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A complete listing of courses offered in the Department of Biology, along with course descriptions, is available in the University’s online academic catalog: Biology Course Descriptions (note this list includes undergraduate offerings; grad courses are those at the 400-, 500- and 600-level)

Graduate courses offered by the Department of Biology are listed below. The list is divided into two thematic areas: Environmental Biology and Evolutionary Biology, plus miscellaneous other courses. Of the required non-dissertation course work for doctoral students, at least 9 credit-hours must be completed in environmental biology and 9 in evolutionary biology; this requirement does not apply to master’s students, who can choose from any course on the list (with advisor approval).

Variable content courses.

Specific topics for variable content courses, which vary by semester, can be found here.

Environmental Biology

  • 407(G). ENVIRONMENTAL TOXICOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Overview of occurrence of pollutants in aquatic and terrestrial environments and the atmosphere, pollutant dynamics and metabolism, and pollutant effects on biota at different organizational levels. Laboratory centers on methodology, instrumentation, and other practical aspects.

  • 408(G). PLANT PHYSIOLOGY (3, 0, 3). Water relations, mineral nutrition, respiration, photosynthesis and light regulation, phytohormones, and movements of plants.

  • 409(G). PLANT PHYSIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 5, 2). Laboratory exercises on quantitative physiological effects and enzyme, protein, light and hormonal control. Coreq: BIOL 408(G)

  • 412(G). CONSERVATION BIOLOGY AND BIODIVERSITY. (3, 0, 3). Application of ecological and evolutionary theory to the management of rare and threatened species, communities, and ecosystems. Emphasis on human threats to wildlife species and habitats.

  • 415(G). BIOGEOGRAPHY. (3, 0, 3). Integration of concepts of ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and physical geography relative to distribution of species.

  • 416(G). INTRODUCTION TO R PROGRAMMING FOR BIOLOGISTS. (3, 0, 3). Fundamental programming skills for the ‘R Statistical Software’ language, including data manipulation, management, exploration, and visualization techniques.

  • 418(G). MICROSCOPY THEORY AND APPLICATIONS. (3, 0, 3). Includes light, electron, fluorescence, and scanning probe microscopy. Emphasis on computer-based acquisition and processing of images.

  • 427(G). EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN AND ANALYSIS. (3, 2, 4). Fundamentals of designing and implementing field experiments from the initial planning stage to data analysis, interpretation, and publication.

  • 430(G). Neurodevelopment and Neuropathology (3, 0, 3). Focus on aberrant events during nervous system development and their impact on neuropathology and development of psychiatric disorders.

  • 440(G). ESTUARINE ECOLOGY & COASTAL MARINE BIOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Ecological processes in coastal marine environments from estuaries to the continental shelf. Focus on ecological interactions among organisms and their environment; influence of the land-sea interface on community dynamics; and current and emerging issues in coastal marine ecosystems. Required weekend field trip.

  • 441(G). LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY. (3, 3, 4). Origins, geology, physics, chemistry, and biological productivity of inland water bodies, estuaries, and oceans. Laboratory centers on methodology, instrumentation, and other practical aspects of freshwater and marine studies; required field trips.

  • 442(G). Immunobiology (3, 0, 3). Fundamental concepts of infection and the immune response. Theories and applications of humoral, cellular and molecular immunology.

  • 443(G). Immunobiology Laboratory (0, 3, 1). Experimental and serological applications of immunobiology for diagnosis of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases.

  • 446(G). FISH ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT. (3, 3, 4). Biotic interactions among fishes and their environment and effects of conservation and management practices on fish ecology, ecosystem function, and human well-being.

  • 447(G). Ecosystem and Landscape Ecology. (3, 3, 4). Processes and interactions of plants, animals, and their physical environment that alter the cycling of life elements through the major ecosystems.

  • 457(G). ADVANCED CELL BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Mechanisms and pathways responsible for membrane transport, metabolism, gene expression, protein synthesis and secretion, membrane trafficking, cytoskeleton dynamics, and cell signaling.

