Biology at Waynesburg University

The Waynesburg University biology major provides the academic foundation, technology, hands-on experience and personalized guidance needed for success in the biology and marine biology fields. Students study not only what scientists learn but also how scientific knowledge is gathered, and Waynesburg University takes a unique approach to explore the intersection between science-based theories and faith. Ethical considerations emerging in fields such as bio-engineering and gene therapy are examined as students learn technical skills from experienced professionals.

Within the Biology Department, students can study:

  • Biology
  • Environmental Science
  • Marine Biology
  • Pre-dental
  • Pre-medical
  • Pre-pharmacy
  • Pre-physical therapy
  • Pre–veterinary

Facilities: Marine Biology Lab

The Marine Biology Lab has its own home apart from the Stewart Science Hall. Inside the lab are four aquariums, two tanks and an aqua cube that’s used for healing fish. Some of the tanks even have themes, like the Caribbean tank that contains live rock from Fiji. Students are charged with helping to take care of the facility starting in their freshman year.

Programs Offered

The Biology Program is associated with majors in biology, marine biology, environmental science, four pre-professional options and a minor in biology.


The biology major at Waynesburg University provides a wide range of courses and many opportunities to learn about the study of life and living organisms. Students completing a degree in biology are prepared for exciting and fulfilling careers in fields such as medicine, physical therapy, secondary teaching and research. Biological core courses provide a strong background in structural, biochemical and biophysical mechanisms of function and emphasize critical thinking and the scientific method.

Environmental Science

The environmental science major includes courses in biology, ecology, chemistry, geology, environmental policy and mathematics. This multidisciplinary approach is designed to meet the needs of students who desire a broadly based environmental education in preparation for careers in such areas as applied environmental ecology, field biology, energy, environmental law, teaching, communications, journalism, government service and private industry/consulting.

Environmental science majors are strongly encouraged to participate in summer internship opportunities available through many state and federal government agencies, private consulting firms and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Marine Biology

Waynesburg University, in conjunction with the Florida Institute of Technology, offers a combined curriculum of study leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in marine biology. The program provides for completion of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and liberal arts course work during three years at Waynesburg University and completion of marine biology course work in one year at Florida Institute of Technology.

Biology Minor

The biology minor at Waynesburg University prepares students in related majors to enter one of many fields relating to the study of life and living organisms.

Internships and Professional Development

Our students achieve outstanding internship placements with industry leaders both regionally and nationally including National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) Programs:

  • at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., inducing a double strand for DNA repair
  • at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo., creating monomers for solar efficiency
  • at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, researching tannins for antioxidant health benefits

Community Service Initiatives

The Biology Department at Waynesburg University connects service with learning by encouraging students to apply classroom instruction to those in need and by engaging the community with fun, scientific offerings:

  • Environmental science students travel to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Fla. for a mission service trip geared toward preserving wildlife and cultivating research methods.
  • The science departments at Waynesburg University collaborate to offer an annual Science Day for local high school students. Special presentations in chemistry, biology and forensic science occur in addition to a tour of the marine biology lab, all hosted by professors and students.

Specialized Equipment and Facilities

Stewart Hall, the academic building that hosts most biology, environmental science and marine biology core classes, is currently undergoing an extensive interior and exterior renovation to provide the most advanced science technology and tools available. In the interim, students find that the current technology enables them to complete excellent research.

Waynesburg University students also enjoy a marine biology lab in which they can analyze species of fish and oceanic life.

Academic Curriculum

BIO 105. Medical Terminology 2 credits

A course designed to acquaint the student with terminology relating to basic anatomy and physiology of body systems. The student will learn to analyze the components of medical terms and recognize their meaning at a glance. Does not count as a General Education requirement in science.

BIO 106. Introduction to Marine Biology 3 credits

This course discusses the various types of marine ecosystems, how they are formed, and how they function. Additionally, students survey the diverse array of organisms found in these systems and explore the kinds of research being conducted in each subdiscipline of this area of study. Finally, students consider impacts of human activity on marine ecosystems and discuss conservation issues as they apply. This course does not meet a General Education Requirement in lab science. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BIO 117. Introduction to Environmental Science 4 credits

This course is an introduction to the study of issues in environmental science and is intended for students in the environmental science major, the environmental studies minor, and non-majors. Topics include: Ecology, Biodiversity, Environmental Policy and Law, Environmental Ethics, Sustainability, Overpopulation and Consumption, Agriculture and Food, Soil Science, Geology, Global Climate Change, Environmental Health, air and water pollution, and Energy Resources. A major goal of the course is to develop an understanding of how daily actions and attitudes regarding the environment may affect the future of our society. Environmental science majors should take this course in their 2nd semester of study. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory each week.

BIO 118. Human Biology for Non-Majors 4 credits

An introductory course which provides the student with the opportunity to study the beauty, the harmony, and the complexity of the human organism. Topics will include food processing and nutrition, circulation, reproductive patterns, respiration, excretion, and neural and chemical control and integration of behavior. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory each week. (Not counted toward a major in Biology).

