young man looking in microscope in lab

Biology

Biology is the natural science of life and living organisms. The field is immensely diverse with numerous branches, from paleontology, the study of prehistoric life, to biochemistry, the study of life at the chemical level, to astrobiology, the study of life beyond Earth.

Contact Information

Heather Brient-Johnson
Biology Instructor

hbrient@inverhills.edu
651-450-3606
HH310b

Admissions Team

admissions@inverhills.edu
651-450-3000
College Center

Open Lab Hours (Fall 2016)

Biology Resource Room (HH206)

Mon. – Thurs.: 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Fri.: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Microbiology Open Lab (HH224)

Mon.: 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Tues.: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
           6 – 8 p.m.
Wed.: 4 – 9:30 p.m.
Thrus.: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
           6 – 9:30 p.m.
Fri.: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The Biology Transfer Pathway A.S. offers students a powerful option: the opportunity to complete an Associate of Science degree whose course credits will directly transfer to designated Biology bachelor’s degree programs at Minnesota State universities. The entire curriculum has been carefully designed to guarantee junior-year status to students who have been admitted to one of the seven Minnesota State universities. There, students can complete their bachelor’s degree by earning 60 additional credits.

With this transfer pathway, you will be able to transfer to the following majors:

At Bemidji State University
  • Biology – General Biology, B.S.
  • Biology – Ecology, Biodiversity, and Evolutionary Biology, B.S.
  • Biology – Environmental Science, B.S.
    • Minimum admission to major: 2.25 GPA;
      Major courses with a "C" or higher
At Metropolitan State University
  • Biology – B.A.
    • Minimum admission to major: 2.25 GPA;
      Major courses with a "C" or higher
At Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • Biology – B.A.
  • Biology – B.S.
    • Minimum admission to major: 2.7 GPA
At Minnesota State University, Moorhead
  • Biology – B.A.
  • Ecology – B.A.
    • Minimum admission to major: 2.0 GPA
At Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Biology Concentration – B.A.
    • Minimum admission to major: A grade point average of 2.50 in all major course work taken at SMSU including courses transferred from other institutions.
      A grade point average of 2.00 in all minor course work is required.
At St. Cloud State University
  • Biology – BA
    • Minimum admission to major: 2.65 GPA
At Winona State University
  • Biology – B.A.
    • Minimum admission to major: GPA 2.5,
      completion of specific courses with "C" or higher


Degrees

Biology Transfer Pathway Degree, A.S. – 60 credits

Earning an Associate of Science in Biology will prepare you for transfer to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree in the biological sciences.

Program Planning Guide

Biology Transfer Pathway Curriculum – 28 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 1154 Biology: From Cell to Organism 4 cr
BIOL 1155 Biology: From Organism to Ecosphere 5 cr
BIOL 2303 Genetics 5 cr
BIOL 2205 or
BIOL 2306
Microbiology* or
General Ecology
4 cr
CHEM 1061 Principles of Chemistry I 5 cr
CHEM 1062 Principles of Chemistry II 5 cr
Total Credits: 28
*BIOL 2305: Principles of Microbiology (5 credits) will also fulfill this requirement.

Liberal Arts – 32 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENG 1108 Writing and Research Skills 4 cr
COMM 1100 Interpersonal Communication 3 cr
Mathematical/Logical Reasoning (MnTC Goal 4) (See MnTC Goal 5)
(Required minimum: Math 1118 or higher level classes to fulfill at least 8 cr)
8 cr
History, Social Sciences & Behavioral Sciences (See MnTC Goal 5) 3 cr
Humanities, Fine Arts, and Literature (See MnTC Goal 6) 3 cr
Liberal Arts Electives (Must be MnTC courses) 11 cr
Total Credits: 32

Recommended Elective Courses

Should be tailored to specific major track and transfer university:
  • GIS/Geography
  • Geology or Earth sciences
  • Higher level math courses, such as Calculus and Statistics
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Physics
  • Environmental Science
  • English Composition (ENG 1111, 1114 or 1130)

Recommended Course of Study for Biology Transfer Pathway Degree A.S.

If you are studying part time, simply follow the order of the courses listed here. Note that not all courses will be available every semester. You will notice that in many instances you will be able to choose the specific course you will take from within a category. For a complete list of MnTC Goal Area course choices, please visit the MnTC page.

