Cumberland University

Biology (B.S.)

Professor Danny Bryan

Cumberland graduates have had one of the highest acceptance rates for students entering schools in the allied health fields. Our biology curriculum is excellent preparation for graduate study in biology, continuation in the health professions or teaching biology at the secondary level. Beginning soon, the biology program will also be expanding to include a new "green track" focused on environmental issues. Regardless of which option a student chooses, the degree develops the student's understanding of the life sciences through the study of basic principles of the structures and functions of a variety of organisms and through the study of ecosystems, the environment and the environmental burdens that result from human activities.

Biology Five Year Master Teacher Option

Cumberland University students who wish to teach high school biology can take advantage of the five year Master Teacher Option. Through this option, candidates seeking an initial teaching license can complete a baccalaureate degree, student teach and complete a Masters of Arts in Education (MAE) in five years, including two summers. It is not a degree or major.

The five year Master Teacher Option is designed to produce highly qualified professional educators to meet Tennessee’s goal to improve the quality of math and science instruction. The option is offered collaboratively by the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the School of Education and Public Service, and provides candidates with a strong background in biological and other physical sciences, as well as a foundation in current teaching methodologies to meet the needs of diverse learners.

  • First Three to Four Years: Candidates for teacher licensure complete the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree, taking specific education courses in place of 12 general elective hours in the degree. CU students interested in this option must participate in the Teacher Education Program, Phase I interview and keep an online portfolio.
  • Senior Year: Candidates apply for the MAE program during the final undergraduate semester (all admission standards apply). They must take two specific education courses their last semester.
  • Summer/Fall of Fifth Year: During the summer term after completing the Bachelor of Science in Biology, candidates take six to nine credit hours of MAE courses. Student teaching takes place the fall semester, after completing the Bachelor of Science in Biology, in the MAE program.
  • Spring/Summer of Fifth Year: Upon successful completion of the student teaching semester, the Cumberland University Teacher Licensure officer can submit the candidate’s application for initial state licensure. Candidates then complete the remaining credit hours in the MAE, which may be completed by the end of the following summer.

Cumberland students who enroll in this option must meet the requirements of the two Teacher Education Program (TEP I & II) interviews as an education major would, which include among other things background checks and Praxis exams (see School of Humanities, Education and Arts website for details).

Note: Because this is an individualized course of study and there are state-mandated requirements for candidate preparation for student teaching, anyone interested in this option must meet early and often with advisors from both the School of Education and Public Service and the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be sure that a correct progression of courses is taken. Candidates choosing this option should attend the School of Education and Public Service’s annual mandatory advisory meetings.

Biology Major Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students will not be allowed to take upper level (300-400) Biology courses prior to admission into the Biology Major.

  1. Admission to Cumberland University with declaration of Biology major.
  2. Completion of all pre-biology coursework during or before the semester of application for admission to the major.
  3. A Letter of Intent to enter the Biology major must be submitted to the Office of Admissions at least one month prior to the semester entering the major.
  4. Official transcript(s) must be on file with the Office of Admissions.

Admission to the Biology major is determined by the following criteria

  1. Successful completion of pre-biology or pre-biochemistry coursework (including BIO 111, BIO 113, BIO 114, BIO 203, CHEM 111, CHEM 112, MATH 111 or MATH 121, MATH 112 or MATH 122 or PSY 205.
  2. A minimum GPA requirement is 2.8 (on a 4.0 scale), with no grade below a "C" in the pre-biology or pre-biochemistry coursework as outlined above.
  3. Present grades of a "C" or better in all Math and Science courses.

Academic Dishonesty/Disciplinary Provisions

A committee of Biology and Chemistry faculty will review each Academic Dishonesty and/or Disciplinary action taken against a student on an individual basis. The committee reserves the right to deny admission into and/or expel from the Biology major based upon any violation.

Special Admission Provisions

A committee of Biology and Chemistry Faculty will review student petitions for admission on individual basis. The Committee reserves the right to attach certain stipulations to admissions (e.g., by limiting the total number of hours in which a student may enroll during a semester and/or requiring specific developmental coursework and/or requiring a peer tutor).

Transfer Policies

Students must first meet the requirements for admission to Cumberland University. The Biology and Chemistry Committee will evaluate each student who transfers from another accredited program on an individual basis. Students who have earned a grade lower than "C" in a biology or chemistry course at another college or university will be evaluated by the committee which will determine admission on an individual basis. Requests to transfer biology and/or chemistry courses from another college or university will also be considered by the committee on an individual basis. Students who desire to transfer from another Biology or Biochemistry major must meet the following requirements:

  1. A letter of good standing from the previous program.
  2. A minimum grade of "C" in any science course the student desires to transfer. A written request for transfer credit must be forwarded to the Biology and Chemistry Committee for a ruling.
  3. Completion of a minimum of 25% or 30 credit hours toward degree earned at Cumberland University

Progression Requirements for all Biology Students

  1. Achievement of a minimum grade of "C" in all science courses, and a minimum overall GPA of 2.8.
  2. Students who receive two final course grades of "D" or lower in any science course or combination of science courses will be dismissed from the program. Once dismissed, the student may appeal for Special Admission Provisions.
  3. All Biology majors are expected to achieve satisfactory scores on standardized comprehensive examinations during their senior year.
  4. Any biology student who has broken enrollment for more than one semester may not continue in the program but must apply for reinstatement into the major. The Biology and Chemistry Committee will review each student's case individually to determine placement in the Program of Study.

Letter of Intent

Please address the typed letter to the Biology/Biochemistry Admissions Committee and include the following in letter format:

  • Date written
  • Your name and address
  • Request for admission to the Biology major
  • This part of the letter is an informal way to introduce yourself. Explain why you want to be in the biology major and why you feel you should be admitted.
  • Courses in which you are currently enrolled
  • Required lower division coursework that you still need
  • Your signature

The B.S. degree in Biology consists of a minimum of 120 semester hours:

  • Total GEC Credit Hours (43-46 hours)
  • Total Required Biology Core Courses (29 hours)
  • Total Required Biology Electives (12 hours)
  • Total Required Non Biology Courses (26-27 hours)
  • Total General Electives (6-10 hours)

For further information about Biology at Cumberland, please contact the program director, Danny Bryan, Ph.D.

For complete program outlines and course descriptions, please review our undergraduate catalog.