2017-2018 Catalog 
    May 26, 2018  
2017-2018 Catalog


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Professors D. Dornbos (chair), K. Grasman, A. Hoogewerf, D. Koetje, R. Nyhof, R. Van Dragt, D. Warners
Associate Professors R. DeJong, A. Shen, J. Wertz, A. Wilstermann
Assistant Professors R. Bebej, E. Boldenow, M. Caulfield, K. DuBois, D. Proppe

The Biology Department studies biology in response to the Creator’s call to investigate the diversity, organization, and functioning of the living world and to provide a Christian model for its study, care, and keeping. Whether faculty and students study the biological mechanisms by which cells communicate, the flow of water and ions through roots and stems, the foraging behavior of voles, the interactions within ecosystems, or the ethical dilemmas occasioned by technology and discovery, they seek to understand the mechanisms and meaning of life. Graduates of our programs are well equipped to pursue many different vocations, engaging God’s world as health care providers, professors, teachers, researchers, biotechnologists, or ecologists.

The Biology Department offers courses and programs for students interested in careers as a biologist, for students intending to pursue post-baccalaureate education, e.g., graduate, medical, dental, or other professional training, and for those interested in teaching at the elementary or secondary school levels. To do this the department offers courses for several major and minor programs, including an integrative biotechnology minor. It also offers a neuroscience emphasis for biology majors and a concentration for environmental science majors, as well as core and pre-professional courses.

Biology majors engage fundamental biological concepts in the five introductory courses: “Ecological and Evolutionary Systems” (BIOL 160 ), “Cellular and Genetic Systems” (BIOL 161 ), “Physiological Systems” (BIOL 230 ), “Research Design and Methodology” (BIOL 250 ) and, concurrently, BIOL 295 . Thereafter, majors enroll in upper-level (3XX) elective courses covering such topics as genetics, immunology, vertebrate anatomy, global health and environmental sustainability, microbiology, ecosystem management, plant physiology, and animal behavior. Majors perform independent research by completing internships, working directly with faculty in a research laboratory or field setting, or by completing a research-intensive 3XX course. To culminate their studies, students explore complex contemporary issues in a senior capstone course (BIOL 395  or BIOL 396 ).

Pre-professional biology courses include “Cell Biology and Genetics for the Health Sciences” (BIOL 141 ), “Human Anatomy” (BIOL 205 ), “Human Physiology” (BIOL 206 ), and “Medical Microbiology” (BIOL 207 ). These serve pre-nursing students as well as non-biology majors planning a career in medicine or an allied health field.

Students seeking general college core credit in biology typically enroll in “Living Systems” (BIOL 123 ) or “Human Biology” (BIOL 115 ). In some cases BIOL 141  or BIOL 161  may be appropriate.

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in biology and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in biology. The BS course of study has stronger quantitative and research components. Students intent on graduate study in biology or a professional school should complete the coursework required for the BS degree. These students should select cognates that fulfill the admissions requirements for the post-baccalaureate program(s) they intend to pursue.

Students interested in a biology program with a particular emphasis, a biology education major, or a specific graduate program should consult with an appropriate faculty advisor. For specific information see the advising website within the academic services website.

Prerequisite to a program of concentration in biology is a minimum average of C (2.0) in BIOL 160 , BIOL 161 , and BIOL 230  or approved equivalent courses.


To graduate with honors in the Biology Department, a student must satisfy the college honors program and complete three biology courses with honors, submit an honors thesis, and earn a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major. Of the required biology courses, one will normally be the honors section of BIOL 160  or BIOL 161 . Alternatively, this requirement could be met by contracting with an instructor for honors credit in BIOL 141  or BIOL 230 . The second honors course must be taken from those numbered BIOL 300 - BIOL 349, or BIOL 364 , the details of which may be negotiated by the student and instructor at the time the student registers for the course. The third honors course requirement is the completion with honors of an advanced research course ( BIOL 385 , BIOL 354 , or BIOL 399 ), or by arranging with an instructor for a research contract in a 300-level course. Normally the investigative research performed in an advanced research or upper-level course will be reported as a scientific research paper that will constitute the honors thesis, and as a public presentation to a scientific audience. Departmental honors students also must enroll in the department seminar course (Biology 295) for a minimum of three semesters. The honors advisors are A. Hoogewerf for fall of 2016, D. Dornbos for spring of 2017.




      Biology: General College Courses
      Biology: Basic Courses

      These courses are intended for students who pursue a biology-or biotechnology-related major or minor program and for students whose program of concentration requires one or more of the courses.

      Biology: Advanced CoursesBiology: Pre-Professional Courses

      These courses are intended for non-biology majors who pursue pre-nursing or other pre-professional, especially pre-health care, programs.

      Biology: Research and Practicum CoursesBiology: Seminar CourseBiology: Capstone Courses

      Enrollment in these courses assumes senior status in a biologically-oriented program, or permission of the instructor and completion of biblical or theological foundations I, developing a Christian mind, and philosophical foundations.

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