Discover the mysteries of life!

From classroom discussions and lab experiments to fieldwork and study abroad, Florida Southern provides you the foundation in the biological sciences to pursue your passion to understand our world.

Whether your dream is to be a scientist, physician, or teacher, FSC faculty are dedicated to giving you the knowledge of biology, mathematics, chemistry, and physics that you need to succeed.

Top Reasons to Study Biology at FSC

  • During your collaborative research with faculty, you have the opportunity to publish, and present your own original research at regional and national conferences.
  • Our graduates are accepted into the nation’s top medical, dental, and veterinary schools such as, Duke, University of Miami, University of Pennsylvania, and Auburn.
  • You’ll have the advantage of local and national science-based, career-related internships.
  • Our research labs grant you a hands-on experience using the latest state-of-the-art instrumentation.
  • Fieldwork from across the street in Lake Hollingsworth to across the world in places like Ecuador, Costa Rica, and the Galapagos.
  • The BS/MD program provides priority admission to qualified students into USF’s College of Medicine.

Engaged Learning in the Classroom

Alyssa HubnerLaboratories and fieldwork are the foundation of your FSC science education.


Through experiments and detailed and extensive observations of the natural world, you’ll actively engage in the practice of science. You’ll also have firsthand experience working with advanced equipment and instrumentation, collecting and analyzing data, and communicating the results. After mastering the basics of science in lower-level courses, you’ll apply everything you’ve learned in research courses your junior and senior year by carrying out an original research project.

In the classroom, you’ll expand your abilities as a scientist by engaging in discussions, group projects, and case studies where you’ll apply theories to real-life situations and hone your critical thinking skills.

Course Information

You’ll take a specific set of core biology courses, which include Biological Essentials, General Zoology, General Botany, Microbiology or Cell Biology, and two semesters of research. Beyond the core, you’ll choose the biology courses that fit your interests and career goals.

Courses outside of biology—such as chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and biostatistics—provide important background for your upper-level biology courses and give you a broad understanding of science.

See course descriptions  

Internship Opportunities

Many of our majors are interested in health professions such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and physical therapy. Students seriously thinking about applying to a professional school complete an elaborate internship. As a result, our majors graduate having observed and worked with medical professionals in hospital settings, clinics, and private practice securing critical hands-on experience needed to succeed in today's competitive environment.

Even our students considering other paths outside of direct patient contact have had amazing experiences in venues such as:

  • Center for Cancer Care and Research
  • Polk County Health Department
  • Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office
  • Conservancy of Southwest Florida
  • Lowry Park Zoo
  • Mote Marine Laboratory
  • Reedy Creek Improvement District

Clubs & Organizations

The Biology department sponsors Beta Beta Beta, the society for biology students affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and AMSA/Pre-Professional Society, a chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Scholarships are available for our majors. These awards include:

  • Charlene Poland Holt Scholarship
  • Helen and Charles McConville Scholarships
  • Herman and Theresa Teiser Baum Scholarships
  • Southern Bio Research Award/Sokoloff Scholarship

Start the Conversation
and Contact…

For questions about pre-professional programs (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-vet, pre-physical therapy, and other health-related fields), contact:
Dr. Nancy Morvillo
Chair of Biology
863.680.6240
nmorvillo@flsouthern.edu

 

For questions regarding environmental opportunities and careers, contact:
Dr. Eric Kjellmark
Assistant Professor
863.680.4320
ekjellmark@flsouthern.edu


photo

Cheryl Lodwick '07

talks about her FSC experience preparing for medical school.

photo

Explore Science at Florida Southern

Education and experiences that prepare students for the real world.

Special Features

As a biology major at FSC, you’ll get the ultimate learning experience—two semesters of research on a project you design and carry out.

Study-abroad experiences have included travel to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bermuda and the Bahamas.

Our agreement with the University of South Florida College of Medicine means pre-med students in the Honors Program who qualify are guaranteed entrance into USF’s medical program. Three-year and four-year undergraduate tracks are also available.

We offer two unique inter-disciplinary team-taught courses: Dialogues in Science and Religion and Disasters, Civilizations and the Environment. These courses challenge you to integrate different fields and vastly expand your horizons to see the world in new ways.

