproductive and respiratory systems.

BSC 525 Human Physiology Laboratory. One hour. One four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 424.
Corequisite: BSC 524.
Centers on principles of physiology and instrumentation for physiology.

BSC 528 Biology of Fishes. Three hours. Two lectures and one laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 373 or permission of the instructor.
A survey of the structure, function, ecology, and classification of fishes.

BSC 531 Pathogenic Microbiology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 311 or permission of the instructor.
A study of microorganisms related to health and disease.

BSC 532 Pathogenic Microbiology Laboratory. Three hours. One lecture and two laboratory periods.
Prerequisite: BSC 313 or permission of the instructor.
Prerequisite or corequisite: BSC 531 or permission of the instructor.
Practical experience in the isolation, characterization, and identification of pathogenic microorganisms.

BSC 534 Plant Taxonomy. Four hours. Two lectures and one four-hour laboratory period.
Characteristics and distribution of the major families of vascular plants, and practice in the collection and identification of flowering plants. One weekend field trip is required.

BSC 535 Immunology. Four hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 310 or permission of the instructor.
Thorough exploration of various aspects of modern immunology at the molecular and cellular levels.

BSC 536 Immunology Laboratory. Three hours. One lecture and two laboratory periods.
Prerequisite: BSC 435, BSC 535, or permission of the instructor.
Practical experience in modern immunological techniques.

BSC 539 Molecular Biology Laboratory. Three hours. One lecture and one four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisites: Prerequisite:  BSC 450 or BSC 550 or permission of the instructor.
Two lectures and two laboratories.  Students participate in the generation of new knowledge, thus the experiments vary.  Techniques typically taught include agarose gel electrophoresis, plasmid purification, primer design, PCR, restriction endonuclease digestion, ligation, transformation, site-directed mutagenesis, and cycle sequencing.

BSC 541 Developmental Biology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisites: BSC 300 and BSC 315, or permission of the instructor.
The course provides basic information about events in developing animal systems, emphasizing cellular, molecular, and genetic research approaches to the study of development.

BSC 544 General Virology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisites: BSC 300 or BSC 311, and BSC 450 or BSC 550; or permission of the instructor.
The molecular biology of bacterial, animal, and plant virus replication, including the biophysical, biochemical, and biological properties of virus particles.

BSC 548 Animal Behavior. three hours.

Prerequisites: Principles of Biology I & II (BSC 114/115 and BSC 116/117 or BSC 118/120); Ecology (BSC 385).

This course is designed to provide modern perspectives on the study of animal behavior, pulling from fields as diverse as evolutionary biology, ecology, psychology, neurobiology, economics, and conservation biology.  Throughout the course, there will be an historical undercurrent, which will illustrate the roots of this truly inter-disciplinary field. The course is structured in a way that will allow you to gain a basic understanding of topics ranging from sexual selection, anti-predator behavior, personalities, and aggression during lecture.  You will then have the opportunity to master some of the more important theories, concepts, and cutting-edge new hypotheses using various active learning approaches, including the art of reading and evaluating primary literature, critically dissecting experimental design, and working through intellectual problems in the field of animal behavior. This course is not meant to be an exhaustive tour-de-force through animal behavior; rather, we will dedicate our energies to understanding in great detail some of the most influential concepts in the field.

BSC 549 Endocrinology. three hours.

Prerequisites:  Principles of Biology I & II (BSC 114/118 or BSC 116/120); Cell Biology (BSC 300).

This course is designed to familiarize you with the endocrine system complete with the structure and function of various glands, the molecular triggers that activate hormone production from these glands, the biosynthesis of many hormones, and the actions of these hormones at the cellular, physiological, and behavioral levels. Lectures will be partly traditional, and partly interactive. Students should come prepared to engage in discussion, and to ask questions. Writing is a significant component of this course, and students will need to demonstrate proficiency in writing to earn a passing mark.

BSC 550 Fundamentals of Biochemistry. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: CH 332 or permission of the instructor.
A one-semester survey of protein structure, enzyme kinetics, bioenergetics, and metabolism and its regulation.

BSC 551 Molecular Biology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite or corequisite: BSC 550 or permission of the instructor.
A one-semester survey of the synthesis, processing, and degradation of DNA, RNA, and protein and the regulation of these processes.

