University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Program Information



The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown currently offers a program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  This interdisciplinary program includes two options:


1.         A traditional biology option designed for students who plan to enter the health professions and/or graduate school in most areas of biology, and


2.         An interdisciplinary option in terrestrial ecology to prepare students for the ecologically oriented job market and for graduate school in that area.


Although the first year curriculum in the biology program is similar for all program majors, the student will be encouraged to design, in conjunction with faculty advisors, an individualized program of study for succeeding years.  It is expected that these options will provide an unusual variety of qualitatively different opportunities including independent study, individual and team research projects or internships during the student’s undergraduate career.  Both options lead to the degree of B.S. in Biology.


A minimum of 24 credits in biology, including at least two elective field or laboratory courses, beyond the two semester (8 credit hour) Introductory Biology sequence (Biol 0110, 0111, 0120 and 0121), are required for either option in biology.  Ancillary requirements in math, chemistry and physics are given below.  General degree requirements of the University must also be followed.


The traditional option is designed to provide the student with a broad choice of courses allowing for a substantial amount of freedom for learning, expression and program design.  Outlined course requirements and careful consultation with advisors will provide the student with the needed requirements to enter most medically or health care oriented professional school or biology graduate program.  A wide range of electives allows the student to pursue specific areas of interest.  The graduates of the UPJ biology program have an excellent record of acceptance into professional and graduate schools.


The primary objective of the terrestrial ecology (T.E.) option is to prepare the graduate to assume a role in evaluating the quality of the environment and in promoting its proper and useful functioning.  The T.E. option stresses a comprehensive scientific approach to studying the environment; therefore, it draws on other disciplines, such as geology, geography, economics, computer science, etc., to fully inform the students and prepare them to become articulate and well rounded participants in the current and future research and debates involving environmental issues.  As an interdisciplinary program, based upon a solid biology core, this option is sufficiently flexible to permit students to emphasize related areas.   This versatile yet sound biology curriculum provides students with the wide range of elective choices and experiences necessary for success in today's complex and rapidly advancing environmental careers.  The program will provide students with sufficient background, through early advising and course selection, to make them attractive to potential employers while also providing the solid scientific foundation needed for entrance into graduate programs in ecology and environmental science. 


The Biology Department has extensive laboratory facilities in both the Engineering and Science Building and in Krebs Hall.  These facilities, combined with over 600 acres of nature preserve, provide excellent support for laboratory and field study and research programs.





Typical sequences of required biology courses are as follows:


Traditional Option                                                                 Terrestrial Ecology Option         


Biol 0110, 0111  General Biol I and Lab                   Biol 0110, 0111  General Biol I and Lab

Biol 0120, 0121  General Biol II and Lab                  Biol 0120, 0121  General Biol II and Lab



Biol 0350  Genetics                                                    Biol 1515, 1615  General Ecology and Lab

Biol 0360/0361  Cell Biology/Lab                                 Biology Elective



Biol 1125  Animal Physiology                                    Biol 0350  Genetics

Biology Elective                                                         Math 1112  Biostatistics

Biology Elective



Biology Elective                                                         Biology Elective

Biology Elective                                                         Biology Elective



After the General Biology I and II and Labs, biology majors must all take a minimum of 24 biology credits including at least two lab or field courses.  Most students take more than the minimum.  Labs are valuable and enriching, so students are encouraged to take labs with their associated lecture courses.  Labs cannot be taken independently of the associated lecture course.  Not requiring labs for every course, however, adds flexibility in scheduling.  (Biostatistics and its lab, being math courses, do not count toward the requirement for biology credits or labs.  All biology majors are encouraged to take Biostatistics but it is a requirement only for those in the T.E. option.)


In addition to biology requirements, all biology majors must take the following courses in the Division of Natural Sciences:  Physics 140 & 141 and Physics 142 & 143, Introduction to College Physics with labs; Math 0221, Calculus I; Chemistry 0111 & 0113 and 0112 & 0114, Introductory Chemistry with labs.  Students taking the Traditional option must take Chemistry 231 & 233 and 232 & 234, Organic Chemistry I & II with labs.  Students in the T.E. option have the choice of taking that Organic Chemistry I & II sequence or taking Chemistry 0325, Analytical Chemistry with lab, and Chemistry 0230, Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry with lab.


In addition the university graduation requires of all students the satisfactory completion of Freshman Seminar or Writing 0005, Writing 0006 and General Education Competency Area and Knowledge Area requirements.


