Mar 20, 2019  


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Professors: Bernd, M. Campbell, Case, Hales, Lom (chair), Paradise, Peroni, Putnam, Raymond, Stanback, Wessner
Associate Professor: Sarafova
Assistant Professors: Barsoum, El Bejjani, K. Smith
Lecturer: McNally
Adjunct Assistant Professors: Melonakos, Pittman, Ward
Affiliated Faculty: Heyer (Mathematics), Myers (Chemistry), Ramirez (Psychology)


The Biology Department recommends BIO 111-114 for students who are in pre-medical studies or plan to major in Biology or another science.  BIO 106-109 and 111-114 fulfill the Natural Science distribution requirement, BIO 102-104 and 263 fulfill the Liberal Studies distribution requirement, and BIO 240 fulfills the Mathematical and Quantitative Thought distribution requirement. BIO 107 credit is granted to students who score 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam or a 6 or 7 on the IB Biology exam.

Major Requirements

The biology major requires 11 courses. This total includes three introductory courses (CHE115 and BIO 111/113 and 112/114) plus eight advanced biology courses numbered 200 or above. Of the eight biology courses numbered 200 or above, at least three advanced laboratory courses must be completed from the following list with at least one from each of the two groups: Group A (201, 202, 208, 303, 306, 307, 333 or BIO 309 + 343); Group B (212, 216, 222, 305, 311, 317, 321, 323, 331). Seven of the 11 courses required for the biology major must be Davidson courses taught by Davidson College faculty members.

CHE 250 and 350; Mathematics 111/112, 113, 140, and/or 160; and Physics 120/130 and 220/230 are also strongly recommended for biology majors. Pre-medical students should consult with the premedical director when choosing basic science classes.

Major With Engineering Dual Degree (3-2) Track

Students seeking to complete the dual degree engineering (3-2) track with a biology major are required to take the following courses in order to receive a B.S. degree in Biology from Davidson: three introductory courses (BIO111/113, BIO112/114, and CHE115) plus six advanced biology courses numbered 200 or above. Of these advanced courses at least three must satisfy group A or B requirements with at least one group A and one group B course.   

Honors Requirements

The biology honors program is promotes individual excellence through directed independent study and research. Twelve courses are required in the major. Students should plan their programs with their faculty advisers such that the combination of courses and research meets, in general, the balance of courses specified for the major. A research proposal must be submitted for departmental action and research results must be presented in writing and orally by the deadlines specified in the Biology Department Handbook. The recommendation of the department regarding honors or high honors is based upon quality of the course work, research, and presentation. Additional information and examples of past theses can be found at the Biology Student Thesis Information Site.

School for Field Studies

Davidson College is affiliated with the School for Field Studies, enabling students to participate in a semester-long or month-long program studying environmental issues. Students must apply for acceptance to the School for Field Studies. Permission of instructor is required. The semester and summer programs concentrate on international environmental issues at one of six SFS centers: Turks & Caicos Islands; Bhutan; Costa Rica; Australia & New Zealand; Panama; Tanzania, or Kenya. Semester program students receive major credit for BIO 381, 382, and 383, and course credit for BIO 184. Summer program students receive major credit for BIO 385.

Cultural Diversity Requirement

Students who participate in the School for Field Studies in a non-Western country may receive cultural diversity credit for BIO 184. Cultural diversity credit is also given for the summer program in Zambia (BIO368 or 369).

Biology Courses

Biology courses numbered at the 100 level are entry-level courses that do not require any previous college coursework in the sciences and are open to all students. All 100 level BIO courses that include a laboratory component (BIO 107, 108, 111, 112, 113, 114) satisfy the natural science distribution requirement (NSRQ). Courses numbered between 100 and 109 are intended for non-science majors; these courses may be topical and exploratory in nature. BIO 100-110 and 115-199 do not satisfy prerequisites for advanced biology courses or biology major requirements. BIO 111-114 are introductory courses with laboratory sessions designed for prospective science majors, pre-medical students, and allied health students that satisfy introductory course requirements in the biology major and serve as prerequisites for advanced biology courses at the 200- and 300-levels. BIO111-114 are organized in two parallel and interchangeable tracks such that students must take BIO 111 or 113 and BIO 112 or 114. BIO 111 and 113 examine life at molecular and cellular scales while BIO 112 and 114 examine life at organismal and ecological scales. BIO 111 and 112 share a common textbook and use case-based teaching strategies. BIO 113 and 114 share a different common textbook and use integrative concept-based teaching strategies. Students may complete their two introductory biology lab courses in any sequence and may take their two courses from the same track or one course from each track. 

Biology courses numbered at the 200 level are foundational courses that require successful completion of one or two introductory biology lab courses (BIO111-114). 200-level courses include seminars (BIO 260s), group investigations (BIO 250s), group A and B laboratory courses, methods courses, and other advanced biology courses without laboratory components. All 200-level biology courses may be applied to meet the requirements of the biology major.

Biology courses numbered at the 300 level are advanced biology courses that require successful completion of one or two introductory biology lab courses (BIO111-114) and often recommend or require additional advanced biology course experiences. 300-level courses include seminars (BIO 360s and 390s), group investigations (BIO 350s), group A and B laboratory courses, methods courses, courses without laboratory components, independent study courses (BIO 370s), and field study courses (BIO 380s). All 300-level biology courses may be applied to meet the requirements of the biology major.

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