About the Department

The Faculty of Biological Science offers an undergraduate degree program designed to give a breadth of knowledge that prepares graduates to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing science. Degree requirements are purposefully flexible to provide students with numerous career choices in biology, allied health fields, and professional or graduate schools.

dusky salamander

Prestigious NSF Grant given to Graduate Student Michael Steffen

Michael Steffen, a 4th year graduate student in Dr. Ron Bonett’s lab, has received a highly competitive and very prestigious NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Michael Steffen received one of only three awards given to students from Oklahoma. His grant of $13,970 was given to examine courtship pheromone evolution in Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus).

Many species use unique protein based chemical messengers called pheromones to recognize mates. Therefore evolution of differences in courtship pheromones could cause reproductive isolation and ultimately speciation. Michael’s research will focus on Desmognathus because species of this group have recently undergone rapid evolution in ecology, body size and life history. Michael is specifically testing how convergence and introgression play a role in geographic distribution of these pheromones, and if pheromone divergence is correlated with patterns of behavioral reproductive compatibility or isolation. This grant will support travel for field work in the southern Appalachian Mountains and molecular biology lab supplies and reagents.

Major course work combined with studies in the university-wide Tulsa Curriculum give students the background required to excel in writing, reasoning, and achievement capabilities, and to adjust to the complexity of modern society and its component technologies. The department offers master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in addition to bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees.

Prospective students in biological science should be aware of the department's many advantages. The program offers:

  1. a personalized advising system that is available to each freshman when enrollment at the university is completed
  2. small classes in lectures and laboratories
  3. easy access to all professors
  4. high quality student peers

Furthermore, research opportunities allow undergraduate students to work directly in the laboratory with the professor of their choice. Departmental chapters of Beta Beta Beta (biology honorary society) and Alpha Epsilon Delta (national pre-medical honor society) provide student members with a variety of experiences enhancing both their education and career advancement. Weekly seminars feature speakers on diverse topics of biological interest.

Following a comprehensive set of core courses, undergraduate students may choose from a number of elective major courses including advanced genetics, microbiology, immunology, cellular physiology, comparative physiology, comparative vertebrate anatomy, vertebrate embryology, histology, plant anatomy, plant physiology, plant systematics, evolution, invertebrate zoology, parasitology, population ecology, community ecology, and senior research.

The strength of this program has resulted in a high acceptance rate of students who apply to graduate or professional schools. For more information about professional program advising (including medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary), please see premed advising page. In addition, our programs educate students in modern techniques, giving graduates the competitive edge required for positions in genetics laboratories, in vitro fertilization facilities, public health organizations, or scientific equipment companies.

Our graduates have entered advanced degree programs in medicine or research at Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, Michigan State University, University of Southern California, Baylor University, University of Colorado, and many other outstanding graduate and professional schools. In addition, our graduates have achieved considerable success in various areas of medicine, veterinary medicine, environmental science, genetic research, and other areas of biological science, both theoretical and applied.