Bachelor of Arts
The biology department at VMI provides a focused education in the biological sciences. We prepare students for post-graduate education in the biological and health fields and allow for specialization that matches their interests and career plans. Faculty believe interaction in the classroom, laboratory, and on an individual basis is critical in the development of successful biology majors. Class sizes are small, laboratories accompany most courses, advising is conducted on an individual basis, and undergraduate research is encouraged.
The Biology Department offers a summer research experience known as the Dr. Fred C. Swope Summer Scholars Program. The program is eight-weeks of intensive study that introduces students to scientific method, research design and data analysis, data presentation, use of sophisticated laboratory instruments, and independent research. Each student conducts a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. This research is on the "cutting edge" of science and several publications have resulted from these projects. Normally, cadets are selected to participate in this program between their 2nd and 1st class years.
The B.A. Curriculum is designed for those majors who require greater flexibility in their degree requirements and desire a broad training in biology. All students in the B.A. curriculum are required to complete the following courses:
All students in the B.S. curriculum are required to complete the following courses:
- BI 101 General Biology I
- BI 102 General Biology II
- BI 103 Biological Diversity and Systematics I
- BI 104 Biological Diversity and Systematics II
- BI 205 Genetics
- Capstone experience (Swope Summer Research or BI 420 Biology Seminar)
In addition to these courses, a B.S. major must select one laboratory course (*) from
each of the following core areas.
The Ecology Core Area
- BI 312 Ecology
- BI 410 Evolutionary Biology
- BI 311 Aquatic Ecosystem
- BI 317 Herpetology
The Morphology Core Area
- BI 304 Comparative Vertebrate Morphology
- BI 217 Botany
- BI 303 Developmental Biology
- BI 405 Histology
The Physiology Core Area
- BI 335 Neurobiology
- BI 204 Physiology
- BI 318 Plant Physiology
- BI 323 Exercise Physiology
The Cell and Molecular Core Area
- BI 404 Cell Biology
- BI 430 Molecular Biology
- BI 411 Immunology
An additional 11-13 hours are to be selected from any area within the biology curriculum except for research hours. This totals 45 hours in biology. In addition to the biology courses, B.S. majors must complete Quantitative Analysis I and II (MA 125 and 126), and show a proficiency in a foreign language through the 200 level. Cadets must complete either two semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab (CH 223 and 225, CH 224 and 226) or General Physics I and II (PY 120 and PY 115, PY 121 and PY 116). To broaden the education, six credits of English above the 100 level are required. Additionally, 12 non-science elective credits must be completed in English, history, economics, business, psychology, philosophy, fine arts, political science, or modern languages. The remainder (9) of the 135 hours required for graduation can be taken from any department on post.
Cadets completing the B.S. degree often complete minors in other disciplines. A minor in chemistry can be completed by taking one additional course from selected courses in the chemistry curriculum. The requirements for minors in psychology, English, or history, for example, fit in well to our elective requirements.