  • 458(G). ADVANCED CELL BIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 4, 2). Molecular basis of fundamental processes. Emphasis on experimentation using live cells. Coreq: BIOL 457(G).

  • 461(G). AQUATIC AND WETLAND VASCULAR PLANTS. (2, 4, 4). Identification, ecology, and adaptations of vascular aquatic and wetland plants.

  • 471(G). Climate Change Biology. (3, 0, 3). Effects of short and long-term climate variation on ecosystems.

  • 480(G). MARINE MICROBIOLOGY. (2, 0, 3). Ecology, function, and physiology of marine microorganisms.

  • 481(G). MARINE MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Sampling and culturing of microorganisms from the sea.

  • 482(G). COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Comparative aspects of regulatory, metabolic, and sensory physiology in animals. Emphasis on adaptations to environmental stress. Integrated laboratory.

  • 502. QUANTITATIVE ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Quantitative methods for analysis in Ecological studies including ecological models, model selection, maximum likelihood estimation, and mark-recapture analysis.

  • 503. ECOLOGICAL MODELS AND DATA. (3, 0, 3). Presents advanced statistical techniques that are a framework for comparing alternative mechanistic ecological models to empirical data. The combination of statics and models provides a quantitative basis for inferring the processes at work in an ecological system.

  • 504. ADVANCED MICROSCOPY. (1-3). Tutorial research methods in contemporary microscopy. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 505. INVASION BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Comprehensive course on patterns and processes of species invasion from an ecological perspective.

  • 510. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). History of, and modern debates in, community ecology. Special focus on understanding mathematical models and learning multivariate statistical analyses in R.

  • 528. SPATIAL DATA ANALYSIS AND MANAGEMENT. (3, 0, 3). Emphasis on data management methods and best practices, geographic information system techniques for mapping and performing spatial and geostatistical analyses. Short field trips may be required.

  • 549. SCIENTIFIC GRANT WRITING. (3, 0, 3). Introduction to finding and pursuing opportunities for grant funding from a variety of sources, preparing a scientific research proposal, and conducting peer review. Students will prepare proposals according to National Science Foundation guidelines, provide and get feedback from their peers and the instructor, and participate in a mock panel review.

  • 575. STATISTICAL ECOLOGY. (4, 0, 4). Design, analysis, and presentation of results of ecological experiments and field studies, with emphasis on hypothesis testing and statistical modeling.

  • 580. MARINE ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Discussions of basic principles of marine ecology, including productivity, dynamics of populations, factors affecting distribution, and interactions between organisms.

  • 590. ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES. (3-6). Training in the use of advanced research instrumentation including chromatography, fluorometry, image analysis and data interpretation. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 604. ADVANCED TOPICS IN CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). In-depth study and discussion of advanced topics of cell and molecular biology in a classroom setting. (Environmental category only before 2023).


  • 612. COASTAL RESTORATION ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Coastal ecosystems affected by anthropogenic stressors and climate change focusing on sustainable ecosystem restoration and management considerations.

  • 615. BIOCHEMICAL ADAPTATION TO THE ENVIRONMENT. (3, 0, 3). Modification of basic biochemical structure and function that enable organisms to exist in extreme environments; enzymatic and metabolic adaptation to hypoxia, salinity, temperature, pressure, humidity and light.

Evolutionary Biology

  • 401(G). QUANTITATIVE EVOLUTION. (3, 0, 3). Emphasizes the fundamental evolutionary concepts that provide explanations for the diversification of life on Earth. Specific topics include the evidence for evolution, adaption by natural selection, specification, systematics, molecular and genome evolution, and macroevolutionary patterns and processes. Students to work in small groups to explore specific topics in depth.

  • 403(G). FUNDAMENTALS OF VIROLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Structure, assay, classification, biochemistry and molecular biology of viruses.