All students, but especially those in the T.E. option, should select elective courses within and outside the Division of Natural Sciences that reflect their particular career goals.  For example, a student interested in water quality analysis might want to take additional courses in chemistry and geology.  A student interested in environmental law might take additional courses in economics and political science.  A student interested in environmental writing might take additional courses in English writing and journalism.  The undergraduate program for each student should be individually tailored with the student’s faculty advisor, ensuring that solid science remains the core of the curriculum and meets particular career requirements.  Careful planning will be necessary, especially in the case of some upper division biology electives and Chem 0230 which are only offered every other year.


Typical Schedules Fulfilling Requirements for Both Options of the Biology Program.


Traditional Option                                          Terrestrial Ecology Option

Level   Fall                              Spring                         Fall                              Spring

FR       Biol 0110*      3         Biol 0120*        3        Biol 0110*          3        Biol 0120*           3

Biol 0111*      1         Biol 0121*        1        Biol 0111*         1        Biol 0121*           1

Chem 0111*    4         Chem 0112*     4        Chem 0111*       4        Chem 0112*        4

Chem 0113*    1         Chem 0114*     1        Chem 0113*       1        Chem 0114*        1

Fr Seminar*     3         Writing 0006*  3        Fr Seminar*        3        Writing 0006*     3

Elective           3         Elective             3        Elective              3        Elective                3

Total Credits              15                                  15                                  15                                    15


SO       Biol 0350*      4         Biol 0360*        3        Biol 1515*         3        Biol Elective        3

Elective           3         Biol 0361*         1        Biol 1615*         1        Biol Lab               1

Chem 0231*  4          Chem 0232*   4        Chem 0231*   4        Chem 0232*      4

Chem 0233*    1         Chem 0234*     1        Chem 0233*       1        Chem 0234*        1

Math 0221*     4         Elective             4                or                               or

Elective             3        Chem 0325*       4        Chem 0230*        4

Math 0221*        4        Elective                4  

Elective              3        Elective                3

Total Credits              16                                  16                           15-16                             15-16


JR        Biol Elective   3         Biol 1125*        3        Biol 0350*         4        Biol Elective        3

Biol Lab          1         Biol 1225          1        Elective              3        Biol Lab               1

Physics 0140* 4         Physics 0142*   4        Physics 0140*    4        Physics 0142*      4

Physics 0141* 1         Physics 0143*   1        Physics 0141*    1        Physics 0143*      1

Elective           4         Biol Elective     3        Biostatistics*      4        Biol Elective        3

Elective           3         Biol Lab            1                                             Biol Lab               1  

Elective             3                                             Elective                3

Total Credits              16                                  16                                  16                               16


SR       Biol Elective   3         Biol Elective     3        Biol Elective      3        Biol Elective        3

Elective           4         Elective             4        Biol Elective      3        Biol Elective        3

Elective           3         Elective             3        Biol Lab             1        Biol Lab               1

Elective           3         Elective             3        Elective              3        Elective                3

Elective           3         Elective             3        Elective              3        Elective                3

                                                                        Elective              3        Elective                3

Total Credits              16                                  16                                  16                                   16


* Required for that option



The above schedules fulfill department, division and university course requirements and exceed the required number of credits for graduation.  The science, biology and other electives can be chosen to meet the personal and career objectives of the particular student.  For instance, students entering graduate programs in physical therapy must have an animal physiology course with a lab, so the lab for animal physiology is not optional for them.  Students going into medical technology must have microbiology and immunology.  Students going into optometry must have microbiology and statistics.  Knowing about and meeting these requirements is the responsibility of the individual students entering those areas.


Typical cycle of course offerings in Biology:



Fall Term                                     Spring Term                                                  Summer Term

General Biology I & Lab        General Biology I & Lab                       

Life Sciences*                     General Biology II & Lab                     General Biology II & Lab

Anatomy &                          Anatomy & Physiology II **                Independent Study

    Physiology I**                 Animal Physiology & Lab                    Internship                            

General Ecology & Lab          Cell Biology & Lab                               

Genetics                             Medical Microbiology & Lab**                      

Vertebrate Anatomy ***       Ecology of Infectious Diseases

Immunology                       Independent Study

Microbiology ***                  Internship

Internship                           Human Health and Disease*                  

Independent Study               Genetics

Human Health and Disease*   Developmental Biology

Environmental Philosophy      Life Sciences*

Lab Tech. in Immunology      Molecular Genetics



Cell Biology & Lab                       



Vertebrate Biology & Lab        Aquatic Ecology                                    Human Ecology*

Plant Diversity & Lab              Ornithology & Lab                                

Wildlife Management & Lab    Biodiversity Conservation & Lab

Animal Behavior & Lab           Terrestrial Ecology & Lab                      

Local Flora & Lab                   Population Biology                            

*    Non-majors courses, don't count toward Biology major credits

**  Nursing and allied health courses, don't count toward Biology major credits

***Course has a required lab


rev. 9/13


Last Reviewed: February 14, 2008