Biology, B.S. or B.A.


The Biology Major is a Gateway to Careers in the Sciences and Healthcare

Biologists are inquisitive professionals who seek to learn about the nature of life.  We use tools from physics, chemistry, psychology, and even economics when trying to explain and understand the structure and function of living things. Earning a biology degree at Saint Francis University can lead to exciting opportunities in the sciences, biotechnology, or health-related fields. 


Offered: On-Campus

Mural in the science center

Diversity in Biology Careers

Biologists approach the study of life at levels ranging from
molecular biology and physiology to ecology and evolution. 

Do you:

  • love all of the sciences?
  • want to use hi-tech laboratory equipment to learn how molecules and cells affect human health?
  • enjoy learning about animals or plants?
  • wonder how organisms in the field interact with their neighbors and their surroundings?
  • have a passion for exploring oceanic biodiversity?

No matter where your interest lies in the area of biology, you can find your path at SFU.  Our in-depth portfolio of concentrations and specializations within the biology program will help you identify your niche within this amazingly diverse field.


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students have the opportunity to operate our own 1,500 gallon diveable saltwater training tank
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extensive laboratory and field work are pillars of the program
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undergraduate research opportunities starting freshman year

Biology the Saint Francis Way

You can pursue one of our flexible general biology degrees, or choose from a variety of concentrations within the biology major. Biology faculty members serve as academic advisors for all of our majors and provide one-on-one attention to help you achieve your career goals. 

Research & Fieldwork

Undergraduate Research in the Lab and Field: Students are encouraged to explore a significant research question in their area of interest as early as their freshman year. They work under the close guidance of our faculty who offer expertise in a full range of disciplines within biology, including molecular biology, genetics, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology.  


The Office of Student Research offers grants to SFU students to support undergraduate research in the summer. Students write these grants with their faculty research mentor and receive research supply money, campus housing support, and a stipend.


Raystown Immersion Experience: "Live by the lake" at the beautiful Raystown Field Station, which is nestled at the edge of Raystown Lake near Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. In a cooperative agreement with Juniata College, SFU and Juniata students engage in hands-on science courses and related activities, all while living at the field station for the entire semester.


Lake Saint Francis Water Shed Trail: Located on the edge of campus, the recreational trail provides access to the University's quieter, more natural areas and increases knowledge of our local ecology. The trail and surrounding ecosystem are used by the Dr. Wayne and Elizabeth Takacs Biology Department and others to conduct scientific research and promote environmental education.


Study Abroad

Field Biology Course: The BIOL 322 Field Biology course has allowed students to study biological systems around the world, including Australia, the Galapagos, and Belize.  Students prepare with readings and assignments throughout the semester, and then travel to destinations either during spring break or immediately following spring semester.


Marine Science in Caribbean: Students can take SCUBA courses while abroad.  There, they can gain SCUBA certifications, or take advanced research courses such as Coral Reef Ecology of Research Diver Methods.  SCUBA courses are open to all majors, not just those in biology or aquarium programs.


Learn more about Study Abroad opportunities.


Club & Honor Society Involvement

SCUBA: Students learn to scuba dive or continue to build diving skills while exploring the fascinating underwater world. Activities are sponsored by the Scuba Club throughout the year to keep divers actively involved in the sport. Courses in SCUBA are offered in both fall and spring semesters.  Students taking SCUBA courses can earn a Biological Diving Minor.


Environmental Action Society: This organization promotes environmental education and outreach to the students, faculty, and staff of Saint Francis University as well as to the community at large. Members also have fun in the environment while preserving it!


Biology Club: This club welcomes students who major in Biology or other majors with an interest in biology.  Activities, trips and guest speaker invites are designed to help students prepare for their future in the sciences as well as to offer opportunities to participate in fellowship and networking activities.  


TriBeta Biological Honor Society: Saint Francis is home to the Upsilon Beta Chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. Numerous student members have received research scholarship grants from the TriBeta national office and presented their research at the District Convention. 



The best way to explore what the student experience really looks like is to schedule a visit!



What You’ll Learn in the Undergraduate Biology Program

Every student pursuing biology has unique interests and goals. The Dr. Wayne and Elizabeth Takacs Biology Department at Saint Francis University offers a diverse array of programs that provide students with individualized career training paths.

General Biology Majors

Our general biology programs (B.A. or B.S.) offer flexibility in course selections to serve students who have broad interests or want to specialize in a way that doesn't fit out other programs. These programs encourage undergraduate research and provide all of the courses and study abroad options available in all of our other programs.