  • 405(G). MAMMALOGY. (3, 2, 4). Emphasis on structure, classification, distribution, life history, evolution, and identification of mammals of the world. Participation in extended field trips is required. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 413(G). HERPETOLOGY. (3, 4, 4). Biology of amphibians and reptiles, including studies of diversity, evolution, behavior, ecology, physiology, and conservation. Laboratory focuses on diversity, systematics, biogeography, and conservation. Required field trips.

  • 414(G). ORNITHOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Avian evolution, ecology, physiology, and behavior. Laboratories include required field trips and focus on identification, life history, and conservations of birds. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 423(G).  NEUROBIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Nervous system structure, development, cell types, and function. This course will review the cellular physiology of sensory systems, Neural and glial physiology, major circuits, response to environment, evolutionary relationships, neurobiology of behavior and nervous system disorders.

  • 424(G).  NEUROBIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Lab component to Neurobiology.

  • 425(G). DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Basic embryology, molecular aspects of development, and some model developmental processes including the controls of differentiation, regeneration and pattern formation.

  • 426(G). DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY LABORATORY. (0, 3, 1). Observation and experimentation using embryos of sea urchin, frog and chick. Histological preparations. Coreq: BIOL 425(G).

  • 431(G). CANCER BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Foundational and emerging concepts in molecular pathways underlying neoplastic diseases, cancer diagnostics, and cancer treatment.

  • 433(G). PLANT SYSTEMATICS AND BIODIVERSITY. (3, 2, 4). Origin, evaluation, and relationship of flowering plants.

  • 434(G). HISTOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Study of vertebrate tissues.

  • 436(G). COMPARATIVE VERTEBRATE MORPHOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Evolution of vertebrate organ systems and morphology in terms of ontogenetic origins, structure, function, and adaptation. Laboratory dissection of vertebrates.

  • 444(G). ADVANCED MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES. (4, 2, 4). Discover and perform advanced molecular techniques used in research, biotechnology, and medicine. (Cannot be taken if you have already taken 453 + 454).

  • 445(G). ICHTHYOLOGY. (2, 4, 4). Classification, zoogeography, and evolution. Includes ecological factors affecting fish community structure, adaptations of specialized fish fauna, including those of deep sea, epipelagic, polar, and coral reef habitats. Required field trips.

  • 453(G). MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR ENGINEERING. (3, 3, 4). Fundamental concepts of genetic engineering as they are currently being applied to the development of superior strains of microbes, plants, and animals for use in industry and biomedicine. Coreq: BIOL 454(G).


  • 455(G). MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Structure, function and evolution of biological systems at the molecular level with emphasis on gene structure and regulation..

  • 462(G). INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY. (3, 3, 4). Classification, morphology, physiology, and ecological life history characteristics of invertebrates.

  • 472(G). NEUROPHYSIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Neurophysiological activities at cellular and molecular levels and their linkage to human neurological diseases. Include membrane physiology, electrophysiology, synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity, interactions between neurons and glial cells, neurodegeneration and regeneration, and related neurological disorders.

  • 473(G). NEUROPHYSIOLOGY LAB. (1, 0, 2). Neurophysiological activities at cellular and molecular levels and their linkage to human neurological diseases. Include membrane physiology, electrophysiology, synaptogenesis and synaptic plasticity, interactions between neurons and glial cells, neurodegeneration and regeneration, and related neurological disorders.

  • 484(G). INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY. (4, 3, 3). Diversity of the physiology of neural, sensory, endocrine, and muscle systems in animals.

  • 485(G). MARINE BOTANY. (4). Comparative study of marine and coastal algae, including classification, morphology, life cycles, and ecology. Emphasis on field and laboratory studies.

  • 501. POPULATION GENETICS. (3, 0, 3). Theoretical and empirical approaches to the genetics processes in natural populations. Topics include models of selection, inbreeding, and genetic drift as well as methods for the estimation of population genetic parameters.

  • 506. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING FOR BIOLOGISTS. (3, 0, 3). Design and develop customize programming scripts for biological applications.

  • 507. MOLECULAR EVOLUTION. (3, 0, 3). Phylogenetic variations in DNA, RNA, proteins, and polysaccharides in plants and animals; genetic basis of evolutionary diversity.