Biology A.S. Transfer Pathway Semester 1 – 15 credits

Course Number Title Credits
ENGL 1108 Writing & Research Skills (MnTC Goal 1, 2) 4 cr
MATH 1118 College Algebra I (MnTC Goal 4) 4 cr
BIOL 1154 Biology: From Cell to Organism* (MnTC Goal 2, 3a) 4 cr
COMM 1100 Interpersonal Communication (MnTC Goal 1, 7) 3 cr

Biology A.S. Transfer Pathway Semester 2 – 17 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 1155 Biology: From Organism to Ecosphere* (MnTC Goal 2, 3a) 5 cr
CHEM 1061 Princ. Chemistry I* (MnTC Goal 2, 3b) 5 cr
MATH 1119 College Algebra II or higher level (MnTC Goal 4) 4 cr
MnTC Goal 5 3 cr

Biology A.S. Transfer Pathway Semester 3 – 15 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 22051 or
BIOL 2306
Microbiology* or
General Ecology (MnTC Goal 2, 3a)
4 cr
CHEM 1062 Princ. Chemistry II* (MnTC Goal 2, 3b) 5 cr
Liberal Arts Electives (MnTC courses only) 6 cr

Biology A.S. Transfer Pathway Semester 4 – 13 credits

Course Number Title Credits
BIOL 2303 Genetics with lab* (MnTC Goal 2, 3a) 5 cr
MnTC Goal 6 3 cr
Liberal Arts Electives (MnTC courses only) 5 cr

* Course required for major
1 BIOL 2305: Principles of Microbiology (5 credits) will also fulfill this requirement.

Recommended Elective Courses

Should be tailored to specific major track and transfer university:
  • GIS/Geography
  • Geology or Earth sciences
  • Higher level math courses, such as Calculus and Statistics
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Physics
  • Environmental Science
  • English Composition (ENG 1111, 1114 or 1130)
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Course Descriptions

BIOL 1001  Humans In The Ecosystem: Renewable Energy   2.0 cr

Introduces students to different types of renewable energy through service learning and active participation in a large education event. Students will participate as hands-on volunteers at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Fair, one of the largest energy fairs in the country, with over 22,000 attendees. Students will travel to the site in Wisconsin, camp out in an environmentally responsible manner during the fair, assist the organizers in various capacities, and attend informational workshops during the fair itself. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Students will have an opportunity to see working examples of various renewable energy technologies, and investigate one or more of these in depth.

BIOL 1002  Humans in the Ecosystem: Special Ecosystems   2.0 cr

Introduces students to the interaction of humans and their environment through service learning and active participation in field projects. Students will participate as hands-on volunteers in selected regions, while also investigating the unique natural history of that region. Students will travel to the site, work in partnership with local agencies in various capacities, and engage in field work. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Prereq: Instructor permission required.

BIOL 1003  Spring Break Biology Service Learning   1.0 cr

Introduces students to the interaction of humans and their environment through service learning and active participation in field projects over spring break. Students will participate as hands-on volunteers in selected ecological regions, while also investigating the unique natural history of that region. Students will travel to the site, work in partnership with local agencies in various capacities, and engage in field work. This will be supplemented with classroom teaching before, during, and after the event. Students will supply their own transportation to the field site and lodging if needed. May be taken more than once for credit. Prerequisite: Instructor permission required.

BIOL 1107  Biology of Women   3.0 cr

Provides a "theme based" course for learning biological concepts for both men and women. Objectives include studying reproductive anatomy and physiology of both sexes, studying pregnancy and fetal development, and examining issues related to reproductive biology and women's physical health. Issues to examine include contraception, cancer, menopause, and the relationship of women to the health care system. Students desiring a traditional lab may take BIOL 1110 concurrently or following completion of BIOL 1107.

BIOL 1110  Human Biology Laboratory   1.0 cr

Provides an optional lab with hands on experience for the lecture sections of 1114 (Critical Issues in Human Biology) and 1107 (Biology of Women). The lab covers microscopy, scientific method, study of the cell, genetics, mitosis and meiosis, aspects of human anatomy and physiology and topics of reproduction. Topics covered may also include ethical decision-making, medical autonomy, genetic engineering, stem cell research, use of animals in research, organ donation, the human genome project, examination of issues related to reproductive biology and women's physical health or other current critical issues. This course may be paired with BIOL 1107 or 1114 to fulfill a lab science requirement. Prereq: Concurrent enrollment in or previous completion of BIOL 1107 or 1114.

