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Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology

The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology is designed to prepare students for professional careers in the biological sciences, medical and health service fields, research, industry, and education. The program of study is structured around a comprehensive core curriculum that includes genetics, physiology, cell biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics. At the upper-division level, students wanting to specialize can choose one of five area concentrations: Cell and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology/Immunology, Neurobiology, or Plant Biology.

Admission Policy

The goal of the Department of Biology is to provide undergraduate students a program of study with the highest possible standards. To achieve this goal, the admission policy of the Department of Biology is designed to identify those students most likely to succeed in their undergraduate biology education. All applicants for admission to the Department of Biology will be admitted to the Department as prebiology (PBI) students. In order to declare Biology as a major, a student’s academic performance will be evaluated after the five courses listed below have been completed. To declare a Biology major, a PBI student must have:

  • a grade point average of at least 2.0 for all UTSA coursework
  • a grade point average of at least 2.25 for all UTSA Department of Biology coursework
  • successfully satisfied all three sections (mathematics, reading, and writing) of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI)
  • successfully completed the following or equivalent courses with a grade of “C-” or better:

    BIO  1404  Biosciences I
    BIO  1413  Biosciences II
    CHE  1103  General Chemistry I
    MAT  1193  Calculus for the Biosciences
    PHY  1943  Physics for Scientists I or PHY 1603 Algebra-based Physics I

Applicants who have completed all the above courses as equivalent transferable college credit with a grade of “C-” or better and have no UTSA coursework can declare a Biology major if they:

  • meet all UTSA undergraduate admission requirements
  • have a cumulative grade point average of 2.25 or better for all college-level courses completed
  • have successfully satisfied all three sections (mathematics, reading, and writing) of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI).

PBI students are restricted from registering for upper-division (3000- and 4000-level) Biology courses without the consent of an undergraduate advisor in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center. A student who does not meet all the above requirements after completing 15 hours of UTSA Biology credit will no longer be considered a PBI student and their major will be changed from PBI to undeclared (UND) in the University student record system. The student must choose a major other than biology. A biology minor is, however, available to all UTSA students who seek to complement a different academic major with a strong foundation in biology. Students can be reinstated as a Biology major, but only after successfully completing all the PBI requirements, and upon approval of the Biology Department.

Academic Standing of Biology Majors

All B.S. Majors in Biology must maintain:

  • a minimum overall UTSA grade point average of 2.0.
  • a minimum overall grade point average of 2.25 in all Department of Biology courses.

Students who do not meet these requirements are placed on Department of Biology academic probation. Students on Department of Biology academic probation must achieve the minimum required grade point averages by the end of the next enrolled long semester at UTSA (Fall or Spring) that follows the semester in which the student falls below the required grade point averages. Students who do not meet the minimum requirements by the end of the next subsequent-enrolled long semester will be dismissed from the B.S. degree in Biology and classified as undeclared (UND) in the University student record system. The student must choose a major other than biology. A biology minor is, however, available to all UTSA students who seek to complement a different academic major with a strong foundation in biology. Dismissed students may appeal one time for reinstatement to the B.S. in Biology degree program: such appeals will be granted only under extraordinary circumstances. The deadline for appeal is no later than four weeks into the semester immediately following dismissal. See the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center for required forms. All Biology majors must have the required minimum grade point averages in order to receive the Bachelor of Science degree.

Program of Study for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology

The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, including the Core Curriculum requirements, is 120. Thirty-nine of the total semester credit hours required for the degree must be at the upper-division level. All major and support work courses and the required prerequisites must be completed with a grade of “C-” or better. Students seeking teacher certification should contact the Teacher Advising and Certification Center in the College of Education and Human Development for information. Undergraduates seeking elementary teacher certification must complete the Interdisciplinary Studies degree.

For students wishing to add focus and expertise to their degree, the Department of Biology also offers the Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in one of five areas: Cell and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology/Immunology, Neurobiology, and Plant Biology. Adding an area of concentration does not require additional coursework beyond the normal Bachelor of Science degree program. Students do, however, have to restrict their selection of biology electives to a predefined list of complementary courses and complete the coursework within the concentration with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. Students are also encouraged to enroll in Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (BIO 4923) as part of their program of study. Specific courses required for each concentration are listed following the general degree requirements.

All candidates for this degree must fulfill the Core Curriculum requirements and the degree requirements, which are listed on the following pages.

