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This booklet is a reference prepared for new biology major by the department. It is intended to clarify the requirements of the major, introduce the courses which fulfill the requirements, and briefly discuss opportunities and resources available to biology majors.

An active pursuit of your major is to be encouraged. Interested students can become involved in independent research projects, summer research with a faculty member, and the off-campus Marine Biology, Tropical Rainforest Ecology and/or ACM Wilderness Field Station courses. Also, students can participate in setting the department's curriculum and policy through the Departmental Curriculum Committee (DCC), which is composed of Junior/Senior majors. Not only does the DCC present its ideas directly to the faculty, but it also acts as a liaison between other biology majors and the faculty.

Although the department is large, opportunities exist for student-professor and student-student interactions, such as research projects, guest speaker seminars, field trips, social gatherings, and more. These activities would not be possible without active student interest and initiative.


Revised April 1999



The distribution requirements for the biology major expose the student to many biological disciplines. By the time of graduation, the biology major should be familiar with the form, physiology, heredity, development, evolution, and ecological relationships of a variety of organisms.

The successful completion of 9 courses in biology is required of all majors. These courses include the following:


2 123 (Energetics and Genetics), offered Fall and Winter terms.

124 (Diversity, Form & Function), offered Winter and Spring terms.

  • All biology majors must take these 2 courses in sequence before they may take any other courses in the department (with exceptions noted in the College Catalog).


    4 One course from each of the 4 groups listed below. Be aware that some of these courses are offered on an alternate-year basis.


    2 Two electives, which may include a 6-credit Independent Research (see p. 4), a junior/senior seminar (see p. 5), or any of the courses in the groups listed below.


    1 The Senior Integrative Exercise (see p. 5).


    9 Total


    Biology Courses Term Offered


    99/00 | 00/01 Laboratory

    Organismal/Physiology Group

    232 Biology of Invertebrates | W Yes, incl.

    234 Microbiology S | S Yes, 2-cr.

    238 Entomology F | Yes, 2-cr.

    242 Vertebrate Morphology | F Yes, 2-cr.

    245 Animal Behavior F | Yes, incl.

    330 Animal Physiology W | W Yes, 2-cr.

    386 Neurobiology F | F Not in 99/00


    Genetics/Development Group

    240 Genetics F | F Yes, 2-cr.

    340 Developmental Genetics F | F No

    342 Animal Developmental Biology W | W Yes, 2-cr.

    344 Plant Development | S Yes, 2-cr.


    Evolution/Ecology Group

    250 Marine Biology W | Yes, incl.

    252 Aquatic Biology S | S Yes, 2-cr.

    350 Evolution W | W No

    352 Ecology S | S Yes, 2-cr.

    356 Ecosystem Ecology F | F Not in 99/00

    361 Tropical Rainforest Ecology | F W No


    Cell/Molecular Group

    280 Cell Biology S | S Yes, 2-cr.

    310 Immunology W S* | W Yes, 2-cr.

    380 Biochemistry F | F Yes, 2-cr.

    382 Molecular Biology S | S Yes, 2-cr.

    384 Molecular Biology of Cancer W | W No

    *Junior Priority

    Note: This schedule is still subject to changes.


    Note that there are three additional conditions that apply to the 9 biology courses that fulfill the requirements for the major.

  • 1. At least one course must have an emphasis on analysis and critical evaluation of data. Such courses include Biology 340, 344, 361,382, 384 and all of the junior/senior seminars (Biology 363-377).

    2. Courses that have a separate, 2-credit laboratory may be counted towards the major only if both the lecture and laboratory sections of the course are taken concurrently.

    3. All courses used to fulfill the requirements for the major must be taken for a grade and passed with a "C-" or better.

  • Because of the close relationship of biology to the physical sciences, biology majors must also complete the following 3 sets of courses in chemistry and physics/statistics with a grade of C- or better.