BIOL 1114  Critical Issues In Human Biology   3.0 cr

Presents information for majors and non-majors interested in the critical and ethical issues related to how the human body functions. Topics such as ethical decision-making, genetic engineering, living wills, and issues related to prevention of cancer will be examined. The course will build the biological framework for understanding these dilemmas by exploring the scientific method and human body systems. Students desiring a traditional lab may take BIOL 1110 concurrently or following completion of BIOL 1114.

BIOL 1115  Critical Issues in Human Biology with lab   4.0 cr

Presents information for majors and non-majors interested in the critical and ethical issues related to how the human body functions. Topics such as ethical decision-making, genetic engineering, living wills, and issues related to prevention of cancer will be examined. The course will build the biological framework for understanding these dilemmas by exploring the scientific method and human body systems.

BIOL 1116  Environmental Science (no lab)   3.0 cr

Introduces students to fundamental concepts in ecology focusing on human impact and exploitation of the environment stressing the limits of the biosphere with respect to resources, energy, and pollution. Activities will include discussion, group activities, guest speakers and videos.

BIOL 1117  Environmental Science (with lab)   4.0 cr

Introduces students to fundamental concepts in ecology focusing on human impact and exploitation of the environment stressing the limits of the biosphere with respect to resources, energy, and pollution. Activities will include discussion, group activities, guest speakers and films. One semester credit of lab includes field trips and analysis of factors using the campus landscape.

BIOL 1120  Exploring Biology   4.0 cr

Introduces non-majors to important biological concepts. This course serves as the prerequisite for Anatomy and Physiology I (BIOL 2201) and Microbiology (BIOL 2205 and 2305). The course emphasizes the molecular level of biology and Darwinian evolution as the unifying theme of biology with emphasis on cell structure and function, cell transport, energy transfers, and genetics. Lab exercises will include the design and conduction of scientific experiments, data analysis, microscopy, cell biology, genetics, and ecology. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and use of living and preserved organisms as well as laboratory instruments and equipment.

BIOL 1123  Introduction To Forensic Science   4.0 cr

Introduces students to the basic techniques of forensic science. Concepts will be examined with the application of scientific principles and emphasizing molecular biology, cell biology and the human body. Specific topics include designing and conducting forensic science lab experiments in hair and fiber analysis, blood splatter and typing, DNA analysis, document examination, fingerprinting and taphonomy. This course will be of interest to liberal arts or science majors pursuing advanced courses in biology or criminal justice and will fulfill the science lab requirement.

BIOL 1154  Biology: From Cell To Organism   4.0 cr

Emphasizes the molecular level of biology with emphasis on cell structure and function, cell transport, energy transfers, genetics, technology, and Darwinian evolution. Units include chemistry, cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, evolution and critical issues. Labs will include several of the following topics: microscopy, spectrophotometry, permanent slide preparation, electrophoresis comparison of plant and animal metabolism, cell reproduction and genetics. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and use of living and preserved organisms as well as laboratory instruments and equipment. Prereq: Require one year HS chemistry or a college chemistry course.

BIOL 1155  General Biology: From Organism to Ecosphere   5.0 cr

Intended for biology majors, students requiring a strong biological background for their chosen fields, or interested non-majors. This course introduces students to the study of organisms at the organismal and ecological levels -- macrobiology. It will integrate knowledge, terminology and concepts from all fields of biology to gain an appreciation of the origin of life and how species diversity arose. Units will include the origin of life, population evolution, phylogenetic classification, ecology, and biodiversity. Lab will include comparative anatomy, examining environmental factors, studies of organisms and their interrelationship with the environment, and independent research projects. Lab exercises involve individual and group work in campus lab facilities and field studies off-campus. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and use of living and preserved organisms as well as laboratory instruments and equipment.

BIOL 1185  Special Topics   2.0 cr

Special Topics

BIOL 1190  Research in Biology   cr

Introduces students to primary research in biology. In consultation with a faculty member, students will develop a plan to investigate a contemporary research question in biology. Under faculty direction, students will gain hands-on experience using equipment, procedures and techniques to collect data in the laboratory or field. Students will be required to analyze primary data and to communicate their results in writing, orally or in poster form. Other requirements to be determined by arrangement, and outlined in a contract with instructor prior to registration. Students may take this class more than once for a maximum of 9 credits.

