Sep 19, 2021  
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, B.S.

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The B.S. in Biology provides a broad foundation in the biological sciences, from microbiology to organismal biology to ecology and global systems. The major is designed for students interested in careers such as medical research, healthcare, education, communications, wildlife management, conservation, public service, environmental law, and academic science. Through elective options, students can tailor their degree to specific professional interests and goals. As part of the academic program, students complete an independent capstone research project under the direct guidance of biology faculty. Students of sufficiently high academic standing who wish to pursue competitive careers in academia, medicine, or industry are encouraged to consider the honors track, described below.

Core Requirements

All students must complete the Avila University Core Curriculum as a part of their degree programs. The Core consists of a minimum of 39 credit hours that meet the requirements listed below. Please go to Core Curriculum  for more information and to view all Core classes.

Core Foundations (9-11 credit hours)

Foundations requirements provide the basic skills essential for effective participation in other classes as well as the professional world.

Core Pillars & Levels (30 credit hours)

Pillars and Levels requirements address the breadth of knowledge expected of a liberal arts education and challenges students to integrate prior knowledge and create new ideas through higher levels of coursework.

Cross-Application Note: All courses that meet a Pillar also meet a Level and may meet a Designation requirement. Some courses taken for major and/or minor requirements may also meet Core requirements.

    Social Justice & Civic Life Pillar 
(6 credit hours required)

Creativity & Culture Pillar
(6 credit hours required)

Belief & Reason Pillar
(6 credit hours required)
Explorations of Nature Pillar 
(6 credit hours required)

24 credit hours required 












6 credit hours required CONTRIBUTE LEVEL




Core Designations

Core Component Designations requirements incorporate assignments and experiences focused on developing and deepening student understanding to prepare students for responsible lifelong contributions to the global community.

CORE Designations

Interdisciplinary Studies (IS)

(9 credit hours)

Global Studies (GS)    

(9 credit hours)     

Community Engagement (CE)    

(3 credit hours) 







Transfer Students

The Core Component Designations requirement for transfer students is determined by the number of credit hours transferred to Avila University. Please see the Transfer Students  page within this catalog.


As noted above, courses can have multiple designations and thus meet multiple requirements at once.

Example: BI 215 - Humans & the Environment (3)  meets all of the following requirements:

  • Belief & Reason Nature Pillar
  • Transform Level
  • Global Studies (GS) Designation
  • Major Requirement

Technology Requirement

Computer competency will be demonstrated by successful completion of one of the following courses with a C grade or better.

B.S. in Biology with Honors

The Honors Track in Biology emphasizes hands-on experience with research techniques applicable to a broad range of fields in modern biology. Students completing a B.S. in Biology with Honors will be prepared to pursue competitive careers in academic research, private industry, medicine, and related fields. To qualify for honors status, students must:

  1. Maintain a 3.0 GPA overall and a 3.3 GPA within the biology major.
  2. Complete an honors-level capstone research project (two semesters of BI 493  and one semester of BI 499 ) that addresses an original research question.

Students interested in the honors program must first enroll as biology majors. They should plan their academic program early to complete course work within the major that prepares them sufficiently for the demands of honors research, with special attention paid to specific area of interest within biology. All honors students are required to complete MA 241  for their math sequence, as well as CH 216  as part of their foundational science electives.

Students who have maintained a qualifying GPA and have identified a research mentor to supervise their honors capstone project can apply for honors status during their third year of study, when they enroll in BI 493 . Honors students work closely with biology faculty to complete an original laboratory or field research project that spans at least three semesters prior to graduation. The capstone project is subject to periodic review and must meet with the biology faculty’s approval to qualify for honors.

Science and Biology Education

Programs in science and biology education, approved by the State of Missouri, are offered. Kansas certification requirements may be completed concurrently.

Available Programs


The Bachelor of Science in Biology has the following outcomes:

Outcome 1.

Acquire a foundation of knowledge that includes the historical development of biological thought, cell theory, biogenesis, homeostasis, gene theory, and ecology. Evolution is stressed throughout the curriculum.

Outcome 2.

Learn biology by doing biology. Students will acquire a basic set of laboratory skills. Also, throughout the curriculum, students will be given opportunities to perform independent research projects. Majors will learn to access and critique the primary literature, identify problems, design and implement appropriate procedures using technological tools, work independently or collaboratively, evaluate alternative solutions, and present the results of their work while using the language of the discipline.

Outcome 3.

Explain the limitations of science and properly place biology among the sciences. Apply scientific thought processes to broader intellectual and social issues.


The outcomes for the biology major are assessed throughout the curriculum through a combination of course written examinations, laboratory written and oral presentations, laboratory examinations, and completion of a final written report. The final report is based on a laboratory or library research project or an internship in the field.  In the tradition of graduate school thesis and dissertation committees, the biology faculty acts as a committee to review and evaluate this final report.

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