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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Biological Sciences

Degree Programs

Biological Sciences

Course Descriptions

0940 Perspectives in Veterinary Medicine (2 credits)

Introduction to career areas in veterinary medicine through lectures, guest speakers and demonstrations.

1010 Physiological Systems (4 credits)

Introductory biology class required for students planning to major in biology or another science. Emphasis on physiological mechanisms in animals and plants. Co-requisite: BIOL 1020 lab section.

1011 Evolution, Heredity & Biodiversity (4 credits)

Introductory biology class required for students planning to major in biology or another science. Emphasis on molecular and cellular levels of organization. Co-requisite: BIOL 1021 lab section.

1020 Physiological Systems Lab (1 credit)

Exercises and experimentation to complement lecture material. Co-requisite: BIOL 1010 lecture section.

1021 Evolution, Heredity & Biodiversity Lab (1 credit)

Exercises and experimentation to complement lecture material. Co-requisite: BIOL 1011 lecture section.

1220 Molecules to Humankind I (0 or 4 credits)

First class in a three-quarter sequence for non-majors that examines the mechanisms that sustain life. Emphasis is placed on understanding the human body at the molecular, cellular, and physiological levels. In the fall quarter our discussions start with the atom and basic chemistry. We next consider the properties of complex molecules, including: DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, in order to see how such molecules are used and organized by living organisms. Our discussions of large and complex molecules lead naturally to the basic unit of life, the cell.

1221 Molecules to Humankind II (0 or 4 credits)

Second class in a three-quarter sequence for non-majors begins with an introduction to the general vertebrate body plan, we emphasize the human body plan but also compare it with other vertebrates. Discussions progress through the major organ and physiological systems of the body, including: circulatory, respiratory, excretory, endocrine, nervous, skin, immune, reproductive, gastrointestinal, and skeletal & muscle systems. Discussions concentrate on the organization and function of these systems.

1222 Molecules to Humankind III (0 or 4 credits)

Third class in a three-quarter sequence focuses for non-majors on cell biology, genetics, and human reproduction and development. After a review of cell structure and function, focusing on how cells are capable of replication with modification, the mechanisms by which information is passed on from one cell to another and from one generation to the next are considered. The second half of the quarter concerns sexual reproduction and early development.

1260 Sustaining Life I (4 credits)

First class in a three-quarter sequence for non-majors examining important biological mechanisms that sustain life. Emphasis is placed on defining characteristics of "life" and the basic mechanisms.

1261 Sustaining Life II (4 credits)

Second class in a three-quarter sequence for non-majors examining important biological mechanisms that sustain life.  The course continues with building a basic understanding of how ecosystems function, including interactions among living organisms, and between organisms and their environment. 

1262 Sustaining Life III (4 credits)

Third class in a three-quarter sequence for non-majors examining important biological mechanisms that sustain life.  The course continues with focus on the impact of biological diversity on infectious disease and medicine.

1990 Independent Study (1 to 5 credits)

 

1992 Directed Study (1 to 10 credits)

 

2010 General Ecology (0 or 4 credits)

Topics in ecosystems, population and community ecology, as well as behavioral ecology. Lectures are integrated with a combination of field, greenhouse, arboretum and laboratory lessons.

2050 Conservation Biology (0 or 4 credits)

Biological diversity explained, including endangered species small populations, habitat fragmentation and other causes of species extinction. Also preservation and management of biological diversity. Prerequisite: BIOL 1012.

2090 Biostatistics (4 credits)

Statistics in biological research. Computer-aided statistical analysis and hypothesis testing focusing on experiments and data unique to the biological sciences.

2120 Cell Structure and Function (4 credits)

Chemical composition of cells; structure and function of cell organelles; interrelationship of cellular unit with its environment; mechanisms of energy conversion within cells; functions of excitability, contractility and cell growth. Prerequisites: BIOL 1010/1011/1012 or BIOL 1220/1221/1222. Co-requisite: BIOL 2121 lab section.

2121 Cell Structure & Function Lab (1 credits)

Exercises and experimentation to complement lecture material. Co-requisite: BIOL 2120.

2200 Medical Terminology (3 credits)

This course presents fundamentals and applications of medical terminology using online learning modules and assessment. This review and application of human anatomy and physiology is suitable for students who have completed introductory biology (BIOL 1010 or its equivalent) and who are working toward a career in medicine or for whom communication with health care providers is essential. Students study basic anatomy and physiology at a level that is intermediate between introductory and advanced courses, discover the medical history behind medical terminology, analyze medical case studies, and work to develop skills for clear and concise articulation of the basic concepts of anatomy and physiology behind medical diagnosis and treatment. This mastery of medical terminology helps to build a strong foundation for advanced coursework in anatomy and physiology. Prerequisite: BIOL 1010 or equivalent with instructor approval.