Biology, B.A. Plan of Study \  Course Catalog - 23/24

Biology, B.S. Plan of Study  \  Course Catalog - 23/24

Joseph Erevelles Biology Pre-Medicine Program

(Pre-Physician, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Podiatry, & Pre-Veterinary)

This program is recommended for students who plan to attend medical, dental, optometry, podiatry, veterinary, or similar professional schools.  Built around personal attention and faculty advising in a rigorous curriculum that gives students the tools to apply and excel in the professional school of their choice.


Associated with the program is an annual award. Students enrolled in this program can apply for support from the Joseph Erevelles Biology Pre-Medicine Annual Award, which can offset costs associated with medical school entrance exams, application fees for medical schools, and travel for interviews. Learn more about Joseph Erevelles and this award.


Biology, B.S. with a concentration in Pre-Medicine

Plan of Study  / Course Catalog - 23/24


Pre-Medicine Program Page

Marine Biology Program

This concentration within the Biology B.S.  degree focuses on biodiversity and marine ecosystems with a global perspective not tied to one particular geography. Our students gain SCUBA certifications and dive at coral reefs in the Caribbean, and home their skills at Chincoteague Bay Field Station.


 Marine Biology Program Page

Ecology & Environmental Biology Program 

This concentration within the Biology B.S.  degree places an emphasis on ecology (how organisms interact with one another and their environment). Students in this program also have the opportunity to do ecological research with faculty and to participate in our Immersion Semester program at the Raystown Field Station. 


Biology, B.S. with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology
Plan of Study  / Course Catalog - 23/24 

Molecular Biology Program 

This concentration within the Biology B.S. degree places an emphasis on the function of molecules and cells, along with modern analytical methods and technology. Learn cell culture techniques to study cell biology, cancer biology, and virology.


Biology, B.S. with a concentration in Molecular Biology

Plan of Study / Course Catalog - 23/24

Secondary Education Program

Students in this program earn a B.S. in Biology, complete with all of the rigors and opportunities, along with an educational framework that prepares them to teach science in secondary education in Pennsylvania's public or private schools. 


Biology, B.S. with a concentration in Secondary Education

Plan of Study / Course Catalog- 23/24

Aquarium and Zoo Science Major

Training for students who want to work as zookeepers, educators, or naturalists in zoos or aquaria get hands-on experience operating our 1,500-gallon professional scale aquarium and gain real-world experience through animal care practicum and internships.


Aquarium and Zoo Science Program Page

Biochemistry Major

This B.S. program is offered jointly through the Dr. Wayne and Elizabeth Takacs Biology Department and Chemistry departments. Biochemists study the chemical processes that occur in living cells as well as the structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.


Biochemistry Program Page

Neuroscience Concentration

The program will appeal to students who enjoy making connections across fields of science and social science, and who are curious about the structure and function of our brain, sensory systems, and neuromuscular systems.  This program requires a double major in Psychological Science and Biology.


Plan of Study / Course Catalog - 23/24

Biological Diving Minor

The Biological Diving minor requires that students complete SCUBA certification as well as a selection of upper-level biology courses.  Many of these courses provide opportunities for travel to sites like St. Lucia and Belize for diving experience. 


Course Catalog - 23/24

Medical Laboratory Science Major (A.K.A. Medical Technology)

This B.S. program prepares students to work in clinical and hospital laboratories on the front lines of disease diagnosis or in forensics labs. This is a 3+1 program with the fourth year at an affiliated hospital training facility.


Medical Laboratory Science Program Page

Neuroscience Minor

Students with an interest in medicine, physiology, or molecular biology often pursue our interdisciplinary neuroscience minor, which pairs well with a biology major.  Most biology students need only three additional courses and a seminar to complete the minor.


Course Catalog - 23/24


  • Degree Paths
  • Learning Objectives
  • Degree Paths

    Successful graduates of this degree program are awarded either a B.A. or B.S. in Biology.


    View Admission Requirements


    Related Majors

    Aquarium and Zoo Science


    Medical Laboratory Science

  • Upon successful completion of the undergraduate Biology program, you will be able to:
    • Describe how evolution by natural selection explains the unity and diversity of life on earth, and articulate how organisms interact at the population, community, and ecosystem levels.
    • Employ the scientific method, including the use of discipline-specific techniques, to discover and validate biological knowledge.
    • Demonstrate scientific literacy through reading, writing, presenting, and discussing research.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of how atoms and molecules interact to permit the function of living systems, and how cells sense, control, and respond to stimuli in their environments.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of molecular genetics and how this leads to the expression and inheritance of traits.
    • Explain how organisms reproduce and develop, how their anatomical structure permits function, how they maintain internal conditions, and how they sense and respond to external stimuli, across the full range of biological diversity.

Dedicated Researchers; Passionate Teachers

Our highly qualified faculty members hold doctorates in diverse fields within biology including anatomy, animal behavior, cell biology,  ecology, endocrinology, entomology, evolution,  microbiology, and molecular biology.