Core Curriculum Requirements (42 semester credit hours)
Students seeking the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology must fulfill University Core Curriculum requirements in the same manner as other students. The courses listed below satisfy both degree requirements and Core Curriculum requirements; however, if these courses are taken to satisfy both requirements, then students may need to take additional courses in order to meet the minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree. For a complete listing of courses that satisfy the Core Curriculum requirements, see pages 3-5 of this catalog.

MAT 1193 or STA 1403 may be used to satisfy the core requirement in Mathematics as well as a major requirement. Two of the following courses may be used to satisfy the core requirement in Natural Sciences, as well as major requirements: BIO 1404, BIO 1413, CHE 1103, CHE 1113, and PHY 1603/1623 or PHY 1943/1963.

Degree Requirements

  1. 46 semester credit hours in the major, 32 of which must be at the upper-division level:

    1. 29 semester credit hours in biology are required:

      BIO  1122           Laboratory Investigations in Biology
      BIO  1404           Biosciences I
      BIO  1413           Biosciences II
      BIO  2313, 2322  Genetics and Laboratory
      BIO  3413, 3422  Advanced Physiology and Laboratory
      BIO  3513, 3522  Biochemistry and Laboratory
      BIO  3813, 3822  Cell Biology and Laboratory

    2. 5 semester credit hours of a lecture and accompanying laboratory course are required from the following:

      BIO  3283, 3292  Principles of Ecology and Laboratory
      BIO  3433, 3442  Neurobiology and Laboratory
      BIO  3713, 3722  Microbiology and Laboratory
      BIO  4143, 4152  Developmental Biology and Laboratory

      (Note: A laboratory section adds a valuable dimension to the understanding of the material presented in a lecture. In general, students are encouraged to add the appropriate laboratory section to any lecture beyond the minimum 5-semester-credit-hour requirement.)

    3. 12 additional semester credit hours of biology electives at the upper-division level

  2. 33 semester credit hours of support work:

    The support courses listed below are mandatory prerequisites for various biology courses starting in a student’s sophomore year. Students need to complete their support work as soon as possible, in their freshman and sophomore years, to be eligible to register for upper-division biology core courses and electives. Failure to complete the support courses listed below in a timely fashion will significantly delay a student’s progress toward graduation.

    1. 16 semester credit hours of required chemistry courses:

      CHE  1103, 1121  General Chemistry I and Laboratory
      CHE  1113, 1131  General Chemistry II and Laboratory
      CHE  2603, 2612  Organic Chemistry I and Laboratory
      CHE  3673           Organic Chemistry II with Biological Applications

    2. 6 semester credit hours of required mathematics and statistics courses:

      MAT  1193  Calculus for the Biosciences
      STA  1403  Probability and Statistics for the Biosciences

    3. 8 semester credit hours of required physics courses:

      PHY  1603, 1611  Algebra-based Physics I and Laboratory
      PHY  1623, 1631  Algebra-based Physics II and Laboratory

      or

      PHY  1943, 1951  Physics for Scientists I and Laboratory
      PHY  1963, 1971  Physics for Scientists II and Laboratory

    4. 3 semester credit hours of computer-based data visualization and analysis:

      CS  1173  Data Analysis and Visualization using MATLAB

  3. 8 semester credit hours of free electives, at least 4 hours of which must be at the upper-division level to reach the minimum requirement of 39 upper-division semester credit hours

Concentrations

For students interested in research or graduate programs, the Department of Biology offers five areas of concentration. To declare a concentration or obtain advice, students should consult an undergraduate advisor in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center. It is highly recommended that the student complete a research project related to the specific concentration by taking BIO 4923 Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations. If a student takes any of the courses listed below that satisfy both the Biology degree and concentration requirements, then the student may need to take additional upper-division Biology courses in order to meet the minimum number of semester credit hours required for the Biology degree. The coursework within the concentration must be completed with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology
All candidates for the Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology must complete the following:

BIO  3913  Molecular Biology

and three of the following upper-division elective courses:

BIO  3163  Histology and Cytology
BIO  3933  Principles of Cancer Biology
BIO  4143  Developmental Biology
BIO  4453  Endocrinology
BIO  4923  Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (Research must be in a laboratory engaged in molecular biology research.)

