Professor Laura Corey
Professor Lawrence W. Zettler
Associate Professor Bryan Arnold
Associate Professor Miranda Karban
Associate Professor Paul Hamilton
Assistant Professor Prasanna Acharya
Assistant Professor Gwendowlyn Knapp
Edith Sternberg, Adjunct instructor, Starhill Arboretum
Guy Sternberg, Adjunct instructor, Starhill Arboretum

The courses in the Department of Biology are designed to give students an understanding of modern biology as part of a liberal arts education and to prepare students for both employment and graduate/professional study in the discipline. Courses in biology utilize state-of-the-art equipment in Parker Science Building, as well as a climate-controlled greenhouse and a museum containing plant and animal specimens. The Engelbach Biology Station and the Starhill Arboretum are important supplements to the department for field work by faculty and students. Regular spring break trips to coral reefs in the Florida Keys, the rainforests in Costa Rica, and the coastlines of Cuba are also available to provide students with additional learning opportunities.

A major in Biology requires 32 credit hours in Biology courses plus 20 hours in designated tool courses. Several concentrations are available through the Department of Biology. These include Biology/Ecology, Biology/Physiology, 3-2 Biology/Occupational Therapy, and 3-1 Biology/Medical Technology, and Secondary Science. Also, Illinois College has a nursing program as well as affiliation agreements with other schools for students interested in nursing. For additional information on each of these schools, contact the Nursing Department. 

No courses in which a student earns a final grade below a C- will be counted as meeting major or minor requirements.

Majors & Programs


BI 107: Human Biology

Fundamental concepts of normal human anatomy and physiology, including basic cell biology, examination of organ systems, experimental design, and scientific writing. One 2-hour laboratory per week. Does not count towards the biology major.

BI 109: Plants & Society

A presentation of the relationships between plants and people with strong emphasis on the economic aspects and implications of plants and fungi. One 2-hour laboratory per week. Does not count towards the biology major.

BI 110: Biological Investigation

This course is an introduction to the nature of biological inquiry. Major concepts of biological science and modes of experimentation are introduced through an exploration of a variety of topics selected by the instructor. This course is designed for first- and second-year students interested in pursuing a major or minor in biology or biochemistry and is required for all subsequent biology courses. One two-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 191: Forensic Anthropology

This course examines the field of forensic anthropology through an applied, scientific approach. Covered topics include an overview of human osteology, examination of trauma and postmortem processes affecting the human body, discussion of ethical issues pertinent to the field of forensic anthropology, and techniques of estimating sex, age-at-death, ancestry, and stature from human skeletal remains. (For online programs only.)

BI 192: Forensic Science

An introduction to forensic science and crime scene investigation through a realistic, applied approach. Methods used in a number of forensic fields will be covered, including forensic anthropology and odontology, pathology, forensic genetics, forensic chemistry and toxicology, forensic facial reconstruction, and forensic entomology. One 2-hour laboratory session per week.

BI 201: Botany

A detailed study of the plant kingdom with an emphasis on diversity, identification of the local flora, and collecting/preparing herbarium specimens. One 2-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 206: Vertebrate Zoology

A detailed study of the vertebrates (especially those in the Midwest) emphasizing the diversity, identification, comparative physiology and anatomy, ecology, and human impact on their populations. One 2-hour laboratory per week.

BI 207: Molecular Genetics

The molecular principles of heredity and variation in living organisms. One 3-hour laboratory period per week. Required for the biology major.

BI 215: Medical Terminology

An introduction to medical terminology commonly used in a wide variety of health professions. Special emphasis is placed on learning the prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms used to generate informative terms that are commonly encountered in health professions or anatomy and physiology.