BIOL 2201  Anatomy and Physiology I   4.0 cr

Introduces students to the anatomy and physiology of the human body with special emphasis on the relationship between structure and function and homeostatic mechanisms of the body. Systems and topics covered include histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, articulations, muscular system, nervous system, special senses, and endocrine systems. Lab component will include hands-on experience with actual human tissue specimens as well as dissection of a representative mammal. Prerequisites: BIOL 1120 or BIOL 1154 or equivalent biology course (AP, IB); completed with a grade of C or better.

BIOL 2202  Anatomy and Physiology II   4.0 cr

Covers anatomy and physiology of the human body with special emphasis on the relationship between structure and function and homeostatic mechanisms of the body. Systems and topics covered include cardiovascular system, lymphatic and immune systems, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, acid-base and electrolyte balance, reproductive systems, and development. The lab component will include hands-on experience with actual human tissue specimens as well as group projects. Prerequisites: Biology 2201 completed with a C or better.

BIOL 2205  Microbiology   4.0 cr

Covers a survey of microbial groups, microbial cell structure, nutrition, growth, control of growth, metabolism, genetics, evolution, epidemiology, infection, transmission and pathogenesis, and interactions with host organisms. The lab component requires microscope skills, and includes aseptic technique, culturing, staining, enumeration, identification, and biochemical testing of microorganisms, as well as identification of a bacterial unknown. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and manipulation of pathogenic and potentially pathogenic microbes. Prerequisites: A grade of C or better in either BIOL 1120 or BIOL 1154.

BIOL 2301  Zoology   4.0 cr

Covers the morphological and physiological characteristics of animals emphasizing adaptation, evolution, and ecology. The lab component will include hands-on experience with actual animal tissue specimens as well as group projects. Prerequisites: BIOL 1154 (or equivalent) or permission of instructor. BIOL 1155 is recommended.

BIOL 2303  Genetics   5.0 cr

Introduces students to major concepts in Mendelian, molecular and population genetics. Experiments with viruses, bacteria, insects and plants highlight the study of gene expression, recombination, gene mapping, chromosome analysis and population genetics. Lecture hours include a weekly recitation. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and manipulation of model organisms. Prerequisite: A grade of C or better in BIOL 1154 (or equivalent) or permission of instructor.

BIOL 2305  Principles of Microbiology   5.0 cr

Introduces microbiology including study of prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral microorganisms. Topics include microbial pathogenesis, microbial genetics, microbial drug resistance and evolution, the mammalian immune response to microbial infection, microbial diversity, environmental and food microbiology. Labs require basic microscope skills, and include a survey of microbes, isolation of microbes from human specimens and the environment, staining of bacteria, biochemical testing of microbes, enumeration of bacteria, bacterial genetics, immunological testing, and use of microbes in food and beverage production. Students will gain hands-on experience in the safe handling and manipulation of pathogenic and potentially pathogenic microbes. Students are encouraged to complete a honors project to earn an honors designation for this course. Prerequisites: BIOL 1154 (or equivalent), or Biology 1120 with a grade of B or better, or permission of instructor.

BIOL 2306  General Ecology   4.0 cr

Introduces students to the fundamentals of ecology, focusing on the study of organisms in relation to their physical and biological environment. The course includes a survey of individual, population, community, and ecosystem level ecology. Theoretical, empirical and applied ecology will be discussed. Activities may include discussion, group activities, guest speakers, films and field trips. Labs will reinforce lecture content and provide students with research skills including use of primary literature, experimental design, data analysis and interpretation. Prereq: BIOL 1154 (required) MATH 1103 (recommended).

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Transfer Information

After earning your A.S. in Biology or A.A. with Emphasis in Biology at Inver Hills, you will be fully prepared to pursue a bachelor’s degree in your chosen branch of the biological sciences at both state and private four-year colleges and universities. You will have the foundation to follow the career path of a zoologist, biogeographer, ecologist, molecular biologist or any path that drives your passion in the study of life. Rewarding careers in health care are also tops on the opportunity lists of many biology majors.

You are strongly advised to plan carefully with an Inver Hills academic advisor or counselor to tailor your degree to meet the requirements of your chosen four-year college or university.

Additional resources

Transfer agreements

Articulation agreements are in progress with Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota Rochester Bachelor of Science in Health Professions (BSHP) program.

