The Biology Major

Students majoring in Biology at Hiram College participate in a curriculum that culminates in the APEX capstone experience.  APEX is defined as "the highest point" and our curriculum is designed to provide each student with the foundation and depth necessary to advance to the highest levels of any career path they pursue, whether they begin with graduate education, professional school, or a first job.  The curriculum does this by ensuring a broad background in biology as well as allowing the student significant flexibility and choice as he or she matures within the discipline.  All students practice problem solving, critical thinking, and the scientific method within a dynamic, challenging, and supportive scholarly environment.

Students who are interested in the life sciences and have yet to declare a major may consider Biology or one of its closely related programs.

Major Requirements for Biology and Related Programs (PDF files):

Any student, regardless of major, aspiring to enter a professional program may consult their advisors for recommended courses to take while at Hiram.

Recommendations for various professional programs to help get you started in your course selection (PDF files):

Below is a listing of the requirements for a major in biology. Please refer to the Academic Course Catalog and your advisor for the most current requirements.

Core Courses

All students are required to have a foundation in biology which is provided by the core curriculum.

The core curriculum consists of three different introductory courses:

  • BIOL 15100 (Introductory Biology I)
  • BIOL 15200 (Introductory Biology II)
  • BIOL 23000 (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Upper level course:

  • BIOL 36500 (Genetics)

The three introductory courses must be taken prior to most of the upper level courses. Additionally, Biology 23000 is a prerequisite for 36500.

Upper Level Courses

The upper level courses build on the core curriculum and provide the student with both breadth and specialization in biology. This combination is achieved through required categories that allow choice among courses to accommodate the individual interests and goals of the student. A total of five upper-level courses are required among the following categories:

Category I - Organismal Biology

Category II - Integration and Synthesis

Category III - Electives

Students must choose from either Option 1 or Option 2, and take one course in each category, A and B.  This provides exposure to both animal biology (BIOL 22300, BIOL 32000, BIOL 32600, or BIOL 22700) and plant biology (BIOL 21300, BIOL 31500/31600, or BIOL 33200).

Option 1

A. Biodiversity and Phylogeny
  • BIOL 21300 (Systematics of Non-Vascular Plants) OR
  • BIOL 31500/31600 (Systematics of Vascular Plants I and II)
B. Structure and function
  • BIOL 32600 (Animal Physiology) OR
  • BIOL 22700 (Introduction to Neuroscience)

Option 2

A. Biodiversity and Phylogeny
  • BIOL 22300 (Vertebrate Biology) OR
  • BIOL 32000 (Invertebrate Zoology)
B. Structure and Function
  • BIOL 33100 (Plant Anatomy) OR
  • BIOL 33200 (Plant Physiology)

One course is required from among:

  • BIOL 32800 (Animal Behavior)
  • BIOL 33500 (Evolution)
  • BIOL 33800 (Microbiology)
  • BIOL 34000 (Developmental Biology)
  • BIOL 34100 (General Ecology)
  • BIOL 34200 (Marine Ecology)
  • BIOL 36600 (Basic Biochemistry)
  • BIOL 37800 (Immunology)
  • Ind 38800 (Bioinformatics)

Two courses are required from the following list:

  • BIOL 21500 (Experimental Methods)
  • BIOL 25000 (Introduction to Wildlife Man)
  • BIOL 28000 (Seminar)
  • BIOL 30000 (Field Biology)
  • BIOL 31000 (Fisheries Biology)
  • BIOL 34400 (Conservation Biology)
  • BIOL 34500 (Forest Ecology Methods)
  • BIOL 36800 (Intermediate Biochemistry)
  • BIOL 38000 (Seminar)
  • BIOL 41500 (Advanced Molecular Biology)

Apprenticeship Experience

The apprenticeship experience, or APEX, is designed as the culmination of a student's program in biology.  The APEX allows each student to apply his or her expertise in a variety of contexts.  This concrete experience can be achieved through an independent or collaborative research project on campus, a research techniques course and project, an internship off campus, or student teaching of biology in middle or secondary school.  All students prepare and submit a scientific paper to the faculty supervisor and present a public lecture based upon the apprenticeship experience.  Majors are required to meet with their biology faculty advisor no later than the advising period in the fall semester of the junior year to discuss options for the apprenticeship experience.  One course is necessary from the following list to fulfill the apprenticeship experience requirement: Biology 48100, 48200, 49800, or Education 42300.

Required Correlative Courses

Modern biologists need background in other disciplines to enhance their insight into biological phenomena and to understand the role of biology in society. The following correlative courses are required: Chemistry 12000 and 12100; Chemistry 22000; Physics 11300 or 21300; Mathematics 10800 or 19800.

One course addressing the ethical and historical aspects of science, chosen in consultation with the student's advisor in the biology department is strongly recommended. Examples include: Interdisciplinary 30100, 30200, 30600, 30700, 31100, 31700, 31800, 34400, 36100, 37000, 37500; Philosophy 26500, 27000.

Further courses in chemistry, mathematics, and physics are required for admission to most professional and graduate programs. Biology students planning to attend professional or graduate schools should investigate the specific requirements for these programs, including the possible need of a reading knowledge of a foreign language (French, German, or Spanish) or facility in a computer programming language.

Our APEX Graduates

The broad and sound background in biological sciences provided by our program has been eminently successful in terms of students' acceptance with financial aid in graduate schools.  Graduates also are accepted at a high rate to medical, veterinary, dental, and other professional schools.  In addition, many graduates enter the fields of teaching, wildlife and environmental conservation and management, and research in agriculture, industry, government, and private institutions.

Requirements for Honors in Biology

To be a candidate for honors in the APEX program in biology, a student must satisfy the College requirements for honors and must initiate and complete a high quality apprenticeship. The student must conduct himself/herself in a professional manner from inception to culmination of the apprenticeship experience.

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Department Courses

  • Introductory Biology I
  • Introductory Biology II
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Animal Physiology
  • Evolution
  • Bioinformatics
  • Biomes of the World