The Biology program in Alpine focuses on an organismal approach to the life sciences, emphasizing integrated ecological and co-evolutionary studies of plants and animals through field work in the Chihuahuan Desert region. It offers broad training in aspects of biology and prepares students for advanced specialty disciplines. In addition, students can also work toward either life science or composite science teaching certification, or toward an associate certification as a wildlife biologist as set forth by the Wildlife Society, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology. The Bachelor of Science can be tailored to field biologist, laboratory-focused biology, and various pre-health professions. The biology program advises for pre-medical, pre-dental, and other pre-health science disciplines. The composite science education track is designed to provide future teachers and educators a broad background in science, with a concentration in the biological sciences. The program also offers courses emphasizing non-game and small game organisms which meet the requirements for certification as a wildlife biologist as set forth by the Wildlife Society and lead to the professional B.S. degree in Biology. The department maintains one of the largest herbaria in Texas, highly regarded vertebrate animal and insect collections, modern greenhouses, and laboratories for microbiology and molecular biology.
The Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology at Rio Grande College is oriented towards an organismal and ecological approach to the life sciences, emphasizing ecological and evolutionary plant and animal interrelationships. The course work is designed to provide a broad training in most aspects of modern biology and will prepare students for almost any advanced specialty discipline. The curriculum is balanced between the scientific preparation to enter such fields as wildlife biology, environmental science, medicine, teaching and postgraduate work in biology as well as the liberal arts preparation of scientifically literate members of society who have the knowledge to contribute and compete in a rapidly changing world. The biology program offers students an opportunity to gain an appreciation of the biological world, to develop an inquisitive nature and to think scientifically.
Biology is available for students who want a basic background in the biological sciences. Courses required for this minor include 8 hours of freshman biology, genetics, cell biology, and an upper level biology lecture/lab elective of your choice. This flexibility allows students who want to get a sampling of botany, pre-health, microbiology, or zoology to get the biology experience to complement their degree. This is particularly beneficial to those interested in forensics science (Homeland and Criminal Justice majors), resource management (Natural Resource Management majors), pharmacy (Chemistry majors), or domestic animal work (Animal Science majors). Requirements for the Biology minor are as follows: Biol 1306/1106, 1307/1107, 3306, 4301, and 4 sch advance Biology (3000-4000).
Wildlife Biology Minor
A minor for Criminal Justice majors only is offered for those C.J. majors seeking employment or certification as game wardens or park rangers. This program is aimed at preparing the individual to be able to identify plants and animals in the field with emphasis placed on species protected by federal or state laws.
Biology Graduate Program
Students who are accepted into the graduate program in biology may choose from three plans. For Plan I, the degree may be obtained by completing 30 semester credit hours in biology, including the writing of a thesis; Plan II by completing 36 semester credit hours and a “mini thesis;” or Plan II), by completing 36 semester credit hours in biology. Plans I and II require a thesis defense presentation and comprehensive oral exam. For Plan III, both oral and written comprehensive exams are required. Plan III must be approved by the biology faculty. A “mini thesis” is usually a one-semester project. At the discretion of the student and the committee, the department will accept six semester credit hours of coursework in a department other than the major.
Alpine Program Coordinator
Dr. Chris Ritzi
RGC Program Coordinator
Dr. Dan Foley