Program Description
Studying Biology at AUM could lead to you discovering a new gene, educating the public about infectious diseases, or vaccinating all the dogs in your local shelter against rabies. Whether your interest lies in genetics, public health, or succeeding in medical, dental, or veterinary school, the concentrations in AUM’s Department of Biology and Environmental Science allow you to pursue your interests. AUM’s Biology degree offers concentrations in General Biology, Health Sciences, Molecular Biology, and Public Health and Microbiology. A degree in Biology can lead to a variety of jobs in research labs, government, or private business.

Points of Pride

  • Students seeking entry into professional health programs (such as medical, dental, veterinary, or pharmacy school) work with a full-time academic advisor dedicated solely to these students.
  • In 2015, 90 percent of AUM students who worked with that advisor and applied to medical, dental, or veterinary school were accepted.
  • Nearly 20 percent of students do research with a faculty member and many go on to publish papers and travel to conferences.
  • Faculty currently have grants from National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Alabama State Department of Education.
  • Students can do research in the department’s Bioprocessing and Biofuels Research Lab or the Geospatial Research Institute.
  • Students can take marine biology courses at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab on the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Students can take semesters abroad in Costa Rica and South Africa.
  • Summer study abroad opportunities, such as those to the Galapagos, are offered annually or biannually.

Put Your Degree to Work

Note: While salaries vary depending on several factors including your level of experience, education and training, and geography and industry, here is a sampling of the future job growth and salaries in this area.

Job growth in all the life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to be 7 percent from 2014 to 2014, about average for all occupations. The most recent median annual wage for the life, physical and social science occupations was $61,450 — higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics Sample Data  
JobMedian PayJob Growth through 2024
Medical Scientist$79,930 per year9% (9,000 more jobs)
Biological Technician$41,290 per year5% (4,100 more jobs)
Forensic science technician$55,360 per year27% (3,800 more jobs)

For More Information

Biology Department
Auburn University at Montgomery
Goodwyn Hall 301

Soaring Warhawks

Look what our alumni are up to:

  • Dr. Rick Bright is Acting Director of the Influenza Division, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Kaori Knights runs the Flow Cytometry Lab at Kansas State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Jeremy Gallman is a captain in the United States Veterinary Corps.
  • Greg Vison worked at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and is now a professional angler.

Program Overview

The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail, please see our official online catalog AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the core curriculum courses required for all majors and may not include some program-specific information, such as admissions, retention and termination standards.
Course sampling specific to the Biology major includes:

Required Courses  
Course #Course NameCourse Description
BIOL 3010/3011Microbiology with labMicrobial morphology, growth and control, physiology, genetics, concepts of the pathogenesis, immunology, and epidemiology, environ- mental and industrial microbiology.
BIOL 3300/3301GeneticsThe study of basic principles, concepts and problems relative to gene inheritance in animals and plants. The course includes topics that cover both classical and modern genetics.
BIOL 2200BiostatisticsThis course introduces students to statistical techniques commonly used in research and includes estimation and hypothesis testing, ANOVA, linear and non- linear regression and non-parametric statistics. Extensive use of computer exercises allows students to fulfill their requirement for computer literacy.
CHEM 3300BiochemistryA standard biochemistry course for students in the health and physical sciences. Emphasis on the major biomolecules and basic metabolism.
CHEM 3301Biochemistry LabExperiments to accompany lecture topics in CHEM 3300. Provides an optional laboratory experience for CHEM 3300.

Elective Courses (Students must take at least 18 semester hours of Biology Electives from the list of courses below; 3 of the courses must have laboratories.)
BIOL 3100Biology of ForensicsThis course explores the application of scientific methods and techniques to problems in the field of forensic science with emphasis on forensic biology.

