Catalog • 2012-2013

Biodiversity & Conservation Biology - Major

For information, contact Dr. John Cigliano

Program Description

The biodiversity and conservation biology major is a field-based major that provides the student with an understanding of the origin and maintenance of biological diversity (biodiversity), the factors that are causing the decline in biodiversity, and ways to stop this decline.  Students will also gain an understanding of the multicultural and global political perspectives that influence both conservation issues and solutions and will learn how science becomes integrated into policy. Upon graduation, students will be able to pursue graduate study in conservation biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and environmental policy, or careers in environmental and conservation governmental and nongovernmental agencies and organizations, conservation education, policy and advocacy jobs, environmental consulting firms, law and publishing firms, and zoos and aquariums.

Program Mission Statement:

The Biodiversity and Conservation Biology program educates women to be well-rounded biologists within the scientific, cultural, and sociopolitical components of the field of conservation biology. Students majoring in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology study conservation issues within a global context, conduct conservation-related research, become civically engaged, and learn to communicate the importance of preserving biodiversity to a variety of audiences to prepare them to become leaders in the field of conservation biology.

Program Requirements for the Biodiversity & Conservation Biology Major

A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.000 and a minimum average in the major of 2.000 are required for the major in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. A grade of C- or better is needed for all courses that fulfill the departmental requirements. Courses transferred in for all majors must be taken less than ten years ago. Students may not declare multiple majors in any combination of: Biology, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Genetic Engineering, Integrated Biology or Neuroscience. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in prerequisite courses before proceeding to subsequent courses.

Total Number of Credits: 77

Course Requirements

BIO 121 Principles of Biology I 4 credits*
BIO 122 Principles of Biology II 4 credits*
BIO 235 Ecology, Evolution and Genetics 4 credits**
BIO 236 Cell and Molecular Biology 4 credits**
BIO 248 Biostatistics 3 credits
BIO 300 Evolution 4 credits
BIO 309 Conservation Biology and GIS 4 credits **
BIO 315 Case Studies in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology 3 credits**
BIO 350 Junior Colloquium 2 credits **
BIO 356 Science, Ethics, and Society 3 credits**
CHE 111 Chemical Principles 4 credits
CHE 112 Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis 4 credits
CHE 205 Organic Chemistry I 4 credits
CHE 320 Environmental Chemistry 4 credits
PHY 101 Introductory College Physics I 4 credits
PHY 102 Introductory College Physics II 4 credits
MAT 141 Calculus I 3 credits
ANT 100 Cultural Anthropology 3 credits
PSC One appropriate Political Science course (PSC) [in consultation with your advisor] or ECO 222 Economic Geography 3 credits

Plus ONE course from each of the following categories:

Biodiversity and Systematics

BIO 207 Botany 4 credits
BIO 227 Microbiology 4 credits
Hawk Mountain courses (at least 2 courses, totaling at least 3 credits) 3-4 credits***

Ecology, Genetics, and Evolution

BIO 228 Marine Ecology (can be taken without lab) 3 or 4 credits***
BIO 224 Animal Behavior 3 credits
BIO 313 Advanced Mendelian & Population Genetics
BIO 323 Bioinformatics

Field Experience

BIO 228 Marine Ecology (must take with lab) 4 credits***
BIO 301 Ecology & Natural History of the American Southwest 4 credits
School for Field Studies (see below) Variable
Hawk Mountain courses (at least 2 courses, totaling at least 3 credits) 3-4 credits***

*Students with Advanced Placement credit for BIO121 and/or 122 are required to take the BIO121 and 122 Labs.)
**Transfer students must take these courses at Cedar Crest, all BCB majors must take both lecture and lab of BIO 309.
***can count towards only one required category.

School for Field Studies

Cedar Crest College is an affiliate member of the School for Field Studies (SFS).Through this affiliation, Cedar Crest students are able to conduct hands-on, community-focused environmental field work in SFS programs around the world, including sites in Australia, Turks & Caicos Islands (British West Indies),Costa Rica, Panama, Bhutan, and Kenya/Tanzania. These are month-long summer and semester-long programs and are in addition to the field opportunities provided directly by Cedar Crest College.

The benefits of the affiliation with SFS to Cedar Crest students include

  • receiving credit for the program directly from Cedar Crest (i.e., not transfer credit)
  • waiver of the $150 registration fee
  • preferential consideration for SFS financial aid
  • access to specially designated spaces held for Affiliates until March 15th and October 15th for the following Fall and Spring semesters, respectively.

For more information about the programs at SFS, visit

Additional course requirements for the Thesis Option:

All students, particularly those who are interested in attending graduate school or obtaining a research-based job following graduation, are highly encouraged to participate in independent research, which may culminate in a thesis. The thesis option begins during the student’s junior year as part of Junior Colloquium (BIO 350). As part of their thesis project, all students who select a major from the Department of Biological Sciences are required to develop a research proposal to investigate an original research question. This experience allows the students to go beyond the basic course information, select a problem that interests them, and apply what they have learned in their coursework to a novel situation. As part of the thesis option, students will spend a minimum of two semesters working with a faculty member to conduct the research outlined in their proposal. They will then develop a written thesis detailing their project and present their final project to the department in the form of a seminar talk or poster. The title of a student’s thesis will appear on her transcript if she completes two semesters (4 credits) of Independent Research (BIO 353) and one semester (1 credit) of Senior Thesis and Presentation (BIO 354) with grades of C- or better.

Fulfillment of LAC Requirements

Students fulfill the Technology, Oral Presentation, and Information Literacy requirement through successful completion of the following required courses: BIO 122, BIO 235, BIO 236, BIO 350, and BIO 356. Students also fulfill the Natural Sciences (BIO 121 and BIO 122), Mathematics and Logic (MAT 141 and BIO 248), Writing 2 (BIO 309, BIO 356), and Global Studies (BIO 309) requirements and partially or fully fulfill the Social Sciences (ANT 100 and PSC course) requirement upon successful completion of the major.