The Department of Biology is located in the Biology-Life Sciences Building (BioLife) on the Main Campus of Temple University, in the heart of the city of Philadelphia.
The Department of Biology embraces the dual responsibility of: (1) providing high quality essential science experiences for all Temple students at both the professional and non-science levels and (2) expanding the breadth of scientific knowledge through an active and diverse research program. Rapidly changing technologies have resulted in an extraordinary increase in our understanding of all aspects of living organisms including the biotic and abiotic environments that they live in. As we contribute to this increase in knowledge through our departmental research programs, we are aware that we also have a responsibility to convey these advances to both our students and the general public so that they may understand the impact on themselves and society. To accomplish this challenge, we are committed to a broad program of research, education, and outreach.
The Department of Biology has multiple goals for undergraduate instruction; we offer educational experiences at all levels to match the needs of Temple students. Our goals are: (1) to provide a rich, substantial foundation in biology for students who will continue their education at the graduate level, (2) to provide appropriate additional training for students who have entered the work force at a technical level, (3) to provide high quality courses for those students whose majors require a background in Biology, and (4) to provide courses for non-scientists in order to promote an understanding of the data and theories that are relevant to their interests.
Undergraduate biology majors receive intensive training in many aspects of biology. This is accomplished through a two-part program. Initially, students take a five semester core program consisting of: (a) Introduction to Biology I, (b) Introduction to Biology II, (c) Genetics, (d) Cell Structure and Function, and (e) Ecology, which together introduces each student to the basic components of contemporary biological thought. These courses are designed around the examination of experimental data, analysis, and theory. Emphasis is placed on the need to question established theories, and the use of experimental data to verify or reject scientific concepts. Laboratory exercises are an integral part of the core program and are designed to complement the subjects of the lectures. The second part of the program requires three elective courses (for the B.A. degree), or six elective courses (for the B.S. degree) selected by the student from a broad offering. The different elective offerings are organized into a set of areas of specialization. This is to provide guidance to those students wishing to concentrate in a specific area.
A great many of the biology courses require familiarity with basic mathematics, physics and chemistry. Courses in these areas, offered by different College departments, are required for a major in Biology. The departmental undergraduate research program which leads to distinction in the major at graduation is based on both grade point average and research participation. To be eligible for distinction, a student must (1) retain a grade point average of 3.0 or better, (2) register for the departmental distinction program (Biology 4091 or Biology 4483) which count toward one elective credit for the degree in Biology or Biochemistry, or Biology 4591 for Neuroscience, and (3) write a final research paper and present his/her research at a Departmental research poster session before graduation. A student, however, does not have to enroll in the honors program in order to participate in departmental research. Other courses (Biology 3082, Undergraduate Research, and Biology 3481, Extradepartmental Research) provide graduation credit and research experience and are available to students, but are not for biology elective credit. See below for more information.
Our diverse faculty have made major contributions in the fields of ecology, organismal biology and evolution, cellular and developmental biology, molecular biology, and genetics. Many of the faculty are affiliated with other research institutes in the College of Science and Technology and outside the university, including the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, the Institute for Computational and Molecular Science, the Department of Environmental Science, Temple Medical School’s Center for Neurovirology, and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. In addition to our research-active faculty, we also have faculty whose primary focus is teaching and education.
Research under the guidance of a faculty mentor is an essential component of Biology undergraduate education. In addition to the departmental program, the College of Science and Technology’s Undergraduate Research Program (URP) enables undergraduate students, from their freshman to senior years, to participate in the research effort in the Department and other laboratories within the University. Students can participate in URP throughout the academic year and the summer.
The research laboratories in the department house state-of-the-art technology used for studies in molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, genetics, ecology, evolution, behavior and biomechanics. We have shared computational facilities including servers and clusters, a proteomics center, newly-renovated animal facilities, and electron, confocal, and advanced video microscopy. We also have an in-house storeroom for basic laboratory supplies.
Upon graduation, undergraduate biology majors pursue a number of careers including: medical professions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, education, and environmental, conservation and governmental agencies. Undergraduate degrees and research in Biology can also lead to advanced academic programs culminating in an M.S. or Ph.D. Graduate degrees in Biology can lead to an academic career in teaching and/or research as well as various positions outside of academia such as consulting, science administration positions, or may be combined with other fields as in environmental and patent law.