Department of Biology Curriculum Guide that includes Program Overview, Student Advising, Comprehensive Examination, Honors Program, Suggested Program for Biology Majors, and Degree Requirements.
Undergraduate Program Overview
All students are required to complete a core of basic biology courses: General Biology (BIOL 101 and BIOL 102) and Genetics (BIOL 200). BIOL 101 and 102 are prerequisites for Genetics (BIOL 200).Unless approved as transfer courses at the time of matriculation, all core biology courses must be completed at Howard University. All prerequisite courses must be passed with a minimum grade of C before taking biology electives. After completing the core courses, students will take a minimum of 22 credit hours of Biology electives. Every student is required to take at least one elective course from each of the three concentration areas: 1) Cellular & Molecular, 2) Anatomy & Physiology, and 3) Ecology & Evolution. The remaining elective credit hours can be taken from any of the courses listed in the Biology Electives (page 5) in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor. Senior Seminar (BIOL 493 or 494) is required of all majors, and is taken in the senior year. A student must earn a minimum of 35 credit hours in Biology to fulfill the requirements for the major and all Biology courses must be passed with a minimum grade of C in order to count toward the 35 credit hours required for the Biology major.
Courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics must also be taken as supporting courses for the departmental major. The supporting courses include: one year of General Chemistry (CHEM 003 and CHEM 004) including the laboratory components (CHEM 005 and CHEM 006); one year of Organic Chemistry (CHEM 141 and CHEM 142) including the laboratory component (CHEM 145), which is taken with CHEM 142; one year of General Physics (PHYS 001 and PHYS 002); and mathematics through Pre-Calculus (MATH 007), AND at least one of the following: Calculus I (MATH 156), Introduction to Statistics (MATH 009), or Biostatistics (BIOL 430).
Preparation for Future Careers in Life Sciences
Upon completion of the curriculum requirements, the biology major will be equipped with the necessary tools to gain access to the wide range of available career training opportunities in graduate and professional schools. Students who go on to graduate school may elect careers in academe, research institutions, industries, and government sectors, while those who go on to professional schools may choose careers in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health and environmental science.
Major and Minor Course Requirements
Major Degree Requirements
Course title (course number) - credit hours
Biology (101, 102) or (BIOL101/102-Honors) - 8 credit hours
Genetics (200) - 4 credit hours
∞Biology Electives - 22 credit hours
Senior Seminar (BIOL493/494) - 1 credit hour
Total Major Requirements - 35 credit hours
General Chemistry and Laboratory I (CHEM03/CHEM05) - 5 credit hours
General Chemistry and Laboratory II (CHEM04/CHEM06) - 5 credit hours
Organic Chemistry (CHEM141 and 142) - 6 credit hours
Organic Chemistry Laboratory (145) - 3 credit hours
General Physics and Laboratory I and II (PHYS001/PHYS002) - 10 credit hours
Total Other Requirements - 29 credit hours
†English (3 courses) - 9 credit hours
Mathematics (2 courses) - 8 credit hours
Division A (3 courses) - 9 credit hours
Division B (1 courses) - 3 credit hours
Division C (2 courses) - 6 credit hours
***Languages (4 courses) - 12 credit hours
Philosophy - 3 credit hours
Speech - 3 credit hours
Physical Education (2 courses) - 2 credit hours
Freshman Orientation - 1 credit hour
Total COAS Requirements - 56 credit hours
TOTAL REQUIRED - 120 credit hours
†The technical writing requirement in English may be satisfied by enrolling in the writing intensive (WAC) sections of departmental or divisional courses (Look for -700 level sections in the Schedule of Classes).
∞ Student must take at least one elective course from each of the three concentration areas: 1) Cellular & Molecular, 2) Anatomy & Physiology, and 3) Ecology & Evolution. The remaining elective credit hours can be taken from any of the Biology Electives at the discretion of the student and selected in consultation with the student’s Departmental advisor
* If only 7 credits are taken as core electives (e.g. taking 3 credit and 4 credit core electives), then 15 credits are required in Advanced Electives to complete the 35-credit requirement for the major.
**Because the African American Cluster Course can be taken concurrently as Divisional A/B/C course, ENGL054/055 (DivA), HIST005/006(DivB), AFRO005/006(DivB),and AFST101 (DivC) are recommended.
***Biology Majors may fulfill the foreign language requirement with any foreign language taught in the College of Arts and Sciences provided it also fulfills the language requirement of the College.