BIO 121-122. Principles of Biology I and II 4-4 credits

An introductory course presenting basic principles of modern biology. BIO 121 topics include chemistry of life, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, ecology, mitosis, meiosis and heredity. Fall. BIO 122 is a course continuing the study of living organisms and processes. Topics include DNA structure and function, DNA replication, transcription, translation, gene expression, biotechnology, evolution, biology of simple organisms, diversity or form and function in plants and animals, regulation and growth. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour lab each week. Prerequisite: BIO 121. Spring. BIO 121 and 122 is required of all Biology majors.

BIO 201. Invertebrate Zoology 4 credits

A survey of the invertebrates including taxonomy, structural and functional adaptations and evolutionary trends. Prerequisite: BIO 121-122. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory each week. Fall

BIO 202. Vertebrate Zoology 4 credits

Phylogeny, comparative anatomy and function of the chordates. Natural history and behavior of selected vertebrates. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122, 201. Spring

BIO 206. Human Anatomy 4 credits

This is an introductory course in the study of human structure. Lectures will address basic morphology and histology of skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, urogenital, digestive and endocrine systems. Three hours of lecture and one three hour laboratory each week.

BIO 207. Human Physiology 4 credits

The study of human function from the cellular level to systemic interactions, from acid-base balance to urine production. Where possible, clinical and pathological examples will be incorporated for practical correlation. Prerequisite: BIO 206. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory each week.

BIO 209. General Botany 4 credits

This course is an introduction to plant biology and the importance of plants to human society. Topics include plant structure, physiology, reproduction, diversity, plant identification, and ethnobotany, economic botany, and ecology. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory period each week. Prerequisites BIO 121-122. Fall

BIO 215. Microbiology 4 credits

The study of microorganisms with particular emphasis on bacteria and viruses. Topics discussed include: form and function, life cycles, pathogenicity, antimicrobial agents, methods of control, host defense and major infectious disease. Two hours of lecture and two two-hour laboratory periods each week. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122 recommended.

BIO 216. Kinesiology 3 credits

The study of human movement provides a foundation for critical analysis of physical activity. Both qualitative and quantitative principles of anatomy, physics and mathematics will be applied towards a better understanding of how muscle contraction yields coordinated skeletal movements (special emphasis will be placed on sport-related activities). Prerequisites: BIO 206 and PHY 105 (or PHY 201). Fall

BIO 217. Environmental Ethics (Cross-listed as PHL 217) 1 credit

This seminar course focuses on past and present human philosophies on nature and the environment. Special emphasis is placed on the development of ethical perspectives and philosophies towards environmental issues. One hour of lecture per week. Prerequisite: BIO 117. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BIO 305. Ecology 4 credits

A study of basic ecological principles and concepts with emphasis on species’ interactions and natural history. Human interactions with the environment will be studied as well as natural communities. Three hours of lecture and one threehour laboratory period or field trip each week. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122 and any combination of CHE or GLG, one year. Fall

BIO 307. Entomology 4 credits

An introduction to the biology of insects including taxonomy, morphology, physiology, behavior, ecology, and economic importance and management. The course is supplemented with several field trips and a carefully prepared collection required from each student. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour period each week for laboratory or field work. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BIO 315. Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits

This course focuses on the structure and function of animal cells. The major topics are: elements important to life, macromolecules, enzyme action, cellular organelles, cell respiration, apoptosis, cellular reproduction, proteins, and the molecular biology of cancer. Lab includes current biotechnological techniques. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122; CHE 121, 122 or 206. (Fall of odd numbered years)

BIO 316. Immunology 3 credits

This course focuses on how multicellular organisms defend themselves against disease. Immunology is an all-encompassing science that includes aspects of anatomy, physiology, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, and genetics. Prerequisites: BIO 121, 122, 215. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BIO 317. Physiology of Exercise 3 credits

An in-depth study of human physiological response to exertional stress. Emphasis will be on neuromuscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well as overall metabolism and thermal regulation. Some participatory demonstrations will be included. Three hours of lecture. Prerequisites: BIO 206 and 207. Spring

BIO 318. Evolution 3 credits

This course will explain the concept of evolution, the evidence for evolution, the mechanisms driving evolution, and the causes of biological diversity. The course covers concepts in population genetics, cladistics, natural selection, and speciation. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: BIO 121, 122, 201 and 202. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BIO 321. Biochemistry I (Cross-listed as CHE 321) 3 credits

A survey of the fundamentals of biochemistry including such topics as lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes and cellular metabolism. Three hours of lecture each week. The laboratory (CHE 321L) contains qualitative and quantitative laboratory experiments on the nature and properties of biological materials. Prerequisite: CHE 212 with grade of C- or better. Fall

BIO 321L. Biochemistry Lab 1 credit (Cross-listed as CHE 321L)

The laboratory compliments BIO 321 (Biochemistry I) and contains qualitative and quantitative laboratory experiments on the nature and properties of biological materials. Co-requisite: BIO 321. Fall

