Chairperson: Dr. Christopher Murphy
Department Office: Science Building, rooms 281-281A
The core curriculum of biology education at Indiana State University trains students in the fundamental concepts and basic principles of all biological sciences. Areas of emphasis, including cellular and molecular biology, microbiology, biotechnology, organismal, ecology and conservation biology, plant biology and physiology, allow students to specialize to meet diverse career goals.
Biology majors are prepared for academic, industrial, or governmental careers with practical training in field and laboratory biology. The major also prepares students for medical, dental, or veterinary school; graduate school in any area of the biological sciences; training in an allied medical science; or science education.
In support of the liberal arts and sciences mission of the College and the University, the Department of Biology participates in the Foundational Studies Program, the University Honors Program, and the Science Education Program.
The Department of Biology offers a general curriculum leading to a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts degree. Candidates for either degree must successfully complete the University requirement of a minimum of 124 semester hours of credit, which includes Foundational Studies course work, and the requirements of the department. A bachelor of arts degree is granted upon completion of two years, or the equivalent, of a foreign language in addition to the requirements for the bachelor of science degree.
A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in biology with a specialization in medical laboratory science (formerly clinical laboratory science) is awarded after completion of the “3-plus-1” program consisting of three years of study at ISU and a one-year hospital internship. Acceptance into an internship program at one of five affiliated hospitals must be obtained. The program culminates in an examination by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists to become a registered medical laboratory scientist.
A bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree with a focus in biology teaching is awarded after completion of the science education curriculum with a major area in biology teaching including the required education courses. For more information, consult the Science Education section of the Catalog. Three-year, preprofessional, non-degree programs are available to students who plan to enter medical, dental, or veterinary schools or who wish to become physical therapists. Two-year, non-degree programs are also available to students who plan to enter optometry or pharmacy schools. A one-year program is outlined for students planning to become dental hygienists. For more information, consult the Preprofessional Programs section of this Catalog.
The Department of Biology emphasizes experiential learning and facilitates student engagement in research. An optional research capstone sequence trains undergraduates to design, implement, analyze, and communicate results of an independent research project that is conducted in collaboration with a member of the research faculty. Scholarships and work study funds to support undergraduate research are available. The department administers a summer intern program to facilitate research with faculty in the department and with local organizations. All faculty members have a strong background in research, ensuring that undergraduate lecture and laboratory courses are informed by recent research in respective fields. Research faculty members have national and international reputations and many receive grants awarded by federal and state agencies. The department is home to the Center for North American Bat Research and Conservation, and the Indiana Biological Survey.
Modern research laboratories support departmental research efforts. Major equipment and resources available in the department include six walk-in environmental chambers, respirometry systems, high-throughput scintillation counters, spectrophotometric plate readers, a steroid hormone radioimmunoassay laboratory, automated DNA sequencer, federally-approved animal facilities (laboratory and wild), a greenhouse, an herbarium, museum collections of insects and vertebrates, and thermal imaging systems. Two nearby field stations and three other University-run natural areas are also available for research.
The Department of Biology encourages opportunities for student involvement in multidisciplinary research with faculty in fields of anthropology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, and physics. Through these collaborative efforts, students have access to a high field NMR, a state-of-the art GIS computer laboratory, a new high-performance computer cluster, and extensive medical and research equipment and facilities.
A weekly seminar series in each semester (available for credit) exposes students to current biological research and promotes interactions with invited speakers from other universities.
The department supports several student organizations including the Biology Club, a branch of the national Tri Beta Honors Society. The Fish and Wildlife Club also provides a student community for learning and social activities. Competitive departmental awards and annual scholarships support student achievement.
As freshmen, biology majors are assigned a departmental advisor who assists in selecting courses for the fall semester. Following their first year, students are assigned a faculty advisor with expertise in their area of concentration or interest. Most class sizes range from eight to 50 students, and most classes are taught by doctoral faculty members.