Program Requirements

Students who complete the major requirements for a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degree in biology will develop an understanding of living matter and awareness of the complexity of the interactions of the natural world. Students will be prepared to enter graduate or professional programs in biology or healthcare professions, to teach biology in middle or high schools, or to enter careers related to the biological sciences.

Major Requirements (BA)

Course descriptions for all BIOL courses are available at the bottom of this page.

Prerequisites and supporting courses:
  • General Chemistry I and II (CHEM 1150 and 1160, 8 sh)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 2310, 4 sh) or Surveys of Organic and Biochemistry (CHEM 1021 and 1031, 4 sh)
36 semester hours (sh) of major courses:
  • Required introductory biology courses (12 sh) — BIOL 1250, 1260 1270, 1280
  • Either BIOL 3210 or 3230 (4 sh)
  • Choose one from BIOL 3150, 3180, or 3190 (4 sh)
  • Upper division biology electives (16 sh) — Choose from courses numbered BIOL 2100 or above, which can include up to 4 sh of internship and/or independent study

Major Requirements (BS)

Course descriptions for all BIOL courses are available at the bottom of this page.

Prerequisites and supporting courses:
  • General Chemistry I and II (CHEM 1150 and 1160, 8 sh)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 2310, 4 sh)
44 semester hours (sh) of major courses:
  • Required introductory biology courses (12 sh) — BIOL 1250, 1260 1270, 1280
  • Either BIOL 3210 or 3230 (4 sh)
  • Choose one from BIOL 3150, 3180, or 3190 (4 sh)
  • Upper division biology electives (24 sh) — Choose from courses numbered BIOL 2100 or above, which must include up to 4 sh of internship and/or directed/honors research


  • No more than a total of 8 sh of BIOL 2100 (topics) or BIOL 4020 (seminar) can apply to a biology major.
  • All biology majors must pass a comprehensive exam (BIOL 4901) prior to graduation.
  • You can review the requirements for the Biology Honors Program, a challenging course program that will prepare you for graduate or professional school.

Minor Requirements

26 semester hours (sh)
  • Required core courses (12 sh): BIOL 1250, 1260, 1270, 1280
  • Elective courses (14 sh): Any biology courses numbered 2100 or above

Course Descriptions

Click on the links below for course descriptions of all biology courses. For a complete list of all North Park's programs and course offerings, review the academic catalog.

BIOL 1160 – Microbes and Society
This course will focus on the importance of microbes in our world. Their role in disease, decomposition, biotechnology and products for health will be emphasized. The laboratory will concentrate on microbial identification, role in food production and spoilage, and problem solving ability.

BIOL 1180 – Introduction to Environmental Science
Survey of fundamental ecological principles supporting human society, Examination of the effect human beings have on the earth's support system and the other living things with which humans share the earth. The role of values and ethical implications of environmental decision-making. Field trips to a variety of urban support systems: water purification, waste treatment, solid waste management. Lab included.

BIOL 1250 – Introduction to Human Anatomy
Includes structure and organization of human organ systems emphasizing skeletal, muscular, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous, and urogenital systems. Lab included. It is recommened that the student complete one year of high school laboratory science.

BIOL 1260 – Introduction to Cell Biology
Includes cell systems, cell cycles, cell function, energy relationships and metabolic systems, biological control systems, protein synthesis, and genetics. Lab included. It is recommended that the student complete one year of high school laboratory science.

BIOL 1270 – Introduction to Zoology
Survey of selected invertebrate and vertebrate types. Relationships of organisms with each other and with their environment. Lab included.

BIOL 1280 – Introduction to Botany
Survey of the plant kingdom from algae to the flowering plants. Basic life processes including photo responses, cellular and plant systems development, reproductive cycles, flowering and fruiting responses. Environmental succession and plant climax communities. Lab included.

BIOL 2100 – Topics in Biology
Selected topics in biology offered on a rotating basis. Example topics: Phylogenetic Theory, Topics in Physiology, Endocrinology, Virology, Medical Parasitology, Advanced Human Anatomy. Lab included with some topics. Some topics will have prerequisites (see annual class schedule).

BIOL 2110 – Economic Botany
Influence of plants on human, economic, social, and political history, and the plants people have chosen to protect and cultivate. Numerous field trips include plant production facilities, bakery, commercial greenhouse, apple orchard, farm, and meetings with resource persons working with cultivated plants. Two one-night field trips and weekly lab included.

BIOL 2115 – Prairie and Ranch Resources
A two-week summer field-based course taking place on the prairies of central South Dakota. Factors forming and affecting native tall and mid-grass prairie will be examined. The impact of modern row crop and grazing animal agriculture upon prairie resources will be evaluated. Each student will participate in a field ecology assessment of water quality, prairie dog colony, or nesting bird habitat quality. A course trip fee over and above tuition will be assessed. Instructor consent is required.