BSC 555 Laboratory Animal Science. Two hours. One lecture and one laboratory period.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
A study of the husbandry and use of animals in research, including handling, housing, breeding, nutrition, diseases and parasites, basic techniques of anesthesia and surgery, and administration of drugs and medication.

BSC 556 Microbial Ecology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 311 or permission of the instructor.
A study of microorganisms in the environment, with emphasis on their roles in energy transformations, biogeochemical cycles, and biotic interactions.

BSC 557 Microbial Ecology Laboratory. Two hours. One four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 311 or permission of the instructor.
Corequisite: BSC 556.
A laboratory course that provides training in techniques for examination of the abundance, diversity, and activity of microorganisms in natural water, soil, and sediment environments.

BSC 560 Human Developmental Biology. four hours.
Prerequisites: BSC 300 and either BSC 400 or BSC 500 are recommended.
Lecture and laboratory.  Development of the human embryo and fetus, including molecular, physiological, and structural aspects of  morphogenesis  and functional development.

BSC 564 Biology of Algae. Four hours. Two lectures and one four-hour laboratory period.
Freshwater and marine algae and their structure, development, taxonomy, and distribution.

BSC 565 Principles of Toxicology. four hours.

Study of  the  adverse affects of chemicals on living organisms and of methods for predicting the likelihood of these effects, including descriptive, mechanistic, and regulatory aspects.

BSC 569 Histology of Vertebrates, four hours.

Prerequisites: BSC 114:115 or BSC 118 and BSC 116:117 or BSC 120

Lecture  and laboratory.  Identification of  tissue types and components, histogenesis and function of tissues.

BSC 572 Mycology. Three hours. Two lectures and two laboratory periods.
Prerequisite: BSC 310 or permission of the instructor.
An introduction to the fungi and their biology, including aspects of their structure and function, taxonomy, genetics, and ecology.

BSC 575 General Entomology. Four hours. Two lectures and one four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 376 or permission of the instructor.
A survey of the structure, function, classification, and habits of insects.

BSC 576 Aquatic Insects. Four hours. Two lectures and one four-hour laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 475, BSC 575, or permission of the instructor.
A survey of aquatic insects, with emphasis on their identification, life histories, and ecology.

BSC 582 Conservation Biology. Three hours. Three lectures.
A thorough examination of the principles of conservation biology.

BSC 583 Evolution, three hours.

Prerequisites:  BSC 114:115 or BSC 118, BSC 116:117 or BSC 120, and BSC 315.

Thorough  investigation of evolution, including population genetics, molecular evolution, adaptation, and speciation.

BSC 584 Aquatic Biology Seminar. One hour.
Review and discussion of current topics in aquatic biology.

BSC 587 Biogeography. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 385 or permission of the instructor.
Examination of the ecological and historical factors influencing the geographic distribution of plants and animals.

BSC 590 Stream Ecology. Four hours. Two lectures and one laboratory period.
Prerequisite: BSC 385.
A thorough study of the structural (physical and biological) and functional (energy flow, nutrient cycling, community structure) attributes characteristic of stream and river ecosystems.

BSC 593 Cell Cycle Regulation. three hours.

Prerequisites: BSC 300 Cell Biology and BSC 315 Genetics.

In-depth review and discussion of recent scientific research  literature  dealing  with mechanisms of eukaryotic cell cycle regulation and their significance in human cancers. Provides a  foundation  for further studies in the cell cycle field, which impacts many areas of cell, molecular, and developmental biology.

BSC 594 Signal Transduction in Neurobiology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate-level genetics and cell biology or developmental biology.
Seminar on current topics related to signal transduction, as it pertains to the molecular basis of neurobiology and development.
BSC 595 Advanced Cell Biology. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 300 or permission of the instructor.
Presents the structures, functions, and relationships of cellular organelles and the cytoskeleton.

BSC 596 Bioremediation. Three hours. Three lectures.

Prerequisite: BSC 450 or BSC 550, and CH 331; or permission of the instructor.
Study of the biological degradation of toxic chemicals in the environment

BSC 598 Research Not Related to Thesis. One to fifteen hours. Pass/fail.

