Current Biology students, we are glad you’re here! We hope your time at Union is going well. God has been faithful and it’s great to see the many evidences of this.
We want to use this page to keep you informed of a number of things going on around the department:
- Beginning Fall, 2011, students will have the option to major in Cell and Molecular Biology. This new major will replace the existing Cell Biology concentration within the Biology Major.
- The Department also recently designed and implemented a discipline-specific honors program.
- We began offering Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology I & II (BIO 307 and 309) during the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters. Our traditional A & P sequence (BIO 221 and 222), will no longer be available for major credit for students beginning Fall, 2011.
- Join BIOME! We want to encourage you to become part of this organization for students interested in Biology. Visit the BIOME homepage for more information, and check the BIOME bulletin board (in the south stairwell of White Hall, closest to the parking lot) as well. Please contact Mrs. Popplewell (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
- Biology majors are required to complete a series of research courses (BIO 425 , 426, and 427, which focus on an independent research project. Students typically enter this research sequence during their junior year. We want to encourage you to think about your research project as early in your career as possible. Visit faculty websites and talk with other students about their projects. Beginning Spring 2010, BIO 415 (Collaborative Research Experience) will be offered to students (with adviser approval) who prefer a different research route. This one-semester research course covers the development and implementation of research projects in groups, culminating in a poster as the presentation component. Students choosing this path will also be required to complete an additional 300-level biology elective. See our research page for examples of recent student projects.
- The Biology Department has student study carrels available for Biology majors in White Hall Room 126. These carrels are assigned each semester. If you are interested in applying for a study area, please contact Dr. Madison.
- For more information on HPAC and applying to professional schools, please see the question regarding this under the FAQ portion of this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I know what courses to take for my particular area of study?
A. As a Biology major, you should have been assigned to a Faculty Advisor. If you do not have an Advisor, please contact Mrs. Suzanne Nadasky ( email@example.com) to see if you have been assigned an Advisor. Your Advisor can provide invaluable assistance in selecting your courses. There are also a number of curriculum guides and other information that can be obtained by going to Union’s homepage and looking at the menu options under the menu bar "Undergraduate Areas of Study."
Q. How am I assigned an academic advisor?
A. Advisors are assigned by the Secretary for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, typically based on either their intended career path (if pre-professional) or by their concentration within the major. A freshman who is undecided about his/her major will be advised by the Center for New Students. Advisors assist students in planning schedules and defining educational and career goals. Advisors inform advisees of the academic requirements and attempt to guide them through the program of study toward their chosen major.
Q. How do I go about registering for classes?
A. Each student will need to meet with his/her advisor. During pre-registration, the advisor will submit the student's schedule online, or students may register themselves once they have been cleared by their advisor. If a student is late for pre-registration, they must still consult with the advisor and get the advisor’s signature before submitting the appropriate forms to Union Station.
Q. How should I choose my research?
A. It’s never too early to start considering what areas of research you may be interested in. Make sure you’re thinking purposefully about this during your sophomore year. As you think, you’ll want to visit faculty websites to find out what their areas of research are. From there, it’s a good idea to talk to the faculty members whose research interests you. You may also talk to the research director, Dr. Andy Madison, to discuss developing your own idea if you want to research a topic unrelated to faculty work.
Q. What equipment is available for me to use?
A. While we continue obtaining new equipment, you will find a list of some of the equipment that is currently available on the equipment webpage.
Q. What if I want to take a course that is not in the catalog?
A. If you’d like to take a course not offered in the catalog, you’ve got some options. Look first at the courses offered by Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies (see Dr. Andy Madison) or the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (see Dr. J.R. Kerfoot). These include marine biology, ecological, and behavioral courses. An additional option is to work with a faculty member to develop an individualized course that is suited to your interests.
Q. What is the process for applying for graduate or professional school?
A. For any questions regarding graduate or professional school, the best place to start is your adviser, although additional resources also exist. For graduate school, tthese resources include Petersons.com, USNews.com, Kaplan.com, and GradSchools.com. You’ll want to start the process at least a year if not two years before you intend to go to grad school. An excellent planning timeline can be found here. For professional school, you will need to follow the instructions provided by the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC). First, download the Evaluation Request form. Fill the request out, sign it, have your advisor sign, and turn the form in to the chair of HPAC, currently Dr. Randy Johnston, Biology Department Chair. From there, your information will be reviewed and evaluated, and a letter of recommendation will be submitted directly to the schools of your choice. HPAC members can also guide you in other aspects of the application process, such as helping you understand what questions may be asked in an interview.
Q. Some professional programs allow students to apply prior to completion of a bachelor’s degree. Is there any disadvantage in applying to these programs during my junior year?
A. While there is not a disadvantage in applying to a professional program to enter after your junior year, there is a disadvantage in organizing your curriculum with the assumption that you will get in at that time. Typically, schools that advertise that they accept students after their junior year actually accept a vast majority of applicants with bachelor’s degrees; therefore, plan to complete your four-year degree so that you are on track to graduate if you are not admitted into the professional school after your junior year.
Q. Where can I find current internship, employment, graduate, and professional school information?
A. The department has a bulletin board under the northeast stairwell on the first floor of White Hall (closest to the clock tower) with current graduate and professional school information. There is also a file cabinet in the student study area (room 126) that has an archive of information as well. A bulletin board in the northwest stairwell (the other "front" stairwell) contains current internship and employment information. Please check these regularly as new information is posted as it arrives.
If you can think of any other questions that would be useful to have on this page, please email them to the Department Chair, Dr. Mark Bolyard.