Dr. Justin Merry
Department Chair, Biology



Research Interest: Dr. Merry's research is in the field of sensory ecology, which explores how sensory systems interact with animal behavior. He is particularly interested in how limits to visual abilities impact communication, mating behavior, and foraging.

Career Outlook in Biology

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for jobs in Biology is strong “Employment of life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, which will result in about 97,400 new jobs. Increasing demand for expertise in the sciences, particularly in occupations involved in biomedical research, psychology, energy management, and environmental protection, is projected to result in employment growth.” Similarly, employment in healthcare occupations is expected to grow 14 percent through 2028. Salaries can vary significantly, depending on one’s field, location, and education level.

Biological Sciences is a diverse field of study, with a wide range of career opportunities.  Below are the major career paths our graduates follow. 

Research: Basic and Applied

Researchers work for universities, government agencies, and private research institutes. Entry-level positions require a bachelor's degree, while graduate school is required for greater control and management of research projects.

Health care

Biologists pursue careers as dentists, medical laboratory scientists, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians, podiatrists, and veterinarians.

Environmental Science

Biologists who focus on environmental issues find jobs in the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, Environmental Assessment & Monitoring, Fisheries, Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Wildlife Management, and the U.S. Park Service.


Educators with a biology background teach classes in schools from elementary through post-secondary levels.  Environmental educations work at zoos, aquariums, museums, aviators, theme parks and resorts, and in the ecotourism industry.

Animal Care & Training

Biology majors can work as animal trainers, aquarists, zookeepers, and wildlife rehabilitation and care specialists.

Law, Business & Writing

Biology majors find careers in environmental law, patent law, science policy advising, business management, marketing, pharmaceutical sales, technical instrument sales, science writing, and science journalism.


Frequently Asked Questions About Biology at Saint Francis University

  • What is the career outlook for specific fields in biology
    Clinical Laboratory Technologists11% projected growth $ 52,330
    Dietitians and Nutritionists11$ 60,370
    Genetic Counselors27$ 80,370
    Physicians and Surgeons7$208,000
    Veterinarians18$ 93,830
    Agricultural and Food Scientists7$ 64,020
    Biochemists and Biophysicists6$ 93,280
    Biological Technicians7$ 44,500
    Conservation Scientists and Foresters3$ 61,340
    Environmental Science and Protection Techs9$ 46,170
    Environmental Scientists and Specialists8$ 71,130
    Epidemiologists5$ 69,660
    Forensic Science Technicians14$ 58,230
    Medical Scientists8$ 84,810
    Microbiologists5$ 71,650
    Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists5$ 63,420
    High School Teachers4$ 60,320
  • What are some graduate schools SFU alumni have attended?

    Some of the graduate schools our alumni have attended include;

    • Drexel University
    • Bowling Green State University
    • Hawaii Pacific University
    • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Mississippi State University
    • Nova Southeastern University
    • Ohio State University
    • Penn State University
    • Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Slippery Rock
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of Maine
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • Western Virginia University
    • William & Mary Institute of Marine Science
  • What professional schools have SFU students attended?

    In recent years, SFU students have attended the following professional schools;



    • Geisinger Medical College
    • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Griffith University School of Medicine, Australia
    • Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Liberty University
    • Nova Southeastern College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey
    • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • University of Queensland School of Medicine, Australia
    • West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Wright State University


    • Temple University Dental School
    • University of Pittsburgh


    • Nova Southeastern School of Optometry
    • Salus University, Pennsylvania College of Optometry


    • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
    • Mylan School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University
    • School of Pharmacy, University of Charleston


    • Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine

    Veterinary Medicine

    • Ohio State University
    • Iowa State University

    Medical Laboratory Science

    • Conemaugh School of Medical Technology
    • UPMC Altoona School of Medical Technology/Medial Laboratory Science
  • What are the major areas of biological research?
    • Anatomy                                                    
    • Animal Behavior
    • Biochemistry
    • Bioinformatics
    • Biological Engineering
    • Biophysics
    • Cell Biology
    • Conservation Biology
    • Ecology
    • Evolutionary Biology
    • Genetics
    • Genomics & Proteomics
    • Immunology
    • Marine Biology
    • Microbiology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Neuroscience
    • Physiology
    • Plant Biology
    • Systematics & Taxonomy
    • Virology
    • Zoology
  • What educational qualifications are required for research positions


    • Students with a B.S. in Biology are qualified to work as laboratory technicians, assistants, or technologists.  These jobs can pay well and offer excellent stability, particularly in industry.
    • A Master's degree will allow more oversight and control, greater competitiveness for positions, and an increased range of career options.
    • A Ph.D., as well as post-doctoral training, is typically required for high-level research positions in industry or academics.