  • 1. Chemistry 123 (Principles of Chemistry)
    Chemistry 120 and 121 (General Chemistry I and II)


    Chemistry 128 (Principles of Environmental Chemistry)

    2. Chemistry 230 (Equilibrium and Analysis I)
    Chemistry 233 and 234 (Organic Chemistry I and II)

    Chem 230 may be more appropriate for the study of some aspects of biology, while Chem 233/234 may be more appropriate for others. Be sure to discuss this matter with your advisor.

  • 3. Physics 112 (Elementary Physics)

    Physics 113 (Introduction to Physics: Newtonian Mechanics) AND Physics 115

    (Introduction to Physics: Relativity and Particles)


    Physics 114 (Introduction to Physics: Gravity and the Cosmos) AND Physics 115

    (Introduction to Physics: Relativity and Particles)


    Physics 122 (Introduction to Physics)
    Physics 126 (Physics of Instrumentation)


    Mathematics 215 (Statistics)

  • Physics 122 is designed for the mathematically inclined student interested in theoretical physics and its in-depth math. Physics 112 covers some of the same topics as 122, but without calculus; it includes topics in classical physics and will provide better preparation for the MCAT and biology GRE exams. Physics 126 is also recommended for students preparing for the MCAT. Mathematics 215 is recommended for students with strong interests in disciplines with quanitative experimentation, such as ecology and population genetics.



    Biology majors are urged to engage in a laboratory research project in the department as an Independent Research (Biology 292 or 392). Independent Studies provide unique opportunities for students to venture outside of the standard curriculum. They are arranged with the approval and advice of a sponsoring professor and may culminate in a term paper. In formulating a project, you should consider the department's resources and the demands your project will make on the professor's time. It is advisable to schedule regular meetings with your sponsoring professor during the course of your project. Registration for an Independent Research is accomplished by listing Biology 292 or 392 on the normal registration form and completing an Independent Research form, which is available at the Registrar's office. Grading is to be negotiated with your supervisor and may be on a letter graded basis or S/CR/NC. One 6 credit Independent Study may count toward fulfilling the elective in the major.


    Junior/senior seminars (Biology 361 - 377) will be offered each year. The tentative schedule for academic years 1999/00 and 2000/01 is as follows:


    Fall Term Selected Topics in Virology Staff

    Spring Term Selected Topics in Cell Communication Armstrong

    Spring Term Selected Topics in Paleoecology Camill

    Spring Term Selected Topics in Behavioral Endocrinology Rand

    Spring Term Selected Topics in Exercise Physiology Tymoczko/Lunder



    Fall Term Biology 361 Tropical Rainforest Ecology McKone

    Winter Term Selected Topics in Cell Biology Jaramillo

    Spring Term Selected Topics in Exercise Physiology Tymoczko & Lunder


    The Biology Senior Integrative Exercise requires the following:

  • 1) Attendance at an announced number of the Biology 260 Speakers Seminars offered during the major's senior year. DO NOT REGISTER FOR BIOLOGY 260 (Seminar Speakers), this is part of Biology 400-2, which all seniors register for during the spring term. See your academic advisor in your junior year if you will have trouble meeting this commitment due to an off-campus program or athletics.

    2) Investigating one of the questions suggested by the Department. This answer must consist of both:

  • a) A written response in the form of a five-page Synopsis and complete Bibliography of the major's "answer" to the question.

    b) An oral examination on the topic which may be either a 30-minute presentation by the major before three members of the faculty followed by a 45-minute question/answer period or simply a one-hour question/answer session.

  • Students may submit suggestions for the Senior Integrative Exercise questions in the spring of their Junior year. The faculty will review all suggestions and consider including them among the possible questions. This means that if you are organized, you may be able to write your own question for the exercise. The questions are announced, the detailed directions are distributed, and general questions are answered during a meeting with the junior majors in the latter part of the spring term. Four of six credits are devoted to comps during the term in which you write. The remaining two credits are assigned to spring term.



