Academic Year: 2009 – 2010

The B.S. degree in Biology is designed to build a strong foundation in modern biology, to master scientific concepts, to augment students’ learning skills, and to assist students in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills applicable to scientific and public issues. It is the first professional degree in the discipline and prepares students for careers in biological sciences and/or further training, including master of science and doctoral programs, as well as professional schools. The B.S. degree offers a balanced biology curriculum and opportunities for research experiences with a diversity of faculty research in molecular, cellular, and organismal biology. Scientific facilities available to students include a new, well-equipped building with DNA sequencers, molecular biology equipment, electron microscopes, a greenhouse, and other standard scientific equipment. Both undergraduate and graduate students use these facilities under the supervision of faculty.

The goals of the foundational B.S. degree, and the more-specialized M.S. degree, are to prepare biology students for many career options, including laboratory and field technicians, scientific sales representatives, project managers in life science and allied health professions, and teachers at the secondary, community college, and university levels. Recent biology graduates have successfully continued their careers in research, medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.


Entrance Requirements

Students entering the major must have completed eight to ten semester hours in general chemistry with laboratory, five to eight semester hours of biology courses (including general biology with laboratory), and college algebra. Before graduation, a student must complete one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory, which may be taken before or after the student has entered the Biology major. Up to 12 semester hours of approved lower-division courses may be transferred from an accredited institution of higher education to make up deficiencies.


Students should consult a department faculty member before initial registration. If this is not possible, students must contact a department representative at registration. During the first semester at UIS as a Biology major, the department will assist the student in selecting an advisor from among the Biology faculty.

The student should prepare a plan to ensure that all requirements are being met. The department recommends that students take BIO 301 General Seminar and CHE 367 Organic Chemistry I in the fall of their junior year. Students are expected to complete organic chemistry before taking cell biology. BIO 351 Organismal Botany and BIO 361 Comparative Vertebrate Biology are usually taken in the spring of the junior year. In the fall semester of the senior year, students typically take BIO 371 Principles of Ecology and BIO 345 and 346 General Microbiology. BIO 381 Genetics is used as the capstone course. It is assumed that students will have completed most of the required Biology sequence before enrolling in this course.

Major Requirements

Core Requirements

BIO 301 General Seminar (sophomore or junior year)                                       3 Hrs.

CHE 322 Laboratory Techniques (suggested fall junior year)                             1 Hr.

BIO 311 Cell Biology (suggested spring, senior year)                                        4 Hrs.

BIO 345 & 346 General Microbiology/Lab (suggested fall, senior year)                        4 Hrs.

BIO 351 Organismal Botany (suggested fall, junior year)                                               4 Hrs.

BIO 361 Comparative Vertebrate Biology (suggested spring, junior year)          4 Hrs.

BIO 371 Principles of Ecology (suggested fall, senior year)                                4 Hrs.

BIO 381 Genetics (suggested spring, senior year)                                                          4 Hrs.

BIO elective (suggested senior year)                                                                 4 Hrs.

Other Possible Major Requirements

CHE 367 Organic Chemistry I

(suggested fall, sophomore or junior year)                                                         3 Hrs.

CHE 368 Experimental Organic Chemistry I Laboratory

(suggested fall, sophomore or junior year)                                                         1 Hr.

Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (ECCE)                                                        13 Hrs.

One semester of organic chemistry is a prerequisite for some biology core courses. Transfer students with credit equivalent to CHE 367 and 368 can substitute general electives.

Pre-professional students and students planning to go to graduate school should take a year of physics with laboratory.

Students should consult with advisors in the major for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements.


The Biology Department assesses all students for communication skills and for knowledge of biology. This assessment begins when students enter UIS and continues until graduation. Assessment tools include a written evaluation and the development of a portfolio of laboratory reports and papers. The written evaluation is given both at the beginning of a student’s study at UIS and just before graduation. This assessment is intended to help students in their academic planning and to help the department in curriculum development.

Assessment in the major and in general education skills is included in BIO 301 General Seminar, a required course for all biology majors that uses the learning skills assessment scores to assist the student in developing specific learning skills in biology. Students enrolled in BIO 301 General Seminar must earn at least a C to receive credit. Those performing below this level are required to complete a learning skills development program.

Experiential and Service-Learning Internships

Students can gain practical professional experience by participating in an internship through the Experiential and Service-Learning Programs (EXL). Placements have included state agencies such as the Illinois State Museum, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Transportation, SIU School of Medicine, and Lincoln Memorial Gardens. Students may also conduct research with Biology faculty members for their EXL project.

