Missouri State University
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Department of Biology  

For More Information

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5126
Fax: 417-836-4204
Email: Biology@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

Study in biology opens the doors to a variety of rewarding careers. Some broad career areas for biology majors include medicine, industry, environment and education. A degree in biology is excellent preparation for entry into the health professions because the study of biology gives clear insights into the nature of health and disease. Training provided in our bachelor’s degree programs can lead to entrance to professional schools in medicine, optometry, dentistry, physician assistant, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and many other health-related professions. Biology graduates also find a wealth of opportunities in rapidly growing biotechnology, food technology and pharmaceutical industries. Our program emphasizes laboratory experiences, and many positions in these industries place a premium on laboratory skills that can be gained through undergraduate coursework. Another important field for biologists is environment, including conservation, wildlife and resource management, water quality and environmental assessment. Employers in this field include many federal, state and local government agencies, as well as environmental consulting firms, toxicology laboratories, research-oriented museums, zoological parks and aquariums and public service environmental organizations.

In addition to medicine, industry and environment, those students who are motivated by science will find that biology provides many rewarding career opportunities in education and research. Our undergraduate program provides excellent preparation for teachers and for entry into graduate programs of study. 

Academic Program

Preparation for the Biology degree should begin in high school with a strong college-bound program. That program should include four years of English, mathematics and science. Degrees available in Biology at Missouri State are Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science (comprehensive), Bachelor of Science in Education, Master of Science and Master of Science in Education. A major may select courses to emphasize any of several specialties.  Popular choices include pre-health studies (pre-medical, pre-veterinary, pre-physical therapy, pre-physician assistant, etc.), Microbiology, Cell Biology/Genetics, Environmental Biology and Evolution, Botany, Zoology, Aquatic Biology, and Biology Education, but other areas of emphasis are also possible.  A comprehensive major in Wildlife Conservation and Management also is offered in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture (see separate program listing). The undergraduate major in Biology includes 24 semester hours of required biology courses (General Biology I, General Biology II, genetics, ecology, cell biology, biometry and senior seminar). Elective courses are chosen in consultation with the student's advisor to bring the total biology hours to 36 for the Bachelor of Science to up to 47 hours for the Bachelor of Science (comprehensive). Additional major requirements include courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science.


The following is a representative list of the courses offered by the Department of Biology. Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.ed/catalog for course descriptions and specific degree requirements.

Aquatic Biology

  • Limnology
  • Stream Ecology
  • Wetland Ecology
  • Ichthyology
  • Fisheries Management   
  • Aquatic Entomology
  • Marine Conservation
  • Summer courses at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Mississippi)

Ecology and Evolution

  • Behavioral Ecology
  • General Ecology
  • Biogeography
  • Conservation Biology
  • Population Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences for Educators
  • Population Genetics
  • Evolution
  • Field Biology

Microbiology and Biotechnology

  • Bacterial Metabolism
  • Microbiology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Markers
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Pathogenic Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Principles of Genetics
  • Introduction to Cellular Biology
  • General Physiology


  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Behavioral Ecology
  • Mammalogy
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Fish Ecology
  • Ornithology
  • Game Management
  • Physiological Ecology
  • Herpetology
  • Principles of Wildlife Management



The biology faculty are strongly committed to quality teaching and advisement of students and to excellence in research. Information on recent accomplishments, awards and grants to both faculty and students is available on the Department of Biology web site.

As one of the largest departments in the natural sciences at Missouri State, biology strives to maintain breadth and balance among the many biological disciplines. Faculty research specialties are diverse and include the areas of cell biology, microbiology, molecular and population genetics, physiology, systematics, ecology and evolution. This breadth of expertise contributes strongly to quality teaching.

Biology faculty members maintain active research programs that are frequently supported by external grants. These research programs provide opportunities for undergraduate involvement, which has often led to publication and presentations by students at professional meetings. Grant-funded research projects also often provide employment opportunities for students. Listings of sponsored research projects and student projects are available on the department web site.


The department faculty offices, research laboratories and classrooms are housed in Temple Hall and the Kings Street Building on the Springfield Campus of Missouri State. Temple Hall is a modern, four-story building that also houses the departments of chemistry and geosciences. Equipment available in the department includes a DNA sequencer, gamma counter, UV/VIS and AA spectrophotometers, gas analyzers, affinity chromatography with monitor and fraction collectors, microplate readers, ultracentrifuges and microscopy equipment (electron, fluorescence, phase contrast and Nomarsky, spinning confocal).  A computer lab for student use is available in Kings Street Annex and several other similar labs are available elsewhere on campus.  Student access to the Internet is fully supported. A greenhouse facility is attached to Temple Hall. The department maintains the Ozark Regional Herbarium, housing more than 100,000 plant specimens for teaching and research.


Important learning and training experiences are available to qualified Biology students. Many students participate in cooperative education and internship programs coordinated by Missouri State, and these positions frequently lead to career opportunities. Faculty research programs provide numerous opportunities for undergraduate participation.

The department offers several courses in field biology and is developing facilities for field courses and research at the new Bull Shoals Field Station near Forsyth, MO. Springfield is situated in the Ozark uplifts, an interior highland with many unique biological and geological attributes. Large areas of national forest and minimally disturbed natural habitats are located nearby and are available for research and teaching. Extended field trips are used to familiarize students with the ecology of specific regions of North America. These regions have included the Smoky Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, the U.S. desert Southwest, Jamaica, and Belize. Missouri State is also associated with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, located in Ocean Springs, Miss., which provides undergraduate courses in marine and coastal biology.

The Department of Biology sponsors a chapter of Beta Beta Beta, a national honorary society for Biology majors. Several other student organizations serve Biology students, including the Missouri State Pre-Medical Society, Pre-Vet Society, Wildlife Club, Sierra Club and Stream Team. The department offers approximately four academic scholarship awards annually in addition to the scholarships offered by the university. Information on these awards is available from the department head. 

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

Freshman Year

First Semester Courses Hours
ENG 110 Writing I 3
BIO 121 General Biology I 4
CHM 160 General Chemistry I 4
MTH 138 Pre-Calculus Mathematics 5
GEP 101 First-Year Foundations 2
CHM 161 General Chemistry I Laboratory 1
Total Hours 19
Second Semester Courses Hours
BIO 122 General Biology II 4
CHM 170 General Chemistry II 3
CHM 171 General Chemistry II Laboratory 1
MTH 287 Computational Calculus with Analytic Geometry I 3
CIS 101 Computers for Learning 2
Total Hours 13

Sophomore Year

First Semester Courses Hours
BIO 235 Principles of Genetics 4
CHM 342 Organic Chemistry I 5
COM 115 Fundamentals of Public Speaking 3
KIN 100 Fitness for Living 2
Total Hours 14
Second Semester Courses Hours
BIO 369 General Ecology 4
CHM 343 Organic Chemistry II 5
PHY 123 Introduction to Physics I 4
PSY 121 Introductory Psychology 3
Total Hours 16