2450 Human Anatomy (5 credits)

Detailed structural analysis of the tissues, organs and organ systems of the human body. Four lectures and one 3-hour laboratory each week.

2510 General Genetics (0 to 5 credits)

Mechanisms of heredity with application to all forms of life. One 3-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 1010/1011/1012.

2992 Directed Study (1 to 10 credits)

3010 Evolution and Speciation (4 credits)

Theories and supporting evidence explaining evolution from origin of universe to complex interrelationships of species. Prerequisites: BIOL 1010/1011/1012.

3020 Aquatic Ecology (4 credits)

An introduction to the ecology of fresh-water and marine organisms including aquatic adaptations, community organization, food chains, nutrient cycling and man's impact on aquatic ecosystems. Prerequisite: BIOL 2010 or instructor's permission.

3030 Alpine Ecology (4 credits)

Ecology of alpine and subalpine regions of Colorado; organization and distribution of communities and populations, succession, energy flow, nutrient cycling, population adaptations in life-history physiology, behavior and morphology. Prerequisite: BIOL 1010/ 1011/1012.

3055 Ecology of the Rockies (4 credits)

A week in residence at the Mt. Evans Field Station prior to the start of Fall Qtr includes field projects dealing with ecology and environmental issues. On campus classes involve data analysis and interpretation and formal scientific communication. Themes include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, taxonomic groups ranging from conifer stands to aquatic insects and mountain goats. Prerequisite: BIOL 2010 or permission of instructor.

3060 Tropical Ecology (0 or 3 credits)

Biological composition of tropical ecosystems; biodiversity, biogeochemistry; causes and biological consequences of tropical deforestation; ecologically based approaches toward sustainable tropical forest use. Includes laboratory Prerequisite: BIOL 2010.

3070 Ecological Field Methods (4 credits)

Series of field exercises for students to learn principles and procedures of field methodology, data analysis and technical writing in ecology; problems drawn from population, community and ecosystem ecology. Prerequisite: BIOL 2010.

3090 Microbial Ecology (4 credits)

Interactions among microorganisms and their environment. Impact of ecological principles on microbial diseases, pollutant degradation, nutrient cycles and global change.

3100 Histology (4 credits)

Microscopic organization of tissues and organs; correlation of organization of organs with functions and pathologies; emphasis on mammalian systems. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120.

3110 Special Topics: Biology (1 to 5 credits)

Topics of special interest to teaching/research faculty of department presented as needed to complement and expand existing curriculum. May be repeated for credit.

3120 General Microbiology (0 or 4 credits)

Fundamental principles of microorganisms in the world and in disease; role of bacteria in biological phenomena. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120.

3130 Molecular Evolution (4 credits)

Evolution of macromolecules and reconstruction of evolutionary history of genes and organisms. Prerequisite: BIOL 2510.

3150 Intracellular Dynamics (4 credits)

Focuses on spatial and temporal control of intracellular processes with an emphasis on neuronal and endocrine cells. Topics include vesicular traffic, protein targeting, dynamics and spatial organization of signaling complexes. Emphasis on modern techniques of cell and molecular biology with examples from primary literature.

3160 Biophysics:Ion Channels & Disease (3 credits)

Examines ion channel structure and function and the ways in which this information provides insight into human disease. The focus is on the use of biophysical techniques in combination with molecular and genetic analysis of channel genes. (General Physics and BIOL 2120 are recommended.)

3250 Human Physiology (0 or 5 credits)

Functional relationships of human organ systems with coordinated laboratory activities and experiments that demonstrate and test physiological principles. Prerequisites: BIOL 1010/1011/1012.

3260 Nutrition (3 credits)

From physiological and biochemical perspectives, this course explores the relationships of energy metabolism, nutrients, vitamins and minerals to human health. Prerequisite: BIOL 3250.

3410 Animal Behavior (4 credits)

Diversity of animal behaviors and how they enable animals to live in the natural world; the structure, control, and function of behaviors, and some of the factors that shape behaviors.

3560 Molecular Biology Laboratory (0 or 4 credits)

Laboratory based course that covers techniques in gene excision, cloning and reinsertion and gene sequencing. Prerequisite: BIOL 2560.

