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Biology

Biology Department

     The study of life, biology is one of the cornerstones of the scientific disciplines. In some ways, biology is the oldest of the sciences; and in other ways, it is one of the youngest. While the careful observation and classification of living organisms goes at least as far back as Aristotle, mankind's understanding of the true mechanisms by which life is possible has only occurred within the last century. At MSMS, you will get an understanding of these mechanisms and how they work. People who are interested in biology can go onto several career fields including medicine, biological engineering, biological research (i.e. marine biology) and many, many other fields.

Figure 1 illustrates possible course sequences possible for biology.

Figure 1: This flowchart illustrates possible course sequences for biology coursework.

Figure 1: This flowchart illustrates possible course sequences for biology coursework.

Click on any of the classes below for more information.

AP® Biology
Cell Biology
Microbiology
Plant Physiology
Animal Physiology
Genetics
Ecology of Environmental Problems
Human Infectious Disease
Introduction to Biochemistry
Special Topics in Biology

Requirements for Graduation: All students are required to complete successfully one full year of biology for 1 full CU (two semesters).

Requirements for Graduation with the Concentration in Biology: The Concentration in Biology is designed for students who pursue an advanced plan of study in biology while attending MSMS. The Concentration in Biology helps colleges identify MSMS graduates with advanced preparation in biology and who might benefit from placement in higher level coursework at the college level.  Students who shall have completed 2.5 approved biology Carnegie Units with a B-average in each course or higher while attending MSMS shall qualify. The Biology Department and Director for Academic Affairs shall determine which courses meet approval. The Concentration in Biology is awarded to qualified students whose applications are approved by the Director for Academic Affairs. The approved courses for the Concentration in Biology shall include:

  • 1.0 Carnegie Unit AP® Biology
  • Additional 1.5 Carnegie Units (three semester courses) which may include Microbiology (0.5 CU), Animal Physiology (0.5 CU), Plant Physiology (0.5 CU), Human Infectious Disease (0.5 CU), or Introduction to Biochemistry (0.5 CU).

Other course work may not be substituted. Students applying for the recognition and who meet the approved criteria will be awarded a seal on the MSMS Diploma indicating successful completion of the Concentration in Biology, and the final MSMS transcript will reflect graduation with Concentration in Biology.

Detailed Description of Biology Courses

Requirements for Graduation:   All students are required to complete successfully one full year of biology for 1 full CU (two semesters).

 

Requirements for Graduation with Concentration in Biology: The Concentration in Biology is designed for students who pursue an advanced plan of study in biology while attending MSMS. The Concentration in Biology helps colleges identify MSMS graduates with advanced preparation in biology and who might benefit from placement in higher level coursework at the college level.  Students who shall have completed 2.5 approved biology Carnegie Units with a B-average in each course or higher while attending MSMS shall qualify. The Biology Department and Director for Academic Affairs shall determine which courses meet approval. The Concentration in Biology is awarded to qualified students whose applications are approved by the Director for Academic Affairs. The approved courses for the Concentration in Biology shall include:

  • 1.0 Carnegie Unit AP® Biology
  • Additional 1.5 Carnegie Units (three semester courses) which may include Microbiology (0.5 CU), Animal Physiology (0.5 CU), Plant Physiology (0.5 CU), Human Infectious Disease (0.5 CU), or Introduction to Biochemistry (0.5 CU).

Other course work may not be substituted. Students applying for the recognition and who meet the approved criteria will be awarded a seal on the MSMS Diploma indicating successful completion of the Concentration in Biology, and the final MSMS transcript will reflect graduation with Concentration in Biology.

Guidelines for Required Biology Courses

Course selection may be determined by student interest and career plans.  All biology courses are laboratory based and meet four or five days per week. AP course may meet five days per week.

SC 310 – AP Biology
Advanced Placement Biology is an intensive year-long course designed to equip students with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to achieve a high score on the College Board’s AP Biology Exam. AP Biology has at its core four central themes: Evolution, Cellular Processes: Energy and Communication, Genetics and Information Transfer, and Interactions. A minimum of 12 inquiry-based labs supplement and enhance the course material. Students should expect to spend at least 1.5 hours of study for every hour in lecture. This is typically a course for juniors. Seniors would need the permission of a faculty member to enroll.

SC 312 – Cell Biology
This course involves the study of the biology of cells from the molecular to the microscopic level of organization. Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells will be considered. Cellular architecture and physiology will be considered in the context of biological macromolecules and their building blocks.         

SC 313 – Microbiology
Microbiology is the study of microorganisms; this class focuses predominantly on bacteria emphasizing central themes of cellular biology and the scientific method.  This course is a laboratory-based course (lectures are integrated with labs) in which the students learn the fundamental techniques of the discipline.  In the latter part of the semester, the students are required to do an intensive independent project of their design that applies the techniques they have learned.

SC 315    - Plant Physiology
Plant physiology is a survey of various physiological processes in plants (primarily angiosperms). Topics include photosynthesis, plant metabolism, plant cell/water relationships, regulation of plant growth, and techniques in plant tissue culture.

SC 316 - Animal Physiology
Animal physiology is a survey of various physiological processes in animals (primarily vertebrates).  Topics include muscle physiology, respiration and circulation, digestion, metabolism and nutrition, kidney function and system integration. 

 SC 318 – Genetics
This course is a study of the principles of heredity and the nature of genetic material. It is divided into three sections: Mendelian genetics, Molecular genetics, and Population genetics. This course is presented in the context of evolutionary biology. It also serves as an introduction to recombinant DNA technology and addresses the current social, legal, and ethical issues raised by these modern molecular techniques.  AP® Biology students may not enroll in Genetics.

SC 320 – Ecology of Environmental Problems
This course examines environmental problems from an ecological perspective. Initially, the course considers the relationships between organisms and their environment; an introduction to the physiological bases for adaptations, population dynamics (both human and non-human), community organization; and the structure and function of ecosystems (including atmosphere, climate, and weather). Interdisciplinary methods of analysis will be used to explore natural systems while scrutinizing resource management strategies, pollution, economic factors (local and global), and the politics of environmental problems.

SC 322– Human Infectious Diseases (Seniors)
Infectious diseases have and will profoundly shape the destiny of humankind.  This course is taught using Socratic dialogue and a Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach, emphasizing the study of epidemiology of infectious diseases, their ramifications, and human immune responses. It is intended for the student who has been successful in Microbiology and has the drive and maturity to discuss topics of historical and global significance.  The topics addressed are usually reflective of recent and/or current (often ongoing) disease outbreaks.

SC 360 – Introduction to Biochemistry (Seniors)
This is a senior-level course designed as an intensive survey of biological molecules-proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates. The major emphasis will be on proteins, but a portion of the course will also be dedicated to nucleic acid, lipid and carbohydrate structure, and metabolism.

SC 324 – Special Topics in Biology
This course is designed to give students an opportunity for individualized learning in biology. The student will select faculty advisors and with their help, choose a particular biology problem of interest and pursue the problem.

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