Bachelor of Science Degree, Area 4: Integrative Biology, Plant Biology Emphasis
The Department of Biology and Earth Science offers programs leading to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Majors complete a core of courses which provide an understanding of biological principles. Upperdivision courses provide integration, in-depth study, and an opportunity for specialization within the different degree emphases.
Students in the program gain analytical and laboratory skills that prepare them for entry-level positions in a variety of biologically related areas, including biotechnology, laboratory and/or field research, health science, wildlife biology, ecology, and conservation work. Students may also continue their education in professional schools in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, or medical technology, or in graduate programs that focus on some aspect of biological science, such as genetics, microbiology, immunology, ecology, environmental health, or cell and molecular biology.
Students majoring in Biology generally have a strong interest in living things and in the questions pertaining to the functions of life itself. They concern themselves with how living things survive, with how they affect each other and their environments; with food, physiology, energy, growth reproduction and maintenance processes. Generally, professionals in this field are responsible for the recognition and investigation of biological problems and the various applications of theory to these problems. Many biologists also seek careers in public health, biotechnology, industry, ecology, conservation work, wildlife biology, law, research and education.
Classroom learning is reinforced in most courses through practical laboratory experiences that include application of computer, multimedia technology and biotechnology. A new molecular biology research and teaching facility allows use of molecular techniques in courses and new courses in biotechnology.
In addition to a wide range of academic and professional experiences, all tenure-track members of the department's faculty have doctorates in their fields of expertise. Active research programs, many involving undergraduate students, and workshop and seminar participation keep faculty members abreast of developments in their fields.
Students may participate in a wide variety of field-based research projects, including research on using GIS and remote sensing to create habitat suitability models for Missouri's threatened and endangered flora and fauna; bat habitat surveys in Missouri; endangered species surveys in Missouri; floral surveys of selected areas in Missouri. In addition, students may participate in organismal, molecular and cellular laboratory-based research projects involving both plants and animals.
Student organizations include Para-Medico for students interested in careers in allied health areas; the Pre-Vet Club for those pursuing careers in animal care; Beta Beta Beta, the department's Biology honor society; National Science Teachers Association Student Chapter; for students interested in science education techniques; the Wildlife Society, for students interested in ecological concerns and wildlife conservation; American Fisheries Society, for students interested in aquatic sciences; and Geology Club, to provide a greater understanding of the science of geology. Many of the student organizations sponsor a series of speakers and Geology club sponsors a week-long field trip.
In addition to the extensive laboratory facilities in the W.C. Morris Science Building, UCM owns Pertle Springs, a 300-acre park a mile from the main campus. A unique natural laboratory for research and field experiences, Pertle Springs also serves as a campus recreation area. UCM also maintains a small astronomical observatory at Pertle Springs featuring a computer-controlled telescope with imaging capabilities and specialized auxiliary equipment. Each year The Wildlife Society sponsors BioBlitz, an annual gathering at Pertle Springs that focuses on surveying natural areas, birds, fish, fungi, mammals, insects, reptiles, and amphibians.
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Department of Biology and Earth