The following contains statements concerning course offerings. Most courses are offered annually. However, the department’s listings for semester in which courses are offered are in parenthesis after each course. Course offerings are subject to change.
The department offers pre-medical and pre-dental preparation, as well as preparation for medical technology and other allied health sciences. Also offered is an affiliate five-year program with the Duke University School of Forestry and Environmental Science through which students earn a B.S. degree from PC and an M.A. in forestry or environmental science from Duke.
The department also boasts affiliate programs in marine biology with the Gulf Coast Marine Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS, and with the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC. Students also have numerous opportunities to conduct independent research and special projects.
The PC biology faculty is quick to point out that a good education is not limited to the classroom. Educational journeys may be as simple as a short afternoon trip to a nearby pond or a weekend jaunt to the mountains.
105 Biological Concepts (3) (CO: BIOL 105L) A broad introduction to the fundamental principles of living organisms. Emphases include scientific methodology, biomolecules, cell structure and function, genetics, principles of evolution, and environmental issues. (Fall)
105L Biological Concepts Laboratory (1) (CO: BIOL 105) The laboratory supplement to the lecture content of BIOL 105. (Fall)
106 Survey of Life (3) (PR: BIOL 105 and 105L ● CO: BIOL 106L) A survey of structure, function, and ecology of the kingdoms of living organisms. This course is designed for non-majors as a second semester offering in general education. (Spring)
106L Survey of Life Laboratory (1) (PR: BIOL 105 and 105L ● CO: BIOL 106) Laboratory supplement to the lecture content of BIOL 106. (Spring)
112 Organismal Biology (3) (PR: BIOL 105 and 105L with a grade of “C” or higher ● CO: BIOL 112L) A course in contemporary topics in the life sciences designed for majors in biology. Course emphases include plant and animal form and function, microbial life, development, ecology, and behavior. (Spring)
112L Organismal Biology Laboratory (1) (PR: BIOL 105 and 105L with a grade of “C” or higher ● CO: BIOL 112) A laboratory experience based on the course content of BIOL 112. This laboratory emphasizes contemporary research methods and scientific reporting in the life sciences. (Spring)
198 Seminar in Biological Primary Literature I (0.5) (PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) This course focuses on the basic tools and techniques for finding, reading, and critically discussing primary scientific literature. (Fall)
199 Seminar in Biological Primary Literature II (0.5) (PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher, BIOL 198) This course uses the basic skills developed previously to more deeply explore primary scientific literature. (Spring)
201 Invertebrate Zoology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) Studies of the principal phyla of the invertebrates emphasizing their increasing complexity of structure, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary relationships.
203 Introductory Botany (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) Intensive review of phyla of plant kingdom. Morphology, physiology, reproduction, ecology, and principles of classification studied in each group.
206 Plant Systematics (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) The classification and identification of common and economically important vascular plants with attention given to ecological associations of native plants in South Carolina. The cultural and economic impact of herbal and medicinal plants will be examined. (Fall, alternate years)
207 Biogeography (4) (PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) Biogeography is the study of distributions of organisms, both past and present. It is the science that attempts to describe the patterns and distribution of species and larger taxonomic groups. Lecture and laboratory experiences will complement each other in an effort to comprehensively explore the ideas, philosophies, procedures, and techniques involved in biogeography.
208 Parasitology (4) (PR: PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) This course provides an in-depth study of parasitic organisms during both lecture and lab. Lecture topics will focus on parasite/host interactions, disease physiology, and current treatments. Lab exercises will introduce students to parasite morphology and histological examination of infected tissue.
209 Cell Biology (4) (PR: PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102) A study of the structure and function of the eukaryotic cell that includes a review of the biological macromolecules and chemical processes of the cell. The structure and functions of cell membranes, cellular organelles, and the cytoskeleton and the processes of protein synthesis and sorting, enzyme catalysis, cell movement, the cell cycle, and intracellular signaling are included. Lab exercises will include light and electron microscopy, cell fractionation, and cell tissue culture.
