Course Details

Course Descriptions for Biology Majors
These are the official descriptions listed in the course catalog
Click on the underlined links to see sample syllabi for lecture or lab courses


BIOL 141 - 142 — (E) General Biology — 9 credits
(Requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) A comprehensive study of the nature of living organisms, both plant and animal, their structure, function, development and relationships, including the problems of development, heredity and evolution. Three hours lecture, three hours lab each semester.

BIOL 195 — (E) Tropical Biology (O, P) — 3 credits
Study of tropical communities with emphasis on the coral reef. Introduction to a variety of other tropical areas, such as sandy beaches, turtle grass beds, mangrove swamps, tide pools, rocky shores, and rain forests. Approximately two weeks will be spent at a biological station in the American tropics. Swimming proficiency required. Intersession only. (see Travel Courses)
NOTE: Biology 195 is open to Biology majors, but does not count as a major elective.

BIOL 204 — (E,D) Environmental Issues in Latin America — 3 credits
Survey of the biogeography and biomes of Latin America, the current challenges to these environments, and programs aimed at achieving sustainability in the region.
NOTE: Biology 204 is open to Biology majors, but does not count as a major elective.

BIOL 241Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (O) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Structure and phylogeny of vertebrate organ-systems, emphasizing and comparing vertebrate structures in relation to their functions. Amphioxus, shark, necturus, and the fetal pig are subjected to detailed laboratory study. Three hours lecture, four hours lab. Fall only.

BIOL 245 — (W: lab only) General Physiology (O) — 4.5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142, CHEM 112-113; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Physiological processes underlying functioning of the animal organism. Study of irritability, excitation, conduction, contractility, cellular physiology, and functions of mammalian organsystems. Three hours lecture, three hours lab.

BIOL 250 — Microbiology (C, O, M) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142, CHEM 112-113; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Structure, function, growth, reproduction, heredity and relationships of bacteria, yeasts, molds, viruses; a brief survey of pathogens, life cycles of parasitic microzoa; introduction to disease and immunology. Three hours lecture, four hours lab; not open to Nursing majors.

BIOL 255 — Animal Nutrition and Metabolism (C,O) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142, concurrent enrollment in CHEM 233, if not already successfully completed) A survey of concepts and disciplines within the nutritional sciences. Lectures and discussion address basic sciences, biological factors, and current controversies including physiological systems directly and indirectly influencing nutrition and metabolism, nutrients and their metabolism, energy balance, food technology, and agribusiness. Spring semester.

BIOL 260 — Genetics (G) — 4.5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) Mendelian, cyto-, population and evolutionary, and basic molecular genetics; emphasis on eucaryotes. Three hours lecture, three hours lab.

BIOL 272 — Invertebrate Biology (O,P) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Structure and function of the major groups of invertebrates with emphasis on their evolutionary relationships. Labs focus on the diversity of invertebrate forms and include field trips. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Fall, odd years.

BIOL 273 — Marine Ecology (P) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) Diversity of marine habitats and of the organisms that inhabit them. Lectures and discussion address the physical and biological factors that influence the distribution and ecology of organisms in the various marine environments, including intertidal, estuarine, benthic, coral reef, and open ocean communities. The effects of humans on the sea will be assessed. Three hours lecture.

BIOL 274 — Conservation Biology (P) — 3 credits
Conservation Biology is a multidisciplinary field that seeks to identify, understand and counter threats to the earth’s biodiversity. This course will provide students with an understanding of conservation-related issues ranging from recognition of threats to biodiversity to preserve selection, design and management. Three hours lecture. Spring.

BIOL 295 — (E,D) Philippines Organisms and Ecosystems (O, P) — 3 credits
This course focuses on field studies of abiotic factors, flora and fauna, interrelationships and indigenous cultures in different tropical ecosystems of the Philippines. The course involves a three-week trip (extra funds required), with local excursions to unique tropical rainforests, coral reefs, mangroves and/or volcanoes. Enrollment limited. Intersession only. (see Travel Courses)


BIOL 342 — Comparative Biomechanics — 4 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 241, 243, 245, 272, 273, 345, 349 or 374) The application of basic principles from physics and mechanical engineering to understand how organisms work. Integrated lectures, labs, and discussions explore the limitations and opportunities the physical world provides to organisms. Topics vary but may include how flies fly, how bones break, and why mucus is so sticky.