3570 Proteins in Biological Systems (3 credits)

Proteins considered in their biological setting; protein synthesis and degradation; survey of protein functions in vivo; evolution of proteins; introduction to protein biotechnology. Prerequisites: BIOL 2120, CHEM 2451, CHEM 2452 and CHEM 2453.

3610 Developmental Biology (4 credits)

Processes and mechanisms of development, exemplified by higher animal embryogenesis, with consideration of microbial model systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 2510.

3630 Development of Tissue Shape (4 credits)

Every organism has a stereotypical shape, but how does this shape arise? This course examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms that direct the forming of body and tissue shape. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120.

3640 Introductory Neurobiology (4 credits)

Organization and function of vertebrate central nervous system; nature of action potential, biochemistry of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, functional anatomy of nervous system, phylogeny of nervous system. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120.

3641 Systems Neuroscience (4 credits)

Structure and function of the brain and spinal cord, emphasis on functional systems including sensory perception, motor control and consciousness. Prerequisite: BIOL 3640.

3642 Neuropharmacology (4 credits)

How psychoactive drugs exert their effects on the nervous system; drugs of abuse and drugs used in the treatment of psychotic and neurodegenerative disorders. Prerequisite: BIOL 3640.

3644 Neuromuscular Pathophysiology (4 credits)

Cellular and molecular basis for normal nerve and muscle functions and the alteration of these functions by toxins, trauma and diseases of the brain, nerves and muscles; how specific insults produce clinical symptoms and pathology. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120. Recommended: BIOL 3640 or BIOL 3250.

3646 Seminar:Cognitive Neuroscience (2 credits)

This seminar is the capstone course for the neuroscience portion of the cognitive neuroscience program. Seminar topics will include but are not limited to: neurological disorders, model systems in neuroscience, sensory systems.

3650 Endocrinology (4 credits)

Mechanisms of hormone action, evolution of vertebrate endocrine systems, analysis of function integration of hormonal responses in maintenance of homeostasis. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120.

3670 Molecular Immunology (4 credits)

Organs, cells and molecules that underlie mammalian immune response; relationship of immune system to disease. Prerequisite: BIOL 2510.

3680 Adv Techniques in Cell Biology (4 credits)

Advanced laboratory course that covers current techniques used in cell biology research. Prerequisite: BIOL 2120

3700 Topics in Ecology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include plant, animal, biochemical, alpine or aquatic; one topic per quarter. May be repeated for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisite: one quarter of undergraduate ecology and/or instructor's permission.

3701 Topics in Genetics (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include genetic methods, molecular genetics, human genetics, chromosomes or population genetics; one topic per quarter. May be repeated for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisite: BIOL 2510 and/or instructor's permission.

3702 Topics in Regulatory Biology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include endocrinology, physiology or immunology; one topic per quarter. May be repeated for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisite: varies with topic and instructor; instructor's permission usually required.

3703 Topics Developmental Biology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include gene expression in development, developmental immunogenetics, developmental biochemistry or aging; one topic per quarter. May be repeated for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

3704 Topics in Cell Biology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include supramolecular structure, microscopy, membranes and techniques. May be repeated for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisites: varies with course and instructor; instructor's permission usually required.

3705 Topics in Molecular Biology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary; may include biochemistry, supramolecular structure and function, molecular genetics, membrane biology. May be taken more than once for credit. Taught from original literature. Prerequisites: varies with course and instructor; instructor's permission usually required.

3706 Topics in Evolution (1 to 4 credits)

Topics vary, but may include molecular evolution, plant evolution and animal evolution. Prerequisite: instructor's permission.

3707 Topics in Conservation Biology (1 to 4 credits)

 

3800 Human Molecular Biology (4 credits)

Molecular basis of heredity and genetic control, using in-vitro systems and microbial and eukaryotic models; molecular basis of heredity and genetic regulation considering in-vitro systems as well as prokaryotic and eukaryotic models. Prerequisite: BIOL 2510.

3910 Virus & Infectious Human Diseases (3 credits)

Organization of viruses at the molecular level with consideration of diseases that these agents cause in humans. The mechanism of action of viruses is a major theme of the course. Prerequisite: BIOL 3800.

3950 Undergraduate Research (1 to 10 credits)

Participation in faculty research programs by agreement between student and faculty member. Maximum of 5 quarter hours of BIOL 3950 and/or BIOL 3991 may be applied to the 45-quarter-hour requirement for a major in biological sciences.

