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Why Major in Biology?
Biologists study the living world and engage in scientific research on everything from micro-organisms to ocean life. A major in this compelling field gives you a better understanding of the world and offers insights into the impact of biological principles on the human condition.
A biology major also prepares you to succeed in just about any career you can think of, from dentistry and zoology to marine biology. The analytical skills you'll learn as a biology major will translate to any area you're interested in exploring.
What You'll Learn
At Belmont you’ll have the flexibility to tailor your studies to match your goals. You’ll choose from four tracks of study:
- General Biology leads to the broadest variety of educational and career opportunities.
- Pre-Health prepares you for professional graduate programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, nurse practitioner, dentistry, physician’s assistant, medicine, dentistry or veterinary science.
- Ecology and Biodiversity is a great choice if you’re interested in wildlife, natural areas and research.
- Marine Biology prepares you for a career in the study of ocean life and marine organisms.
No matter which track you choose, you’ll get a deep understanding of biological principles, chemistry and statistics, and dive deep into topics such as animal behavior, genetics, neurobiology, ecology and zoology.
Studying the life sciences prepares you for dynamic careers in plant research, marine biology, medicine, pharmacology, teaching and more. Our students go on to careers in a wide range of disciplines including:
- Research scientist
- Marine biologist
- Biology teacher
Erica Olfson, Class of 2021
"Belmont’s biology program perfectly allows for close relationships with faculty and peers and pushes each student to achieve an incredible level of excellence, both inside and outside of the classroom. You have the ability to apply your learning hands-on, participate in research projects in numerous biological disciplines, take many upper-level courses, get involved in clubs and grow academically."
The biology major requires a minimum of 128 credit hours of coursework:
- BELL core requirements: 53 hours
- Major tool course: 5 hours
- Major requirements (including an area of emphasis): 33 hours
- Minor requirements: 18 hours
- General electives: 19 hours
We recommend that you take one year of organic chemistry, two years of mathematics and one year of physics. We also recommend that you minor in chemistry, psychology or mathematics.
Courses You'll Take
- BIO 1000 Seminar in Biology
Required of all majors in biology, this course is to be taken within the first year as a biology major at Belmont. The seminar is designed for the new major in biology: to introduce the departmental program of advising and coursework leading to graduation with a major in biology, to present the various university sources of academic support, to serve as a forum for the administration of the Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT), and to explain the requirements of graduate and professional schools and related careers to the study of biology and related sciences.
- BIO 1150 Principles of Biology I Lecture
Principles of Biology I is the first course in the introductory sequence of courses for biology majors, minors, and students in health science programs. The complete introductory sequence includes Principles of Biology II. This course introduces students to biochemistry, cellular biology, and genetics. Three hours lecture per week
- BIO 1155 Principles of Biology I Lab
Principles of Biology I Laboratory course complements topics presented in the corresponding BIO 1150 Lecture course. Hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory experiments develop skills utilized in biochemistry, cellular biology, and genetics. Three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 1160 Principles of Biology II Lecture
Principles of Biology II is the second course in the introductory sequence of courses for biology majors, minors, and students in health science programs. The complete introductory sequence includes Principles of Biology I. This course introduces students to evolution, diversity of organisms, plant and animal structure and function, and ecological relationships. Three hours lecture per week,
- BIO 1165 Principles of Biology II Lab
Principles of Biology II Laboratory course complements topics presented in the corresponding BIO 1160 Lecture course. Hands-on experiences and field trips introduce students to evolution, diversity of organisms, plant and animal structure and function, and ecological relationships. Three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2120 Basic Microbiology
A study of the morphology, structure, metabolism, genetics and control of microorganisms; disease resistance and the role of microorganisms in the disease process; environmental and applied microbiology. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2230 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
A study of the cells and tissues as well as the skeletal, muscular, neural, and special sensory systems of the human body. Two hours lecture and 4 hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2240 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
A study of the endocrine, cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, and reproductive systems of the human body. Three hours lecture and two hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2330 Genetics
A study of the principles of heredity including classical and molecular genetics as well as current impacts of genetics on biology and society. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2400 Zoology
A study of the classification, anatomy, physiology, phylogeny and ecology of the Kingdom Animalia and the animal-like protists. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 2500 Botany
A taxonomic study of the anatomy, morphology, physiology, phylogeny, and ecology of the Plantae and the plant-like Protista. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 3030 General Ecology
A study of the basic principles of ecology at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem levels. A study of the interrelationships of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environments will include lab and field techniques used in the science of ecology. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week. Alternate years.
- BIO 3040 Cancer Biology
A study of cancer as a model of uncontrolled cell growth. Topics include causes, types, prevention, and treatment of cancer, as well as a thorough examination of cancer cells at the molecular and cellular levels. Three hours lecture per week.
