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Department of Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences

The Department of Biological Sciences offers broad undergraduate preparation in the basic concepts and principles of the life sciences with major emphasis on both plant and animal forms. Various curricular options are available for specific career interests. It is important for students to consult frequently with their advisers regarding the proper options and courses related to their special interests. In addition, students should correspond early with professional or graduate schools to make sure they satisfy specific requirements.

Curricula for secondary school biological sciences education, comprehensive science education, environmental studies, traditional course sequences, and pre-professional programs are available in the department. Graduate work in biology is offered at the Master of Science level. Students interested in majoring in a specific biological science (animal science, botany, entomology, horticulture, microbiology, plant pathology, or zoology) should consult the appropriate discipline.


Environmental Science Option

Environmental Science is characterized by an integrative, multidisciplinary approach to environmental issues of concern to humans. This represents an exciting, rewarding area of science, which requires an especially strong academic background and an ability to think both analytically and comprehensibly.

For students interested in careers that address solving environmental problems, there is the Biological Sciences major with an Environmental option. This rigorous option incorporates balanced studies in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences) with social sciences (economics, political science, and sociology). It also involves technology, business, law, ethics, and human relations and behavior. Students interested in this option should visit with an adviser to obtain the specific requirements. Environmental Science students may not pursue a minor in Biology.


Biological Sciences Education and Comprehensive Science Education Majors

Students interested in Biological Sciences Education or Comprehensive Science Education are encouraged to declare a double major in the discipline and in education (i.e., Biological Sciences Education and Biological Sciences). Such double majors may be earned by successful completion of a few additional credits. Students should contact their advisers or the Office of Registration and Records for details, and are encouraged to declare their primary and secondary majors with the Office of Registration and Records, Ceres 110.

Students who intend to teach biology in the secondary schools should make their intentions known to the School of Education and consult with a biology education adviser in the Department of Biological Sciences early in their programs to make certain that they have a well-designed program and take the professional education courses required for state teacher certification.

The Comprehensive Science Education major is designed to prepare the secondary general science teacher. This major is an especially good preparation for students who may find themselves teaching several different science courses. Information about curriculum and other requirements is available from the School of Education and the education adviser in the Department of Biological Sciences. Biological Sciences Education and Comprehensive Science Education majors cannot pursue a minor in Biology.

MAJOR REQUIREMENTS (Biological Sciences)
MAJOR REQUIREMENTS (Comprehensive Science)


The science of botany is the study of plants including plant structure, function, systematics and ecology. Students study a wide variety of activities such as the relationship of plants to each other and their environment, plant growth and metabolism, classification and identification of plants, plant cell composition and plant heredity.

Departmental instruction is offered in the major area of Botany for students in all colleges of the university, but botany courses and instructional procedures are specially designed for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. Completion of an undergraduate major prepares the students for graduate work or for professional employment. Graduate work in Botany is offered at both the M.S. and Ph.D. levels. A minor in Botany also is available. Botany majors may not pursue a minor in Biology or Botany.



Zoology, the study of animals, is a diverse field with specialties that range from cells (cytologists, molecular biologists, geneticists), to organisms (anatomists, physiologists, entomologists, mammalogists, ornithologists), to populations and their relation to each other and to their environment (ethologists, ecologists).

For Zoology, a grade-point average of 2.00 is required for courses taken to fulfill the 38 credits in the major. Graduate work in Zoology is offered at both the M.S. and Ph.D. levels. Zoology majors cannot pursue a minor in Biology or Zoology.

Option 1: General Zoology

This option includes elective choices that provide a broad and balanced education in Zoology from cellular and physiological mechanisms to ecological processes. This option is designed for students who wish to pursue an area not represented by the other two options or the Graduate School.

Option 2: Physiology, Cell Biology, or Health Sciences

This option is designed for students who are interested in physiology or cell and molecular biology or who plan to enter professional schools (e.g., medical, osteopathic, dental, optometry, chiropractic) or graduate programs in physiology and cell biology. The emphasis is on additional course work in cell biology, physiology, chemistry, and physics.

Option 3: Fisheries, Wildlife, Ecology, and Behavior

This option is designed for students who are interested in ecology, conservation, and wildlife biology. The core courses include basic and applied ecology and electives are focused on organismal biology and ecological levels. These studies prepare the student for research or management positions with federal, state, or other agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Game and Fish Departments, State Conservation Departments, U.S. and State Forest Services, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as national and state parks.

A wildlife or fisheries biologist participates in a wide range of activities including natural history, systematics, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, population dynamics, management techniques, pollution biology, and public relations. Some positions require advanced training at the master’s (M.S.) or doctoral (Ph.D.) level. In addition to the curriculum suggested, at least one summer or semester of field experience is recommended. Credits for field experience may be gained either at a biological field station or through employment approved by the adviser.


Program Curriculum Guides:

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Undergraduate Bulletin
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7981 / Toll Free: +1 (800) 608-6378 / Fax: (701) 231-8959
Campus address: Ceres Hall 110
Physical/delivery address: 1301 Administration Ave., Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5210 / P.O. Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Office of Registration and Records

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 9:05:57 AM
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