Specialization in Behavioral Biology
The study of behavior spans disciplines as diverse as evolution, ecology, neurobiology and philosophy. Why did behavior evolve? What ecological functions does it serve? How it is regulated by genes, hormones and nerve cells? Exploring the origin of behavior and its underlying mechanisms greatly increases our understanding of reproduction, speciation, cooperation, aggression, the formation of societies, and brain structure. Biological studies of behavior also provide important insights into psychology and psychiatry.
The Specialization in Behavioral Biology offers students the opportunity to build an individualized curriculum that bridges course work in behavioral science in the Department of Biology with complementary classes in behavior taught in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Psychology. The specialization builds upon instruction in the fundamental principles of animal behavior through integrated course work in biology, anthropology and psychology, emphasizing non-human animal behavior and human behavior across different levels of analysis. The interdisciplinary nature of the specialization affords broad knowledge and deep insight into the evolution and ecology of behavior as well as it genetic, hormonal and neural mechanisms. Flexibility in course selection enables students to purse individual interests. Areas of study include behavioral ecology, sociobiology, communication, neuroethology and reproductive neuroendocrinology. Students enrolled in the Specialization in Behavioral Biology are encouraged to engage in faculty-sponsored research in these areas.
The Concentration in Biology with Specialization in Behavioral Biology includes a total of 12 courses in Biology, Anthropology and Psychology, and the two-credit Seminar in Behavioral Biology (BI 224). Introductory Biology I & II (BI 107 & 108/118) are prerequisite courses. Of the 10 principal courses, minimally five courses are selected from the Biology curriculum, and 3 courses must have a laboratory or field component (designated L in course listings). Students must satisfy the Biology breadth requirement, met by BI 206 (or BI 216) or BI 203 (or BI 213) (Cell & Molecular), BI 315(L) or BI 325 (Physiology, Endocrinology & Neurobiology), and BI 407(L) (Ecology, Behavior & Evolution). Two or more courses are to be chosen from a primary electives list (BI 230, BI 508, BI 520, BI 545 and AN 335) of courses. Five additional courses are to be selected from a broader ‘general electives’ list that includes courses offered in the Departments of Biology, Anthropology and Psychology. A minimum of two general electives must be chosen from participating non-Biology departments, Anthropology and Psychology. Courses in the general electives list from Anthropology and Psychology include: AN 263, 334, AN 335, AN 336 AN 534, PS 205, PS 231, PS 234, PS 337, and PS 338.
Students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research as part of the Specialization. CAS BI 191/2 and BI 291/2 may be taken for elective credit. Up to 2 research courses chosen from BI 391/2 or BI 401/2 or BI 491/2 (or their equivalents in Anthropology or Psychology) may be counted toward the concentration, but research courses will count for only one of the 3 required principal courses having a laboratory or field component (*).
The Specialization requires courses in physics and mathematics, and prerequisite courses in chemistry, as listed below. A minimum grade of C is required in all principal and required courses.
- Prerequisite Biology courses: BI 107, 108, or 118
- Pre- or Co-requisite Chemistry courses: CH 101, 102, 203 or CH 109, 110, 211, 171, 174, 273, or equivalent
- Required related Physics courses: PY 105, 106 or 211, 212 or PY 241, 242 or equivalent
- Required related Mathematics courses: Standard Biology requirements
- Laboratory/Field course requirement: Three courses
- Principal courses:
- Biology breadth requirement: BI 203 (or 213) or 206 (or 216); BI 315(L) or 325; BI 407(L)
- Primary Electives (Choose 2): BI 230, BI 508, BI 502, BI 520, BI 545, AN 335 (counts as 1 of 2 AN or PS requirements)
- General Electives (Choose 5; a minimum of 2 must have an AN or PS designation [unless AN 335 is taken as a primary elective course]): BI 230, BI 260, BI 302(L), BI 303(L), BI 306(L), BI 309, BI 325, BI 391/2*, BI 401/2*, BI 414, BI 425, BI 438E, BI 439E, BI 440E, BI 441E, BI 442, BI491/2*, BI 502, BI 506, BI 508, BI 512(L); BI 519, BI 520, BI 531(L), BI 532(L), BI 545, BI 546, BI 554, BI 563, BI 582 (2 cr.), AN 263, AN 334, AN 335, AN 336, AN 338, AN 339, AN 534, AN 558, PS 205, PS 231, PS 234, PS 337, and PS 338.
- Seminar in Behavioral Biology (BI 224, 2 cr.) 2 credits, spring semester
For a more detailed listing of courses and requirements for this specialization, see the undergraduate bulletin.