Biology Program

Michelle M. Arnhold, Assistant Professor, Physiology
Mary D. Balcer, Department Chair, Professor, Aquatic Ecology
Edward W. Burkett, Professor, Ecology
Ted B. Cox, Professor, Science Education
Nicholas P. Danz, Assistant Professor, Plant Sciences
Kurt L. Schmude, Assistant Professor, Invertebrate Biology
Jeffrey A. Schuldt, Associate Professor, Fishery Science
Ralph W. Seelke, Professor, Cell/Molecular Biology, Microbiology

The Biology curriculum leads to either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. A minor field of study is required.

Biology has many specialty areas and exciting career opportunities. The courses required for all biology majors have been selected to provide a broad introduction to the field of biology. Students are encouraged to individualize their biology curriculum by taking elective courses in their specific areas of interest including: Preprofessional Studies; Cell/Molecular Biology; Ecology/Aquatic Biology/Fishery Science; and Plant Sciences. Prospective high school biology teachers should take note of the special requirements for Secondary Certification. Your biology advisor will guide you in choosing a program of study that best suits your interests and goals.

The Biology program is strengthened by the environmental resources of the Lake Superior region and by close working relationships with regional research laboratories. Field and laboratory research experience and internships are provided through cooperation with UW-Superior's Lake Superior Research Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and faculty research grants.

The freshman biology sequence (BIOL 130 and BIOL 132) must be completed with a minimum grade of C prior to enrollment in biology courses numbered over 300. Credit for these introductory courses may be awarded to high school students who have taken Advanced Placement courses. A score of 3 on the AP biology exam will earn credit for BIOL 130. For scores of 4 or greater, credit will be awarded for both BIOL 130 and 132. International students should contact the Department chair to discuss advanced placement based on their previous course work. Biology courses numbered over 400 should be taken during the junior or senior year, and the formal plan for the required internship or research project must be approved by the end of the second semester of the junior year.

Biology Major

A minimum of 34 credits of Biology, including:

BIOL 130        Principles of Biology I - 4 credits
BIOL 132        Principles of Biology II - 4 credits
BIOL 330        Genetics - 4 credits
BIOL 340        Ecology - 4 credits
BIOL 440        Cell Biology - 4 credits

One of the following Physiology courses:

BIOL 315        Plant Physiology (P) - 4 credits
BIOL 400        Animal Physiology (A) - 4 credits
or, both of the following Physiology courses may be taken to fulfill the biology core Physiology requirement:
BIOL 270        Human Anatomy and Physiology I - 4 credits
BIOL 280        Human Anatomy and Physiology II  -  4 credits

One of the following Senior Experience courses. (The senior project will be presented publically in fulfillment of this requirement):

BIOL 491        Undergraduate Research -1-4 credits
BIOL 492        Biology Seminar - 1 credit
BIOL 496        Internship - 1-4 credits

Additional upper-level courses selected from:

BIOL 260        Forest Ecology and Management (P) - 3 credits
BIOL 300        Marine Biology - 3 credits
BIOL 305        Evolution - 3 credits
BIOL 312        Biogeography - 3 credits
BIOL 316        Medical Terminology - 2 credits
BIOL 318        Immunology - 3 credits
BIOL 325        Plant Taxonomy (P)  - 4 credits
BIOL 335        Aquatic Entomology (A) - 3 credits
BIOL 350        Limnology - 4 credits
BIOL 355        General Microbiology - 4 credits
BIOL 360        Parasitology (A) - 4 credits
BIOL 365        Entomology (A) - 4 credits
BIOL 367        Ornithology (A) - 4 credits
BIOL 380        Vertebrate Biology (A) - 4 credits
BIOL 382        Ichthyology (A) - 3 credits
BIOL 420        Field Biology  - 1 credit
BIOL 431        Animal Behavior - 3 credits
BIOL 432        Animal Behavior Lab - 1 credit
BIOL 465        Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry and Cell Molecular Biology - 2 credits
BIOL 481        Special Topics - 1-4 credits
BIOL 484        Fish Population Ecology - 4 credits

In addition to 34 credits of biology, nine credits of chemistry are required:

CHEM 105      General Chemistry I - 5 credits
CHEM 106      General Chemistry II - 4 credits

One semester of calculus and a year of physics are recommended for students interested in graduate or professional school.


