Biology Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree On-campus

About Biology

Prepare for a dynamic career in research or get ready for professional school.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology at California University of Pennsylvania offers a challenging biology curriculum designed to prepare you to enter the workforce or continue your education in graduate or professional schools. This undergraduate degree program offers a broad curriculum in biology supplemented with courses in chemistry, physics and mathematics. Students can select from a range of biology electives to fulfill their degree needs and professional interests. Almost all courses include a laboratory portion where you will gain hands-on experience using the methods, instrumentation and technology specific to the field. You also will study the practical application of the course content by directly applying it in the field and through case studies in the classroom.  

Gain a career advantage with Cal U's emphasis on hands-on experience.

Biology students are encouraged to pursue an internship and/or to study abroad to gain further expertise and practical experience in the field. Many of our biology students have completed internships in professional offices, biological labs, hospitals and other medical settings, and at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. The undergraduate biology program also offers students opportunities to select a concentration in one of these key areas: pre-professional programs, mortuary science or nanotechnology.  The bachelor's degree in biology can be completed in four years of full-time study.


Professional development: Biology students are prepared to start their careers after graduation, or they may choose to go to graduate school or professional school (e.g., medical, veterinary, dental or chiropractic). Students interested in professional schools are encouraged to consider the pre-professional programs concentration. Cal U biology graduates have been accepted by professional schools at many outstanding institutions, such as Penn State, Auburn University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, Ohio University, Ross University of Veterinary Medicine, West Virginia University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.  

High-demand field: A steady demand exists for biologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biological technicians is projected to grow 5% through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Continued growth in biotechnology and medical research is expected to increase demand for these workers. A bachelor's degree in biology from Cal U gives you a distinct competitive advantage over other graduates. You'll be prepared for advanced studies in biology and related fields, and for industrial and government research, as well as for careers in public health and many health-related fields.

Learn about applying

Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in chemistry, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
Degree icon

Degree Benefits

Cal U's biology curriculum is designed to prepare students for careers in the broad field of biological sciences or to pursue further professional training, including going on to medical school. Students receive a strong background in anatomy, microbiology, histology, cell biology and genetics. All biology courses are taught by faculty who are experts in their fields. Other exceptional courses include animal histology, parasitology, developmental biology, immunology, pathophysiology, neurobiology and biochemistry. Students also have the opportunity to minor in chemistry and are encouraged to do so. Many of our students participate in biology-related internships.

Cap icon.

Graduate Outcomes

Biology students have many career options, from continuing their education to finding employment in various types of laboratories or with private industry, government or nonprofit organizations. About 40% of all biological scientists are employed by federal, state and local government organizations. Biological scientists work for the U.S. departments of Agriculture, Interior and Defense, and for the National Institutes of Health. Many graduates also find good opportunities in scientific research and testing laboratories, the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry, or educational institutions.

Biology (B.S.)
A professor and student look at a computer screen.

Top Facilities.

The Biological and Environmental Sciences Department maintains animal rooms, a greenhouse, a herbarium and an instructional computer lab. All teaching classrooms offer up-to-date computer technology and Wi-Fi Internet access. Teaching labs are equipped for the study of anatomy, botany, cellular and molecular biology, ecology, genetics, microbiology, parasitology, and physiology; the zoology lab was recently remodeled. Students are provided excellent opportunities to carry out independent research projects with faculty and present their results in a professional setting.

A student looks into a microscope.

Award-winning Research

Our biology students frequently win awards for their research at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania University Biologists (CPUB) annual conference. For instance, biology graduate Shelby Zikeli '16 conducted research on toxoplasmosis in Madagascar Forest rats, funded by Cal U's Faculty Professional Development Center and CPUB. This unique research was made possible by Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson, who does research in Madagascar while conducting a summer field program for students. Other award-winning student research projects have focused on such areas as small-cell lung cancer, ovarian tumors and wound healing.

A student observes plant life.

Getting Involved  

Many of our students become members of Beta Beta Beta, a national biological society, which requires that students participate in a research experience. All students are given the opportunity to engage in research with a faculty member, and then to present their findings at a local, regional or national venue. Students are encouraged to join and actively participate in other department clubs, including the Biology Club, Medical Interest Club and Sustainability/Horticulture Club. These clubs help to prepare students for professional school by sponsoring visits to graduate schools, inviting guest speakers to campus, providing volunteer opportunities, shadowing professionals, and providing a forum for students to learn more professional opportunities and the graduate school application process.


B.S., Biology Courses


Course Credits
Freshman Year  
First Semester 15
BIO 120   General Zoology 4
CHE 101   General Chemistry I 4
ENG 101   English Composition I 3
UNI 100   First-Year Seminar 1
General Education Course 3
Second Semester 17
BIO 125   General Botany 4
CHE 102   General Chemistry II 4
ENG 102   English Composition II 3
MAT 273   Applied Calculus OR MAT 281 Calculus I 3
General Education Course 3
Sophomore Year  
Third Semester 14
BIO 215 Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
PHY 121 General Physics I 4
Free Elective 3
General Education EMA 3
Fourth Semester 15
BIO 248   General Ecology   4
CHE 331   Organic Chemistry I 4
PHY 122   General Physics II 4
General Education Course 3
Junior Year  
Fifth Semester 15
BIO 3XX   Human Anatomy  or Physiology Course 4
BIO 218   Genetics 4
CHE 341   Organic Chemistry II (lecture) 3
CHE 342   Organic Chemistry II (lab) 1
General Education Course 3
Sixth Semester 17
BIO 3XX   Anatomy or Physiology Course 4
MAT 215   Statistics 3
Related Electives 7
General Education Course 3
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 13 or 14
BIO 478   Evolution 3
CHE XXX   Upper Division Chemistry 3 or 4
ENS 495   Design and Analysis 4
Related Elective 4
Eighth Semester 12 or 13
Related Elective 3
Free Elective 3 or 4
General Education Course 3
General Education EMA 3
Total 120


B.S., Biology - Concentration and Minors

  • Biology - Minor


Biology Faculty

Dr. David G. Argent

View profile
Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Carol Bocetti

View profile
Dr. David Boehm

View profile
Dr. Paula Caffrey
Assistant Professor

View profile
Dr. Chadwick Hanna
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Sarah Meiss
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Louise Nicholson
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Brian Paulson

View profile
Dr. Mark Tebbitt
Associate Professor

View profile
Dr. Robert S. Whyte

View profile
Dr. Ed Zuchelkowski

View profile