Minor Degree Requirements
Course title (course number) - credit hours
General Biology (101) - 4 credit hours
General Biology (102) - 4 credit hours
Genetics (200) - 4 credit hours
Biology Electives - 4 credit hours
Total Minor Requirements - 16 credit hours
Senior Comprehensive Examination
The passage of the Comprehensive Examination is a requirement (one of the General Education Requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences) for graduation. The Comprehensive Examination will only be offered once per semester (there will not be any make up examinations for students who fail), therefore, you should take the preparation and passing of this examination very seriously. If you fail, you will not graduate until you pass a subsequently offered Comprehensive Examination in a future semester.
Comprehensive Examination will contain the following sections:
A. Core Requirements (60%): Sixty (60) multiple choice questions from the Biology Core Courses: i) Twenty (20) multiple choice questions from Biology 101, ii) Twenty (20) multiple choice questions from Biology 102, and iii) Twenty (20) multiple choice questions from Genetics (Biology 200). These sixty (60) multiple choice questions from the Biology Core Courses will constitute 60% of your examination score.
B. Elective Essays in 200 & 300 Level Courses (40%): You are to write four essays (10% each which may be up to two pages long). Note: Only two (2) of the five (5) possible essay questions listed in this Study Guide for the various elective courses will appear on the Comprehensive Examination. You may answer up to two essay questions in any particular elective area.
The maximum score on the examination is 100%. The minimum passing score is 60%.
The time allotted for the examination is 3 hours. The examination will begin promptly at 9 AM and end at 12 PM (noon). You should arrive at the examination site, the E.E. Just Hall Auditorium, at 8:30 AM to fill out the data card that, along with your Student ID, is required for you to receive an examination.
Students are not permitted to enter the examination area with cell phones [digital/electronic devices], papers, purses, bags, or books. Individuals found to have such items within the examination area shall be given a grade of zero percent (0%) for the examination.
Students are permitted to leave the room during the course of the examination only for cases of dire emergency! Take care of biological needs PRIOR to entering the room.
All essay questions on the examinations are to be written in ink. Multiple choice questions are to be recorded on the answer forms (ScanTron) with a #2 lead pencil. You are required to bring your own ink pen and pencil.
Test results will be emailed to students after they are submitted to the Office of the Dean.
Students who wish to review their scored examinations should make arrangements to do so by emailing Dr. Stacy C Farina, email@example.com, within a 3 day period following receipt of the score.
BIOLOGY MAJOR CURRICULUM
Core Courses: Biology majors are required to satisfactorily complete the Core Courses before enrolling in the Biology Electives, except for Senior Seminar which must be taken during the senior year. Unless a student receives credit for a comparable course as a transfer student from an accredited institution, Biology 101,102, 200 and 493/494 must be taken at Howard University.
Course Title Course Number Credit Hours
Biology 101 BIOL 101 4
Biology 102 BIOL 102 4
Genetics BIOL 200 4
Senior Seminar BIOL 493 or 494 1
1. Only two (2) Topics courses may be taken for credit toward major requirements.
2. Non-University and Non-Consortium Courses – Students are limited to a maximum of 2 courses applied towards the Biology major. Students taking courses elsewhere over the summer, or participating in study abroad must submit and receive approval prior to taking the course(s). The Department is not obligated to grant transfer credit for courses taken without prior approval. These courses may not be used to substitute for the core courses. The Department accepts courses from accredited, degree-granting institutions only. Courses at Universities within the Consortium, must be taken through the Consortium.
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY CURRICULUM GUIDEUnderGradCurrGuide
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY COURSE SUBSTITUTION FORMBiologyCourseSub
BIOLOGY COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION REVIEW TOPICS & QUESTIONSBiologyComprehExamMaterial
Additional Information for Biology undergraduate majors
Major advisors are assigned by the Biology department and all Biology majors should check with the departmental office (Room 130, E.E. Just Hall) to determine his/her assigned faculty advisor. A student may change advisors, but must do so through the departmental office. Students are expected to formally declare their major in the College of Arts and Sciences by the spring semester of their sophomore year, although formal declaration may be made after the accumulation of 30 credit hours in the university. All program changes (including withdrawals) should be done in consultation with, and approved by, each student's faculty advisor.
The Comprehensive Examination
In order to graduate, all students must pass the Comprehensive Examination (CE) with a minimum score of 60%. Students may take the CE as early as their junior year. Students are strongly encouraged to take the CE before the last semester of the senior year.
College Support Services
The Office of Undergraduate Studies provides overall academic advisement for the completion of the College of Arts and Sciences requirements, as well as student counseling. CENTER FOR PREPROFESSIONAL EDUCATION - Room 518, University Center (located at 2225 Georgia Avenue, N.W.). This office provides information and counseling for the health professions, assistance in completing applications for professional schools, as well as information on the GRE, MCAT, DAT, etc.
Students admitted to the COAS Honors Program, must contact the Honors Advisor in the Department of Biology, immediately after being admitted.