Biology Teaching Major at the Early Adolescence-Adolescence Level (EA-A)

Students desiring licensure to teach biology at the early adolescence through adolescence level must complete the Biology major described above. Elective courses must include at least three credits in animal science (A) and at least three credits in plant science (P). These courses are identified with (A) or (P) in the course description section of this catalog. All Secondary Education students must also meet the Professional Education Requirements (see the Secondary Education information under the Teacher Education section of this catalog) including completion of BIOL/NSEd 339 Teaching Science in the Secondary Schools as well as course work in Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences. See your advisor for recommended classes.


Preprofessional Studies Focus

Students interested in the preprofessional preparation in the areas of chiropractic, dentistry, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, and veterinary medicine will find that our course array provides a comprehensive background that enables students to apply for professional health programs as well as other programs in the medical area. Whereas prerequisite courses required for admission to professional schools differ, it is recommended that students interested in professional health programs have a strong background in chemistry, physics, and mathematics in addition to biology. Recommended courses include PHYS 107 and 108, CHEM 105, 106, 320, 321, and 360, and MATH 240. Students should work closely with their advisors when choosing elective classes. 

Cell/Molecular Biology Focus

Cell and molecular biologists study basic life processes, seeking to understand them at the molecular level. Students interested in graduate, medical or professional schools, or work in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industries are encouraged to focus on course offerings in the Biology Major which will expose them to a variety of techniques and areas of study and also provide the opportunity for independent research. Those interested in focusing on Cell and Molecular Biology should minor in chemistry (taking CHEM 360 Biochemistry as part of the minor). They should also take BIOL 318 Immunology or BIOL 400 Animal Physiology; BIOL 355 Microbiology; and BIOL 465 Lab Techniques in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology. Note that the prerequisites for BIOL 465 essentially require that a student be a chemistry minor.

Ecology, Aquatic Biology and Fishery Science Focus

Faculty expertise and the Lake Superior region contribute to the development of both classroom and nonclassroom learning experiences in the area of ecology, aquatic biology and fishery science. Students interested in careers in aquatic ecology, marine biology, terrestrial ecology, field biology, resource management, or natural resource education will be advised to take courses within the Biology Major which prepare them for work or graduate studies in these fields. Additional courses in mathematics, statistics, computer science, geographic information systems, and physics are recommended.

Plant Sciences Focus

Rich in forests as well as other plant communities, northwestern Wisconsin provides an excellent setting for the study of plants. Students interested in botany or other plant science are encouraged to take additional courses in the plant sciences, geographic information systems, and geology as part of the Biology Major and as suggested by their advisors.

Biology Minor

Only credits allowed toward a major are allowed for the minor.

Required courses include:

BIOL 130        Principles of Biology I - 4 credits
BIOL 132        Principles of Biology II - 4 credits
BIOL 330        Genetics - 4 credits
BIOL 340        Ecology - 4 credits

Note: CHEM 105 is a prerequisite for BIOL 330.


Biology Teaching Minor (EA-A)

Students desiring licensure to teach science at the early adolescence through adolescence level must complete the Biology minor described above. Recommended elective courses include BIOL 270 and 280. All Secondary Education students must also meet the Professional Education Requirements (see the Secondary Education information under the Teacher Education section of this catalog) including completion of BIOL or NSEd 339 Teaching Science in the Secondary Schools as well as course work in Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Sciences. See your advisor for recommended classes.

Dual Degree in Forestry

The Dual Degree Program between the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Michigan Technological University establishes a plan under which an undergraduate student may attend UW-Superior for three academic years and Michigan Technological University for up to two academic years. After completing the academic requirements of the respective cooperating institutions, the student shall be awarded a Bachelor's degree with a major in Biology from UW-Superior, and a Bachelor's degree in Forestry from Michigan Technological University. For a student to be admitted and enrolled for courses at Michigan Technological he or she must have:

  • Completed three-fourths of the credits required for a degree from UW-Superior. (See advisor for specific course requirements.)
  • A recommendation from the designated official at UW-Superior.
  • A grade point average and specified test results which are consistent with Michigan Technological University's usual requirements.