Program Requirements

Students who complete the major requirements for a bachelor of arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degree in environmental science will develop an understanding of our natural world and how to live sustainably within it. Students will be prepared to pursue careers that involve animal observation, plant survey work, population analysis, plant restoration, education, and data and statistical analysis, or graduate work in conservation biology, ecological restoration, or ecological research.

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 and Organic Chemistry (CHEM 1150, 1160, 2310 or 1021 and 1031, 2510
  • BIOL 1260
  • PHIL 2910 (Environmental Ethics or Philosophy of Nature) or equivalent

36 semester hours (sh) of major courses:

  • BIOL 2270, 2280
  • BIOL 3180 (4 sh)
  • Upper division biology electives (22 sh) — Choose from BIOL 2100 (with consent) 2110, 2125, 2140, 2155, 3150, 3170, 3190, 3200, 3210, 3230, 3790, 3890, 4950, PHEN 1070
  • BIOL 4901 - Comprehensive Exam

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 and Organic Chemistry (CHEM 1150, 1160, 2310, and 2510; 12 sh)
  • BIOL 1260
  • PHIL 2910 (Environmental Ethics or Philosophy of Nature) or equivalent

44 semester hours (sh) of major courses:

  • BIOL 2270, 2280
  • BIOL 3180 (4 sh)
  • Upper division biology credit (32sh) — BIOL 2100 (with consent), 2110 2125, 2140, 2155, 3150, 3170, 3190, 3200, 3790, 3890, 4950, 4970; PHEN 1070; 4sh of BIOL 4930 or 4970 are required.
  • Biol 4901 - Comprehensive Exam

Course Descriptions

Click on the links below for course descriptions of all chemistry 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 with cadaver demonstrations. 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 production 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 covered on a rotating basis. 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. Overnight field trip(s) and weekly lab included.

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 is required. Instructor consent is required.

BIOL 2140 – Field Studies in Biology
Experiential trip courses offered on a rotating basis. Past examples include Ecology of the Boreal Forest, Prairie and Ranch Resources, and Ecology of Iceland. Variable fees over and above tuition will be assessed to cover the cost of travel. Travel documents such as passport/visa may be 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. This course includes a mandatory trip. During the trip, students are required to participate in observation, discussions and related activities. A course trip fee over and above tuition will be assessed. Valid passport is required.

BIOL 2270 – Introduction to Zoology
Survey of major animal phyla. Relationships between structure and function. Emphasis on the diversity of animal forms. Relationships of organisms with each other and with their environment. Lab included. Writing research course.

BIOL 2280 – Introduction to Botany
Survey of the plant kingdom and related organizsms from algae to flowering plants. Identification of campus Vascular plants. Basic life processes including photosynthesis, plant development, reproductive cycles, flowering and fruiting responses, and the ecological importance and conservation of plants. A WR emphasis with research term paper, experimental lab write-up and career development components. Lab included.

BIOL 2910 – Microbiology
Selected aspects of bacteria, viral and eukaryotic parasite morphology, identification, physiology, and lifecycles, with a focus on how microbes affect human health, society and the environment. Includes an overview of the immune system's function, dysfunction, and modulation. Lab included.

BIOL 2930 – Advanced Human Physiology
Structure and function of the nervous, circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, muscular, digestive, urinary, 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.

BIOL 3010 – Ethics in Biology
An overview of how we make ethical decisions in the field of biology. Coursework includes overviews of several ethical frameworks, but focuses on discussing and writing about of biological topics within the expertise of the Biology faculty (e.g. genetic technologies, medical research and treatment, stewardship of environmental resources, etc). A science background is not required, but will be helpful for in-depth analysis. Student literature research and analysis of a real-world situation will culminate in a final paper and presentation. Does not count toward Biology department major/minor credit.

BIOL 3050 – Biotechnology
This course provides broad biotechnology skills and principles as well as their applications in a variety of research, clinical and industrial areas. Topics covered include lectrophoresis, chromatography, macromolecule purification, cloning, basic genetic engineering, DNA and protein manipulation, purification/separation techniques, quantitative PCR and computational analyses. This course emphasizes basic laboratory skills essential for biotech industry employment and advanced research skills. Topics and laboratories will be constantly updated to introduce the new development of the field.

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 field 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. Supplemental overnight trips included. 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. Supplemental overnight field trips included. 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. Lab included.

BIOL 3210 – Genetics
An introduction to Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance patterns as well as molecular genetics and biotechnology. Lab included.

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

BIOL 3290 – Bioinformatics
The completion of genome projects for many species resulted in the establishment of genome and other related databases. A new biology subject, bioinformatics, has been developed to study genetics and other biological sciences by using these databases and computational analytical tools. It is used in research and industrial development from agriculture to medicine. This course is designed for students to understand the basic concept of biological databases as well as to acquire hands-on learning experience in these modern tools.

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
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
Course includes identification of a wide variety of pathogenic organisms, study of infectious diseases and treatments, and interpretation of laboratory tests used to identify etiological agents. Lab included.

BIOL 3620 – Immunology
A study of the immune system, stressing its role in protecting humans from the pathogenic microbes, by naturally and through medical intervention. Includes dysfunction associated with hypersensitivity, immunodeficiency, and autoimmunity. Clinically important immunological tests used in diagnostics will be presented. Lab included.

BIOL 3790 – Advanced Topics in Biology
Select advanced topics in biology offered on a rotating basis. Course may be taught offsite (for example at the Morton Aboretum). Some prerequisites, laboratory, or instructor's consent may be required. Multiple topics allow for course repeatability.

BIOL 3890 – Marine and Aquatic Biology
Overview of basic principles in marine biology with focus on Caribbean marine systems. Lab taught as extended field trip. A course fee over and above tuition will be assessed. Valid passport is required. Instructor consent is required.

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 who have completed 20 sh of BIOL courses at North Park with at least a GPA of 3.0 in NPU Biology prerequisite, supporting, and required courses. Students will work under the direction of a faculty mentor on a novel research project culminating in a formal presentation. Permission of the faculty mentor and the department is required prior to enrollment in this course. A maximum of 4 sh may be taken. Requires instructors consent for enrollment.

BIOL 4950 – AuSable Institute of Environmental Studies
Courses and field work at the Au Sable Institute (offsite). 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. Multiple topics allow for course repeatability. Approval of the North Park Au Sable representative is required. Lab included.

BIOL 4970 – Internship in Biology
On-site apprenticeship at an approved 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 NPU Biology prequisite, supporting, and required courses. 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