BIOL 344 — Principles of Immunology (C,O,M) — 4.5 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 250 strongly recommended for 344 lecture, required for 344 lab) The basic molecular, cellular and organismal aspects of the immune response, emphasizing chemical and functional bases of antigens and immunoglobulins, cellular and humoral response, tolerance, immune deficiency, hypersensitivity, autoimmunity, blood groups, transplantation. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Spring only.

BIOL 346 — Endocrinology and Reproduction (C,O) — 3 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 245) The mammalian endocrine system; emphasis on molecular mechanisms of hormone action, feedback control of hormone production, integration with other physiological systems, and reproductive endocrinology. Three hours lecture. Spring only.

BIOL 347 — Exercise Physiology (O) — 3 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 245) Study of anatomical and physiological effects of exercise, centering around control of physical performance by capacity to generate energy through aerobic and anaerobic pathways; includes effects of heredity, age, nutrition, training and environment on performance. Emphasizes the multidimensional role of exercise in weight control, cardiovascular fitness, stress management, fatigue, strength, etc. Three hours lecture/demonstration. Spring, odd years.

BIOL 348 — Functional Neuroanatomy(C, O) — 3 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 245, or, for neuroscience majors, PSYC 231) Study of the organization and function of the neuron, neural circuits, and the major sensory and motor components of the central nervous system; bioelectric phenomena, synaptic transmission; the neural basis for higher functions such as cognition, memory, and learning. (Also listed as NEUR 348).

BIOL 349 — (W: lab only) Plant Physiology (C, O, P) — 5 credits
(Prerequisite: BIOL 141 or 101 or permission of instructor) Functional anatomy and physiology of plants, including structure, photosynthesis, respiration, mineral nutrition, water relations, productivity, growth and differentiation, transport, stress physiology, and energy flow. Three hours lecture, Three hours lab. Lab is writing intensive (W). Spring, odd years.

BIOL 350 — (W: lab only) Cellular Biology (C, M) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Study of structure and function in eukaryotic cells. Emphasis on biomolecules, cell organelles, cell motility, signaling, and cell physiology. The cellular basis of human physiology and disease will also be discussed. Labs focus on experimental studies of cellular structure and function using techniques of modern cell biology. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Lab fulfills a writing intensive (W) requirement. Fall only


BIOL 351 — Developmental Biology (C, O, M) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Development of vertebrates and invertebrates from gametogenesis through organogenesis. Emphasis on cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in differentiation, morphogenesis, and determination of the body plan. Labs focus on experimentation with living, developing organisms. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Spring only.

BIOL 352 — Histology (C) — 5 credits
    (Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142; BIOL 241 strongly recommended; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Microscopic structure and function of the four basic vertebrate tissues. Emphasis will be placed on mammalian tissues. Lectures include historical, theoretical and practical perspectives. Laboratories include examination of tissues through the use of loan sets of slides as well as demonstrations and exercises in basic preparation of tissues for microscopic examination. Three hours lecture, four hours lab. Fall only.


BIOL 358 — Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology (C, M) — 3 credits
    (Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) Introduces Biology and Neuroscience majors to the cellular and molecular biology of the vertebrate nervous system. Includes ion channel structure and function, synthesis, packaging and release of neurotransmitters, receptor and transduction mechanisms, intracellular signalling, cell-to-cell communication, glial cell function, and neural growth and development. Three hours lecture. (Also listed as NEUR 358.)

BIOL 361 — Molecular Biology I (M, G) — 5 credits
    (Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142, CHEM 232; corequisite: CHEM 233; requires concurrent enrollment in lecture and lab) Structure and function of prokaryotic cells from a molecular viewpoint. Study of biomacromolecule structure and function; bacterial DNA replication, transcription, translation and how these processes are regulated. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Spring only.

BIOL 362 —(W: lab only) Molecular Biology II (M, G) — 5 credits
    (Prerequisite: BIOL 361 or CHEM 350) Structure and function of eukaryotic cells and organisms from a molecular viewpoint. Study of eukaryotic genome and gene organization, DNA packaging and replication, RNA transcription and splicing, translation into proteins and how these processes are regulated. Discussion of HIV, cancer, and evolution on the molecular level. Three hours lecture, three hours lab optional. Fall only. Lab fulfills a writing-intensive (W) requirement.