BIO 325. Biometry (cross-listed as MAT 325, Applied Statistics II) 3 credits

This course is a continuation of MAT 215 (Applied Statistics I) and is designed to help students gain facility with common statistical models where both the response variable and predictors (explanatory factors) are quantitative or categorical. Prerequisite: MAT 215. (Fall of even numbered years)

BIO 326. Histology and Molecular Biology (Cross-listed as FSC 326) 4 credits

This course emphasizes the cellular and molecular characteristics of human/ mammalian tissues. Topics include structure, function and recognition of histological sections of human tissues. Labs include histological and microscopy techniques, and cell identification. Three hours of lecture and one three hour laboratory each week. Prerequisites: BIO 121, 122; CHE 121, 122 or 206. (Fall of even numbered years)

BIO 406. Genetics 4 credits

The course covers the principles of inheritance including transmission (classical), molecular, forensic applications, and population genetics. The main focus of the course is human genetics and genetic engineering. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory period each week. Prerequisites: BIO 122; CHE 207 or 211. The department also recommends completion of one biology course numbered 300 or higher. Spring

BIO 407. Neurophysiology 3 credits

An in-depth look at the physiology of the nervous system, including neuronal electrical function, chemical signal transmission, and sensory transduction. Course will examine historically important research as well as the latest advances in the field. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: BIO 206 and 207. (Spring of even numbered years)

BIO 408. Environmental Health and Toxicology 3 credits

An introduction to the science of environmental health and toxicology. Topics include environmental epidemiology, zoonotic and vector-borne diseases, fate and transport of contaminants, heavy metals and pesticides, bioaccumulation, mechanics of biotransformation, endocrine disruption, carcinogenesis and radiation toxicology. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior level status; BIO 201, 202; CHE 121, 122 and 207. (Spring of odd numbered years)

BIO 409. Global Environmental Issues 3 credits

A survey of global environmental issues including population and carrying capacity, land degradation and global food production, soil and water conservation, deforestation, biodiversity, energy use and climate change, waste disposal and biotechnology. Examines sustainable technologies to address these concerns and the role of international treaties. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior level status. (Spring of even numbered years)

BIO 465. Internship 3-6 credits

The internship is for junior or senior biology majors who wish to gain practical experience with cooperating industries, health-care providers, or government agencies. All internships (summer or one academic semester) will continue for at least ten weeks. A minimum of 400 hours experience is required for six hours of credit. The exact duration and weekly hours of the assignment will vary with the cooperating agency; however, the total hours will normally translate to a program of 20-40 hours per week. The student must submit a written internship request to the department chair and the request must be approved by the advisor and the department before formal application to the cooperating agencies is initiated. Interns will keep a log of what they are learning from on-site activities and prepare a paper evaluating their experience. Pass-Fail grade. Offered in all school sessions.

BIO 475. Advanced Faith and Learning Integration 3 credits

In the spirit of the mission of Waynesburg University, this course intends to provide junior and senior level students with an unparalleled opportunity to integrate the Bible materials and its history of interpretation to the academic disciplines. Students who wish to engage in this level of theological reflection on vocation should consult with both their academic advisors and with the Chair of the Biblical and Ministry Studies Major Program. See page 116 for further information. This course will not substitute for senior capstone/research courses required in the majors. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing; three credits in BMS courses; 3.00 minimum grade point average. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BIO 195, 295, 395, 495. Special Topics 3 credits

BIO 496. Special Topics 1-3 credits

Appropriate and related topics in the biological sciences chosen by the faculty in consultation with students. Choice of topics will vary with instructor, student interest, and semester. Topics may include: environmental biology, human evolution, neurobiology, parasitology, ornithology, human genetic diseases, environmental evolution, pesticides, special senses, etc. Consent of department chair required. Prerequisites: BIO 121-122. (Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit.)

BIO 498. Capstone Research Project 1-2 credits

This course is designed for senior biology majors to conduct an experimental research project, guided by a faculty member that results in a paper written in a scientific journal format. Progress reports, results, and the final paper will be monitored and assessed by the mentor. Weekly meetings for mentoring are required. Prerequisite: Junior or senior status.

BIO 499. Capstone Research Seminar 1-2 credits

An in-depth course designed to emphasize research methods by critically analyzing scientific literature and oral presentation skills. Results from the capstone research project may be presented in this course. A total of three credits is required; one credit will be taken in the spring of the junior year, one credit in the fall semester of the senior year, and one credit in the spring semester of the senior year. Weekly meetings are required. Prerequisites: BIO 121, 122, and junior status.


Christopher Cink

Chairperson for the Biology, Environmental Science and Athletic Training Department - Professor of Biology


The ability to perform an experiment is important in research, but only secondary to the ability to think through and understand the reasons for its potential outcomes. The excellent classroom and laboratory instruction I received at Waynesburg gave me the opportunity to begin transforming my way of thinking from that of a student to that of a scientist.
Carolyn Diefenderfer, Class of 2015