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Environmental Biology Major

The environmental biology major trains students in the natural sciences as well as other disciplines that inform environmental issues, providing breadth across math and the natural sciences and depth within field biology, ecology, and biodiversity. Students develop skills for measuring and analyzing ecological interactions, environmental processes, and the impacts of human behavior on natural resources as well as for communicating scientific information orally and in writing.

Students with a major in environmental biology are prepared for graduate school in many biological and environmental disciplines as well as science-oriented careers in state or federal conservation agencies, parks, or forest services, environmental consulting, and non-governmental organizations.


The Bachelor of Science Environmental Biology major requires a minimum of 66 credit hours.

All prerequisites must be completed prior to enrollment in the following courses.
Co-requisites must be taken during the same semester.

Required (35 hrs.) 

BIOL 172: Molecular Biology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite or Co-Requisite: DAY-CHEM 115 or CHEM 208 or CHEM 238. CCPS-BIOL 102.
This course examines the structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins. The molecular mechanisms of replication, transcription, mRNA processing and translation will be emphasized. In addition, regulation of these processes will be explored. Lecture and laboratory. Intended for students majoring in biology or related disciplines.

BIOL 181: Genetics
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: Day-BIOL 172. CCPS-Co-requisite: BIOL 181-L. This course will apply the knowledge acquired in BIOL 172 to the inheritance patterns of genetic traits between individuals and within populations. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 182: Evolution
2 credit hours

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: DAY- BIOL 181. CCPS-BIOL 172. An introduction to the principles of evolutionary biology, including the history, processes and patterns of evolution as well as systematic biology.

BIOL 200: Ecology
3 credit hours

Prerequisite or Co-requisite: BIOL 182.
An introduction to ecological principles, emphasizing processes and patterns within the six sub disciplines of ecology. The laboratory will integrate common field methods with experimental design and data analysis. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 225: Biostatistics
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 172. An introduction to biostatistical concepts and methods commonly encountered in biology. The course will cover basic descriptive statistics as well as experimental design and techniques for testing hypotheses (e.g., analysis of variance/covariance, regression analysis, and nonparametric statistics). Three lecture or laboratory hours.

BIOL 312: Advanced Ecology
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: DAY-BIOL 200. CCPS-BIOL 201. A study of ecological principles, focusing on a modern understanding of ecological systems, patterns and processes. The laboratory will include common field techniques and emphasize experimental design and data analysis.

BIOL 351: Junior Seminar I
1 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 181. This course provides biology majors with information on pre? and post?graduate opportunities, prepares them for graduate studies related to biology by developing a resume and statement of purpose, and gives them experience speaking publicly on biological topics using appropriate technology. S/U Grading.

BIOL 352: Junior Seminar II
1 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 351. Using the scientific literature and in consultation with a faculty mentor, students will develop a proposal for an independent research project in the biological sciences and publicly present the proposal to their peers.

BIOL 484: Senior Seminar I: Research
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 200. Students complete an original field, laboratory, database, or literature research project in consultation with a faculty mentor.

Choose three (12 hrs.): 

BIOL 307: Botany
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: Day-BIOL 200. CCPS-BIOL 201. Introduction to the photosynthetic way of life in algae and plants. This course will consider plant structural and functional adaptations related to water retention and distribution, gas exchange, light absorption and energy conversion, anti-gravitational support, reproduction and dispersal; followed by a comparative study of the main plant groups from algae to flowering plants, emphasizing structural diversity and evolutionary trends. The laboratory exercises will present an introduction to plant (and algae) cells, tissues and organs through comparative anatomy and morphology analyses.

BIOL 309: General Zoology
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: DAY-BIOL 200. CCPS-BIOL 201.
A survey of major animal phyla including protozoans with an emphasis on comparative structure and function, taxonomy, fundamental life processes and ecological interactions. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 310: Field and Systematic Botany
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: DAY-BIOL 200. CCPS-BIOL 201.
A taxonomical survey of flowering plants. This course will discuss history, theories and methods of classification, identification, nomenclature and description of plants, followed by taxonomical characteristics of the main plant families. Laboratory exercises and field trips will focus on the use of taxonomic keys, construction of floral diagrams and formulas, identification and recognition of local flora, preparation of field data records and herbarium specimens.