BIOL 2120 – Ecology of the Boreal Forest
A two-week summer wilderness canoe trip to the Canadian Province of Ontario and its Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. Students will fly by floatplane to an interior lake and wilderness camp, canoe 8 days, and travel over 40 miles to be picked up by vehicle at the conclusion of the trip. Forces of fire ecology, environmental factors, indigenous culture, park management, and the impact of modern culture upon the Boreal Forest will be examined and experienced. A course trip fee of $1500 will be assessed. Students need a valid passport. Instructor consent required.

BIOL 2125 – Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica
Field-based course examining the forces affecting living species in Costa Rica. After a series of weekly on-campus meetings to review basic ecology and human culture of Costa Rica, students will travel during spring break for an 8-day field trip to Costa Rica. Traveling by motor coach and boat, the course will examine high altitude volcanic effects, mountain tropical forest habitat, and low-land tropical forest along the Pacific Ocean in southwest Costa Rica. A course trip fee over and above tuition will be assessed, valid passport required. Instructor consent is required.

BIOL 2130 – Ecology of Iceland
A field based course exploring the forces affecting living species in Iceland. This course is offered during the summer session [May term]. An initial series of on-campus sessions provides preparation for a two week trip to Iceland. The trip will explore areas including the geothermal areas, glaciers, and coastal regions of Iceland. Travel by motor coach will follow the ring road, visiting all major regions of the island. Emphasis will be given to factors such as physical factors of the environment and island biogeography. Expected elements include a whale watching expedition and a visit to a puffin breeding colony. Environmental issues including international fishing, impact of geothermal and hydroelectric energy development, and population genetics will be discussed as they relate to Icelandic and global concerns. A course trip fee over and above tuition will be assessed. Student will need a valid passport. The course may be offered in conjunction with a 2 semester hour Topics in Physics course. Instructor consent is required.

BIOL 2155 – Culture and Ecology of Asia
The course is designed to provide students an experiential learning opportunity about the ecology and culture and their interaction in a selected country of Asia. Special focus will be placed on how culture developed in adaptation to the local ecosystem and the environmental issues that the local population currently faces. Interaction with local scholars, experts, and students will provide perspectives. Participation in a trip to a designated country before the semester is required. During the trip, students are required to participate in observation, discussions and related activities.

BIOL 2910 – Microbiology
Selected aspects of morphology, classification, physiology, cultivation, and staining of microorganisms; relation of microorganisms to sanitation, agriculture, and industry. Disease production by microorganisms and the role of the immune system in resistance mechanisms. Lab included.

BIOL 2930 – Advanced Human Physiology
Structure and function of the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, muscular, digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems of the body. Lab included.

BIOL 2950 – Medical Parasitology
This course emphasizes the geography, life cycles, clinical presentations and impact of parasitic diseases on global health. Protozoans, nematodes, trematodes, cestodes and arthropods will be covered. Students should have completed human anatomy and microbiology prior to this course.

BIOL 3010 – Ethics in Biology
This course will focus on how we make ethical decisions in the field of biology. It will be team taught by members of the biology department, and topics will focus on the areas of expertise of instructors (e.g. genetic technologies, medical research/treatment, stewardship of environmental resources, etc.). Coursework will rely on discussion and reflection on these topics using several fields of ethical thought learned in the beginning of the course. A science background is not required, but such knowledge will be helpful for in-depth analysis. Literature research and analysis of a real-world situation will culminate in a final paper and presentation. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Cornerstone Seminar and a WI designated courses, and instructor's consent (Consent based on academic qualifications, applicability, graduation needs, etc.).

BIOL 3140 – Histology
Micro-anatomy of vertebrate tissues with emphasis on mammals. Lab included.

BIOL 3150 – Biodiversity and Evolution
This course examines the efforts to understand biological origins and diversity. Patterns and principles of biodiversity and the significance of diversity will be considered. Emphasis will be placed on the principles and process of evolution rather than on the products of evolution. The class will include lecture, discussion, and workshop elements.

BIOL 3160 – Exercise Physiology
Study of human anatomy and physiology with emphasis on neuromuscular and cardiorespiratory systems, stressing the effects of exercise on those systems. Lab included. Cross-listed with EXS 3160.

BIOL 3170 – Native Wildflowers, Trees and Shrubs of The Great Lakes Region
A survey of the native spring wildflowers, common trees and shrubs of the Great Lakes Region. Particular attention will be given to the use of taxonomic keys and filed guides in field identification as well as information on the general ecology of each species. Weekly field trips to local and regional forest preserves, natural areas and a weekend field trip to southern Illinois will be required. Lab included.