- BIO 3100 Entomology
The study of insects with emphasis on morphology, physiology, ecology, behavior, evolution, and classification. An introduction to the impact that insects have on society, history, and culture. Lab will include field work and hands-on experiences (including dissections) with the collection, preservation, and curation of insects. 3 hours lecture, 3 hours lab per week. Alternate years.
- BIO 3140 Immunology
An introduction to the principles of immunology and the mechanisms of the immune response. Three hours lecture per week.
- BIO 3160 General Physiology
The study of the anatomical and physiological principles of the human body. Special attention will be placed on the integration of molecular, cellular, tissue, organ, organ systems, and organismal structures and functions that contribute to homeostasis within the cell as well as within the organism. Lecture and lab topics will be combined to enable students to develop an understanding of the different organ systems. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 3200 Parasitology
An introduction to the morphology, physiology, ecology and taxonomy of the major parasites of man and domestic animals. Through lecture and laboratory experiences with slide-mounted and living specimens, students will become familiar with the life cycles of selected parasites, the drugs of choice in treating parasitic diseases and diagnostic procedures. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 3250 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
A survey of vertebrates and comparative study of organ systems. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week Alternate Years
- BIO 3300 Animal Behavior
This course is an examination of the evolution and underlying mechanisms of animal behavior and will include the genetic, neural and hormonal basis of behavior. The laboratory will culminate in an independent animal behavvior experiment. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Alternate years.
- BIO 3600 Histology Laboratory
A microscopic study of animal tissues, organs and organ systems. Three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 3800 Molecular Biology of the Cell: Molecular Genetics
This course emphasizes the chemistry of molecules important in cellular processes of the transmission of genetic information. Particularly important is its emphasis on laboratory techniques and the interpretation of published literature in the field of molecular genetics.
- BIO 3850 Molecular Biology of the Cell: Structure and Function of the Cell
This course will cover the cellular aspects of biology, including processes common to all cells as well as processes specific to certain cell types. Laboratory experimentation and the presentation of data will be emphasized. Interpretation of published literature in cell biology will also be stressed. fee.
- BIO 4200 Pharmacology
Pharmacology encompasses the study of the effects of chemical substances on living organisms. This course examines four basic areas in Pharmacology: principles of drug action, (2) pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism, pharmacology of the nervous system, and (4) drug design. There will be three lecture hours per week.
- BIO 4250 General Embryology
A study of the comparative embryology of the vertebrates. Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 4500 Neurobiology
An examination of the structure and function of the nervous system. The effects of molecular approaches to neuroscience and their impacts on the understanding of sensory, motor, and cognitive functions of both simple and more complex systems will be addressed. Two hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week.
- BIO 4700 Biological Research
Completion of an independent laboratory or field research project under the supervision of a selected faculty member. Student’s work must be presented at the College of Sciences and Mathematics Undergraduate Research Symposium (SURS) or Belmont Undergraduate Research Symposium (BURS). Can be repeated one time.
- CSM 4015 Senior Capstone
This course is a culminating experience in the major, which also addresses the goals for the Senior Capstone as defined in the course description for GND 4015. These goals include reflection on the students’ whole educational experiences and on their transition from the university setting to post-graduation
- BIO 4980 Internship in Biology
A cooperative education assignment in which the student is placed with a participating business organization for a semester. The student must apply one semester prior to the anticipated work period. The student must have at least a 2.5 GPA to be eligible. Background checks are now required 21 days before registration for BIO 4980. Contact the internship coordinator for details regarding the approval process. Each hour of credit requires 50 hours of internship work. May be repeated for up to 6 hours of credit using any combination of 1, 2, or 3 hour courses; however, only 3 hours may be used as biology electives and only 2 hours may be used as electives in the pre-med Biology program. May be repeated once; however, only 3 hours may be used as biology electives.
At Belmont, you’ll get hands-on experience in the lab — identifying insects, counting bacterial colonies, training zebrafish, running DNA gels and much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with classmates from other disciplines and present your research findings at national conferences.
You'll learn in the $76 million Janet Ayers Academic Center, an 186,000-square-foot structure that houses 26 science labs outfitted with more than $2 million in equipment, including:
- State of the art spectrometers
- A microwave reaction chamber
- A cold room and incubators for biological studies
- A state-of-the-art laser laboratory
- Operational green roof
- Ecology/zoology/botany lab
- Anatomy and physiology labs
- Zebrafish lab
- Tissue culture lab
- Microscopy suite
- Cell/molecular/genomics lab
- Physiological lab with EEG, reaction time and biofeedback equipment
- Dissection lab