2019-2020 Catalog 
    Jun 09, 2023  
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Genetics Major, Botany-Microbiology

Professors Anderson, Goldstein, Johnson, Wolverton
Assistant Professor Ambegaokar
Continuing Part-time Professors Murray, Tuhela-Reuning
Adjunct Professors Ichida, Roberts

Ohio Wesleyan offers an uncommonly wide range of options for the study of biology, because it is one of only a few small colleges with two closely integrated life science departments: Botany & Microbiology and Zoology. This structure allows our program to offer a larger diversity of specialty courses in sub-disciplines across the biological sciences than do many other schools of our size.

Accordingly, the twin departments offer six different majors. Most majors begin with a common set of core courses, but each major has unique features that make it most appropriate for the specific area of biology in which a student has the greatest interest. Some students are especially interested in particular groups of organisms, such as microbes, plants, or human beings and other animals. These students may best be served by majors in Microbiology, Botany, or General Zoology, respectively. Other students, however, may be attracted to the study of biological processes, and these students will be better served by combining courses from both departments. Genetics, molecular biology, physiology, evolution, and ecology, for example, apply across all groups of organisms. For students interested in the process-oriented approach, the Genetics or Biology majors may be more appropriate.

All members of the Biological Sciences departments serve as academic advisors and help majors and potential majors in curriculum planning. Advisors will help students choose among courses that have diverse emphases: molecular to whole-organism, laboratory and field, practical and theoretical. Students in both departments have access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities such as digital imaging equipment, a fluorescence microscopy laboratory, a scanning transmission electron microscope laboratory, and molecular biology laboratories. In addition, two museum facilities serve the program: a museum for Zoology and a herbarium for Botany and Microbiology. The Kraus and Bohannan nature preserves, 80 and 50 acres respectively, are close to campus. Several other nearby facilities within easy driving range provide apprenticeship opportunities, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Laboratories, nearby hospitals, Stratford Ecological Center, Ohio Wildlife Center, veterinary clinics, and the Columbus Zoo.

Majors are encouraged to exceed minimum requirements and to seek out distinctive learning and research experiences. These often take the form of independent study in the junior or senior year, summer research at Ohio Wesleyan or other institutions, or summer courses at a biological field station. Some of these summer experiences may count toward major requirements.

Numerous awards are available to biological sciences majors. The Burns-Shirling Award recognizes academic excellence or service to the Botany & Microbiology Department. The Edwin G. Conklin Award recognizes excellence in independent studies by a senior zoology major. The Ralph A. Bowdle Award recognizes exceptional contributions to the Zoology Department by a senior major. The George B. Harris Award is given for outstanding academic achievement by a senior zoology major. The Esther Carpenter Awards honor senior women in each department who best exemplify the ideal of a liberal arts education and show potential for future contributions to their professions and society at large. The Edward L. Rice Scholarship offers financial assistance to zoology students who broaden their experience by taking a course at a biological field station or participating in field research during the summer. The Kraus Research Fellowships support field research at the Kraus Nature Preserve. The William D. Stull Award supports a student who performs curatorial duties in the Ohio Wesleyan Museum of Zoology. The Ichida-Decker Award recognizes Academic Excellence for a junior and senior major in botany or microbiology.

To satisfy distribution requirements, non-majors usually elect courses from among ZOOL 101 , ZOOL 104 , BOMI 103 , BOMI 104 , BOMI 106 , BOMI 107 , BOMI 233 , ZOOL 251 , ZOOL 261 , and ZOOL 341 . However, all courses in both departments are open to any student who meets the prerequisites.

A student who achieves a 5 or above on the International Baccalaureate High Level Examination in Biology will be awarded credit for BIOL 120  and BIOL 122 . A student who achieves a 4 or a 5 on the Advanced Placement test in Biology will be awarded credit for BIOL 120 . Those same students may be eligible to take proficiency exams for BIOL 122 , subject to strict time constraints (see University Catalog section on proficiency exams for details). Contact one of the department chairs for more information.

Course credits submitted for a major or minor in any of the Biological Sciences may not be taken credit/no entry.

The two biological science departments cooperate to deliver different major and minor options. Courses taught by faculty in Botany and Microbiology are designated with a BOMI prefix, courses taught by faculty in Zoology are designated with a ZOOL prefix, and courses taught by faculty from both departments are designated with a BIOL prefix.

Secondary Education Licensure: Students interested in teaching high school biology are required to meet biology licensure requirements. Specific requirements are available from the Education Department.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will be exposed to, directly apply, and understand the significance of, a wide range of current research techniques in the disciplines of botany and microbiology.

  2. Students will be able to critically interpret complex data, i.e., they can use the data to draw a meaningful conclusion while articulating the limitations of the data set.

  3. Students will be able to find and use primary literature to investigate a problem.

  4. Students will be able to design sound experiments, including proper controls and appropriate statistical analyses.

  5. Students will have a strong factual foundation in the structure, function, evolution, diversity, and ecology of plants and microbes.


The genetics sequence may not be combined with any other major sequence in BOMI or ZOOL for a second major.

Note: Courses numbered 249 and below may be taken in any order. All courses in the two departments fulfill Group II  distribution requirements.