3991 Independent Study (1 to 10 credits)

Topic in biology studied under faculty supervision. Student's responsibility to identify faculty supervisor before registering for class. Maximum of 5 quarter hours of BIOL 3991 and/or BIOL 3950 may be applied toward the 45-quarter-hour requirement for a major in biological sciences.

3992 Directed Study (1 to 10 credits)

 

3995 Independent Research (1 to 10 credits)

 

4085 Accelerated Biostatistics (2 credits)

This is an accelerated online statistics course for graduate students in Biology. Basic probability and hypothesis testing is the foundation of teaching applied statistics, including simple statistics (t-tests, F-tests, and chi square) and more advanced procedures (regression, correlation, analysis of variance). In addition, students learn more complex tools (multiple regression, multi-classification ANOVA, Student-Newman-Keuls tests), including non-parametric Tests (Mann-Whitney U, Sign test, Wilcoxon Rank Sum).

4090 Biostatistics (4 credits)

Statistic on biological research; emphasis on procedures, applications of regression, correlation, analysis of variance, and nonparametric tests. Include instruction on computeraided (Mac and PC) statistical analysis and presentation of results.

4091 Research Methods (1 credits)

This course builds upon the concepts in BIOL 4090, Biostatistics, by covering in more detail and specificity issues involved in designing one's experiment to adequately test the hypotheses or describe the data of interest. Students bring and discuss their specific research projects as case studies to maximize the utility of the course.

4150 Special Topics in Advanced Biology (1 to 4 credits)

Topics of special interests to teaching and research faculty presented as needed to complement and expand existing curriculum. May be taken morethen once for credit.

4190 Biometry (3 credits)

 

4210 Grad Seminar: Cell Biology (2 credits)

A series of student presentations focusing on varied topics involving cell biology. May be taken more than once for credit.

4211 Advanced Cell Biology (3 credits)

Students study the subcellular structure and organization of the cell. Organelle structure and function are examined in detail as well as biogenesis and degradation (turnover) of these subcellular structures. Cytoskeletal dynamics are also a major focus. Specific topics covered include cell division, macromolecular synthesis, membrane transport, cell-matrix and cell-cell communication, cell migration, cell differentiation, and mechanisms of cell death. The course follows a lecture format in conjunction with selected journal article presentations and discussions by the students.

4212 Advanced Molecular Biology (3 credits)

This course focuses on a detailed analysis of regulated gene expression. The topics include lectures and readings of relevant literature in areas covering gene regulation at multiple steps, including transcription, RNA processing, and translation. In particular, the logic of experimental design and data analysis are emphasized.

4213 Advanced Cell Signaling (3 credits)

Students in this course investigate a large array of cellular signal transduction cascades. Specific signaling pathways to be covered include growth factor receptors, cytokine receptors, steroid receptors, integrin-extracellular matrix, heterotrimeric G-protein coupled receptors, monomeric G-proteins, transcription factors, lipids, cytoskeleton, cell cycle, and apoptosis. Each of these topics is examined in the context of normal cell physiology as well as their roles in specific disease processes. The course follows a lecture format in conjunction with selected journal article presentations and discussions by the students.

4220 Grad Seminar: Ecology & Evolution (2 credits)

A series of student presentations focusing on varied topics involving ecology and evolution. May be taken more than once for credit.

4230 Grad Seminar: Molecular Biology (2 credits)

A series of student presentations focusing on varied topics invoving ecology and evolution. May be taken more than once for credit.

4231 Responsible Conduct in Research (1 credits)

This course covers several topics regarding guidelines for ethical practices in research. Topics include: data ownership, conflict of interest and commitments, human subjects, animal welfare, research misconduct, authorship, mentoring, peer review, and collaboration. The course includes an online training component and meets one hour each week to discuss these topics.

4330 Foundations: Ecology I (2 credits)

Students participate in a weekly discuss group that focuses on recent papers from the primary literature in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution.

4331 Foundations: Ecology II (2 credits)

Students participate in a weekly discussion group that focuses on recent papers from the primary literature in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution.

4332 Foundations: Ecology III (2 credits)

Students participate in a weekly discussion group that focuses on recent papers from the primary literature in Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution.

4991 Independent Study (1 to 17 credits)

 

4992 Directed Study (1 to 10 credits)

 

4995 Independent Research (1 to 17 credits)

 

5991 Independent Study (1 to 17 credits)

 

5995 Independent Research PhD (1 to 18 credits)