212 Evolution (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) The history and development of evolutionary theory from Darwinism in the 19th century to the Modern Synthesis of the 1950’s to the most recent concepts and innovations. Includes references to the influence of evolutionary thought on 20th century ideas in science and humanities.
215 Environmental Science (4) (PR: BIOL 105, CHEM 101 or PHYS 121) Introduces students to the relationships between humans and the natural and modified environments of the earth, with an emphasis on environmental problem solving using an interdisciplinary perspective. Surveys contemporary environmental issues, such as land use change, population pressures, food security, resource extraction, pollution, and ecosystem services. Also explores the roles of ethics, politics, society, scientific research, and technology in these issues.
234 Genetics (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102) A survey of mechanisms and theories of heredity and variation with examples from a group of plants and animals, including humans. The nature of the gene and its expressions are stressed in study of principles of Mendelian inheritance, linkage, mutation, development, molecular genetics, behavior, and population genetics. Lab work includes techniques and analysis of studies in experimental crosses, cytogenetics, and molecular genetics, including protein and DNA electrophoresis.
258 Special Topics (1-6)
302 Comparative Anatomy (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) A comparative study of vertebrate morphology. Gross and microscopic anatomy of organ systems will be examined on representatives of the major classes of vertebrates. (Alternate years)
303 Human Anatomy and Embryology (3) (3 hrs lecture weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher; JR or SR status) This course concerns the functional morphology of the various organs within the human body and integrates these organ functions into systems that serve the needs of the human body for growth, maintenance and repair, and reproduction.
303L Human Anatomy and Embryology Lab (1) (3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher; JR or SR status ● CO: BIOL 303) The student will gain proficiency in anatomical dissections and descriptive histology.
304 Developmental Biology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher ● RE: BIOL 209 or 334) The integrated fields of cytology, genetics, biochemistry, and anatomy culminate in the study of development. Students will examine how complex living systems result from an undifferentiated single cell and the forces that drive such specialization. Lectures center on development at the cellular level. The laboratory is primarily concerned with experimental embryology of selected invertebrates and lower vertebrates.
306 Microbiology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102) A study of microorganisms with emphasis on bacteria. Topics include characteristics of prokaryotes, viruses, immunology, disease, genetics, metabolism, growth, and applied and environmental microbiology. The laboratory emphasizes development of sterile techniques and provides students both basic and applied exercises.
311 Physiology (3) (3 hrs lecture ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102 ● RE: CHEM 221-CHEM 222 or PHYS 121-122) A study of the basic functional phenomena of living organisms from unicellular through multi-cellular animals emphasizing the comparative approach.
311L Physiology Lab (1) (3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102 ● CO: BIOL 311 ● RE: CHEM 221-CHEM 222 or PHYS 121-122) Physiology laboratory includes studies of the following: osmotic phenomena, ionic effects, small animal metabolism, hormones, circulation, respiration, and muscle physiology.
312 Plant Physiology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102 ● RE: CHEM 221-222) This course is designed as an introduction into how plant cells function from seed germination to vegetative growth, maturation, and flowering. Topics include: water relationships, plant biochemistry, development, and environmental physiology. The laboratory portion includes studies of transpiration, plant mineral requirements, plant development, tissue culture, photosynthesis, and enzyme activity.
314 Ecology (4) (3 hrs lecture, 3 hrs lab weekly ● PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) A study of the interrelationships of plants and animals in their physical and biological environments. Structure and dynamics of the major ecosystems, with emphasis on individual behavior, populations, and communities. Lab and field work includes studies of natural and polluted systems.
318 Immunology (4) (PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher and CHEM 102) A study of the principles of immunology. Lecture topics include organs, cells, and pathways of the immune response, antigens, antibodies, immune specificity, humoral and cellular immunity, development, activation and regulation of the immune response, and immune disorders. Laboratory exercises include identification of the components of the immune system, antibody/antigen interactions, immunoassays, and mitogenic responses.