Graduate & Professional Opportunities

Our biology majors attend a wide variety of graduate and professional schools, including:

  • Duke University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Boston University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Auburn University
  • Howard University
  • National University of Health Sciences, Illinois
  • New England College of Optometry
  • University of South Florida
  • Methodist College
  • Nova Southeastern University

Our graduates also go on to study everything from nanobiotechnology to ecology to hospital administration in graduate programs at top-tier institutions such as:

  • Columbia University
  • Boston University
  • University of Florida
  • Duke University
  • Northeastern University
  • National Institutes of Health
  • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • North Carolina State University
  • Tel Aviv University

 

Program Requirements

Biology Major Requirements

A. General Education Requirements 40 hours
B. Major Requirements 74 hours
BIO 1500 Biological Essentials
BIO 2230 General Zoology
BIO 2235 General Botany
BIO 3400 Microbiology
or  
BIO 3800 Cell Biology
CHE 1111 Principles of Chemistry I
CHE 1112 Principles of Chemistry II
CHE 2221 Organic Chemistry I
CHE 2222 Organic Chemistry II
PHY 2010 General Physics I (Algebra Based) and
PHY 2020 General Physics II (Algebra Based)
or  
PHY 2110 General Physics I (Calculus Based) and
PHY 2120 General Physics II (Calculus Based)
MAT 2032 Biostatistics

One other 2000-level course in Mathematics

Twenty semester hours chosen from the following:
BIO 1520 Introduction to Marine Biology
BIO 1820 Oceanography
BIO 1900 Human Genetics
BIO 2120 Biology and Conservation of Marine Mammals
BIO/ENV 2200 Environmental Issues
BIO/ENV 2201 Environmental Science
BIO 2215 Human Anatomy and Physiology I
BIO 2216 Human Anatomy and Physiology II
BIO 2220 Biology of the Fishes
BIO 2320 Aquatic Microbial Diversity
BIO 2750 Evolution
BIO 3100 Plant Taxonomy
BIO 3120 Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles
BIO/ENV 3150 Ecology
BIO 3215 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology I
BIO 3216 Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology II
BIO 3302 Plant Nutrition
BIO 3316 Tropical Ecology
BIO 3360 Medical Botany
BIO/CHE 3361 Biochemistry: Structure and Function
BIO/CHE 3362 Biochemistry: Molecular Biology
BIO/REL 3378 Dialogues in Science and Religion
BIO 3400 Microbiology
BIO/HMP 3575 Exercise Physiology
BIO 3700 Genetics
BIO 3720 Techniques in Nucleic Acid Research
BIO 3725 Techniques in Cloning
BIO 3750 Techniques in Tissue Culture
BIO 3770 Bioinformatics
BIO 3800 Cell Biology
BIO 3850 Parasitology
BIO 3900 Animal Behavior
BIO 3920 Marine Invertebrate Zoology
BIO 3988/3989 Professional Shadowing
BIO 4150 Plant Physiology
BIO 4160 Developmental Biology
BIO 4200 Histology
BIO 4330 Techniques in Protein Purification
BIO 4350 Techniques in Cell Signaling
BIO 4461/4462 Research: Ecology
BIO 4561/4562 Research: Molecular Biology
BIO 4960/4961 Internship

Six hours selected from the following:

BIO 4460 Introduction to Ecology Research and
BIO 4461/4462 Research: Ecology
or  
BIO 4560 Introduction to Molecular Biology Research
BIO 4561/4562 Research: Molecular Biology
or  
HON 4955 Honors Senior Thesis and
HON 4956 Honors Senior Thesis
BIO 4960 or 4961 May substitute for one of the above courses, with approval of the Biology
faculty
C. Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements 12 hours
D. Electives 0 hours
E. Total 126 hours

For a complete listing of requirements, please refer to the
Academic Catalog  

Interested in teaching biology?

Choose to combine your biology degree with the professional courses required by the School of Education and you will be ready to teach biology in the state of Florida.

