Course Catalog

Department of Biology


Jane Lopilato, Chair and Associate Professor
Maria Abate, Assistant Professor
Anna Aguilera, Coordinator of Environmental Science and Associate Professor
Randi Lite, Professor of Practice
Eric Luth, Coordinator of Neuroscience and Behavior and Assistant Professor
Charlotte Russell, Associate Professor, NTT
Cassandra Saitow, Assistant Professor
Matthew Schwartz, Assistant Professor, NTT
Elizabeth Scott, Professor
Michael Welch, Assistant Professor, NTT
Jyl Richards, Senior Laboratory Manager
Tracy Machcinski, Laboratory Supervisor



The department’s offerings are designed to help students develop an understanding of the scope and the specialties of biology, as well as an appreciation of modern biological trends. An inquiry-based approach is utilized in the laboratory components of biology courses; this experience is integral to a student’s understanding of scientific principles and allows the student to apply critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity in approaching scientific problems.

Undergraduate preparation in biology may lead to career opportunities in university, hospital, government and commercial laboratories in areas such as animal and plant physiology, developmental and evolutionary biology, genetics and molecular biology, neurobiology, cell biology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology, ecology, marine biology, public health and biotechnology. The curriculum also prepares students for graduate study in biology, medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, and allied health careers.+

Cooperation with other departments in the College provides opportunities for joint programs. The following is a list of majors and programs offered by the Biology Department:

  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science
  • Exercise Science
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Accelerated five-year programs: BS Biology/MS Nutrition, BS Exercise Science/ MS Nutrition or
  • Certification for teaching biology at the middle school and secondary school levels is also possible by enrollment in the education department.

For further information about the Biology Department refer to the Simmons University website.

Learning Outcomes

Students will gain:

  1. Knowledge of broad sweeping core concepts in biological science.
  2. Knowledge of studies linking evolutionary concepts with experimental studies from the molecular, cellular and physiological and behavioral level of living organisms.
  3. Skill in analysis, measurement and interpretation of experimental data published in primary research articles in both cellular and molecular studies as well as organismal studies.
  4. Knowledge of statistical analysis, and hypothesis generation and testing techniques.
  5. Skills necessary to conduct original scientific research at either the cellular, cognitive, or organismal level.
  6. Skills necessary to successfully work in groups, valuing and respecting each other’s opinions, accepting constructive feedback, and taking responsibility for completing shared tasks
  7. The ability to clearly communicate concepts in biology and interdisciplinary majors, and defend conclusions in writing and orally to diverse audiences: lay public, students, and biology professionals in their own area of expertise.


Departmental Honors

Senior Thesis in Biology Departmental Honors

The Department of Biology offers the opportunity for students in any of our five majors to receive Departmental Honors upon graduation. Students who have earned an outstanding GPA in Simmons biology courses (minimum of six required) and who receive an A in BIO 355 (Senior Thesis in Biology) will receive Departmental Honors in Biology. This designation in Biology is given to those seniors whom the department considers to have completed outstanding work in the department.

Departmental Recognition

This designation in Biology is given to those seniors whom the department considers to have completed outstanding work in the department. Such recognition is included on the student’s transcript. This recognition is usually calculated as the top 10% of GPAs of majors in the Department of Biology and is included on the student’s transcript.


Policy on Combination of Double Majors or Minors

Students may double major or have a combination of a major and a minor or two minors from among the different majors above, with some restrictions. Some combinations are not allowed. Please see the Biology Department Chair or your advisor.