Topics considered include analysis of hair, fiber and other materials, fingerprinting, forensic serology and toxicology and DNA analysis.
BIOL 3250EpidemiologyAn introduction to the techniques used in studying the transmission, incidence and frequency of disease occurrence in populations.
BIOL 3400Principles of ToxicologyCovers toxicology, the study of poisons. Topics will include molecular and cellular sites of action of toxicants, carcinogenesis, teratology, effects of toxicants on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and other organ systems, and ecosystem-level effects.
BIOL 3503 or BIOL 3500/3501Biological Instrumentation
or Biological Instrumentation/Lab
An introduction to modern laboratory techniques and instrumentation for defining and measuring parameters encountered in biology. This course is basic to other courses in molecular biology. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 3800Topics in Ecological EconomicsAn exploration of the often-divergent viewpoints of economics and ecologists over environmental issues. Issues of interest include economic development, environmental preservation, government regulation and international environmental conflicts.
BIOL 4013
or BIOL 4010/4011
Medical Microbiology (Writing Intensive)
or Medical Microbiology/Lab
The etiology, epidemiology, vector controls, identification and pathogenesis of microorganisms of medical importance to man. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4033
or BIOL 4030/4031
Virology (Writing Intensive)
or Virology/Lab
The molecular biology of bacterial and animal viruses; pathogenesis; diagnosis; and procedures for isolation, cultivation and purification. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4053
or BIOL 4050/4051
Industrial Microbiology
or Industrial Microbiology/Lab
Lectures and laboratory exercises on the principles and practices of industrial processes involving microorganisms with emphasis on microbial biotechnology. Topics include screening and improvement of industrial microorganisms, fermentation media/equipment/systems, healthcare products (antibiotics, anti-tumor agents, alkaloids, steroids, vaccines etc.), alcoholic beverages, biofuel, single cell protein, probiotics, bioinsecticides, microbial fertilizer, fermented foods, microbial mining, production of amino acids, biocatalysis, waste biotechnology and recombinant DNA technology. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4063
or BIOL 4060/4061
Environmental Microbiology
or Environmental Microbiology/ Lab
A combined lecture and lab course that cover the roles of microorganisms in the environment. Specific study areas include microbial diversity in earth environments, microbial ecology, biofilms and microbial communication, water- and food-borne pathogens and diseases, mycotoxins, water and sewage treatment,
biogeochemical cycles, molecular methods, microorganisms and bioterrorism, indoor health microbiology, environmental sample collection and processing. This course includes a required laboratory component.
or 4070/4071
Immunobiology (Writing Intensive)
or Immunobiology/Lab
Topics include the molecules, cells and organs involved in the immune response; genetic control of the immune response; the normal functions of the immune system; and immunopathology. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4103
or BIOL 4100/4101
Developmental Biology
or Developmental Biology/Lab
A consideration of descriptive and experimentally derived information on developmental events of various organisms, with emphasis on the mechanics by which organisms achieve an orderly progression of changes during their life cycles. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4153
or BIOL 4150/4153
Vertebrate Physiology
or Vertebrate Physiology/Lab
An in-depth investigation of the physiology of the major mammalian organ systems. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4210Population EcologyA course in elementary mathematical ecology. Students’ will be introduced to many of the models and techniques needed to understand population dynamics. Problem solving and the use of computer models will be emphasized.
BIOL 4233
or BIOL 4230/4231
Environmental Pollution & Control
or Environmental Pollution & Control/Lab
Introduction to environmental science focusing on detection, sources and treatment methods for water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, solid waste and hazardous waste. Legal and regulatory background will also be presented. Field trips will be made, and laboratory exercises will focus on characterizing water quality. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4240EcosystemsA continuation of the study of ecology, focusing on key concepts at higher levels of organization. Topics include fluxes of energy and matter,
temporal and spatial patterns, problems of ecological scale, disturbance and succession.
BIOL 4343
or BIOL 4340/4341
or Histology/Lab
A study of the morphology and classification of animal tissues as well as the arrangement of tissues in organs and systems in vertebrate animals. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4353
or BIOL 4350/4351
Cell Biology
or Cell Biology/Lab
A study of cell structure and function. The generalized cell, specialized cell, and the cell as an organism will be considered from the viewpoint of classical cytology and in terms of current biochemical, optical and ultra-structural studies. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4503
or BIOL 4500/4501
Freshwater Biology
or Freshwater Biology/Lab
A study of the taxonomy and environmental relationships of biota of freshwater habitats. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4513
or BIOL 4510/4511
Invertebrate Zoology
or Invertebrate Zoology/Lab
A taxonomic survey of all major invertebrate phyla with emphasis on major anatomical and physiological features and life histories. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4523
or BIOl4520/4521
Wetlands or Wetlands/LabAn introduction to the role, value, distribution, variability and structure of wetlands and to the legal and regulatory framework through which they are managed in the U.S. Emphasis is placed on biogeochemical processes unique to wetlands. Field trips will be made. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4533
or BIOL 4530/4531
Conservation Biology
or Conservation Biology/Lab
The application of ecological and genetic principles to conservation. Case studies include fisheries, habitat fragmentation, use of corridors, rarity, extensions, viability analysis, endangered species and the role of models in conservation biology. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4543
or BIOL 4540/4541
Field Botany
or Field Botany/Lab
An introduction to vascular plant taxonomy with emphasis on local vegetation. Weekly field trips will be made to different parts of the state and a plant collection will be required. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4603
or BIOL 4600/4601
Molecular Genetics (Writing Intensive)
or Molecular Genetics/Lab
Topics include the fundamentals of DNA structure, replication, mutation and repair, gene expression; recombinant DNA techniques; and applications of biotechnology in medicine, agriculture and industry. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4663
or BIOL 4660/4601
Field Zoology
or Field Zoology/Lab
A study of the natural history of vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals), concentrating on phylogeny, adaptations, ecology and behavior. Laboratory exercises will be oriented toward learning field techniques and familiarizing students with the local fauna. This course includes a required laboratory component.
BIOL 4760Evolutionary BiologyA study of evolutionary concepts, including population genetics, variability, dispersal, gene frequencies, natural selection and speciation.
BIOL 4800Perspectives in Biology IAllows the student to study a current topic not offered in the basic biology curriculum. Topics will vary and times offered will be irregular. No lab is required.

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