Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Courses Offered

A list of regularly offered courses follows.

Please note the key for the following abbreviations: (A) Arts; (H) Humanities; (S) Social Sciences; (N) Natural Sciences with Laboratory; (LS) Language Studies requirement; (NSP) Natural Science in Perspective; (NW) Non-Western Cultures requirement; (W) Writing requirement.

110. Principles of Evolution, Ecology and Heredity. (N)

An introduction to Mendelian genetics, micro- and macro-evolutionary processes, the origin and diversification of life on earth and ecological patterns and processes at organismal, population, community and ecosystem levels. Offered every Spring. Fischer, Flinn, Lonsdorf, Mena-Ali, Olson

210. Biostatistics.

An introduction to descriptive and inferential statistics from the perspective of the life sciences. The emphasis will be on research design and on the use of graphical and computational methods in interpreting and communicating results. This course satisfies the statistics requirement in the Biology major curriculum. Prerequisite: BIO 110. Lonsdorf, Miller 

220. Principles of Physiology and Development. (N)

An integrated study of cells, whole organisms and the interactions between organisms and their environments. The physiological and anatomical solutions to the physical and chemical challenges faced by plants and animals. Mechanisms by which a single cell develops into a complex, multicellular organism in which groups of cells perform specialized tasks. Lecture topics integrated with a laboratory that emphasizes independent research projects. Prerequisite: BIO 110. Offered every Fall. Gotsch, Shelley, Thompson

230. Cell Biology. (N)

A study of life at the cellular level through investigation of the ultrastructure, molecular interactions and function of cell components, focusing primarily on eukaryotic cells. Topics will include: the physical and chemical principles governing biomolecules and their assembly, organelle function and maintenance, cellular communication, and the role of the cytoskeleton. Prerequisite: BIO 220. Co-requisite: CHM 112. Offered every Spring. Ismat, Roberts

240. Neuroscience. (N)

Principles of nervous system function from the molecular through the organ system level as illustrated by the vertebrates and invertebrates. Approximately one half of the course will cover basic cellular principles of nervous system organization, development and physiology. The remaining lectures will consider the role of functionally identified neural networks in behavior control. Prerequisite: BIO 220 or BFB/PSY 302. Offered every Spring. Same as BFB/PSY/SPM 240. Jinks

245. American Nature Essays. (BWR)

An exploration of the themes, structures, styles and significance of American nature essays. The purposes of the course are to become familiar with nature essays as a distinctive form of interdisciplinary literature, to see the natural world and our place in it through the voices and visions of the best nature essayists, and to develop the arts of perception, reflection and compelling writing. The course includes weekly field trips and workshops in addition to class discussions of essays by more than 20 writers. Prerequisites: BIO 110, ENV 114 or ENV 117 and permission of the instructor. Same as ENV 245. Sipe

250. Animal Behavior. (N) (BWR) 

An integrative approach to animal behavior from the perspectives of ethology, behavioral ecology and comparative psychology. The structure, function, development and evolution of behavioral adaptations including foraging and predation, communication, social organization and reproductive strategies. Observational and experimental research required. Prerequisites: BIO 110 and permission of the instructor. Corequisite: either BIO 210 or PSY 230. Offered every Fall. Same as BFB/PSY 250. Lonsdorf

261. Science Teaching Internship. 

This course will provide academic context and support as students teach science in a local elementary school classroom. Students will work in partnership with the classroom teacher to design engaging, age-appropriate, inquiry-based lesson plans that will be compatible with the School District of Lancaster’s designated science content. The course will focus on teaching technique, pedagogy, effective lesson planning, as well as larger issues associated with inclusive classrooms, urban education and inquiry-based approaches to science. Permission of the instructor required. Bechtel

305. Genetics. (N)

The study of the transmission, dynamics, and regulation of the genetic information. Topics will range from “classical” genetics (Mendel’s laws, gene interactions, population genetics), to molecular genetics (DNA mutation and repair, regulation of gene expression, epigenetics), to genomics, bioinformatics and applications (e.g. biotechnology, genetic testing). The laboratory component emphasizes the use of molecular methods in genetics. Prerequisite: BIO 230. Offered every Fall. Blair, Jenik

