Areas of Biology Study Furman University

When you're designing a curriculum that fits your interests, you might find these areas of study helpful. Sustainability and neuroscience are majors, but the other areas are offered to help students find courses related to their area of interest.

  • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Anatomy and physiology are central to the field of biology. For most of recorded history, humans have been interested in learning about the structure and function of living things. These integrative disciplines encompass questions about the structures and functions of organisms at levels of organization ranging from molecules and cells to populations and communities. When you study anatomy and physiology, you'll learn about the components of living things, how they survive and reproduce, and the way they interact with each other and the environment. Not only do anatomy and physiology provide exciting insights into the marvels of life, they have enormous practical applications in the understanding of health and disease.

      Courses:

      BIO 300: Cell Biology
      BIO 320: Animal Physiology
      BIO 321: Plant Physiology
      BIO 322: Human Physiology
      BIO 401: Applied Plant Science
      BIO 420: Comparative Anatomy and Embryology
      BIO 421: Invertebrate Zoology
      BIO 423: Marine Biology (Study Away)
      BIO 425: Developmental Biology
      BIO 426: Human Anatomical Systems
      BIO 450: Microanatomy
      BIO 460: Neurobiology
      BIO 470: Immunology
      BIO 475: Nutrition

  • Ecology
    • Ecology is the scientific study of how organisms interact with their environment, and how these interactions determine the abundance of organisms and distribution of organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Since we depend on intact, diverse, and functional ecosystems for clean air, clean water, food, and inspiration, it's critically important to understand these relationships. It's our interaction with the environment that determines the abundance and distribution of our own population. Over the last 150 years, the seven-fold increase in the human population has driven many species to extinction and has caused a significant reduction in the size, diversity, and stability of these critical ecosystems. Conservation biology focuses on maintaining and restoring populations, communities, and ecosystems threatened by human and natural disturbances, and the laws and policies that affect these efforts.

      Courses:

      BIO 250: Darwin and the Galápagos (MayX, Study Away)
      BIO 251: Introduction to Ethnobotany (MayX, Study Away)
      BIO 252: Oceans and Human Health (MayX, Study Away) 
      BIO 255: Insect Diversity (MayX)
      BIO 320: Animal Physiology
      BIO 321: Plant Physiology
      BIO 340: Ecology
      BIO 341: Tropical Ecology
      BIO 342: Field Studies in Tropical Ecology (Study Away)
      BIO 343: Environmental Systems
      BIO 344: African Ecology (Study Away)
      BIO 350: Infectious Disease Ecology (MayX)
      BIO 400: Field Botany
      BIO 401: Applied Plant Science
      BIO 402: Ethnobiology (Study Away)
      BIO 422: Field Zoology
      BIO 423: Marine Biology (Study Away)
      BIO 424: Biology of the Andes & Galápagos (Study Away)
      BIO 430: Conservation Biology
      BIO 432: Field Studies in Biology
      BIO 440: Population Genetics and Evolution

  • Genetics
    • Genetics is the study of heredity and variation. Genetic principles are applied in just about all other disciplines of biology, which is why we require you to take genetics early in your biology major. A background in genetics will prepare you for many different career fields like research on gene testing, gene therapy, and genetic modified foods and seeds, clinical geneticist, genetic counseling, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, bioinformatics, wildlife management, and conservation biology.

      Courses:

      BIO 221: Genetics
      BIO 302: Molecular Genetics
      BIO 308: Molecular Biotechniques (MayX)
      BIO 440: Population Genetics and Evolution
      BIO 442: Human Genetics
      BIO 445: Genomics and Bioinformatics

  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
    • Interactions among proteins and other biological molecules are central to the function of all cells. When you study this field, you'll explore these intricate exchanges to understand how cells grow, divide, communicate with one another, move, sense their external environment, and even initiate their own death. We study these diverse cell functions in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells to understand various diseases and identify potential new drug targets. By studying this area, you can pursue medical school or a career in biomedical research, biotechnology or pharmaceuticals.

      Courses:

      BIO 300: Cell Biology
      BIO 301: Microbiology
      BIO 302: Molecular Genetics
      BIO 303: Biochemistry of the Cell
      BIO 308: Molecular Biotechniques (MayX)
      BIO 425: Developmental Biology
      BIO 444: Pharmacology and Toxicology
      BIO 455: Neurochemistry
      BIO 460: Neurobiology
      BIO 470: Immunology

  • Neuroscience
    • For its size, the human brain is likely the most complex object in the known universe. How a three pound piece of tissue can give rise to practically all the things that qualify us as unique persons is a question that will occupy us for quite some time. Something like this is not easy to study and that's why we need a variety of disciplines to even begin to adequately investigate it—from biochemistry and cell biology to anatomy and behavior. In fact, neuroscience is a separate interdisciplinary major at Furman. Biology is a major component of it.