Undergraduate Honors in Biology

Biology majors with a GPA greater than 3.25 and one semester residency at UIS may elect to participate in the biology honors option. In addition to Biology Department and UIS requirements, honors students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25, successfully complete BIO 302 Honors Seminar, BIO 402 Biometrics, BIO 400 Undergraduate Research (4 hours), and present their findings in a formal paper and public seminar. Students must apply for participation in the honors program to the department chair and obtain the approval of their faculty research advisor before beginning the program.


A minor in Biology is designed for students who wish to increase their knowledge of biology, acquire a foundation in biological sciences, and develop critical thinking skills. Students may plan a broad-based minor, containing courses from each of the major organizational divisions of living things: cells, organisms, and communities. The minor may also focus on a particular aspect of biology such as botany, ecology, or molecular biology.

To earn a minor in Biology, students must complete a minimum of 24 hours in Biology, of which at least eight hours must be upper-division courses taken at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Electives should be selected in consultation with a Biology faculty member. Some upper-division courses have particular prerequisites other than general biology. The faculty advisor will ensure that each student is properly prepared.

Core Courses (24 Hrs.)

Two semesters of general biology with laboratory or its equivalent                     8 Hrs.

Elective courses                                                                                                            16 Hrs.

(A minimum of eight hours in biology must be taken at UIS)


Entrance Requirements

Applicants are expected to have completed any two of the following courses (or their equivalent) with a grade of C or better: Cell Biology, Microbiology, Genetics, and any two of the following courses (or their equivalent) with a grade of C or better: Botany, Vertebrate Biology, Ecology. They are also expected to have a GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale, to submit a letter that discusses academic and career goals, and to submit three letters of recommendation to the Biology Department. Conditional admission may be granted to students who have deficiencies in their academic backgrounds.

Accepted students will be assigned to an initial academic advisor who may change as a research focus is decided. Before the completion of 10 hours of program-approved course work, each student must develop a thesis proposal and convene an advisory committee with the assistance of a faculty advisor. See the Biology Graduate Student Handbook ( for additional information and procedures for the M.S. experience.

Grading Policy

A maximum of eight credit hours of C grades are applicable to the degree, provided they are balanced by eight hours of A grades. However, C grades will not be accepted for required courses, and C grades taken in department-approved elective courses must be balanced by A grades in department-approved courses only. Master’s candidates are expected to maintain a B average, and those students who fall below that level may lose their candidacy.

Degree Requirements

Core Requirements

BIO 402 Biometrics (or equivalent)                                                                               4 Hrs.

BIO 502 Biological Research and Policy I                                                                     2 Hrs.

BIO 503 Biological Research and Policy II                                                                   2 Hrs.

BIO 551 Advanced Cell Biology and Molecular Biology                                               4 Hrs.

BIO 571 Advanced Ecology and Evolution                                                                   4 Hrs.

Thesis Option

BIO 585 Master’s Thesis                                                                                              8 Hrs.

Biology approved electives                                                                                           12 Hrs.

Project Option

BIO 575 Master’s Project                                                                                            4 Hrs.

Biology approved electives                                                                                           16 Hrs.

BIO 502 and 503 must be taken within the first 10 hours of graduate work, and BIO 402 must be completed before the project or thesis proposal is approved.

Master’s Closure

The closure activity is an oral presentation — open to faculty, students, and guests — of the written master’s project or thesis. Each thesis/project begins with a proposal approved by the student’s master’s committee, who will determine if the project/thesis meets the standards of the profession. Students must enroll for either four hours of credit for the master’s project (BIO 575) or eight hours of credit for the master’s thesis (BIO 585). The total number of hours may be accrued in increments of one hour for the project and two hours for the thesis. Campus policy requires that students be enrolled in at least one semester hour of closure exercise credit for each semester after they have begun their graduate closure exercises until the thesis or project is completed. This means that if the project is not completed by the end of four credit hours of continuing enrollment in BIO 575, students must register in BIO 576 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) in all subsequent semesters until the project is complete. Likewise, if the thesis is not completed by the time eight hours in BIO 585 are accrued in continuing enrollment, the student must enroll in BIO 586 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each semester until the thesis is complete. Additional information and procedures for completing the master’s closure exercise are available in the Biology Graduate Student Handbook in the department office.


Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Undergraduate Minor


Faculty: James Bonacum, Gary Butler, Hua Chen, Matthew Evans, Rebecca Landsberg, Michael Lemke, Amy McEuen, Lucia Vazquez
Associated Faculty: Harshavardhan Bapat, Keenan Dungey, Marc Klingshirn, Yashanad Mhaskar, James Veselenak
Emeritus Faculty: Nada Chang, Ann Larson
Adjunct Faculty: Stewart Jacobson


Phone: 217/206-6630