306. Developmental Biology. (N) (BWR)

An exploration of the developmental mechanisms that allow single cells to divide and differentiate into complex, multicellular organisms. The common processes that underlie development in animals will be examined through historical perspectives, model experimental organisms and current research and technologies. Laboratories will focus on experimental design using invertebrate and vertebrate developmental systems. Prerequisite: BIO 305 and permission of the instructor. Moore

310. Experimental Design in Biology. (BWR)

An exploration of the challenges and rewards of experimentation in biology. In this seminar, we will use case studies to illustrate the basic principles of experimental design, including hypothesis generation, assigning treatments, replication/pseudoreplication, confounded variables and statistical power. Case studies will be chosen to represent a wide range of sub-disciplines of biology, including biomedical research. Prerequisites: BIO 210, 220 and permission of the instructor. Fischer

313. Introduction to Genome Analysis. (N)

An introduction to bioinformatics theory and methods used to generate, annotate, and analyze genomic sequences. The laboratory portion of this course will involve extensive hands-on training to navigate databases and use various software packages for sequence analysis. Students will be expected to discuss and critique primary literature, and will design an independent project to be presented at the end of the semester. Prerequisites: BIO 305 and permission of the instructor. Blair

322. Microbiology. (N)

This course explores the principles of microbiology including microbial nutrition, metabolism, genetics, ecology, and pathogenicity. Although the emphasis is on Bacteria and Archaea, the course will also include discussion of the protozoa, fungi and viruses. Basic microbiological skills, including microscopy, staining, and techniques used in the isolation and identification of bacteria will be developed in the laboratory. Frielle

323. Ecological Concepts and Applications. (N) (BWR)

Interactions of organisms with their environment and how these interactions are influenced by human activities. Special emphasis is placed on principles of population, community and ecosystem ecology. Class exercises and discussions involve critical evaluation of current research and applications of ecological concepts to conservation and management. Most labs are field-oriented, including an overnight trip to the Poconos. Prerequisites: BIO 220 and permission of the instructor. Offered every Fall. Fischer, Olson

325. Marine Biology. (N) (BWR)

Application of ecological principles to marine environments. Structural and functional adaptations of marine organisms; and emphasis on the interactions of individuals, populations and communities with physical, chemical and geological processes in the ocean. Includes analysis of primary scientific literature, field and laboratory studies and individual research projects. Prerequisite: BIO 220 and permission of the instructor. Fields

326. Comparative Physiology. (N) (BWR)

Physiological adaptation of animals to the environment, focusing on respiratory, circulatory, digestive and musculoskeletal systems and on the effects of variation in oxygen, temperature and the availability of food and water. Prerequisites: BIO 220 and permission of the instructor. J. Thompson

328. Physical Biology. (N) (BWR)

Participants in the course will use the basic principles of fluid and solid mechanics, optics, vibration, and electromagnetic fields to analyze the morphology and function of organisms or parts of organisms. Topics will include vision, transparency, navigating and communicating with sound, circulatory systems, swimming and flying, and the mechanical properties of biomaterials, structures, and movement. Prerequisites: BIO 220 and permission of instructor. Corequisite: PHY111. Same as BFB 328. J. Thompson

330. Advanced Neurobiology. (N) (BWR)

Advanced issues in neuroscience will be explored from a comparative perspective in this lecture/seminar hybrid. The major sensory modalities will be studied—from stimulus transduction to perception—as models of neural processing. Current research in cellular, systems-level, integrative/behavioral and cognitive neuroscience will be emphasized. Laboratory includes an independent research project in neuroscience defined, proposed, pursued and disseminated by small research teams. Prerequisite: BIO/BFB 240 or BIO 230 and permission of the instructor. Same as BFB 330. Jinks

334. Metabolic Biochemistry. (N)

The course focuses on major metabolic pathways and their regulation, with emphasis on flux of metabolites and energy throughout the cell. Topics also include integration of metabolic processes; protein synthesis, modification and degradation; and diseases of metabolism. Presentation and discussion of current primary literature is a key component of the course. The laboratory includes the use of proteomics techniques to examine effects of abiotic stresses on metabolic processes. Prerequisites: BIO 230, CHM 211 and permission of the instructor. Offered every Spring. Fields