320 Paleontology (4) (PR: BIOL 112 with a grade of “C” or higher) This course provides an in-depth introduction to the principles of paleontology. Lecture topics include models in paleontology, taphonomy, systematics and classification, morphology, paleoecology, evolution and extinction, paleobiogeography, biostratigraphy, milestone in the history of life, diversity of Phanerozoic Life, and use of index fossils in rock correlation. Laboratory exercises include fossil preservation, diversity of ancient life, ontogenetic variation, morphologic parameters and their uses, species recognition and evolution, microfossils, evolutionary patterns, and biostratigraphy as well as a survey of the major groups of fossil organisms.
335 Human Genetics (3) (PR: BIOL 334 or POI) The course is designed to introduce students who are interested in future healthcare professions to the specific effects of genetic variation on human biology primarily in settings where clinical problems arise due to mutation. Basic genetics is prerequisite to this course. It is the intent of the course to increase both personal and professional awareness of the role and impact of genetics in healthcare. The course will review basic genetic principles; present the molecular aspects of genetic mutations; discuss classic and non-traditional inheritance; the significance of family history and pedigree analysis; genetic testing; and the ethical, legal, and social implications of the science. Emphasis is on what, why, and how to use genetic information in the healthcare professions.
336 Bioinformatics (3) (PR: BIOL 334 or POI) Bioinformatics arises from the interaction of biology, computer science, mathematics, and statistics. It deals with the staggering amount of biological information, mainly in the form of DNA and protein sequences, and tries to find ways to organize, sort, compare, and decode these sequences to find underlying similarities and patterns that are biologically relevant. The course will cover computational methods for the study of biological sequence data: analysis of genome methods for finding fractured patterns, phylogenetic methods, and protein structure prediction and modeling. Each of the problems will be analyzed both from the biologist’s and the computer scientist’s point of view. Students will have the opportunity to analyze biological data and experiment with available bioinformatics tools to solve bioinformatics problems.
398 Honors Research (3-6)
399 Scientific Writing & Presentation (2) (PR: JR status) A course designed to familiarize the student with the library resources and techniques for conducting a literature search of a scientific topic. Students will receive instruction on the style and mechanics of writing a scientific review article and presenting a short seminar.
401 Senior Seminar (2) (PR: BIOL 399 or POI, and SR status) Each student gains an in-depth knowledge of a selected current topic in biology by conducting an exhaustive search of the literature, giving an oral presentation of the results of this research, and preparing a written paper in acceptable scientific form. Instructions in each phase of study or presentation are given by the biology faculty. Majors will take the Graduate Record Advanced test in biology as part of this course.
442 Directed Studies (1-9)
444 Internship (1-6) A maximum of 3 hours credit may count toward the major.
446 Readings (1-9)
448 Research in Biology (3-6) (PR: JR or SR status, BIOL major, minimum GPA of 2.5, and permission of the department) Independent research in one of several areas utilizing different approaches—a lab study on-campus or off-campus studies at a biological field station or marine science lab. Students may take three to six hours during one or two semesters. Research hours cannot be terminal hours for the major.
450 Seminar (1-9)
452 Special Projects (1-6) (PRE: minimum 28 hours earned credit, minimum GPA of 2.25, and permission of the department and Dean) Special course projects on demand to include predominantly off-campus offerings that will necessitate students being away from campus part of time—may be graded on regular basis.
458 Special Topics (1-6) May include field studies during the May term to give students an opportunity to study plants and animals in a variety of different habitats: overseas and local field studies; terrestrial and marine environmental study on islands such as Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Galapagos of Ecuador, etc.; fish and wildlife refuges in the eastern U. S.; or paleobiological and ecological studies of the Great Plains and the desert Southwest.