Seaworld Internship

Marine Biology

Interested in majoring in Marine Biology? To learn more about the program visit Marine Biology for more information.

3-Year Fast Track

3-Year Fast Track

You can earn your biology degree in three years. View the 3-Year Fast Track Plan for a B.S. in biology.


 

Course Descriptions

BIO 1000 BIOLOGY FOR YOUR LIFE
Four hours. Does not count toward major or minor. This course focuses on how biological concepts impact our daily lives. Topics include the cell, ecology, evolution, and heredity. Gen Ed: NW

BIO 1500 BIOLOGICAL ESSENTIALS
Four hours. The first in a three-course sequence required for biology majors. A rigorous introduction to the principles that the lay the foundations for the biological sciences. Examines the relationships between metabolism, genetics, cell biology, and evolution. Students learn the mechanics and style of scientific reporting on laboratory exercises in cell and molecular biology utilizing techniques such as spectrophotometry and electrophoresis. Gen Ed: NW

BIO 1520 INTRODUCTION TO MARINE BIOLOGY
Four hours. Pre- or Corequisite: BIO 1500. This foundational course provides an introduction to the interrelated physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes of the oceans, atmosphere, and coasts, with a focus on Florida waters.

BIO 1820 OCEANOGRAPHY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1520. An overview of the sub disciplines of ocean sciencesincluding the sea floor, waves, tides, currents, the physical and chemical properties of seawater and their distribution in the sea, and planktonic life and its relation to nutrient cycling. This course will focus on how we study and use the ocean as well as the impact of human activities on the oceans.

BIO 1900 HUMAN GENETICS
Four hours. No credit awarded if student has completed BIO 3700. Explores the basic principles of inheritance and their applications to medicine, behavior, forensics and populations. Gen Ed: NW

BIO 2120 BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF MARINE MAMMALS
Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1820. An introduction to the biology of marine mammals, including cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians and sea otters on topics including physiology, behavior, evolution, and ecology, with particular attention paid to the conservation of marine mammals.

BIO 2200 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Four hours. Same as ENV 2200. A study of public policy; environmental conservation and preservation; and current environmental issues, their origins, their consequences and possible solutions.

BIO 2201 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Four hours. Same as ENV 2201. Prerequisite: BIO 1500. An introduction to the methods, technology, and equipment used to collect, analyze, and interpret environmental data. Students will apply the techniques they learn to an investigation of an environmental problem.

BIO 2215 HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY I
Four hours. No credit awarded if student has completed BIO 2209, BIO 2210, or BIO 4408. Structure and function of the following major organ systems of the human body: integumentary, skeletal (including joints), muscular, and nervous. Gen Ed: NW

BIO 2216 HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY II
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 2215. No credit awarded if student has completed BIO 2209, BIO 2210, or BIO 4408. Structure and function of the following major organ systems of the human body: endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and reproductive.

BIO 2220 BIOLOGY OF THE FISHES
Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1820. A comparative analysis of fish anatomy, taxonomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation and management, with a focus on the fishes found in Florida waters.

BIO 2230 GENERAL ZOOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 1500 or permission of the instructor. Adaptational biology of animals, with emphasis on the vertebrates; group relationships of major phyla; principles of development, ecology, and evolution.

BIO 2235 GENERAL BOTANY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 or HRT 2100 or permission of the instructor. The flowering plant, major plant groups, metabolism, genetics, ecology, and economic botany.

BIO 2280 APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1000 or BIO 1500 and CHE 1011 or CHE 1111. Pre- or corequisite: CHE 1012 or CHE 1112. Does not count towards the Biology major. Morphology and physiology of microorganisms, particularly bacteria, with emphasis on clinical disease.

BIO 2320 AQUATIC MICROBIAL DIVERSITY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO1820 or BIO2201. An overview of aquatic microbial diversity, morphology, and physiology, particularly viruses, prokaryotes, and fungi, with a focus on marine systems.

BIO 2750 EVOLUTION
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and BIO 2235. Theory, patterns, and processes in the biological evolution of organisms.

BIO 3100 PLANT TAXONOMY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 2235. Nomenclature, classification, and identification of flowering plants, especially those of Central Florida.