BIOL 364 — Virology (M) — 5 credits
    (Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142, CHEM 232-233) A detailed survey of viruses important to animals and plants, including structure, replication, pathogenicity and diagnostic techniques. Strong emphasis is placed on the molecular biology of viruses in both lecture and lab. Three hours lecture, three hours lab (optional) . Fall only.


BIOL 370 —(W: lab only) Animal Behavior (P, O) — 4.5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) Classification of behavior types, development, functional advantages and evolution of behavior, and social and physiological aspects studied in lower and higher organisms. Three hours lecture, two hours lab. Spring only. The laboratory fulfills a writing intensive requirement (W).

BIOL 371 — Ecology (P) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) Study of physical, chemical, and biological factors that influence the distribution and abundance of organisms and determine the relationships among organisms from the population to the ecosystem level. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Fall only.

BIOL 374 — (W: lab only) Vertebrate Biology (P,O) — 5 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) This course presents an overview of the vertebrates, placing vertebrate form and function within an ecological and evolutionary context. Much of the course is concerned with vertebrate systematics, factors governing distribution, vertebrate interactions with both biotic and abiotic components of their environment as well as conservation and management issues. Three hours lecture, three hours lab. Spring only. Lab fulfills a writing intensive (W) requirement.

BIOL 375 — Evolution (G, P) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141-142) A consideration of the theories of evolution and evidences for them in plants and animals. Population genetics and the adaptiveness of various organic traits will be discussed. Three hours lecture. Fall only.

BIOL 379 — Biostatistics —3 credits
(Prerequisite: MATH 103) Data analysis and statistical techniques in biology and medicine; probability and frequency distributions, descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, and various parametric and nonparametric statistical tests. Use of one or more computerized statistical programs. Three hours lecture. Spring only.

BIOL 384 — Special Topics in Biology — 1.5 to 4 credits
Study of selected topics in biology, varying from year to year in accord with student/faculty interest and current research advances. May include such topics as sensory reception, membrane biology, population genetics, etc.

BIOL 393-394 — Undergraduate Research — Variable credit
(Prerequisite: 12 credits in Biology) Individual problems for advanced students with sufficient background in biological and physical sciences.

BIOL 395 — Extreme Physiology — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 245 with lab) This travel course will expose the student, serving as both subject and investigator, to the stunning and diverse environments of Arizona, as she/he assesses cardiovascular and respiratory conditioning and tracks his/her improvement through a 25-day period of extreme environmental and physical challenges. Accompanying instruction will explore the ongoing physiological adaptation.  Enrollment limited. Intersession only. (see Travel Courses)

BIOL 444 — Sensory Biology (C,O) — 3 credits.
(Prerequisites: BIOL 245 and completion of or concurrent enrollment in PHYS 121/141) The course applies multidisciplinary approaches to the study of senses: physics of stimuli, anatomy of receptor organs, neurophysiology of receptor cells, anatomy and central processing, animal behavior, and artificial sensor design. The course focuses on terrestrial vertebrates with occasional discussions on aquatic sensory systems. Three hours lecture. (Also listed as NEUR 444.)

BIOL 446 — Cardiovascular Physiology (O) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 245, PHYS 120 or 140) The physiological and biophysical bases of cardiovascular function, including cardiac electrophysiology and mechanics; regulation of the heart and the peripheral circulation; hemodynamics; solute and fluid exchange; and cell-cell interactions governing white blood cell transit. Special circulations will highlight the role of cardiovascular regulation in overall physiological function. Three hours lecture.

BIOL 453 —Skeletal Biology (C) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 245; suggested co-requisite: Phys 120/121) The course provides an interdisciplinary approach to studying the form and function of the vertebrate skeletal system. Topics will include anatomical structure, development and growth, adaptation, and disease, and will incorporate the significant influence that genetic and epigenetic factors (including physical forces) have on vertebrate skeletal structure and function. Three hours lecture. Spring, even years.

BIOL 473 — Estuarine Ecology (O, P) — 3 credits
(Prerequisites: BIOL 141 or 101 or permission of instructor) The ecology of marine and estuarine systems, including soil chemistry, halophyte physiology, tidal marsh ontogeny, ecosystem function and the consequences of human alteration of the coastal zone. Three hours lecture. Spring, even years.