Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences


Lisa Ferrara
Professor and Chair
Fax: 304.442.1046

Zeljko “Z” Torbica
Dean and Professor
Fax: 304.442.1006

Paul O. Steranka, Jr.
Associate Dean and Professor
Fax: 304.442.1006


The Biology Program covers all aspects of the organism, from molecular and biochemical pathways through anatomy and physiology of organisms to the structure of populations, communities, landscapes and ecosystems. The program also provides grounding in Mathematics and other Natural Science disciplines necessary for the understanding of the organism, such as Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physics. By careful choice of Biology and restricted electives, students can fulfill the requirements for entrance in graduate schools in the Biological Sciences or to professional schools for degrees in medicine, pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, cytotechnology, veterinary medicine and other health related fields. Students can also design their studies for entry level jobs in conservation biology and environmental consulting, or biotechnology. These areas of specialization can lead to employment in industry, federal or state laboratories.

The designation of 10 restricted elective hours in the program provides the student with the opportunity to select additional courses from the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, math, computer science, business, foreign language, psychology, health sciences, engineering or other disciplines which might be helpful in biologically oriented careers. (Students who select electives in any science or technical areas may need addition courses to meet prerequisites.). The restricted electives must be approved by the assigned biology advisor. For students who have reached a more advanced level in mathematics upon graduation from H.S. and meet ACT score requirements, Calculus I and II may be substituted for College Algebra and Trigonometry. Biology majors must earn a “C” or better in the freshman biology courses to enter upper division BIOL courses. During the last semester of the program, students must take the exit exam in biology. Students are also expected to complete a program of volunteer work to fulfill the college requirement for citizenship.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon graduation students of the biology program will be able to demonstrate

  1. The ability to use the scientific approach to solving problems.
  2. Skill and confidence in the use of laboratory equipment and knowledge of safety practices in the laboratory.
  3. The ability to perform searches of the biological literature, exhibit intelligent reading and interpretation of the literature, and to use scientific literature properly in the writing of a scientific paper.
  4. Knowledge of the fundamental biological concepts and processes necessary for the pursuit of a career as a biological scientist.
  5. Facility with the basic vocabulary and knowledge of cellular, molecular, and organismal biology which will enable them to pursue further studies in biology and to give them a background for life-long learning in biology.

Biology Minor

24 semester hours minimum including BIOL-111, 112, plus 16 hours of BIOL courses which must include at least 8 credits of 300+ level courses.