The Department of the Biology offers a curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Science in Biology and the Masters of Science. A diverse faculty, using challenging and innovative teaching methods, prepares students for careers in the biological sciences. At the completion of the degree program, the student attains the title of Biologist. The Department of Biology offers the pre-health option and the general biology option.
The graduate study program in biology leads to the Master of Science degree. The offering of a graduate degree in biology has several purposes. One of these is to offer students who have attained the baccalaureate degree in biology or other natural sciences the opportunity to broaden and increase their knowledge in the biological sciences.
Another is the opportunity for students to enter into or expand their experience in the area of experimental research in biology. These objectives may be achieved through selection of elective courses offered in this department and allied areas (chemistry, agriculture, veterinary medicine, etc.), and by the selection of a research area of concentration. The latter is with the assistance of a major advisor in the department who will usually act as the student’s major professor. All graduate students are required to teach for one (1) year in the Freshman Biology Program.
Admission: General Admission to graduate study at Tuskegee University is outlined under the Regulations and Procedures for Graduate Instruction. In addition, the prospective candidate should normally have completed an undergraduate curriculum equivalent to the one followed at Tuskegee University.
Examinations: Satisfactory performance on qualifying examinations by the Department may be required of the student prior to application and approval of candidacy. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required prior to admission to candidacy. A final comprehensive oral examination is required covering the general field of Biology and the content of the thesis and research.
Departmental Mission Statement
The Department of Biology endeavors to provide experiences that allow students to learn and develop an understanding of basic biological principles and concepts. The undergraduate curriculum provides biology majors with a basic foundation in biology that enables them to think critically about biological problems, communicate effectively using the language of biology, understand the role of ethics in science, and attain technical skills that allow them to become leaders in their chosen fields. The offering of a broad and diverse curriculum enables students to pursue careers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical research, health care and biology education or pursue advanced study in professional programs (medicine, dentistry, etc.), graduate research programs (biomedical, environmental, biotechnology, etc.) or science education programs. In addition, the department instills in its students the importance of community outreach and the use of biology to serve the community and the world. Ultimately, the department provides an environment that nurtures the development of biological scientists who are always seeking ways to improve the human condition using an ethical approach.
Facilities and Centers
Facilities. Teaching and laboratory facilities are housed primarily in Armstrong Hall. A well-equipped multimedia center exists in the building to complement and reinforce effective teaching and learning. There are two computer laboratories in the department for teaching and student use. Located in Armstrong Hall and Carver Research Foundation, both computer facilities provide access to the World Wide Web. Facilities for undergraduate and graduate research may be available in Armstrong Hall, Carver Research Laboratories, or in laboratories in other departments by special arrangement.
Specialized Facilities–Center for Biomedical Research. The Center for Biomedical Research funded by the National Institutes of Health under the auspices of Research Centers for Minority Institutions (RCMI) is located in the Carver Research Laboratories. The Center houses most of the core facilities and many of the research laboratories utilized by the Biology faculty members and other investigators throughout the University. The core facilities provide investigators with technical support and the utilization of state-of-the art equipment in imaging, cell culture, cell sorting and flow cytometry, and biotechnology. Also, computer facilities for database utilization are provided to researchers in epidemiological, genomic and proteomic research through the Center for Computational Epidemiology, Bioinformatics and Risk Analysis which is located in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Enhancement of the bioinformatic capabilities at the University is facilitated through a collaboration with the Genomics Core Facility at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
The Biotechnology Center, located in Armstrong Hall and Carver Research Laboratories contains equipment for cloning, gene expression, and detection and analysis of biopolymers. Some of the equipment utilized for teaching and research includes: HPLC, LPLC, microcentrifuges, preparatory centrifuges, ultracentrifuges and a UV cross-linker for biopolymer isolation, purification, and modification; electrophoretic systems (horizontal and vertical gels, including DNA sequencing gels), thermocyclers for PCR and UV/VIS spectrophotometers. There are two walk-in cold rooms maintained at 4°C. In addition, the Center has access to a power- based, computer Laboratory Data Management System (LDMS). The system serves as a core data management system for data collection and interdisciplinary research project development. The LDMS has the software for word processing, database, spreadsheet graphics and data analysis. The LDMS has the program and database for genome analysis; DNA sequence alignment, site-specific mutagenesis, 3D structure and image analysis.
The Tuskegee University Center for Cancer Research (TUCCR), located in Carver Research Laboratories, was established by the Biology Department in collaboration with other disciplines at the University and the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The purpose of the center is to promote high-quality cancer research and to educate cancer researchers and the community about cancer. The Center provides a focal point for cancer research and education by bringing together faculty and students from different disciplines at the University and other institutions outside of the University. The overall goal is to decrease the incidence and spread of cancer in the African American community through two interdependent means: 1) Research–Exploring the nature of cancer and its causes, which in turn will lead to the development of new approaches to prevent and treat cancer; 2) Education–Educating future generations of cancer researchers, providing continuing education to keep researchers current on recent advances, and providing information to the community through support groups, community outreach, health fairs and other programs related to cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.
The Career Information Center (CIC), located in Armstrong Hall, contains a library of information about medical schools and their curricula, admissions requirements, and financial planning that can be accessed for reference by any student (Biology or non-Biology major). Similar information is available about other programs such as Dentistry, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician’s Assistant, and Public Health. The Center also contains printed and computerized information about MCAT and other standardized examinations as well as information on summer enrichment/research programs and post baccalaureate programs. Applications for these examinations and programs are available in the Center.