BIOL 3180 – Ecology
Study of living and non-living factors in biotic communities and their interaction in controlling the structure and development of various ecosystems. Principles of succession, population dynamics, and conservation. Lab included.

BIOL 3190 – Ethology (Animal Behavior)
An introduction to the study of ethology (animal behavior) with emphasis on the development of behavioral patterns, orientation, maintenance behavior, and social behavior. Three supplemental field trips per term. Lab included.

BIOL 3200 – Natural History of the Vertebrates
This course will focus on the identification, habitat and natural history, and life history of vertebrates. Biodiversity and strategies for survival are central themes. Fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals will be included with an emphasis on the vertebrates of North America.

BIOL 3210 – Genetics
An introduction to Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance patterns as well as molecular genetics and biotechnology. The laboratory includes fruit fly genetics and standard DNA cloning techniques.

BIOL 3230 – Molecular Biology
A study of genes and gene regulation of living matter at the molecular level. Particular attention will be given to modern biotechnology, genomics, and gene functions.

BIOL 3510 – Embryology
Germ cell formation, fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, and organogenesis in vertebrates. Extra-embryonic membranes and their functions. Study of the frog, the chick, and the pig. Lab included.

BIOL 3530 – Neuroscience Systems
Topics included but not limited to neuroanatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems, and the neural networks of motor/sensory pathways, special senses, movement, language, emotion, and memory. Relevant diseases and conditions corresponding to the topics covered will also be discussed. Laboratory included during the lecture meeting times.

BIOL 3610 – Medical Microbiology
Identification of pathogenic organisms. A study of infectious diseases caused by these organisms. A study of the major antimicrobial agents used for the treatment of the common microbial diseases. Interpretation of laboratory tests used to identify pathogenic organisms. Lab included.

BIOL 3620 – Immunology
A detailed study of the immune system, stressing its role in protecting humans from the pathogenic microbes. The problems associated with hypersensitivity, immunodeficiency, and autoimmunity will be covered. The basis of clinically important immunological tests used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases will be presented. Lab included.

BIOL 3790 – Advanced Topics in Botany
Advanced topics in botany, taught at the Morton Arboretum through the ACCA Botany Consortium. Topics include medical botany, plant-soil associations, fungi, horticulture, woody plants of the Western Great Lakes Region and plant-animal associations. Students must provide their own transportation to the Arboretum. Lab included.

BIOL 3890 – Marine and Aquatic Biology
Advanced topics in marine and aquatic biology. May include extended field trips using the research facilities of the Shedd Aquarium. Topics with field trips may have enrollment restrictions and require special application and approval. Extended field trips will incur additional expense. Topics may include: introduction to marine biology and field research in Bahamian reptiles. Some topics may require additional prerequisites or instructor approval. Repeatable. Taught at Shedd Aquarium. Lab included.

BIOL 4000 – Departmental Honors in Biology
Honors Independent Study in Biology. Lab included.

BIOL 4020 – ACCA Seminar
Discussion of current topics in selected areas of biological research. Held at various ACCA (Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area) Institutions. These seminars are coordinated by professors from member schools and utilize research specialists form the Chicago area as speakers. Student must be of third or fourth year standing.

BIOL 4901 – Biology Comprehensive Exam
Comprehensive examination of major requirements.

BIOL 4930 – Directed Research in Biology
This course is open to Biology majors with at least a GPA of 2.5 in at least 20 semester hours of Biology taken at North Park. Students will work under the direction of a faculty mentor on a novel research project. Permission of the faculty mentor and the departmental chairman is required prior to enrollment in this course. A maximum of 4 semester hours may be taken.

BIOL 4950 – AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies
Courses and field work at the Au Sable Institute in Michigan. Course topics include Land Resources, Natural Resources, Ethnobotany and Ecological Agriculture, Field Botany, Animal Ecology, Water Resources, Aquatic Biology, and Ecology of the Indian Tropics. Lab included. Departmental approval required.

BIOL 4970 – Internship in Biology
On-site apprenticeship in area business or organization. A maximum of 4 semester hours of credit can count toward the major. The student must have completed at least 16 sh of credit in biology and have a GPA of at least 3.00 in Biology. Departmental approval required. Please refer to the internship section for additional requirements. Lab included with some topics.

Program requirements
Johnson Center Achieves LEED Gold Status
Johnson Center Green Roof

Completed last year, the $45 million Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life was recently awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, which establishes criteria for the construction of sustainable buildings. This recognition confirms that North Park is able to provide the best environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors, while also minimizing waste, reducing toxins, lowering potential energy bills and operating costs, and achieving healthier indoor air quality. Learn more