Jul 19, 2024  
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 
2010-2011 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2016 [Archived Catalog]

Biology (BA)

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Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics
Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts
Minor Offered: Biology 


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 positions in the private sector which 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, analyzing 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; complete some courses which would apply toward the MS degree at Truman; 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). Truman’s accelerated MS degree in biology allows a student to continue a research investigation that was initiated as an undergraduate.

In addition to classes offered at Truman, there are several cooperative programs affiliated with biology. The Biology program is also affiliated with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory at Ocean Springs, Mississippi, where marine biology courses may be taken during the summer at the Laboratory with credit awarded by Truman. Truman is also 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 Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) 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 Liberal Studies Program requirements, biology core courses, Biology Learning Plan, and biology support courses as described below. 


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 MFAT.

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 Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) 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.


Recommended Course Sequence:

For both the BA and the BS degrees, the following sequence of biology coursework is required.

A Biology major must achieve at least a “C” grade in each of the following courses: BIOL 107, 108, 145, 200, 300, 301, 315 or 405, and 545. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required 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 hours of biology electives for the BS degree, and c) all courses in the learning plan and foreign language courses 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 (MFAT). Majors are encouraged to take this exam early in the spring semester of their senior year.

Freshman Year:


Biology majors should take CHEM 130 in their freshman year, as it is a prerequisite for BIOL 200 Cell Biology.

Sophomore Year:



Junior Year:


Liberal Studies Program Requirements: 31-57 Credit Hours

Missouri Statute Requirement: 1-3 Credit Hours

Bachelor of Arts Requirement: 0-6 Credit Hours

  • Intermediate proficiency in ONE foreign language


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

BIOL 107, 108, and 200 should be taken prior to all other biology courses.

Part II: Major Requirements: 37 Credit Hours

  • Successful completion of one of the following:
    • Graduate Seminar I within Truman’s accelerated masters program in biology
    • Truman departmental honors in biology
    • Developing and precepting a Truman Student-Initiated Course approved by biology faculty
    • Significant scholarly experience* approved by a committee of biology faculty.

        *Application to replace the Senior Seminar requirement with a significant scholarly experience
          must be submitted at least six months prior to planned graduation date.

Learning Plan: 15 Credit Hours

Students will design an individualized Learning Plan in consultation with their academic advisor. The Learning Plan, to which very few restrictions apply, is intended to meet the life-long needs of the students. It could take the form of 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 biology faculty. For more information on this option, please see your advisor or the Biology Department Chair for details. Examples of learning plans are available at http://biology.truman.edu.

Electives to Total: 120 Credit Hours

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