Offered by the Department of Biology
Professors Kirby, Maris, (chairperson)
Associate Professors: Clifford, Hensley, Kagle, Stein
The Department of Biology offers the B.S. degree with five concentrations within the major in Biology: General, Molecular/Cellular, Environmental, Fisheries, and Medical Technology. The department also offers a minor in Biology. The Department of Biology promotes, encourages and assists with the broader university-wide outcomes of Leadership and Global Consciousness.
A feature of all Biology curricula is the requirement to complete an undergraduate research project. All concentrations meet the minimum requirements for medical schools. The Biology program is excellent preparation for graduate school. Many Biology graduates become technicians in hospitals and research laboratories. Others go into sales positions with medical and pharmaceutical supply companies, while still others find employment in the environmental and ecological fields.
Those students preparing for a career in medicine may meet the minimum requirements for medical, dental, chiropractic, veterinary, and physical therapy schools with proper course selection under the B.S. degree.
The Biology Department mission statement is to provide high quality undergraduate instruction to both Biology majors and non-majors, to integrate the scientific method and scientific investigation into the Biology curriculum, and to enhance the University, community, and region.
- Quality Undergraduate Instruction
The Department of Biology strives to provide high quality undergraduate instruction through a rigorous curriculum which fosters opportunities for students to learn and apply basic biological concepts, make connections between those concepts and real-world situations, and critically evaluate information for its biological validity.
- Integration of Scientific Investigation
Every Biology major, except Medical Technology, will design and complete an independent research project in collaboration with a faculty advisor.
- Service to the University, Community, and Region
The Department of Biology is committed to helping students recognize opportunities to apply their biological knowledge and skills to serve the community.
1. Knowledge of Biology
Success in any field within biology requires students to be able to identify and describe the basic principles on which our current understanding of the biological world is based. By the end of his/her program each student is expected to be able to explain and/or analyze the following:
1.1 Distinguishing characteristics of living systems
1.2 Hierarchical organization of living systems
1.3 Structure and function of cells
1.4 Energy transformations of living system
1.5 Patterns of growth, reproduction, and development in living systems,
1.6 Structural and functional features that allow organisms to carry out fundamental life processes (e.g., resource acquisition. gas exchange, transport of materials, maintenance of homeostasis, response to stimuli, reproduction, etc.)
1.7 Principles of heredity, including Mendelian and molecular genetics,
1.8 Ecological interactions among organisms and between organisms and their environments
1.9 Evolutionary history and mechanisms of evolutionary change in populations
1.10 Biological diversity and a familiarity with the organisms and ecosystems of the local landscape.
2. Research Skills and Understanding of Scientific Process
Students must comprehend and utilize an array of skills in order to carry out the scientific research process necessary to succeed in a scientific career. These skills are most effectively attained through the pursuit of novel research. By the end of their time as an undergraduate each student is expected to be able to conduct research that includes the following:
2.1 Observe and describe nature accurately
2.2 Collect, organize, and analyze relevant background information
2.3 Generate and state testable hypotheses
2.4 Design experiments to test hypotheses
2.5 Successfully apply scientific protocols
2.6 Collect data in a manner consistent with a prescribed research design
2.7 Interpret and analyze data.
2.8 Present research findings in a written and oral formats
2.9 Evaluate the strengths and limitations of scientific investigation.
3. Critical, analytical and integrative thinking
Critical, analytical, and integrative thinking skills are fundamental to the pursuit of any scientific study. By the end of their time as an undergraduate each student is expected to be able to do research that includes the following:
3.1 Approach novel problems with flexibility, creativity, and confidence
3.2 Make connections between concentration areas within biology
3.3 Apply theoretical perspectives to personal experiences and current events/problems
3.4 Critique logical arguments in biology
3.5 Draw conclusions and evaluate their relative quality
3.6 Apply quantitative reasoning to biological questions
3.7 Analyze data using statistical method
3.8 Analyze scientific information, and apply these skills to decision making
3.9 Be able to read and interpret biological literature
4. Writing and other communication skills
Our scientific comprehension of the natural world is built upon the discoveries of others. The effective communication of scientific ideas and discoveries are critical to the advancement of the field and the future success of those pursuing scientific careers. By the end of their time as an undergraduate each student is expected to be able to present the results of his/her senior research that demonstrates the following:
4.1 Writing skills which involve integration of their personal knowledge of biological content.
4.2 Communicate ideas and arguments effectively both orally and in writing
4.3 Write a scientific report that is correct in style and cogent in its organization, presentation, analysis, and conclusions.
5. Concentration Specific Outcomes (see individual concentrations)
5.1 Environmental Biology Concentration
5.2 Fisheries Concentration
5.3 Cell and Molecular Concentration
5.4 Medical Technology Concentration
Department Policies and Procedures
Biology Electives - All upper level Biology elective transfer credits (after becoming a Mansfield student) must be taken from 4-year institutions.
Cell Phones - Visible cell phones can lead to a grade of zero on graded activities. Cell phone use during lecture and lab can cause deductions in course grades.
CPUB Membership - All students upon enrollment as a major in any Biology program automatically become a member of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologists (CPUB) which encompasses students and faculties from the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education institutions.
Internships - Internships cannot be taken for more than 3 credits; BI 4450 (Internship), 6 and 12 credits, has been replaced by BI 4451 (Practicum in Fisheries), 1-3 credits.
Lab - Lab and lecture must be taken together for all Biology courses (BI, BSC) having both components. Lab must be passed to pass the course. A minimum of 75% of labs must be attended to pass lab. If lecture or lab is failed, both components must be repeated.
Minimum Grade Requirement - Beginning with incoming students, Fall 2011, a minimum grade requirement of C- is necessary before advancing with all Biology program requirements.
Pass/Fail - No courses required in Biology programs can be taken as Pass/Fail.
Research - Proposals from research projects must be approved by a departmental research committee, and if appropriate, university animal usage and human subject involvement committees.