BI 238: Ecology and Evolution

An introduction to the theoretical and practical concepts of ecology and evolution. Topics include application of the principles of genetics to populations, phylogenetics, history of evolutionary thought from Darwin to the Modern Synthesis, origins of life on Earth, and speciation. One 2-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 245: Microbiology

Introduction to the core concepts and basic principles of microbiology, examining microorganisms and how they interact with humans. Survey of the physiology structure, metabolism, diversity, and genetics of microorganisms. Correlated laboratory investigations. One 2-hour lab period per week.

BI 306: Developmental Biology

Consideration of the concepts of development in biological systems; developmental processes, events of embryogenesis, and mechanisms of development in animal systems. One 2-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 307: Cell and Molecular Biology

A detailed investigation of the structure, physiology and biochemistry of eukaryotic cells and their organelles. One 3-hour lab period per week.

BI 310: Immunology

Study of the vertebrate immune system, including the principles of cellular and humoral defense mechanisms, and reviews of current research in the field.

BI 311: Virology

An exploration of the viruses that infect all three domains of life, with a focus on the molecular biology and genomic diversity of pathogens that threaten human life and economic activity. Topics to be considered include long-studied pathogens such as poliovirus, variola (smallpox), and tobacco mosaic virus, as well as emerging or re-emerging agents such as hepatitis C and D, prions, and viroids. Discussions of the primary literature will be used to examine recent scientific and clinical developments.

BI 315: Anatomy and Physiology I

An exploration of the fundamental concepts of anatomy, histology, and physiology with consideration of integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. One 2-hour laboratory per week.

BI 316: Anatomy and Physiology II

Emphasis on human anatomy, histology, and physiology with consideration of endocrine, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, and reproductive systems. One 2-hour laboratory per week.

BI 318: Algae and Fungi

A detailed study of fungi and autotrophic protists (algae) with an emphasis on diversity, identification of microscopic algae, seaweeds and mushrooms. One 2-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 325: Tropical Ecology

An introduction to the composition, structure, and function of tropical rainforests. Laboratory, held during spring break in Costa Rica or Cuba, will emphasize biological diversity. Three lecture hours per week.

BI 326: Marine Biology

An introduction to the study of the plants, animals, and other organisms that live in the ocean. Lecture topics include the principles of marine science, life forms in the marine environment, the structure and function of marine ecosystems, and the role of humans on the sea. Laboratory held during spring break in the Florida Keys.

BI 328: Animal Behavior

The behavior of animals as revealed by the ethological approach. Orientation, learning, social behavior, migration, and agonistic behavior. One 2-hour laboratory period per week.

BI 332: Aquatic Biology

Field course covering biological, physicochemical and geological attributes of both lotic (flowing) and lentic (still) freshwater habitats. Emphasis on aquatic entomology, field data collection techniques, data analysis and critical reading of the primary literature in aquatic biology. One 2-hour laboratory period per week with trips to local aquatic habitats.

BI 342: Parasitology

A detailed study of eukaryotic parasites (protozoa, helminths, and medically relevant arthropods) that afflict animals and humans with an emphasis on life cycles, treatment and control, and the impact on human and animal lives.

BI 345: Principles of Microbiology

Students will develop a working understanding of the structure, growth, nutrition, metabolism, genetics, diversity, and ecology of prokaryotes, and become familiar with medical, agricultural and some other applied aspects of the field of microbiology. One 2-hour lab period per week. BI 110, CH 110 (or concurrent enrollment) and BI 207, consent of instructor

BI 350: Entomology

A study of the terrestrial members of the Phylum Arthropoda, with emphasis on insects and their identification. One 2-hour laboratory period per week. Labs will emphasize field collection and preservation of insects.

BI 402: Research and Analysis II

Presentation of a biological topic by a student based on library and/or laboratory research carried out at IC. Required for the major.

BI 404: Research Experience Capstone

This course serves as the capstone experience for students in the biology, health sciences, kinesiology and exercise science, or environmental studies in wildlife management program who are involved in student faculty research projects. The objective of this course is to provide students an opportunity to analyze and synthesize the data collected during their research experience and a means to present their work in both oral and written form.