The Department of Biological Sciences offers experiential learning through a variety of courses and research experiences, including hands-on laboratory and/or field components. These opportunities give students a chance to learn about biology by directly observing organisms and exploring biological processes. Students also learn lab or field skills by using equipment and following procedures used by professionals. (See course catalog for complete description of each course number.)

Biology majors are introduced to experiential learning in their introductory course sequence:

Students should not attempt BIOL 130 or 140 unless the results of mathematics testing indicate placement in MATH 140 or a higher level course.

Upper-division courses continue a cycle of laboratory and/or hands-on fieldwork in the chosen concentration. The list below includes most of the regularly offered upper division courses with a lab and/or field component.

The department also offers field-intensive summer courses at the Reelfoot Lake Environmental Field Station in Samburg, Tenn. These courses are different from a typical on-campus class. They are offered during the summer, meet all day and revolve around active field work. Visit for more information. Courses include:

Students can also earn academic credit for completing one-on-one research work with a faculty member. Students often travel to present research work at conferences across the region. Research experience is highly valued by professional and graduate schools. Students must have junior or senior standing, a minimum 3.0 GPA and research supervisor’s approval to enroll in BIOL 451-452 or 453-454 – Research Participation.

Smith, Henson, Sliger Undergraduate Research on Reelfoot Lake Grant

A grant of up to $4,000 is available for scholarly summer work in any discipline in the Reelfoot Lake watershed. The funds are primarily used for a stipend, but may also cover travel, expendable supplies and use of the Reelfoot Lake Environmental Field Station. At the end of the study, the student will write a summary report and present his or her findings. Student will sign up for 2 hours credit in BIOL 451, 452, 453 or 454 as part of the study. The application deadline is the end of February. Visit for more information.

Contact Information

Dr. Lisa M. Krueger
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Tennessee at Martin