Biology Home at The University of West Georgia

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Introduction

The biological sciences include a wide range of disciplines that address the processes of life, all living organisms, their environments, and the actions and interactions of all living things. Biology has a rich history and an exciting future as it impacts ecology and the environment, medicine, biotechnology, and many other aspects of modern life. The Biology Department at West Georgia consists of men and women who are nationally and internationally recognized for their research accomplishments and excellence in teaching. The faculty enjoy interacting with students and teaching and, at the same time, offer opportunities for students to conduct cutting-edge research. The Department offers pre-professional training (pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinary, and pre-physical therapy), as well as programs to prepare students either for graduate work in a wide variety of biological sciences or for employment. In addition, the department has developed a focused track for persons who wish to pursue teaching at the secondary level. The biology curriculum offers diverse and integrated studies emphasizing the development of biological literacy and the fostering of student-faculty interaction in the classroom and in individual research projects. Unlike many other undergraduate programs in biology where hands-on laboratories are becoming increasingly rare, the program at West Georgia emphasizes a strong laboratory component. West Georgia’s Biology Department has well equipped labs with many state-of-the-art instruments for modern biological research. In addition to excellent general undergraduate degree programs, the department offers opportunities for independent research to all interested students and offers a unique honors degree track for academically gifted students.

While the department of Biology offers a B.A. degree, it is our experience that the B.S. degree is a more effective track for most of our majors. The B.A. degree allows students to pursue a broader liberal arts education. Students interested in this track may discuss the option with academic advisors. The fact that the B.A. degree accommodates a minor makes it an option for pre-physical therapy majors who wish to complete a minor in psychology.

The B.S. degree program has three defined tracks. The general track is for students who plan to continue their education in graduate programs in the biological sciences or for those who wish to enter the biological sciences job market upon completion of the undergraduate degree. This track offers the greatest flexibility in selecting major courses, thus allowing students who wish to specialize in an area of biology to better prepare for graduate studies in that sub-discipline. The pre-professional track is a more restrictive program that is designed to prepare students well for the entrance exams and performance standards of medical, dental, veterinary, physical therapy, and physician’s assistant programs. The curriculum requires those courses most necessary for the demands of these professional programs. The secondary education track is a restrictive degree program that ensures future teachers meet all state and national content standards for science.

The general track for the B.S. degree in Biology at West Georgia is the appropriate one for any student who plans to pursue a graduate degree in any area of the biological sciences or for students who plan to seek employment in industry, government, or environmental laboratories. There is a great deal of flexibility in the choice of courses in biology, allowing students, with the guidance of their advisors, to develop a degree with a focus in various areas of biology, including cell and molecular biology, ecology and environmental biology, microbiology, physiology, immunology, marine and freshwater biology, just to name a few. Students are encouraged to contact the Biology Office for assistance in selecting the advisor best qualified to help each individual student with his or her particular interests and goals.

The Honors Track in Biology is designed for academically gifted students who qualify for admission to UWG’s Honors College. Honors students may elect to add special enrichment activities to their classes, allowing honors credit for virtually any course offered by the Biology Department. The special mentor/protégé relationship established in Biology’s Honors option creates a unique learning experience for its participants.
Learning Outcomes and Expected Results

   1. To develop a strong diversified background in modern biology appropriate to the individual student goals. The anticipated outcome will be a student with an appreciation for the areas of modern biology and the inter-relatedness of theses areas.

   2. To develop critical-thinking and problem based learning skills. The anticipated outcome will be a student with the ability to develop new ideas, to explore new areas of science or other academic endeavors, to design, implement, and evaluate scientific investigations, and to assess, interpret and understand data and its meaning.

   3. To develop the ability to communicate scientific ideas in both written and oral formats. The anticipated outcome will be a student who can organize and present his or her scientific ideas in both written and oral formats.

   4. To educate the students in the areas of data generation and interpretation. The anticipated outcome will be a student who is capable of critically evaluating information so that it is useful for addressing questions in science.