Concentration in Integrative Biology
All candidates for the Concentration in Integrative Biology must complete the following:

BIO  3283, 3292  Principles of Ecology and Laboratory

and two of the following upper-division elective courses:

BIO  3003  Introduction to Marine Ecology
BIO  3063  Invertebrate Biology
BIO  3213  Animal Behavior
BIO  3323  Evolution
BIO  4033  Conservation Biology
BIO  4043  Desert Biology
BIO  4053  Wildlife Biology
BIO  4063  Ornithology
BIO  4233  Field Biology
BIO  4923  Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (Research must be in a laboratory engaged in integrative biology research.)

Concentration in Microbiology/Immunology
All candidates for the Concentration in Microbiology/Immunology must complete the following:

BIO  3713, 3722  Microbiology and Laboratory
BIO  4743           Immunology

and two of the following upper-division elective courses:

BIO  3013  Introduction to Clinical Medicine and Pathology
BIO  3743  Bacteriology
BIO  4473  Advanced Clinical Medicine and Pathology
BIO  4483  Medical Mycology
BIO  4493  Molecular Mycology
BIO  4723  Virology
BIO  4763  Parasitology
BIO  4923  Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (Research must be in a laboratory engaged in microbiology or immunology research.)

Concentration in Neurobiology
All candidates for the Concentration in Neurobiology must complete the following:

BIO  3433, 3442  Neurobiology and Laboratory

and two of the following upper-division elective courses:

BIO  3213  Animal Behavior
BIO  3623  Neuropsychopharmacology
BIO  4583  The Computational Brain
BIO  4813  Brain and Behavior
BIO  4823  Cognitive Neuroscience
BIO  4923  Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (Research must be in a laboratory engaged in neurobiology research.)

Concentration in Plant Biology
All candidates for the Concentration in Plant Biology must complete the following:

BIO  3343  Plant Cell Biology

and three of the following upper-division elective courses:

BIO  3263  The Woody Plants
BIO  3273  Biology of Flowering Plants
BIO  3333  Plants and Society
BIO  4643  Medicinal Plants
BIO  4923  Laboratory Research: Biology Concentrations (Research must be in a laboratory engaged in plant-based research.)


Course Sequence Guide for B.S. Degree in Biology

This course sequence guide is designed to assist students in completing their UTSA undergraduate Biology degree requirements. This is merely a guide and students must satisfy other requirements of this catalog and meet with advisors in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center for individualized degree plans. Progress within this guide depends upon such factors as course availability, individual student academic preparation, student time management, work obligations, and individual financial considerations. Students may choose to take courses during Summer terms to reduce course loads during long semesters.

B.S. in Biology - Recommended Four-Year Academic Plan

FIRST YEAR
Fall Spring
BIO 1404* (core and major) 4 BIO 1122 2
CHE 1103* 3 BIO 1413* (core and major)  3
CHE 1121** 1 CHE 1113  3
MAT 1193* 3 CHE 1131** 1
WRC 1013 (core)  3 CS 1173 3
    WRC 1023 (core) 3
Total semester hours 14 Total semester hours 15
SECOND YEAR
Fall Spring
CHE 2603 3 BIO 2313 3
CHE 2612** 2 BIO 2322** 2
PHY 1603/1611* or PHY 1943/1951 3/1 CHE 3673 3
Free elective 3 PHY 1623/1631 or PHY 1963/1971 3/1
U.S. History & Diversity core 3 STA 1403 3
Total semester hours 15 Total semester hours 15
THIRD YEAR
Fall Spring
BIO 3413 3 BIO 3813 3
BIO 3422 2 BIO 3822**  2
BIO 3513 3 Economics core 3
BIO 3522** 2 Upper-division BIO lab (BIO 3XX2) 2
Literature core 3 Upper-division BIO lecture (BIO 3XX3) 3
Social & Behavioral Science core 3 Visual & Performing Arts core 3
Total semester hours 16 Total semester hours 16
FOURTH YEAR
Fall Spring
POL 1013 (core) 3 POL 1133 or 1213 (core) 3
Upper-division BIO elective  3 Upper-division BIO elective 3
Upper-division BIO elective  3 Upper-division free elective 3
Upper-division BIO elective 3 Upper-division free elective 2
U.S. History & Diversity core 3 World Society & Issues core 3
Total semester hours 15 Total semester hours 14

* In order to declare Biology as a major, a student’s academic performance will be evaluated after these five courses have been completed. Students must see an advisor in the College of Sciences Undergraduate Advising Center to declare a Biology major.

** These laboratory courses include a lecture component as indicated on the University Schedule of Classes.

Note: Some courses are only offered once a year; Fall or Spring. Check with the Department of Biology for scheduling of courses.

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