Jul 23, 2024  
2021-2022 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2027 
2021-2022 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2027 [Archived Catalog]

Biology (BA)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics


The undergraduate Biology program is designed to stimulate and challenge students to develop skills in concept learning, to understand the strategies of investigation, to communicate ideas, and to accept responsibilities of scientific leadership. The program integrates advising, curriculum, research, and service experiences in order to fully develop the potential of each student. Graduates of this program have a comprehensive and deep understanding of the basic laws, principles, and current theories of biology from the cellular to the ecosystem level. Students are prepared for entry into graduate or professional schools as well as for private sector positions that require a liberal arts education and leadership skills. Because the Biology program is structured to foster critical thinking, reading, and communication skills at the highest levels, students are encouraged to develop a set of personal goals and identify strategies for achieving these goals. For example, a student may set a goal of participating in undergraduate research. Actions to meet this goal include planning with a faculty mentor and other students, writing a proposal, gathering data, analysis of data, and presenting results. By encouraging students to set goals, the faculty hope to enhance the leadership quality of Biology majors.

In addition to the required courses for all Biology majors, a student may individualize their program in several ways. For example, the student may elect to participate in a Departmental Honors program as described below, or individualize a program by selecting electives in biology that would increase depth of knowledge in one or more areas in this field. Many Biology majors participate in research with Truman faculty. Conducting research while an undergraduate reinforces goals of the capstone experience of our Senior Seminar (BIOL 545 ).

In addition to classes offered at Truman, there are several cooperative programs affiliated with biology. Truman is affiliated with the Reis Biological Station located near Steelville, Missouri. The site is available for study of Ozark habitats. Summer classes are offered with credit that can be transferred to Truman. Biology majors at Truman may be eligible to participate in the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine Bryant Scholars Pre-admission Program. Students are annually selected from Truman to interview for early acceptance to the medical school. Qualified sophomores may apply for early acceptance to the A.T. Still University (ATSU) through the Pre-Osteopathic Scholars Program. Interested students should discuss these opportunities with their advisors. Finally, some courses completed at medical, veterinary, and other professional schools may be credited toward a bachelor’s degree in biology at Truman. For example, we have formalized articulation agreements with Logan University and the Cleveland Chiropractic College.

Biology majors should plan their schedules after discussion with an academic advisor. Class work includes Dialogues requirements, biology core courses, biology electives, and biology support courses as described below.


Biology majors will develop their skills as speakers and as writers in the core curriculum and in the electives they choose. As part of our core curriculum, students have the opportunity to develop writing skills in Introduction to Writing About Biology (BIOL 210); in this course students will establish familiarity with the conventions of scientific writing, produce written products of varying lengths and formats, and work as part of a team. Skills developed in BIOL 210 are practiced in other areas of the core curriculum and in upper—level electives. Opportunities for developing speaking skills are provided as assignments throughout the biology curriculum, in introductory classes (e.g., Cells, Molecules, and Genes & Ecology and Evolution of the Organism) through upper-level electives (e.g., Cancer Biology, Immunology, Mathematical Biology, Herpetology, and Ornithology).


The student must declare her/his intent to complete the requirements listed below no later than two semesters prior to their date of graduation. A brief form is available at http://biology.truman.edu. Upon graduation, the student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.50 or greater, or score at the 75th percentile or greater on the MFT.

The student must design and conduct an original research project in consultation with a Truman biology faculty member. If the research is conducted off of the Truman campus (e.g., at A.T. Still University (ATSU) or a summer program), the consulting Truman biology faculty member must be involved from the outset.

The student must complete a written manuscript that is of publishable quality and in journal style. The manuscript must be approved by a committee of at least three Truman biology faculty.

The student must present a 20 minute seminar on the research at a regular biology discipline weekly seminar. See your academic advisor or the Biology Department chair for specific details.


For both the BA and the BS degrees, a biology major must achieve at least a “C” grade in the Biology Core (BIOL 104 BIOL 107 ,  BIOL 210 , and BIOL 300 ), one core elective in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Diversity (BIOL 301 BIOL 304 BIOL 331 ), one core elective in Cell Biology and Physiology (BIOL 315 BIOL 322 BIOL 330 BIOL 332 ), and a Senior Capstone (BIOL 545 ).

Biology majors must also achieve a minimum GPA of 2.0 for: (a) all mathematics, statistics, computer science, chemistry, and physics support courses for both the BA and BS degrees, (b) all electives applied to the 15 credits of biology electives for the BS degree, and (c) all courses in the learning plan for the BA degree. Completion of all of these courses is strongly recommended prior to enrollment in BIOL 545 in the senior year.

All Biology majors must score at or above the 20th percentile on the nationally-normed senior exam (MFT). Majors are encouraged to take this exam early in the spring semester of their senior year.

Dialogues Requirements: 42-61 Credits

Missouri Statute (1-4 credits)

Bachelor of Arts Requirement: 0-8 Credits

  • Intermediate proficiency in ONE foreign language


The Biology BA and BS degrees consist of two (2) parts: Required Support and Major Requirements. Each student must complete both parts.

NOTE: BIOL 104 BIOL 107 , BIOL 210 , and BIOL 300  should be taken prior to all other biology courses. Students may not count both BIOL 315 and BIOL 322 towards the Biology major.

Part II: Major Requirements: 37 Credits

Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Diversity Core Electives (Select 1):

Cell Biology and Physiology Core Electives (Select 1):

Learning Plan: (15 Credits)

Students, in consultation with their academic advisor, will design an individualized Learning Plan consisting of at least 15 credit hours of courses. The Learning Plan, to which very few restrictions apply, is intended to meet life-long needs of the students. A student could choose to construct a plan around an academic minor, more biology courses, or a mixture of courses from several disciplines. The Learning Plan requires a reflective essay explaining and justifying the courses in the plan. Learning Plans must be approved by a committee of the biology faculty.

Electives to Total: 120 Credits

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs