Pre-Professional Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Degree Biology

About Pre-Professional Programs

Build a strong foundation for your future career in health-related fields

PennWest California can prepare you to succeed as a top healthcare professional. Through the Bachelor of Science in Biology degree program, the pre-professional concentration provides an excellent background to pursue a health-related career in areas such as allopathic and osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, podiatry, pharmacy, physical therapy, optometry and chiropractic medicine.

 After taking core courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, genetics, cell biology and other subjects, biology majors are well-prepared for the challenges of professional school. In addition, PennWest California stands apart from many other schools of our size in offering specialized courses in areas such as pathophysiology, parasitology, immunology, developmental biology and neurology.

Learn with top experts who can prepare you for professional excellence.

All PennWest California professors who teach in the pre-professional program have received awards for teaching, research or service. Your professors are content experts in their fields: They have all been involved in research and in publishing their findings.

In addition to completing core courses, biology majors focusing on pre-professional programs frequently choose such courses as Evolution, which is a writing component course; Microbiology, followed by Immunology; and Parasitology and Histology, which are not typical offerings at schools the size of PennWest California.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS:  Pre-Professional Programs

Career edge: PennWest California lab facilities offer opportunities for specialized study. The cell culture laboratory supplies students with human tumor cells and mouse embryonic stem cells for use in courses such as Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology. Biology students also can study in PennWest California's histology lab to learn the basics of tissue preparation and staining. Finally, PennWest California's computer lab provides students with opportunities to perform simulations and lab experiments.

Solid foundation: Biology majors pursuing the pre-professional concentration within the bachelor's degree program must take the core science courses as well as a minimum of six general education credits at or above the 300 level in order to graduate. PennWest California students are able to enroll in BIO 418 (Bio Research Investigations) or BIO 492 (Biological and Environmental Science Internship) for a variable number of credits in order to get hands-on research and professional experience.

Reserve a seat in medical school: PennWest California’s Early Acceptance Program agreements with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) create pathways to careers in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy or dental medicine. Qualifying pre-professional biology students who complete a successful interview and meet academic requirements can be assured of provisional acceptance – in essence, a reserved seat – in LECOM’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy or School of Dental Medicine.

Get a head start toward a chiropractic degree: PennWest California offers dual degree programs in conjunction with three of the nation’s top chiropractic colleges: Palmer College of Chiropractic, New York Chiropractic College and Logan University. The “3 + 3” program allows you to begin your studies at PennWest California, then transition to Palmer, NYCC or Logan to complete your studies. Qualifying students can earn both the B.S. in Biology — required for chiropractors in many states — and the Doctor of Chiropractic degree, all in about six years.

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Student-to-faculty ratio at PennWest California.
Credit hours for the bachelor's degree in biology, which can be completed in eight semesters or four years.
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Degree Benefits

The pre-professional concentration within the undergraduate biology program at PennWest California prepares students to enter a variety of professional health science schools, including medical, dental, chiropractic, podiatric, pharmacy, osteopathic, optometry and physical therapy. In addition, some of our graduates pursue post-baccalaureate training as physician assistants. Our students enjoy one-to-one interaction with faculty experts, small class sizes in upper-level courses, and opportunities for research and internships.

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Graduate Outcomes

The pre-professional program is designed to prepare students for acceptance into professional health-related programs and graduate school. Acceptance rates vary according to the specific type of program, but in general are around 80% to 90%. Many of our pre-med students go to osteopathic schools, including the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. PennWest California graduates also have entered allopathic programs at Hershey Medical School, Commonwealth Medical College and other institutions.

Biology (B.S.) Pre-Professional Programs Concentration
A female doctor holding a clipboard.

Internship Focus

Many of our biology majors build valuable experience through internships in such settings as doctors' offices, research labs and hospitals. Some biology students have taken advantage of internships abroad, typically for several weeks in the summer, to learn about foreign cultures and their medical opportunities.

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Campus Connections

Students may wish to join the Tri-Beta National Honorary Biological Society, which requires them to complete a research project and present it as part of their membership. The Biology Club offers activities geared toward research opportunities, volunteer experience and leadership development.

A student looks into a Petri dish.

Healthcare Jobs Outlook

A Bachelor of Science degree in biology from PennWest California 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 many health-related fields. Employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow 19% through 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.3 million new jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare occupations will add more jobs than any other group of occupations. This growth is expected because of an aging population, among other factors.


B.S., Biology Courses- Pre Professional Programs

Course Credits
General Education Courses 42
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100 First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
Any Oral Communication Course
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
MAT 273  Applied Calculus  OR  MAT 281  Calculus I
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
Any Tech Lit. Course
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
Any Fine Arts Course
Natural Sciences
PHY 121  General Physics I 
Social Sciences
Any Social Science Course
General Education Options
  • Any Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course*
  • ENG 102  Composition II
  • MAT 215  Statistics
  • CHE 101  General Chemistry I
Required Major Courses 44
BIO 120  General Zoology 4
BIO 125  General Botany 4
BIO 215  Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
BIO 218  Genetics 4
BIO 306  Human Anatomy  OR  BIO 305  Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 4
BIO 326  General Microbiology 4
BIO 328  Human Physiology  OR  BIO 486  Comparative Animal Physiology 4
BIO 480  Cell Biology 4
PHY 122  General Physics II 4
CHE 102  General Chemistry II 4
CHE 331  Organic Chemistry I 4
Related Electives 16
Select from 300- or 400-level BIO/ENS courses and CHE 415 16
Free Electives 18
Total 120

* Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis Course: Recommended either PHI 307 (Medical Ethics) or PHI 308 (Bioethics).

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): Any Special Experience Course
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): Any two BIO or ENS Upper-Division Writing Component Courses
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): BIO 215 Cellular and Molecular Biology

Program Note: Chemistry minor (20 credits) recommended for those students intending to pursue graduate or professional school. (Must declare minor with chair of the Department of Mathematics and Physical Sciences.)

B.S., Biology - Concentrations and Minors

  • Biology - Minor


Additional Resources

Lake Erie College Of Osteopathic Medicine

The Changing Healthcare Landscape