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Meet the Faculty

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Clubs & Organizations

Biology Club

Connect with your fellow students and expand your knowledge regarding the different branches and career opportunities in the vast field of biology. If you would like to take on a leadership role in the club, contact:

Lisa Tracy
Biology Instructor
Biology Club Faculty Advisor
651-450-3780.

Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math)

Ready to take STEM one step further? Explore all the career paths biology majors can pursue, including cutting-edge jobs in ag science. To learn more, contact:

Kristin Digiulio
Biology Instructor
Women in STEAM Co-Advisor
651-450-3272

Professional organizations

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Employment Information

Studying life for a living

Careers in biology are almost as varied as life itself. The field has branches and subdisciplines as well known as ornithology, the study of birds, or the more obscure myrmecology, the study of ants. As a biology major, you will develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills essential for rewarding careers in scientific research and health care.

Your skill set will also include:

  • Understanding the scientific method
  • Setting up experiments
  • Using scientific equipment
  • Applying laboratory techniques and procedures
  • Gathering, organizing and analyzing data

Below are just a few examples of possible career paths that can start with an A.S. in Biology or an A.A. with Emphasis in Biology from Inver Hills.

Additional resources

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Why Inver Hills?

Completing your freshman and sophomore biology obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. Manipulate the powerful genetic building blocks of life in cutting edge laboratory experiences
  2. Explore the dynamic interrelationships between humans and the ecosphere
  3. Discover the living world around you while working with recognized biologists in small teams
  4. Receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with biology faculty
  5. Get hands-on experience in superb biology labs
  6. Save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

Scholarship opportunity

A3 Ag: Aspire. Accelerate. Advance.

Inver Hills is offering three $1,000 scholarships for motivated students interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. If you think ag science is all cows and plows, think again. Modern agriculture is focused on achieving the best results in nutrition, ecology and economics. Rewarding jobs are abundant in the fields of food systems, renewable energy and the environment with nowhere near the number of qualified college graduates needed to fill them.

To learn more, visit Agricultural Sciences Career Pipeline Scholarship.

Additional resources

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Resources

Biology resource room

Heritage Hall Room 206
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Wednesday: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Closed weekends

As a biology student at Inver Hills, you’ll find that the Biology Resource Room is a great space for completing your biology projects and assignments as well as investigating models, skeletons, bones and microscope slides. You can work on your own, or in small groups, or with the help of a peer tutor or faculty member. The Biology Resource Room provides a comfortable, well-equipped atmosphere to study and learn. You are welcome to use the room as often as you wish.

The Biology Resource Room is not set up to give you specific answers to questions on a worksheet or assignment. However, making the most of the assets and support the room offers will go a long way in helping you understand biological concepts. Because the Biology Resource Room is reserved for studying and learning, not socializing, you should always be respectful of your fellow students working in the room.

Note: biology faculty members deliver workshops on various topics throughout the year. The workshops focus on strategies and tools for success in your biology courses.

Signing in

When using the Biology Resource Room, you should always sign in at the computer conveniently located on a table as you enter the room. Signing in helps biology faculty maximize the room’s effectiveness.

Seeking help

Peer tutors are available in the Biology Resource Room during hours posted outside the room. Help from peer tutors is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Biology faculty may also schedule hours in the room and will tutor students in their specialties. Peer tutors wear nametags that include their job title. Faculty members in the room can also be identified by their nametags.

If you need materials not found in the Biology Resource Room, please check with the lab manager, who is located in the Biology Laboratory Preparation Office (Heritage Hall 222a).

More about peer tutors

The Peer Tutoring Center, located on the second floor of the Library building, provides additional peer tutors in the Biology Resource Room. Recommended by faculty, peer tutors are students who have completed one or more biology courses with a grade of A or B.

A schedule of available peer tutors and their assigned hours is posted outside the Biology Resource Room. Peer tutors may be able to help with lab materials or lecture content, depending on the courses they are competent to tutor.

You should have specific questions or needs when working with a peer tutor, who serves the role of helping you understand concepts and develop study skills; peer tutors do not re-teach courses or provide answers to assignment questions.

Proper use of materials

Materials in the Biology Resource Room are for use by all Inver Hills students. Materials should be handled carefully and respectfully so that future students will have the same resources available in the best condition possible.

A wide variety of resources are available in the Biology Resource Room, including anatomical models, textbooks, lab manuals, microscopes and microscope slides.

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