2017-2018 General Catalog 
    May 20, 2018  
2017-2018 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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College of Science
Department Office: 201 Biology Building
Mailing Address: 257 S. 1400 E., Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840
Phone: 801-581-6517
Fax: 801-581-4668
Website: www.biology.utah.edu

Department Chair: M. Denise Dearing, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate Advising: Denise Brenes, 135 Building 44, 801- 581-6244
Undergraduate Bioscience Research Advisor: Rosemary Gray, Ph.D. 224 Building 44, 801-585-7869
Graduate Program Coordinator: Shannon Nielsen, 201A BIOL, 801-581-5636

The Department of Biology, one of the largest in the University, offers a wide range of courses involving field, laboratory, lecture, and library experience. Active research is in progress at most levels of biological organization, from the fine structure of cells at the molecular level to community interactions and distributions of living things on a global scale. Facilities are located in buildings that cluster around the South Biology Building. Laboratories are well-equipped for a wide spectrum of modern biological research.

The biology curriculum is designed to:

  1. prepare undergraduate and graduate students for professional careers in biology
  2. provide basic training for students who will enter graduate or professional fields related to biology, such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and others,
  3. offer background information courses for allied health disciplines, and
  4. provide courses of general interest for the General Education Program for the University and community.

Courses are available in the following general areas: biochemistry and molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics and developmental biology, physiology and organismal biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology.

All current and prospective undergraduate students are encouraged to visit or call the Biology Advising Office for curricular information and academic advising assistance. Biology major academic program worksheets and general information materials are available online including information about courses, instructors, careers, graduate schools, etc. The Biology Advising office is located in Room 135, Building 44, 801-581-6244, fax: 801-581-8571.

All graduate program inquiries should be directed to the Graduate Program Coordinator, Department of Biology, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840, 801-581-5636, fax: 801-581-4668.

Undergraduate Program

Please see the Biology B.A., B.S., H.B.A., H.B.S., Biology Teaching B.A., B.S., H.B.A, H.B.S., Biology Teaching Minor and Integrative Human Biology (IHB) Minor listed in the Program and Course Offerings section.


The Biology Major is an unrestricted major, and any student eligible for admission to the University is eligible to declare the Biology Major.

Emphases (optional)

Environmental and Organismal Biology (EOB), Cell and Molecular Biology (C&M), or Biochemistry.

Student Advising

Biology majors are encouraged to meet with the Biology Advisor early in their academic careers (Rm 135 Building 44), and at least yearly thereafter. The Preprofessional Advising Office (Room 206, Building 44) is the best source for information about preparation for admission to schools of chiropractic, dentistry, medicine, optometry, podiatry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician’s assistant, and veterinary medicine.

Bioscience Undergraduate Research Program

Students who are interested in research careers in biology or medicine should apply at the end of their freshman or sophomore year. Participants in the two-year program take special laboratory and seminar courses and are placed in research labs under the mentorship of University faculty. Potential faculty sponsors work in diverse fields, including cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, genetics, neurobiology, biochemistry, functional morphology, physiology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary biology. The faculty mentors can provide individual attention throughout the undergraduate experience. Positions are available for the first year, with the option to continue for a second year and perhaps serve as teaching assistants. While selection is based on scholastic record and career plans, each individual’s application is evaluated for its unique aspects. For more information, contact the Bioscience Undergraduate research Program, Department of Biology, 257 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840 or call (801) 581-5013.

Financial Assistance

Various scholarships are available to qualified applicants. Contact the department advising office for information.

Graduate Program

Please see the Biology M.S. and Ph.D. and Biology (Teaching) M.S. listed in the Program and Course Offerings section.

The Department of Biology offers exceptional opportunities to learn, work, and collaborate across levels of biological organization and styles of research. Faculty research interests span the complete spectrum of biological phenomena and disciplines, from biochemistry to global environmental change. This breadth of research interests has led to development of two focused, yet overlapping, graduate training programs: Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology  (MCEB) and Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB).

Areas of Specialization
  • Arid-land Biology
  • Behavior and neuroethology
  • Biochemistry & structural biology
  • Cell biology
  • Community ecology
  • Conservation biology
  • Developmental biology
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Evolution
  • Functional morphology and physiology
  • Genetics
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbial biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Pathogens, parasites, endosymbionts
  • Physiology
  • Plant Science
  • Tropical biology
  • Stable isotope ecology

Course requirements are structured to individual needs.

Admission Requirements

There are additional admission requirements for these programs. Please see the program pages for more information.

Applications are generally reviewed in December and January for fall admission. Only a limited number of students are admitted into the graduate program. Admission is contingent upon the student’s qualifications, potential, and research interests.

Financial Assistance

Doctoral students receive financial support from teaching and research assistantships, training grants, and fellowships. Doctoral students are guaranteed support for up to five years pending satisfactory progress in the program. International students must pass a University Teaching workshop before being allowed to teach. Tuition is paid by the Graduate School or the research advisor for five years (for students in the Ph.D. program). Teaching assistantships are not available for M.S. students, though such students may be supported by research assistantships.

BS/MS Program

The Department of Biology’s BS/MS Program makes it possible for students to get both a bachelors and a master’s degree in five years.  Starting to take graduate-level courses during the senior year is what makes it possible for students to complete the Masters degree in just one additional year.  Please visit the following website for further details - www.biology.utah.edu.

Undergraduate inquiries - denise.brenes@utah.edu

Graduate inquiries - shannon.nielsen@bioscience.utah.edu

Program and Course Offerings


    Undergraduate MajorMinorMasterDoctorate


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