Degrees and Tracks
- B.A., Biology - Cell and Molecular Track
- B.A., Biology - Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Track
- B.S., Biology - Cell and Molecular Track
- B.S., Biology - Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Track
- Minor, Biology - Cell and Molecular Track
- Minor, Biology - Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Track
- M.S. - Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (described on the Web at tcbes.uhh.hawaii.edu)
Biology is the study of living things. Biology encompasses many areas of study including:
- biochemistry—the study of the complex chemical composition and chemical activities of living things;
- botany—the study of plants;
- cell biology—the study of structures and activities of individual cell;
- ecology—the study of relationships between living things and their environment;
- microbiology—the study of living things too small to be seen with the unassisted eye;
- molecular biology and genetics—the study of inherited characteristics and the molecular basis of their inheritance and function;
- zoology—the study of animals.
Visit the Biology website at http://www.hawaii.edu/uhhbiology/.
The mission of the Department of Biology is to provide students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo with sound and rigorous training in the biological sciences. The program emphasizes hands-on, individualized learning for students and active faculty research with opportunities for students to participate.
The Biology program trains students in a wide variety of biological disciplines ranging from ecology, evolution, and conservation biology to cell and molecular biology. Two degree options and multiple tracks prepare students for the job market or further study in graduate school in the biological sciences, as well as professional schools in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and other health related programs. The program also provides the scientific background for teaching biology at the intermediate and high school levels.
Students in all tracks acquire a thorough grounding in the major topical areas of biology, including:
- Cell Biology: biochemistry and cell organelle processes, macromolecules, enzyme activity and regulation, and cell-cell communication
- Molecular Biology and Genetics: molecular genetics, including DNA replication and mutation, gene structure, regulation of gene expression, bacteriophages and viruses, and genetic engineering
- Organismal Biology: diversity of organisms, including phylogenetic relationships, classification, morphology, life histories, and general biology of all life forms; adaptations of organisms to habitats; and origin of life
- Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology: natural selection and population genetics, patterns of evolution, physical environmental influences, population ecology, community ecology, ecosystems, and human impacts
Biology majors also acquire analytical skills for applying scientific methodology to problems, hypothesis testing, and an understanding of the limitation of science as a way of knowing. They develop proficiency with quantitative concepts and familiarity with units of measure, statistical analyses, and the graphical and tabular presentation of data. They will also develop skill in oral and written presentation of scientific information.
Those non-biology majors who opt to fulfill part of their General Education requirements with a Biology course will gain an appreciation of modern biology to apply to understanding of current societal impacts of biology such as advances in biomedicine, environmental issues, and biological evidence in jury proceedings.
The two degree options available to undergraduates interested in studying biology are the Bachelor of Arts in Biology and the Bachelor of Science in Biology. A Biology minor is also available. Students in both degree programs have two tracks from which to choose: the “Cell and Molecular Track” and an “Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology Track.”
Instruction includes classroom, laboratory, and field experiences emphasizing the unique environment of Hawaiʻi. Majors are provided with individual attention and the opportunity to work on research projects directed by the faculty. Minority students headed for professional careers in the health sciences may apply for participation in UH Hilo’s Minority Biomedical Research Support Program funded by the National Institute of Health.
All Biology majors complete a capstone seminar course. They research a topical issue in the biological sciences, organize the material, and make a critical oral presentation with illustrations. This presentation is reviewed by faculty and by student peers and evaluated for the quality of scientific preparation, delivery, and audiovisual aids.
Students also complete one or more senior-level laboratory courses that qualify for Writing Intensive credit. In these courses, they write a series of laboratory reports demonstrating their ability to perform experiments and to organize, analyze, and interpret the quantitative results of experimental work.
BIOL 101 and BIOL 101L are non-majors courses not credited toward the major or minor in Biology.
In order to graduate with a Biology major in four years, students are strongly urged to begin in their freshman year to take chemistry courses, which are often prerequisites for required biology courses. Students are reminded that they must not only fulfill the requirements below for the major but also meet all of the University’s other baccalaureate degree requirements. Students wishing to make timely progress toward graduation are urged to pay careful attention to all degree requirements. In addition, when planning a schedule of courses, it is imperative to be aware of course prerequisites and the frequency with which courses are offered, information that is available for each course in the listing at the back of the Catalog. To ensure progress toward graduation, students are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor each semester before registering.
- Awaya, Jonathan “Jon”, Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
- Beirne, Deborah L. “Deb”, B.A., University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
- Cusick, John K., Ph.D., , Biology
- Cuttriss, Abby, Ph. D.,
- Hallacher, Leon E., Ph.D., University of California: Berkeley
- Hart, Patrick J. “Pat”, Ph.D., University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
- Kornet, Christine A. “Chris”, M.S., Oregon State University
- Mautz, William J. “Bill”, website
- Montgomerie, David W., Ph.D., McGill University
- Muir, Cedric C. “Cam”, Ph.D., Simon Fraser University, Genetics and Evolution, website
- Ostertag, Rebecca “Becky”, Ph.D., University of Florida
- Pack, Adam A., Ph.D., University of Hawai`i at Manoa
- Perry, Brian, Ph.D., Harvard University, Biology/Tropical Conservation Biology Environmental Sci, website
- Price, Donald “Don”, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- Stacy, Elizabeth A., Ph.D., Boston University