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The Department of Biology at Georgia Southwestern State University aims to provide students with a comprehensive education that cultivates lifelong learning through the application of scientific knowledge. 

Students learn the fundamentals of biology and implement them through applied pedagogy and undergraduate research.  Through this instruction they develop the critical-thinking skills necessary to assimilate, interpret and communicate scientific knowledge. The students become competitive for the best opportunities available following graduation, including professional and graduate school programs.


student in lab


The GSW Herbarium has an impressive collection of over 13,000 cataloged specimen.

This is an interesting collection since the majority of the specimen are non-local flora with most being from California and Utah.  The bulk of the collection was donated to GSW by Dr. Robert A. Norris and is referred to as the Norris Collection.

Current work in the herbarium is focused on the digitization of the Norris Collection.  Each specimen will be imaged and the label information will be entered into Symbiota hosted by SERNEC.  Symbiota provides a web portal to the data so that it can be search by individuals around the globe.  To access the entered collection information, you can go to and limit your search to the GSW Herbarium.  This is a labor intensive process and currently less than 5% of the collection in the portal.

More about Dr. Norris

Dr NorrisDr. Norris had a Ph.D. in biology and was a professor at Valdosta State University, Rutgers University and University of California at Berkeley.  For over 30 years, he collected and traded his specimen with other intuitions.  After donating his collection to the university, Dr. Norris continued to work with it and served as its curator until his death in 2010. Georgia Southwestern State University  is honored to house the Norris Collection and appreciates all his labor and devotion to this project. He will be missed.

Would you like support the Herbarium and our efforts to digitize the Norris Collection?  Donations can be made to GSW Foundation for Biology/Herbarium. Send donations to:

GSW Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 926
Newman Alumni House
Georgia Southwestern State University
800 GSW State University Dr.
Americus, GA 31709
Phone: 229-931-2014
Fax: 229-931-2845

Donations are Tax-Deductible

Field trips are an important component of the learning experience in Biology at GSW.  A simple walk outside the classroom can add an entirely new prospective to a topic. Field trips provide the  opportunity to experience new habitats and to appreciated the diversity of the natural world.

Weekend camping trips allow for further travels.  Students can experience environments as vastly different as the long-leaf pine/wiregrass ecosystem of Northern Florida and the lush growth of a temperate forest along the ridges and valleys of North Georgia. From the sandy shores of St. George Island to the maritime forest of Sapelo Island, the wonders of nature energize students and faculty alike.

Weekend trips are typically associated with field classes so most of these trips occur during the Spring semester.  Student in the associated class are given first refusal, but if space allows other students can participate.  There is typically a fee to cover food and campsite cost.


students on field trip 2

Thomas Wright
J. Thomas Wright, Professor
Margaret and Russell Thomas Chair in Biology
Location: Science/Math Building, Rm. 112
Phone: (229) 931-2359
  • Ph.D., Emory University
  • B.S., Columbus College
  • Interests: development of fat-cell lines; molecular biology of animal cells

Ian Brown
Ian Brown, Professor
Location: Science & Math Building, Room 213
Phone: (229) 931-2361
  • Ph.D., University of Otago, New Zealand
  • B.S., University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Interests: Biological control; nematology & entomology
Stephanie Harvey

Stephanie Harvey, Professor
Department Chair
Location: Roney Building, Rm. 102
Phone: (229) 931-5034

  • Ph.D., The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • M.S., Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville
  • B.A., Wesleyan College, Macon Georgia
  • Interests: Biofumigation; hydroponic vegetable production; medicinal plants

Ann Hue Tu
Anh-Hue Tu,  Professor
Location: Science-Math Building, Room 117
Phone: (229) 931-2360
  • Ph.D., Texas A&M Health Science Center
  • B.S., Baylor University, Waco, Texas
  • Interests: Bacteriology and Molecular Biology
Dr Lorenz w electrofisher

O. Thomas Lorenz, Assistant Professor
Location: Science Building, Rm. 113
Phone: (229) 931-4207

Dr. Lorenz's Web Page

  • Ph.D., University of New Orleans
  • M.Sc., Southeastern Louisiana University
  • B.Sc., Western Michigan University
  • Interests: Herpetology; Ichthyology; Animal Behavior; Invasive Species

