Biology (B.S.), Ecology and Conservation Biology Emphasis

Southwestern Adventist University offers two Biology degrees, the Bachelor’s of Science (BS) and the Bachelor’s of Arts (BA). Typically, students wishing to use their biology degree as a launching point toward professional school (medical, dental, physician’s assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.,) take the BS degree because it includes required chemistry classes that are prerequisites for professional school. The B.S. degree allows a choice between two areas of emphasis: Biomedical emphasis or Ecology and Conservation Biology emphasis. 

The need for passionate and skilled ecologists and conservation biologists is increasing as human populations continue to grow, expand, and consume Earth’s natural resources. Ecologists study whole organisms and the living and nonliving things around them. Conservation biologists are primarily concerned with preserving biodiversity using applied science. Southwestern Adventist University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Conservation Biology offers students the practical and theoretical training necessary for acquiring a job in this highly competitive field. Individuals who want to help protect declining global biodiversity and who enjoy working with animals and in the field will enjoy this hands-on program. Ecology and Conservation Biology students will have the opportunity to take courses in herpetology, ichthyology, ornithology, mammalogy, botany, and wildlife management. In addition, students will receive hands-on training in field sampling techniques such as plant identification, soil analysis, ocean sampling, electrofishing, reptile handling, bird banding, and mammal camera trapping, just to name a few. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to explore a diverse array of ecosystems on multiday field trips, meet professional field scientists, and work alongside faculty on valuable research projects.

Our department prepares students to competently sit admissions tests for these professions and our graduates have gone on to prestigious health professional schools as well as graduate schools. Students in the biology department are presented with rare leadership opportunities through the Biology Club and the potential to work with professors as laboratory and research assistants. Biology majors receive research experience which can include cancer research, molecular biology applications, microbiological investigation, plant studies, animal ecology and conservation, or dinosaur bone analysis, among other things, depending on the student’s individual interests. 

A degree in Biology with an Ecology and Conservation Biology Emphasis can prepare students to become a Fish/Wildlife Technician, Fish/Wildlife Biologist, Naturalist, Forester, Park Ranger, Game Warden, Natural Resource Manager, Environmental Scientist, Wildlife and Conservation Outreach/Advocacy Specialist, Wildlife Consultant, Environmental Policy Analyst, Environmental Economist, Educator, Zookeeper, Zoo/Museum Curator, Animal Trainer, or Aquarist.

The career potential for graduates with a Biology degree is very large. If a student does not wish to pursue further education after the college degree, there are jobs available as technical assistants for biotech, academic, or government positions. Alternatively, when combined with a teaching certificate, biology graduates are prepared to teach high school biology. Another career option for biology graduates is to pursue further education in the form of professional or graduate school. This is the path most students choose. Professional schools can be costly but offer high salaries upon completion whereas Ph.D. level graduate school is usually free including tuition and living stipends. A Ph.D. offers varied salaries upon completion. 

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists, Median Pay: $59,680/year; Job Outlook (next 10 years): 4% growth (slower than average). Animal Care and Service Workers, Median Pay: $21,260; Job Outlook (next 10 years): 11% (faster than average). Conservation Scientists and Foresters. Median Pay: $60,220/year; Job Outlook (next 10 years): 7% (as fast as average). Environmental Scientists, Median Pay: $67,460; Job Outlook (next 10 years): 11% (faster than average).

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ (visited March 1, 2017).

To view general education requirements for this major please visit catalog.swau.edu/Undergraduate/2017-2018.

BIOL 111, 112 General Biology.............................................8

BIOL 180 Biology Freshman Seminar.....................................1

BIOL 230 Ecology..................................................................4

BIOL 320 Genetics.................................................................4

BIOL 419 Philosophy of Science.............................................3

BIOL 328 Biostatistics............................................................3

BIOL 345 Environment & Mankind..........................................4

BIOL 360 Plant Biology...........................................................4

BIOL 443 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy............................4

BIOL 475 Fisheries and Wildlife Management..........................4

BIOL  ***  Botany Elective........................................................4

BIOL  ***  Ecology Elective.......................................................4

BIOL  ***  Zoology Elective (x2)................................................4

TOTAL: 36

Required Cognates:

CHEM 111 General Chemistry I........................................... 4

CHEM 112 General Chemistry II.......................................... 4

COMM 111 Speech.............................................................. 3

CSIS 102 Microcomputer Literacy and Applications or

CSIS Computer Science Elective........................................ 1-3

MATH 241 Introduction to Probability & Statistics............... 3

TOTAL: 15-17

* **In consultation with the advisor, BIOL 480 Research in Biology, may
replace one of the above electives. BIOL 480 is a one credit hour course.
In order to count as an elective, it must be repeated three times and a
final presentation must be given.

First Year

First Semester

BIOL 111—General Biology I...................................................4

CHEM 111—General Chemistry I.............................................4

BIOL 180—Biology Research Seminar......................................1

UNIV 110—Principles of Active Learning...............................1

ENGL 121—Freshman Composition.........................................3

MATH 121—Precalculus...........................................................3

TOTAL:​ 16

Second Semester

BIOL 112—General Biology II.................................................4

CHEM 112—General Chemistry II...........................................4

CSIS ELEC—Computer Science Elective..................................3

RELG ELEC—Religion Elective..................................................3

KINT 111—Physical Fitness.....................................................1

TOTAL:​ 15

Second Year

BIOL 230—General Ecology.....................................................4

CHEM 231—Organic Chemistry I............................................4

ENGL 220—Research & Professional Writing........................3

COMM 111—Speech.................................................................3

KINA ELEC—Kinesiology Activity Elective.................................3

TOTAL:​ 15

BIOL 280—Biology Research Statistics..................................1

CHEM 232—Organic Chemistry II..............................................4

BIOL 320—Genetics..................................................................4

ELEC—Social/Beh Science Elective...........................................3

RELG ELEC—Religion Elective....................................................3

TOTAL:​ 15

Third Year

BIOL 340—Cell & Molecular Biology I.....................................4

BIOL 380—Research Proposal Development..........................1

CHEM 431—Biochemistry I......................................................3

PHYS 121—General Physics......................................................4

RELG ELEC—Religion Elective...................................................3

TOTAL:​ 16

BIOL 480—Research in Biology..............................................1

BIOL ELEC—Biology Elective (U.D.).........................................4

CHEM 433—Biochemistry II....................................................3

PHYS 122—General Physics....................................................4

ELEC—Social/Beh Science Elective.........................................3

TOTAL:​ 15

Fourth Year

BIOL 480—Research in Biology...............................................1

BIOL ELEC—Biology Elective (U.D.)..........................................4

RELG ELEC—Religion Elective (U.D.)........................................3

HIST ELEC—History Elective......................................................3

KINA ELEC—Kinesiology Activity Elective.................................1

ELEC—Upper Division Elective.................................................4

TOTAL:​ 16

BIOL 419—Philosophy of Science ......................................3

BIOL 481—Senior Thesis ......................................................1

BIOL ELEC—Biology Elective (U.D.).....................................4

ENGL ELEC—Literature Elective............................................3

HIST ELEC—History Elective .................................................3

KINA ELEC—Kinesiology Activity Elective .......................1

TOTAL:​ 15