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Why study Biology 

At APSU, students interested in the living world get hands on experience in the lab and out in the field, both through structured activities and through research, study abroad, and other high impact experiences.  Students can research endangered plant, bat, and fish species, conduct experiments involving genetics in beetles and neuronal physiology, gain an appreciation for birds, algae, and reptiles, and discover bacteriophages in soil samples.  Students can study disease states such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and learn how vaccines are developed.  Study abroad trips to Belize, Costa Rica, and Antigua provide study of marine life, ecological systems, and non-traditional pharmacology.  The BS in Biology is broad and diverse with lots of opportunities for developing new skills that provide career preparedness and students are trained each step of the way.   

A bachelor of science in biology provides a foundation for understanding the living world from the smallest microorganisms to larger organisms such as plants and animals.  Majors become broadly trained in microbiology, zoology, and botany, as well as genetics, ecology, physiology, cell and molecular biology, and evolution.  Biology majors learn critical thinking, problem solving, research methods, and other important skillsets needed for almost every career from field biologists and conservationists to biomedical researchers and environmental scientists.  Graduates are also prepared for advanced studies at the masters and doctoral level and to attend professional health schools, such as medical, pharmacy, and dental programs. 

Biology majors at APSU are provided with opportunities to not only learn biology, but to experience the field through immersive activities.  Students complete lab activities associated with each biology course where they make observations, collect and critically evaluate data and learn to use equipment and work individually and as a team.  Students work closely with faculty to research in the lab and may travel to remote field sites to collect samples.  Students can study abroad in Central America and the Caribbean where they encounter new species and develop global awareness.  Majors present their studies at local, state, and regional conferences and receive funding to carry out research and attend meetings.  Students learn molecular, research, and field skillsets that prepare them for careers and advanced study after graduation.  The department is associated with the Center of Excellence for Field Biology and Southeastern Grassland Institute and houses the Pre-Professional Health minor to pair with the Biology major.  Small class sizes allow faculty and students to interact on a personal level and provides students with individualized support so that they can develop as a biologist.  

The Department of Biology includes experts in various subjects including mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology, microbiology, pharmacology, botany, physiology, genetics, ecology, molecular biology, and conservation.  All faculty hold advanced degrees with most having PhDs.  Everyone in the department, including staff and part time faculty, hold at least masters level credentials and have expertise in biology.   

What will I learn

Sample Course Plan and General Education Requirements

Biology Sample 4 Year Plan

General Education Core

Dwayne Estes speaks at Grasslands initiative

Dwayne Estes, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

When Dr. Estes founded the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, he wanted to lead environmental change. Now, as Tennessee’s Conservationist of the Year, he’s well on his way to restoring some of the world’s most endangered habitats.

“This initiative is an attempt to restore bits and pieces of this ecosystem that we’ve lost over the last 200 years…The explorers who described (southeastern) prairies in the 1790s, they described buffalo and prairie chickens—things we don’t have any more. You have to remember, it was originally grassland for thousands and thousands of years before we got here.”