336. Evolution. (N)

As the unifying principle of biology, evolution integrates levels of biological organization, with a focus on biological changes over time and the evidence of the shared evolutionary history of all living things. Topics include speciation; extinction; population processes of selection and adaptation, genomics and the molecular basis of evolution; evolutionary developmental biology; sexual selection; life history evolution; and the application of evolution to medicine. Prerequisite: BIO 110 and permission of the instructor. Ardia

337. Behavioral Ecology. (BWR)

Behavioral ecology is an integrative discipline that synthesizes ecology, evolution and physiology into the study of the origin and persistence of behaviors. We will study the fitness consequences of behavior, with particular attention to the study of adaptation, sexual selection, evolutionary tradeoffs and constraints and life histories. We will examine the interplay between proximate control and ultimate consequences of behavior. The course will focus heavily on peer-reviewed literature. Prerequisite: Bio 110 and permission of instructor. Same as BFB 337. Ardia

338. Plain People and Modern Medicine.

This seminar will examine the effects of genetic diseases upon the health of Amish and Mennonite (Plain) children and the effects of modern health care on the natural history of these diseases. Lectures will highlight the importance of Plain communities to medical genetics and provide an overview of our current understanding of the genetic causes of disease. Case studies will be used to examine the relationships between gene mutations and environmental conditions that determine pathophysiology. Prerequisites: BIO 305 and permission of the instructor. Offered every Spring. Morton, Puffenberger, Strauss

340. Plant Ecology. (N) (BWR)

An exploration of plant ecology, organized by four applied themes: global atmospheric change, air pollution and acid deposition, deer-forest interactions, and invasive species. Classes will involve lectures, primary literature discussions, field trip discussions, and seminars by invited speakers. The laboratory will include research projects and field trips. Prerequisites: BIO 110, BIO 220, and permission of the instructor. Same as ENV 340. Sipe

341. Neurochemistry. (N) (BWR)

An introduction to neurochemistry focusing on cellular and membrane neurochemistry, intercellular and intracellular signaling and neuronal and whole-brain metabolism, with student-driven special topics in development, disease and/or behavior. Current research in these areas will be emphasized through student seminars. Laboratory includes a research project in neurochemistry designed, proposed, pursued and disseminated by small research teams. Prerequisites: BIO/BFB 240 or BIO 230 or BFB 302 and permission of the instructor. Same as BFB 341. Jinks

342. Forest Ecosystems. (N) (BWR) 

A course in basic and applied forest ecology, with particular emphasis on forest communities, ecosystems and landscapes. Topics include forest environments, tree physiology and growth, ecosystem productivity, biogeochemistry, disturbance regimes, regeneration processes and the history of eastern North American forests. The laboratory includes local field trips and two half-semester research projects. Prerequisites: BIO 110, BIO 220 and permission of the instructor. Same as ENV 342. Sipe

343. Functional Human Neuroanatomy. (BWR)

This seminar utilizes a problem-solving approach to learning neuroanatomy by relating structure to function and functional disorders using data from carefully documented clinical cases. Seminar meetings will include student-led clinical case presentations, analysis of clinical localization, analysis of associated neuroimaging and discussion of clinical course and prognosis. The course will culminate with a class-wide debate on the biological basis of the mind. Non-traditional writing will be emphasized. Prerequisite: BIO/BFB 240 or BFB/PSY 302 and permission of the instructor. Same as BFB 343. Jinks

351. Epidemiology. 

The study of epidemics and their prevention, using tools that are mathematical, statistical, graphical, and logical. Students will learn to draw inferences from observations and apply them to public health. Students will learn how to evaluate the efficacy of measures intended to improve health. Prerequisite: PBH 251. Same as PBH 351. Everett

391. Directed Reading.

Exploration of a chosen topic in biology with reading directed by a member of the Biology Department staff. May count as a seminar elective toward the Biology major. Permission of associate chair required.

390 and 490. Independent Study. (BWR)

Independent research directed by the Biology staff at either the junior (390) or senior (490) level. May count as a laboratory elective toward the Biology major. Permission of associate chair required.


Cancer Biology.

Cell Migration in Development and Disease.

Ecosystem Services.