Retitle the Name of the Biology Option within the Existing Biological Sciences Degree
to Organismal Biology Option

Montana State University-Bozeman

Objectives and Needs


1. Description of Program


a.     Goals and Objectives

The objective is to change the title of an existing undergraduate degree option within the Ecology Department, from the present Biology Option to the Organismal Biology Option. This change in option title would better reflect the emphases of the Ecology Department and the Cell Biology and Neuroscience Department, resulting from a split of the former Biology Department. Students in the Biology Option under the old departmental organization tended to choose either on organismal emphasis or a cell biology emphasis, and took elective courses that best suited their interests.Both new departments have continued to offer the same Biology Option under the B.S. degree in Biological Science since the department was split. Retitling the Biology Option in both departments will now better enable students to select a degree option which reflects their own interests and the emphases of the two departments.


b.     Intellectual basis for the curriculum

Remains unchanged from the present Biology Option. Most professional opportunities in biology require completion of one of more graduate degrees (M.S. and/or Ph.D.). The organismal biology option provides the basic formal background required for application to programs of graduate studies in plant or animal biology at the whole-organism (as opposed to molecular or cellular) level, while allowing students the greatest flexibility in selecting those biology courses which best meet their interests and objectives. It accomplishes this by leaving 24 of the 44 required credits in biology as optional courses approved by the curriculum certifying officer. In addition, students can use the elective credits to develop strength in a second area, such as biochemistry or microbiology, which may enhance their prospects of gaining employment with a bachelor's degree or their prospects of acceptance into specialized graduate programs.


c.      Course of Study (remains unchanged from the present Biology Option Requirements)

Freshman YearF S

BIOL 101N-Biology of Organisms 4

BIOL 102N-Molec & Cellular Biol 4

CHEM 131N-General Chem I 4

CHEM 132N-General Chem II 4

COM 110V-Public Communication* 3

ENGL 121W-College Writing 3

MATH 170M-Survey of Calculus 4

Take one of the following:

STAT 216M-Elementary Statistics 3

PS 318-Biometry

Univ Core and Electives 1

15 15


Sophomore Year F S

CHEM 215N-Elements Organic Chem 5

BCHM 340-General Biochemistry 5

PHYS 205N-College Physics I 4

PHYS 206N-College Physics II 4

Univ Core and Electives 6 6

                                                         15 15


Junior Year F S

BIOL 301-Principles of Genetics 3

BIOL 303-Principles of Ecology 3

Univ Core and Electives 12 12

15 15


Senior Year F S

BIOL 403-Evolution 3

BIOL 443C-Current Topics in Biology 2

Take one from the following:

BIOL 402-Adv Cell & Molec Biology 3

BIOL 411-Animal Physiology 3

BIOL 430-Plant Physiology 3

Univ Core and Electives 12-15 7-10

                                                        15              15


A minimum of 24 credits of advisor-approved Biology electives must also be completed, from approved courses in Biology, Fish and Wildlife Management, Plant Pathology (upper division courses only), or Microbiology. At least 20 credits must be upper division courses. Up to 6 credits of certain courses in basic biological sciences from departments other than these may be included, with the prior approval of the advisor and Organismal Biology Certifying Officer before the course is taken. Credits must be for regularly scheduled courses, except that up to 4 credits of undergraduate research in Biology (BIOL 470, 489, and 490) and up to 2 credits of Biology Teaching (BIOL 401) may be included.

d. Prospective Instructional methods

Not applicable (this is not a course proposal)


2. Need for Program (change in Option title)

With the separation of the former Biology Department in 2000into the Ecology Department and the Cellular Biology and Neuroscience Department, it nowbecomes appropriate to also separate the former Biology Option into two separate options that reflect the emphases of the new departments. As an interim measure both new departments have continued providing the Biology Option, and this has produced confusion among students as to which department they are or should be in. The new Ecology Department continues to have a breadth of faculty expertise in both plant and animal biology, and will continue the same broad-based undergraduate degree option in biology but with a proposed change in its title. This will not only make it easier for students to best prepare for their eventual career goals, but it will help them identify the program which best suits their interests when they enroll at MSU.

3.       New courses and requirements for the degree

No changes are anticipated.


Adequacy, Accreditation and Assessment Issues

1. Adequacy of present faculty, facilities, equipment, and library holdings.

All aspects have been adequate for the long-standing Biology Option and will continue to be adequate under a change in option title.


2.       Special accreditation

This is not applicable.


3. Assessment plan.

No changes from present Biology Option

Impact on Faculty, Facilities, Costs, Students, and Other Departments and Campuses


1. Additional faculty requirements: no changes from present Biology Option


2. Impact on facilities: no changes from present Biology Option


3. Costs: no changes from present Biology Option


4. Impact on enrollment, numbers of students

There are currently approximately 150 students in the General Biology option. It is anticipated that roughly 100 of these will choose the new Organismal Biology option and 50 will choose the retitled degree in the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience. The total number of majors in the two options will remain at least the same as are now in the General Biology option. If there is a change in majors, we expect it would be an increase because the more focused options in the two departments could prove to be more attractive to prospective students than is the current General Biology option. We anticipate that 20 students will graduate from the Organismal Biology option each year.


Other aspects will not change from the present Biology Option.