    The extent of equipment and facilities in the Biology Department is extraordinary for a college the size of Carleton. Through courses, independent studies, or special arrangements with faculty members, students may use almost all of the available facilities and equipment.

    The following list of facilities is provided so that majors will become aware of the tools the department offers for furthering their scientific education.

    The Arb serves as an outdoor classroom for the Department. It covers close to 150 hectares of mesic forest, floodplain forest along the Cannon River, marshes, small patches of prairie, and pine plantations. Some of the ongoing projects include restoration of prairie and oak savanna habitats and monitoring of secondary succession in both upland and floodplain habitats. A wealth of information about the Arb has been gathered by students in formal courses and independent studies.

    McKnight Prairie is another area for outdoor studies. It consists of 14 hectares of native Minnesota prairie about seven miles east of campus. Biological studies are conducted each year by students in classes and in independent study.

    To obtain equipment for use in their studies, students should consult the professor familiar with its use and get his/her permission and instructions. Borrowed equipment must be signed out in the stockroom with the approval of the stockroom manager and a biology professor.

    Students also have extensive library facilities at their disposal. At Carleton, these include:


  • 1) Main library - houses a few biological journals and the majority of the biology books. A Science Library is housed on the first floor of the Main Library and has most journals of biological interest, and biological review and reference books.

    2) Faculty collections - most professors maintain journal subscriptions and have books which they will generally allow students to use in their offices.

    3) Minitex - had been a rapid system for obtaining reprints from journals and books not found in Northfield. Minitex use has some restriction imposed by Federal copyright law, so check with the library before making large requests.

    4) Biology Majors have access to a number of primary literature databases for comps or term paper assignments, they should see the Science Librarian for details..

  • At other libraries:

  • 5) St. Olaf Library - has some books and journals not found at Carleton.


    6) University of Minnesota libraries - includes many libraries on the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Their library hours are posted in the Carleton Main Library where the Minnesota Serials list is also available for location of specific journals. The U of M libraries are:

  • Minneapolis

    Bio-Med Library

    Natural History Library

    Wilson Main Library

    St. Paul

    Biochemistry Library

    Entomology Library

    Forestry Library

    Plant Pathology Library

    St. Paul Main Library

    Veterinary Medicine Library


    The Biology Department with the assistance of the Academic Computing and Networking Services maintain web pages with extensive links to a variety of internet biology resources as well as web pages developed for specific courses. These pages can be reached at


    Carleton off-campus programs include the ACM Wilderness Station (summer every year) see their Web site at, the Australia-New Zealand Field Studies Program (generally winter term alternate years), the winter break component of Tropical Rainforest Ecology (alternate years), the ACM Tropical Field Research Program in Costa Rica (winter and spring terms of every year), and ACM Oak Ridge Science Semester. Students have also participated in programs through other colleges and institutes. If you have questions about any program, consult the Carleton program advisor, off-campus studies office or the Carleton students who have already attended it.


    Notices about internships are also posted, but more extensive listings can be found in the Career Center. Students might also find leads in the job listings in the back of Nature, New Scientist, and Science.


    Students may take an active role in the summer research of professors in the Department. Consult the faculty member in your areas of interest. Summer research opportunities at other institutions are on file in the Career Center. Assistantships in the health professions are listed in a Career Center file. Be sure and check the Career Center's Web Site. National Forest Service applications are available from the St. Paul Experiment Station. National Park applications should be requested from individual park offices.



    Seniors should have a summary of their background and aspirations on file in the Biology office, where it's convenient for professors who are asked to write recommendations. Seniors might also ask professors for general letters of reference that go into reference compilation put together by the Career Center to accompany the transcript.

    Biology graduate school information is compiled in Peterson's Annual Guide to Graduate Schools in Biology. This are on file in the Career Center, as are current graduate school brochures and catalogs. Complete catalogs are found on the second level of the Main Library. Biology faculty members may also be able to give valuable information about grad schools and jobs. Finally, information about graduate record and advanced placement exams is available in the Career Center; MCAT and medical school information can be obtained from the premed advisor, Cris Roosenraad. Many graduate programs can also be explored on the internet.