  • 508. FOUNDATIONS OF EVOLUTION. (3, 0, 3). Examination of the history of evolutionary biology by studying key conflicting ideas in the field spanning from Darwin to today. Discussion of classic papers as well as paired current literature to decipher the debates that remain standing questions in evolutionary biology spanning both microevolution and macroevolution. Major topics include the modern synthesis, genetic basis of adaptation, tempo and mode of evolution, origins of novelty, molecular evolution, and plasticity and epigenetics.

  • 526. ADVANCED MICROBIAL PHYSIOLOGY AND GENETICS. (3, 0, 3). Microbial nutrition, growth, metabolic reactions and control mechanisms.

  • 542. EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Ecological processes as phenomena that are subject to evolutionary change. Topics include optimality theory, predator-prey interactions, life-history strategies, sexual selection, and sociality.

  • 554. ADVANCED PATHOGENIC MICROBIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Mechanisms of bacterial virulence functions in mounting infections in vertebrate hosts and evasion of their immune responses. Functional adaptation and evolution of virulence functions from related structures of nonpathogenic species.

  • 558. EVOLUTION AND ADAPTATION OF THE ARTHROPODS. (2, 4, 4). Studies center on the significance of arthropodization and subsequent adaptations in form and function; convergence and homology are discussed in perspective of modern phylogenetic schemes; habitats and symbiotic relationships are discussed in the course of examining life histories. Laboratory emphasizes morphology, taxonomy, systematic literature, and field studies.

  • 559. SYSTEMATIC METHODS. (2, 4, 4). Lectures emphasize uses and interpretation of various data sources for classification. Laboratories emphasize acquisition of methods and skills such as chromosomal analysis, enzyme electrophoresis, restriction enzyme analysis of nucleic acids, phenetic and cladistic analysis using computer software.

  • 604. ADVANCED TOPICS IN CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). In-depth study and discussion of advanced topics of cell and molecular biology in a classroom setting. (Evolutionary category only from Spring 2023 onward)


  • 609. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY. (3, 0, 3). Evolutionary game theory, optimal foraging theory, sexual selection theory, and kin theory.

  • 670. EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES. (3, 0, 3). In-depth consideration of processes of micro- and macroevolution with emphasis on current theoretical debates including the claim of tautology, units of selection, punctuated equilibrium, adaptationism and evolutionary constraints, modes of speciation.

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Other Courses

These courses do not count toward the 9+9 requirement.

  • 550. COLLOQUIUM IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES. (1, 0, 1). Attendance and participation in seminars covering research topics in biology. Restr: Required for all graduate students throughout their residence. Grading option: S/U.

  • 551-552. GRADUATE SEMINAR I, II. (1, 0, 1 ea.). Variable topic seminar designed to provide experience in proper presentation of scientific papers and in scientific criticism. Topics emphasize current biological problems.

  • 560. ADVANCED PROBLEMS IN BOTANY. (2-6). Research problems in plant science in areas other than that of the student's thesis or dissertation.

  • 561. ADVANCED PROBLEMS IN ZOOLOGY. (2-6). Research problems in zoology in areas other than that of the student's thesis or dissertation.

  • 564. TOPICS IN MARINE SCIENCE. (1-6). Advanced lecture, laboratory, and field work on a selected topic in the marine sciences at a coastal laboratory of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) Restr: Permission of advisor and instructor required.

  • 565. SPECIAL PROBLEMS IN MARINE SCIENCE, GRADUATE. (2-6). Directed research and study at Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) or other departmentally approved coastal laboratory. Restr: Permission of advisor and instructor required.

  • 595. SPECIAL PROJECTS. (1-6). Training/research project in areas other than that of the student’s thesis or dissertation. Content varies and alternate subtitles will appear on the student’s transcripts. See Current Course Offerings for upcoming topics. Restr: Permission of instructor required.

  • 599. THESIS RESEARCH AND THESIS. (1-9). Grades: S, U, W.


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