BSC 599 Thesis Research. One to fifteen hours. Pass/fail.

BSC 602 Advanced Molecular Research Seminar. One hour. Pass/fail.
Student presentations of research background and current results. Students may enroll each semester.

BSC 603 Current Topics in Molecular Biology. One hour. Pass/fail.
Student presentations of current research literature.

BSC 604 Development, Toxicology, and Physiology Seminar. One hour. Pass/fail.

BSC 605 Ecology and Systematics Seminar. One hour. Pass/fail.

BSC 606 Advanced Ecology and Systematics Seminar. One hour. Pass/fail.
Students attend and participate in a one-hour weekly seminar and present a 45-minute seminar during the semester. The seminar presented should be a synthesis of research on a particular topic in ecology or systematics, requires a practice session, and includes written evaluations by the faculty.

BSC 607 Advanced Research Techniques in Biology. One to six hours.
Individualized instruction and the application of research techniques to specific problems at an advanced level for graduate students in the department.

BSC 612 Aquatic Secondary Production. Three hours. Three lectures.
A study of the population and production dynamics of aquatic animals, including theory, methods, and interpretation of the role of animals in ecosystem bioenergetics.

BSC 613 Aquatic Ecosystem Ecology. Two hours. Seminar/discussion.
Prerequisite: BSC 412, BSC 512, or permission of the instructor.
Analysis of the structure of and functional interactions and fluxes among physical, chemical, and biological components of aquatic ecosystems. Functional commonalities are sought among diverse ecosystems (lakes, rivers, reservoirs, shallow waters, land-water interfaces).

BSC 631 Molecular Genetics of Lower Eukaryotes. Three hours.
Prerequisites: BSC 300, BSC 315.
Survey of lower eukaryotic model systems using current and historical literature with an emphasis on the usefulness of these organisms to address particular biological questions.

BSC 632 Higher Eukaryotic Genetic Model Systems. Three hours.
Critical analysis of higher eukaryotic genetic model systems used in modern molecular research.

BSC 633 Critique of Research in Molecular Biology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: Any two graduate courses in molecular and cellular biology.
Critical analysis of current research in molecular biology. Narrow topics from rapidly moving fields will be selected for detailed reading and class discussion.

BSC 634 Practical Molecular Biology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate-level biochemistry and genetics courses.
This course presents the theoretical basis for commonly used molecular biology procedures that are in general use in all fields of biology.

BSC 635 Developmental Genetics. Three hours. Two lectures and one discussion period.
Prerequisite: BSC 441, BSC 541, or equivalent.
A course in the genetic and molecular mechanisms of development for graduate students.

BSC 651 Population Ecology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: BSC 385 or equivalent and MATH 125 or equivalent.
Theory and practice of population ecology (plants and animals); sampling, population processes, regulation, interspecific interactions, age structure analysis, and applications in resource management.

BSC 652 Community Ecology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: BSC 385 or equivalent; MATH 125 or equivalent; CHS 525; ST 550 or equivalent.
Thorough investigation of theory and empirical studies of ecological communities (plant, animal, microbial), including methods, community structure, diversity, succession, links to ecosystem function, resource management.

BSC 656 Microscopical Techniques. Four hours.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.
An introduction to the methods and applications of electron microscopy in biological research, including techniques for preparation of biological specimens, operation of the transmission and scanning electron microscopes, and photography.

BSC 660 Protein Structure and Function. Three hours. Three lectures.
Prerequisite: BSC 439, BSC 539, CH 462, or CH 562.
A study of the structure and function of proteins: enzymatic reaction mechanisms and enzyme kinetics.

BSC 695 Special Topics in Biological Sciences. One to four hours.
Courses with this number may address any biological topic not covered by existing courses. The credit hours and format are arranged as appropriate to each topic. The specific course title is added at the time the course is taught.

BSC 696 Resident Study at an Approved Biological Station. Two to six hours.
Prerequisite: Written approval from the department must be received in advance.
Credit for the course is determined by the extent of the coursework.

BSC 698 Research Not Related to Dissertation. One to fifteen hours. Pass/fail.

BSC 699 Dissertation Research. Three to fifteen hours. Pass/fail.