BIOL 313: Advanced Microbiology
4 credit hours

Prerequisites: Day-BIOL 181 and CHEM 238. CCPS BIOL 181 and CHEM 107.
This course will examine the unique physiology of the Archaea and Procaryotae and their roles in ecology and human disease. Techniques for identification of these organisms also will be studied. Lecture and laboratory.

BIOL 373: Herpetology
4 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 200. An introduction to the biology, ecology and evolution of amphibians and non?avian reptiles. The morphology, taxonomy and biogeography of Missouri species within these groups will be emphasized in the laboratory with day, evening and possibly weekend field trips required.

Required Environmental Courses (13 hrs.): 

ECON 225: Introduction to Environmental Economics
3 credit hours

Economic principles are used to analyze contemporary environmental issues. The impacts of population and economic growth on natural resource depletion are explored.

PHYS 200: Environmental Geoscience
4 credit hours

A study of the interrelationship between humans and the physical environment. The course will focus on natural resources, soils, hydrology and water supplies, erosional processes, karst landscapes, land?use planning, and geologic map interpretation. Includes laboratory. Field work required.

PHYS 210: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing
3 credit hours

This course will provide students with a working knowledge of geographic data, data input, data models, spatial analysis, output and the uses of graphic information systems (GIS) in socio?economic and environmental studies. The course utilizes ArGIS software. Course fee required.

PLSC 309: Global Environmental Politics
3 credit hours

From one state’s perspective, many environmental problems are either too big to handle alone (climate change), are caused by other states they cannot control (transboundary air pollution) or concern the loss of environmental goods that belong to the world (depleted international fisheries). Students will explore these differing types of global environmental challenges by considering the diverse set of relevant actors, interests and institutions operating within and across states.

Other Required Courses (12 hrs.): 

CHEM 238: Inorganic Chemistry
3 credit hours

A fundamental course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include atomic structure, chemical bonding, molecular structure, nomenclature of inorganic compounds, fundamentals of inorganic complexes and an introduction to the chemistry of main group elements.

CHEM 238-L: Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
1 credit hours

A fundamental laboratory course in the study of inorganic chemistry. Topics include the preparation of inorganic complexes, resolution of chiral transition metal compounds, ion conductivity and a preparation of a main group inorganic compound.

MATH 231: Calculus I
4 credit hours

 It is strongly recommended that students have completed two years of high school algebra and one semester of high school trigonometry in order to be successful in this course. A study of the fundamental principles of analytic geometry and calculus with an emphasis on differentiation.

PHYS 211: General Physics I
4 credit hours

Co-requisite:  MATH 231. The principles of Newtonian mechanics including motion, energy, and force. Calculus with extensive use of vector analysis. Intended for science majors. The modeling-centered, inquiry-based workshop format — integrated laboratory and lecture — emphasizes experiment, data collection and analysis, problem solving, and cooperative learning in both small and large groups. Offered fall semester.

Choose one set (6 or 8 hrs.)

CHEM 208: Analytical Chemistry
3 credit hours

A lecture course that covers analytical methods of chemical analysis. Topics include statistical analysis, quantitative chemical analysis, chemical equilibria, eletroanalytical techniques and fundamentals of spectroscopy.

CHEM 208-L: Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
1 credit hours

A laboratory course designed to give students experiences with analytical methods of chemical analysis. Topics include data analysis, chemical equilibria (acid-base and complexation), redox titrations and spectroscopy.

CHEM 308: Advanced Analytical Chemistry
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 208A lecture course that studies a variety of instrumental methods used in chemical analysis. Students will also develop skills and learn to apply their knowledge of analytical chemistry to solve practical problems.

CHEM 308-L: Advanced Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
1 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 208 and CHEM 208-LA laboratory course that provides hands?on experience on a variety of instrumental techniques used in chemical analysis. Students will develop laboratory skills and learn to apply their knowledge to solve practical problems.

or 

CHEM 312: Organic Chemistry Reactions
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 238. This lecture course studies the chemistry of all major organic functional groups in one semester. Topics include nomenclature, stereochemistry and some mechanisms and theory. Emphasis is placed on the reactions and their application in synthesis.

CHEM 336: Biochemistry
3 credit hours

Prerequisite: CHEM 315 or CHEM 312. It is recommended that students have completed CHEM 327 in order to be successful in this course. A lecture course that studies the structure and function of biological molecules. Topics include enzyme kinetics, synthesis and degradation of biological molecules, and energy production. Emphasis will be placed on enzyme mechanisms and regulation.