      As a neuroscience graduate, you might contribute as a laboratory technician at research universities or pharmaceutical firms. But it's also a good first step toward most health-related careers, such as human and veterinary medicine, pharmacology, clinical psychology, nursing, and public health. It will also prepares you for further education if you decide you want to pursue independent neuroscience research in academics, government, or industry.

      Courses:

      BIO 300: Cell Biology
      BIO 302: Molecular Genetics
      BIO 303: Biochemistry of the Cell
      BIO 320: Animal Physiology
      BIO 322: Human Physiology
      BIO 420: Comparative Anatomy and Embryology
      BIO 425: Developmental Biology
      BIO 426: Human Anatomical Systems
      BIO 444: Pharmacology and Toxicology
      BIO 450: Microanatomy
      BIO 455: Neurochemistry
      BIO 460: Neurobiology
      BIO 470: Immunology

  • Plant Sciences
    • Plants are essential to life on earth. They control atmospheric chemistry, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They trap the energy of sunlight and store it as sugars and starches that form the basis of all food-chains on earth. They cover the land, preventing erosion and providing habitat for animals. We use plants directly, as sources of food, fiber, building materials, pharmaceuticals, and ornamental beauty. When you study plant sciences, you'll learn about plants at all levels, from their genes and cell to their function as organisms and their role in ecosystems. Both natural and agricultural systems are included in the plant sciences. Our plant science courses have extensive botanical content, but topics in the plant sciences are also covered in many other biology classes.

      Courses:

      BIO 240: Regional Agricultural Science (Study Away)
      BIO 251: Introduction to Ethnobotany (MayX, Study Away)
      BIO 321: Plant Physiology
      BIO 340: Ecology
      BIO 341: Tropical Ecology
      BIO 342: Field Studies in Tropical Ecology (Study Away)
      BIO 343: Environmental Systems
      BIO 344: African Ecology
      BIO 400: Field Botany
      BIO 401: Applied Plant Science
      BIO 402: Ethnobiology
      BIO 430: Natural Resource Management

  • Pre-Health
    • If you're interested in a career in the health sciences, a biology degree is the most natural foundation. The courses we offer will help you prepare for a variety of health careers including human or veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, nursing, occupational or physical therapy, and public health. A number of our courses are either highly recommended or required for entry into medical, dental, veterinary and pharmacy schools. We also help prepare students for careers in the health sciences by offering numerous opportunities to gain practical field experience in the through research and internship opportunities.

      Courses:

      BIO 221: Genetics
      BIO 252: Oceans and Human Health (MayX)
      BIO 300: Cell Biology
      BIO 301: Microbiology
      BIO 302: Molecular Genetics
      BIO 303: Biochemistry of the Cell
      BIO 308: Molecular Biotechniques (MayX)
      BIO 320: Animal Physiology
      BIO 322: Human Physiology
      BIO 350: Infectious Disease Ecology (MayX)
      BIO 360: Infectious Diseases in Movies: Fact or Fiction (MayX)
      BIO 420: Comparative Anatomy and Embryology
      BIO 425: Developmental Biology
      BIO 426: Human Anatomical Systems
      BIO 442: Human Genetics
      BIO 444: Pharmacology and Toxicology
      BIO 445: Genomics and Bioinformatics
      BIO 450: Microanatomy
      BIO 455: Neurochemistry
      BIO 460: Neurobiology
      BIO 470: Immunology
      BIO 475: Nutrition

  • Sustainability
    • When you study this multi-disciplinary field, you'll develop a deeper and more fundamental understanding of the critical linkages between environmental, human, and social systems at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. A keystone of sustainable social-ecological systems is the biological diversity that provides the framework of Earth's support system. We'll help you gain a better understanding of the vulnerability and resilience of biological systems at genetic, species, and ecosystem scales in response to social and environmental changes, which is essential to sustainability science. Furman is one of the few liberal arts colleges with an undergraduate major in sustainability. You can pursue this major, or focus on the biological aspects with a biology degree.

      Courses:

      BIO 240: Regional Agricultural Science
      BIO 250: Darwin and the Galapagos (MayX, study away)
      BIO 251: Introduction to Ethnobotany (MayX, study away)
      BIO 255: Insect Diversity (MayX)
      BIO 340: Ecology
      BIO 341: Tropical Ecology
      BIO 342: Field Studies in Tropical Ecology (study away)
      BIO 343: Environmental Systems
      BIO 344: African Ecology (study away)
      BIO 350: Infectious Disease Ecology (MayX)
      BIO 400: Field Botany
      BIO 401: Applied Plant Science
      BIO 402: Ethnobiology (study away)
      BIO 422: Field Zoology
      BIO 423: Marine Biology (study away)
      BIO 424: Biology of the Andes & Galapagos (study away)
      BIO 430: Conservation Biology
      BIO 432: Field Studies in Biology
      BIO 440: Population Genetics and Evolution

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