You may choose from three degree programs in the biology department at E&H: the bachelor of arts degree, the bachelor of science degree, and teacher preparation.
The B.A. degree program acquaints you with the biological sciences and prepares you for jobs in research, industry, conservation or health-related areas.
The B.S. degree program educates you in the biological sciences with a focus on independent undergraduate research, as well as a heavier emphasis on supporting coursework in chemistry, physics and mathematics. This sequence is especially appropriate for students planning to continue their education in graduate school or other professional schools.
The Teacher Preparation Program encompasses course requirements similar to those needed for the B.A. degree and also incorporates specific courses necessary for certification to teach biology and related subjects in Virginia and reciprocal states.
Planning a Course of Study
Students work closely with their departmental advisor to plan a program that meets their interests and goals, while building a strong, well-rounded foundation in biological science.
You will begin your studies with introductory courses in general biology and organismal biology, then progress to advanced courses in topics such as genetics, and evolution, along with electives in the areas of cell and molecular biology, organismal diversity, structure / function and ecology. Students pursuing the B.S. degree will also take a Biological Investigations course in the sophomore year in preparation for the design and completion of an independent research project.
A minor is not required for a Biology degree, but a minor in chemistry complements the biology degree, particularly the B.S. degree. A minor in geography or environmental studies may be relevant for either the B.A. or the B.S. degree.
Biology courses are inherently hands-on, with intensive lab components and strong encouragement of independent student research. Facilities supporting this work include a cold room, ultracentrifuge, gradient and real-time thermocyclers, a semi-automated DNA sequencer, a CO2 incubator, tissue culture hoods, growth chambers, HPLC, a photosynthesis monitoring system, a greenhouse and an herbarium. Additionally, students have access to the nearby Bartlett property containing forest, stream and cave sites suitable for ecological studies.
The Biology Department employs approximately 15 work-study students each year for a variety of responsibilities, providing educational experiences in assisting with laboratory preparation as well as the greenhouse and other department facilities and projects. The Biological Honor Society (Beta Beta Beta) makes contributions to research and to the community, including educational outreach and travel to present research at the Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting.
Additional courses are recommended for some upper-class students. A variety of practica for pre-health professions students are coordinated with numerous area health care professionals. In addition, a wide variety of internship opportunities are available for upper-level biology students. In past years, our students have interned at Mountain States Medical Group, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Valley Health Care Center. Students have ample opportunity to engage in original research. Past projects have examined the molecular biology of pathogenic fungi, the effects of viral disease on arthropod populations, the effects of land use patterns on fecal coliform loads in regional rivers, the characterization of novel fossil fish species, the examination of conservation practices affecting endangered lilies, and a study of mutations associated with human hemaglobinopathies.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of undergraduate research opportunities both on campus and off. In addition to work mentored by Emory & Henry professors, students may seek intensive summer research opportunities through NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program as well as Emory & Henry’s Friends of the Sciences program. Both programs offer competitive scholarships for students to conduct research at a large university in a field of their choosing. Recent examples include:
- Elisabeth Andrews, Friends of the Sciences 2013, Brown University
- Kellie Flaherty, Friends of the Sciences 2011, University of Texas Southwestern
- P.J. Henson, Friends of the Sciences 2010, University of Texas Southwestern
- Samantha Alley, Friends of the Sciences 2009, Wake Forest University
- Rachel Guthrie, Friends of the Sciences 2008, Duke University
Many of our students pursue their graduate or medical degrees at such notable institutions as the University of Virginia, Emory University, Vanderbilt University, and Johns Hopkins University. Others attend veterinary school, dental school, or law school. Still others enter teaching or public health careers. Some of our recent graduates include:
- Kyle Boden, ’14, East Tennessee State University Medical School
- Ross Ellis, ’13, University of Tennessee Veterinary School
- Kellie Flaherty ’12, Physician Assistant program, Univ. of Arkansas
- Kayla Nicole Arnold ’11, pharmacy school, Medical College of Virginia
- Zaneta Tutuh ‘08 Howard University Dental School
- Will Wadlington ’08, graduate school, plant genomics, Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- Adam Coe, ’06, Eastern Virginia Medical School.
- January Haile, ’04, graduate school, biochemistry, Virginia Tech.
- Paul Holland, ’04, Ph.D. program, biochemistry, Wake Forest University.
- Lindsay McKnight, ’04, medical school, East Tennessee State University.
- Amanda Haga, ’04, pharmacy school, Medical College of Virginia.
- Stacie Woolard, ’04, Ph.D. program in immunology, East Tennessee State University.
- Cathy Kelton, ’03, graduate school, microbiology, Texas A&M.
- Caryn Louise Wachenfeld, ’03, Knoxville Zoo, Knoxville, Tenn.
- Jamie Wallen, ’03, Ph.D. program, biochemistry, Wake Forest University.
Some earlier successful graduates include:
- Ann Sluder, ’81, research biochemist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Ph.D., Duke University.
- Karl Kranz, ’77, general curator, The Philadelphia Zoological Garden. M.S., George Mason University.
- William B. Looney, ’44, cancer research specialist, University of Virginia. Ph.D., Cambridge University; M.D., Medical College of Virginia.