Yoniie Williams
Yonnie Williams, Lab Technician
Location: Jackson Hall, Room 005
Phone: (229) 931-2081
  • B.A., West Georgia College, Carrollton
  • Interests: Water quality; botany; entomology; herpetology
  Debbie Standridge, Senior Administrative Assistant
Biology, Chemistry, Geology/Physics
Location: Science/Math Building, Room 111
Phone: (229) 931-2135
  William L. Tietjen, Professor Emeritus
  • Ph.D., The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • B.S., The University of Georgia, Athens
  • A.S., Georgia Southwestern College, Americus
  • Interests: Nutrient evaluation and invertebrate faunal description of Lake Blackshear, Coastal Plain macroarthropod faunistic evaluation, and an ecological evaluation of a small upper coastal plain second order stream and associated wetlands.

Not all courses are offered every term.  Many are offered only every other year.  See Below.

Course Descriptions

BIOL 1107 Essentials of Biology BIOL 3400 Bacteriology
BIOL 1107L Essentials of Biology Laboratory BIOL 3410 Advanced Bacteriology
BIOL 1108 Essentials of Biology BIOL 3600 Entomology
BIOL 1108L Essentials of Biology Laboratory BIOL 3710 Field Botany
BIOL 1500 Applied Botany BIOL 4010a Biology Seminar I
BIOL 2030 Human Anatomy & Physiology I BIOL 4010b Biology Seminar II
BIOL 2040 Human Anatomy & Physiology II BIOL 4050 Ecology
BIOL 2050 Microbiology BIOL 4100 Biological Resources
BIOL 2107 Principles of Biology I BIOL 4200 Genetics
BIOL 2108 Principles of Biology II BIOL 4300 Plant Physiology
BIOL 3000 Advanced Botany BIOL 4350 Natural History of the Vertebrates
BIOL 3020 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy BIOL 4400 Animal Physiology
BIOL 3050 Developmental Biology BIOL 4480 Ichthyology
BIOL 3100 Cell and Molecular Biology BIOL 4500 Aquatic Biology
BIOL 3150 Human Pathophysiology BIOL 4750 Special Problems
BIOL 3300 Economic Botany BIOL 4760 Special Problems
  BIOL 4800 Herpetology


Courses Offered by Term

Courses offered in Fall

BIOL 1107 Essentials of Biology Every Fall and Summer I
BIOL 1107L Essentials of Biology Laboratory Every Fall and Summer I
BIOL 2030. Human Anatomy & Physiology I Every Fall and Summer I
BIOL 2107 Principles of Biology I Every Fall
BIOL 3020. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy Odd Years Only
BIOL 3100. Cell and Molecular Biology Odd Years Only
BIOL 3300. Economic Botany Even Years Only
BIOL 3400. Bacteriology Even Years Only
BIOL 3600. Entomology Odd Years Only
BIOL 4200. Genetics Every Fall
BIOL 4300. Plant Physiology Odd Years Only
BIOL 4400. Animal Physiology Even Years Only
BIOL 4480. Ichthyology Even Years Only

Courses offered in Spring

BIOL 1108 Essentials of Biology Every Spring and Summer IIs
BIOL 1108L Essentials of Biology Laboratory Every Spring and Summer IIs
BIOL 1500. Applied Botany Every Spring
BIOL 2040. Human Anatomy & Physiology II Every Spring and Summer IIs
BIOL 2050. Microbiology Every Spring
BIOL 2108 Principles of Biology II Every Spring
BIOL 3000. Advanced Botany Odd Years Only
BIOL 3050. Developmental Biology Even Years Only
BIOL 3410. Advanced Bacteriology Odd Years Only
BIOL 3710. Field Botany. Even Years Only
BIOL 4050. Ecology Every Spring
BIOL 4350. Natural History of the Vertebrates Odd Years Only
BIOL 4500. Aquatic Biology Odd Years Only
BIOL 4800. Herpetology Even Years Only

Courses Offered Intermittently or on Special Schedules

BIOL 3150. Human Pathophysiology Occasionally - upon request
BIOL 4100. Biological Resources Every Summer
BIOL 4750. Special Problems Occasionally - upon request
BIOL 4760. Special Problems Occasionally - upon request


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