Bachelor of Science in Biology

Bachelor of Science in Biology Biology Degree On-campus

About the Bachelor of Science in Biology

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

The Bachelor of Science 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.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Biology Degree

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.

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19:1 
Student-to-faculty ratio at Cal U.
120 
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in chemistry, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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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.

 
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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.

Students study in Costa Rica.

Field Biology

Cal U biology students can take field biology courses that study other ecosystems. A recent class visited four different ecosystems in Costa Rica — a dry forest, cloud forest and high and low rain forests. They also talked with those who are engaged in sustainable farming practices and learned about economics.  

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B.S., Biology Courses

Curriculum


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 Course 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 300/400 level Anatomy and Physiology Course 4
BIO 218 Genetics 4
Free Electives 4
General Education Course 3
   
Sixth Semester 17
BIO 300/400 level Anatomy and Physiology Course 4
MAT 215 Statistics 3
Related Electives 7
General Education Course 3
   
Senior Year  
Seventh Semester 14 or 15
BIO 478 Evolution 3
ENS 495 Design and Analysis 4
Related Elective 3 or 4
Free Electives 4
   
Eighth Semester 12 or 13
Related Elective 3
Free Elective 3 or 4
General Education Course 3
General Education EMA 3
Total 120

Related BIO/Professional Electives (13 credits)

  • BIO, ENS, CHE or related College of Science and Technology 300- or 400-level course (with approval of your advisor)

B.S., Biology - Concentration, Minors and Careers

Minors
  • Biology - Minor

Concentrations
What jobs can I get with a biology degree?


Here are a few examples of jobs that you can get with a bachelor's in biology degree:

  • Environmental Scientist / Specialist
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Biological Technicial
  • Research Assistant
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
  • Environmental Technician
  • Agricultural or Food Scientist
  • Quality Control Specialist

Biology Faculty

Dr. David G. Argent
Professor

argent@calu.edu

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Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson
Associate Professor

arrigonelson@calu.edu

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Dr. Carol Bocetti
Professor

Bocetti@calu.edu

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Dr. David Boehm
Professor

boehm@calu.edu

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Dr. Paula Caffrey
Assistant Professor

caffrey@calu.edu

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Dr. Chadwick Hanna
Associate Professor

hanna@calu.edu

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Dr. Sarah Meiss
Associate Professor

meiss@calu.edu

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Dr. Louise Nicholson
Associate Professor

nicholson@calu.edu

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Dr. Brian Paulson
Professor

paulson@calu.edu

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Dr. Mark Tebbitt
Associate Professor

tebbitt@calu.edu

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Dr. Robert S. Whyte
Professor

whyte@calu.edu

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Dr. Ed Zuchelkowski
Professor

zuchelkowski@calu.edu

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