BIO 3120 BIOLOGY OF AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES
Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and permission of instructor. This course provides a modern survey of the amphibians and reptiles, including life history, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation with a focus on the amphibians and reptiles (especially sea turtles) of Florida.

BIO 3150 ECOLOGY
Four hours. Same as ENV 3150. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and BIO 2235, or permission of the instructor. Relationship of living organisms to their biological, physical, and chemical environments with emphasis on ecosystems.

BIO 3215 ADVANCED HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY I
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 1111 or permission of the instructor. No credit awarded if student has completed BIO 2209 or BIO 2210 or BIO 2215 or BIO 2216 or BIO 4408. The first semester in a two semester sequence where students will investigate the structure and function of the major organ systems of the human body with emphasis on pathology and pharmacology. Topics covered will include homeostasis, cells, biochemistry, obtaining energy, tissues, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, autonomic nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and special senses.

BIO 3216 ADVANCED HUMAN ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY II
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 3215. No credit awarded if student has completed BIO 2209 or BIO 2210 or BIO 2215 or BIO 2216 or BIO 4408. The second semester of anatomy and physiology will investigate the structure and function of the major organ systems of the human body with emphasis on pathology and pharmacology. Systems covered will include endocrine system, respiratory system, cardiovascular system, renal system, reproductive system, immune system, and lymphatic system.

BIO 3302 PLANT NUTRITION
Four hours. Same as HRT 3302. Prerequisites: HRT 3301 and either BIO 2235 or HRT 2100. This course deals with the relationship of plants to soil in their acquisition of the mineral nutrients needed for life. Students will examine the chemical and physical properties of plant mineral nutrients, their reactions in the soil, and how the plant absorbs, transports, modifies, stores, and utilizes them. There will be an emphasis on Florida soils and crops.

BIO 3316 TROPICAL ECOLOGY
Four hours. Same as ENV 3316. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 or permission of the instructor. A field course studying the geology, history, vegetation, and ecology of a tropical region.

BIO 3360 MEDICAL BOTANY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 1500. The history and uses of plants in medicine in the U.S. and other cultures around the world. Special emphasis is placed on plant medicine in European history and modern uses in other areas of the world.

BIO 3361 BIOCHEMISTRY: STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
Four hours. Same as CHE 3361. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 2222 or permission of the instructor. Biochemistry is the study of the molecules and chemical reactions of living systems. Topics covered include water, structure and function of biomolecules, enzymes, bioenergetics, major metabolic pathways, and metabolic regulation.

BIO 3362 BIOCHEMISTRY: MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Four hours. Same as CHE 3362. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 2222. Students will consider important topics in molecular genetics, including structure, function and manipulation of DNA, and selected topics in metabolism and signaling.

BIO 3378 DIALOGUES IN SCIENCE AND RELIGION
Four hours. Same as REL 3378. Prerequisites: any 1000 level or above course in the natural sciences and any 2000 level or above course in religion. Offered in the spring semester every other year. Considers the cultural, philosophical and intellectual factors that have contributed to the development of the relationship between science and religion in Western thought. Gen Ed: MV, SW (Aw, An)

BIO 3400 MICROBIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 2221. Morphology and physiology of microorganisms, with particular emphasis on bacteria.

BIO 3575 EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY
Four hours. Same as PED/HMP 3575. Prerequisites: BIO 2215 and BIO 2216. The effects of exercise on human physiological systems. Students will use didactic and psychomotor skills in a laboratory setting to reinforce physiological principles.

BIO 3700 GENETICS
Four hours. No credit will be awarded if student has completed BIO 1900. This course helps students explore the principles of heredity as applied to all living organisms, the use of genetics to investigate evolution, and the application of genetics to the topics of immunology, cancer, and development.

BIO 3720 TECHNIQUES IN NUCLEIC ACID RESEARCH
Two hours. Prerequisites: BIO2320 or BIO2280 or BIO3400. Techniques in DNA isolation and analysis, including purification, quantitation, PCR, RFLP, agarose gel electrophoresis and Southern blotting. Appropriate database analysis of DNA sequences.

