Table of ContentsPrevious Page in CatalogNext Page in CatalogIndex

UNC Logo


School of Biological Sciences

Director: Catherine S. Gardiner, Ph.D.

Biological Sciences

Location: Ross Hall 2480
Telephone: 970.351.2921

Biological Sciences B.S.

The biological sciences study all aspects of life from sub-cellular processes to planetary ecosystems. All undergraduate programs require a core of common courses to provide students with a solid foundation in the diversity and cellular basis of life, structure and function, heredity and development, and how organisms interact with each other and with their environment. Thereafter, students choose an area of emphasis that best suits their educational interests and goals. These emphasis areas are biomedical sciences, cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, and biology secondary teaching.

Students are encouraged to participate in independent research projects or internships with both faculty members and agencies outside the university to gain experience not available in the classroom. Practical application and hands-on experiences are supported with extensive support facilities including animal maintenance and greenhouse facilities, a microscopy and genomics imaging suite, a museum and herbarium, extensive state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, and other core biotechnology equipment. Field studies are encouraged, because there is ready access to both prairie and mountain habitats. Expertise and research interests of the faculty include systematics of plants, animals and microorganisms; genetics and evolution; molecular and cellular biology; animal behavior; reproductive biology; toxicology and pharmacology; immunology and infectious disease; ecology; community and ecosystem structure; mammalogy; ornithology; plant and mammalian physiology; anatomy; and science and environmental education.

Biomedical Sciences Emphasis

This emphasis is intended for premed and other students having an interest in the human and animal health professions. This program meets the minimal requirements for admittance to most professional schools of health science. Undergraduates entering this program should have a strong science and mathematics background in high school or be prepared to do additional remedial work. Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared for admission to medical, veterinary, dentistry, chiropractic, or paramedical professional programs. They will also be prepared to continue their education in a wide range of graduate programs as diverse as microbiology and human physiology. This would also be an appropriate emphasis for students interested in working in health communication, pharmaceutical sales, hospitals, biotechnology companies, or government laboratories such as the Centers for Disease Control.

Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis

This program places emphasis on a thorough understanding of the biological principles underlying all living systems through study of the basic unit of life, the cell. Undergraduates entering this program should have a strong science and mathematics background in high school or be prepared to do additional remedial work. Students successfully completing this program will be prepared to choose from a widely varied range of careers in the basic or applied biological sciences such as public health, the pharmaceutical industry, cancer research, biodiversity research, forensic biology, animal and plant agricultural sciences, and many others. Students will also be prepared to continue their education in graduate biological sciences programs (microbiology, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, endocrinology, immunology, developmental biology, etc.) and in most professional schools (medical, veterinary, etc.). This program encompasses a minor in chemistry.

Organismal Biology Emphasis

This emphasis focuses on organismal biology and on field courses. Students completing the program will acquire a background in taxonomy, the diversity of species, and life histories. Students should have an interest in working with plants and animals in a field setting. Undergraduates entering this program should have a strong science and mathematics background in high school or be prepared to do additional remedial work. Students will be prepared to work for public or private sector environmental agencies such as state or federal wildlife agencies, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, various parks and recreation programs or private consulting agencies. They can also continue their education in graduate programs in the pure or applied biological sciences (botany, zoology, ecology, forestry, wildlife biology).

Biology Secondary Teaching Emphasis

This program leads to State of Colorado licensure in secondary science. Students receive training in biological sciences content and pedagogy plus a wide range of additional support science content. They should have an interest in teaching and have evidence of working successfully with young people. Undergraduates entering this program should have a strong science and mathematics background in high school or be prepared to do additional remedial work. Students will meet licensure requirements of the Colorado Department of Education for teaching secondary science (grades 7-12). Upon completion of this program, students will also be able to continue their education in graduate programs in the biological sciences. Prior to Student Teaching, students must pass the PRAXIS Science Examination.

For degree and program requirements see:

Biological Sciences B.S.

Biomedical Sciences Emphasis

Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis

Organismal Biology Emphasis

Biology Secondary Teaching Emphasis

(IDLA)Biology Concentration

Biological Sciences Minor

Biological Sciences M.S.

Admission. Before admission to the program, students should have completed at least four courses in biology and a combined total of three courses in the supporting areas of chemistry, calculus or physics. Students entering the program with deficiencies in coursework will be required to complete coursework based on recommendations of the graduate committee, the school director and the advisor. The following application materials should be submitted to the Graduate School:

Students are strongly encouraged to review the research areas of the Biology faculty on our website and contact faculty in whose research they are interested.

The student must meet with a graduate advisor and graduate committee during the first semester of the program to determine a course of study.

Non-Thesis Emphasis

The non-thesis emphasis is designed to be as flexible as possible. It is intended for those who wish to expand their background in biological sciences content, including biology and science teachers. Non-thesis students must pass an examination to be administered by the advisor in the form of a written paper or equivalent project covering some aspect of their program of study.

Thesis Emphasis

This emphasis is designed for students wishing to broaden their background in the biological sciences and to develop research skills in preparation for a doctoral program, or technical or research career. Students will gain background in biology content and in research to allow them to enter professional fields of biology requiring advanced training or to pursue advanced studies. Results of the thesis research must be presented orally in a seminar to the faculty in the School of Biological Sciences during the last semester prior to graduation.

For degree and program requirements see:

Biological Sciences M.S.

Non-Thesis Emphasis

Thesis Emphasis

Biological Education Ph.D.

This program is designed for graduate students interested in specializing in either biology education or an area of the biological sciences that matches current faculty interests and expertise. Areas of emphasis in this program prepare students to conduct and supervise biological or pedagogical research and to instruct biology courses at the college or university level.

Admission. Before admission to the program, students should have completed at least four courses in biology and a combined total of three courses in the supporting areas of chemistry, calculus or physics. Students entering the program with deficiencies in coursework will be required to complete coursework based on recommendations of the graduate committee, the school director and the advisor. The following application materials should be submitted to the Graduate School:

Students are strongly encouraged to review the research areas of the Biology faculty on our website and contact faculty in whose research they are interested.

The student must meet with a graduate advisor and graduate committee no later than the second semester of the program to determine a course of study.

To meet the student's professional goals, courses may be selected from graduate courses in other sciences, science education, environmental studies, educational technology, educational management and computer science with the approval of the advisory committee.

For degree and program requirements see:

Biological Education Ph.D.


Table of ContentsPrevious Page in CatalogNext Page in CatalogIndex