    If you plan to follow a career in secondary education, check with the Education Department about teaching certificate requirements. This should be done no later than the early part of your junior year. A few of the job listings in the previously mentioned periodicals require only the B.A. degree. These are mostly at research institutions looking for technicians.



    The department is staffed by biologists representing diverse research interests and backgrounds.

    Dr. Norris Armstrong, a developmental biologist, uses molecular and microsurgical techniques to examine how cells and tissues are organized into appropriate patterns during embryonic development. During the 1999-2000 school year he will be teaching Animal Development, Developmental Genetics, a seminar in Cell Communication, and part of Introductory Biology.

    Dr. Philip Camill, an ecosystems ecologist, has research interests in climate change and its impact on plant succession and ecosystem function. He teaches Ecosystem Ecology, Global Change Biology, a seminar in Paleoecology, and part of Introductory Biology.

    Dr. David Hougen-Eitzman, trained as a population geneticist and ecologist, studies ecological interaction within agricultural ecosystems. In particular, he is interested in developing biological solutions to problems that have usually been attacked with herbicides and pesticides. He teaches laboratories for the Introductory courses, Entomology, and a seminar on Sustainable Agriculture.

    Dr. Fernán Jaramillo, is a neurobiologist with research interest in signal transduction in the auditory system. He teaches Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and part of Introductory Biology.

    Dr. Mark McKone, an evolutionary ecologist, pursues research on the interactions between insects and plants. Particular interests include the pollinator community of prairie composites and the evolutionary impact of pre-dispersal seed predators of grasses. He teaches Evolution, Ecology, Tropical Rainforest Ecology, Biology of Conservation, and part of Introductory Biology.

    Dr. Matthew Rand, a vertebrate reproductive biologist, studies the hormonal mediation and function of sexually dimorphic traits. Currently he uses lizards as a model system to understand neural differences that influence male and female reproductive behavior. He teaches Animal Physiology, Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Morphology, a seminar on Behavioral Endocrinology, part of Introductory Biology and a seminar that explores the sexual basis of human nature and its impact on science.

    Dr. Susan Singer, a plant developmental biologist, is taking a developmental genetics approach to the study of flowering in pea. Floral mutants are being characterized and genetic interactions between mutants are under investigation to elucidate the roles of different genes in the regulation of inflorescence architecture. She teaches Plant Biology, Plant Development, Developmental Genetics, and part of Introductory Biology.

    Dr. John Tymoczko, biochemist, studies the enzyme prolyl oligopeptidase. This enzyme is thought to play a role in the processing of polypeptide hormones, and alterations in its activity may lead to certain pathological conditions Projects include isolating the gene for the enzyme and investigating its regulation. He teaches Biochemistry, Oncogenes and Molecular Biology of Cancer, part of Introductory Biology, and a seminar on Exercise Biochemistry.

    Dr. Gary Wagenbach, trained as an invertebrate zoologist and parasitologist, is examining the population biology of freshwater mussels. The general goal of his research is to better understand the conservation of rare and endangered freshwater mussels. He teaches Biology of the Invertebrate Animals, Marine Biology, Aquatic Biology, Environmental Studies, and a seminar on parasitism. He also serves as coordinator of the Environmental Science Concentration.

    Dr. Debby Walser-Kuntz, an immunologist, is interested in the role the immune system plays in the development of autoimmune disorders and the potential impact on this process of environmental contaminants. She teaches Immunology, Microbiology, part of Introductory Biology and a seminar on HIV and AIDS.

    Dr. Stephan Zweifel, a geneticist and molecular biologist, is examining the replication and segregation of mitochrondrial DNA in the yeast S. cerevisiae. His lab is interested in identifying and characterizing the nuclear genes responsible for the proper transmission of the mitochondrial genome. He teaches Genetics, Molecular Biology, part of Introductory Biology, and a seminar on Human Genetics.


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