BIO 3725 TECHNIQUES IN CLONING
Two hours. Prerequisites: BIO3720. Techniques in cloning DNA in prokaryotes, including use of plasmids, restriction digests, ligation, and transformation.

BIO 3750 TECHNIQUES IN TISSUE CULTURE
Two hours. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. The theory and practice of animal tissue culture. Students will develop laboratory skills in culturing cells, as well as microscopic observation, biochemical and cytological analysis of cultured cells. (Special course fee is required - $50)

BIO 3770 BIOINFORMATICS
Two hours. Prerequisites: BIO 3400 or BIO 3700; MAT 2032. Techniques requiring the use of molecular biology databases, including DNA and protein sequence analysis, multiple sequence alignments, 3-D protein structure modeling and prediction, phylogenetic tree building, and RNA sequence analysis.

BIO 3800 CELL BIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 2221. Structure and functions of the cell as the basic unit of life, with emphasis on those features common to all living cells.

BIO 3850 PARASITOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230. This course focuses on the identification and understanding of parasitic organisms and their hosts, including most of the major groups of animals with parasitic members. The course focuses on human parasites, tropical medicine, and epidemiology, but includes veterinary diagnostics and the parasites of wildlife.

BIO 3900 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 1500 or permission of the instructor. Analysis of behavior patterns and their importance in the natural environment.

BIO 3920 MARINE INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY
Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2120 or BIO 2220. This course provides a modern survey of the major branches of marine invertebrates, focused on bauplans (body plans), ecology, and evolution (phylogenetics) of each fascinating phylum, with primary attention provided to organisms collected along Florida coastlines and the Caribbean.

BIO 3988, 3989 PROFESSIONAL SHADOWING
One hour. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Students shadow a professional (for example a physician, dentist or veterinarian) for at least forty hours to observe the profession, experience how professionals conduct themselves, and learn policies governing privacy issues in the profession.

BIO 4150 PLANT PHYSIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2235 and either CHE 1011 or 1111, or permission of the instructor. Photosynthesis, respiration, and other metabolic processes, growth, and water relationships in vascular plants. Engaged learning activities include group work on demonstrations of concepts discussed in class as well as group work on multi-week experiments on which graded reports will be written.

BIO 4160 DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 3362 or BIO 3700, or BIO 3800, or permission of the instructor. A study of the developmental processes of invertebrate and vertebrate animals.

BIO 4200 HISTOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 3800, or permission of the instructor. A study of the structure and function of human tissues.

BIO 4330 TECHNIQUES IN PROTEIN PURIFICATION
Two hours. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Techniques in protein purification, including protein expression in prokaryotes, column chromatography, acrylamide gel electrophoresis, and western blotting.

BIO 4350 TECHNIQUES IN CELL SIGNALING
Two hours. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Students will investigate signal transduction pathways and molecules and how they relate to normal cellular function and disease. (Special course fee is required - $50)

BIO 4460 INTRODUCTION TO ECOLOGY RESEARCH
Two hours. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Introduction to and preparation for research in ecology, resulting in the generation of a research proposal at the conclusion of the semester.

BIO 4461, 4462 RESEARCH: ECOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 4460 or permission of the instructor, and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communication SLOs A and B. Students will learn basic techniques in ecological research, and design and carry out research in ecology. Gen Ed: EC-C

BIO 4560 INTRODUCTION TO MOLECULAR BIOLOGY RESEARCH
Two hours. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Introduction to and preparation for research in molecular biology, resulting in the generation of a research proposal at the conclusion of the semester.

BIO 4561, 4562 RESEARCH: MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 4560 or permission of the instructor, and successful completion of coursework that satisfies Effective Communication SLOs A and B. Students will learn basic techniques in molecular biology research, and design and carry out research in molecular biology. Gen Ed: EC-C

BIO 4960, 4961 BIOLOGY INTERNSHIP
One to eight hours (eight hours maximum). Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing; permission of and consultation with a full time faculty member the semester prior to the internship; minimum 3.0 grade point average. Correlating theory and practice in at least one operational setting; supervision by cooperating professionals and faculty.