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The study of life

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    Dr. Justin Merry
    Chair of Biology

    p. 814.472.3089 
    Science Center 107

    Schedule a visit

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    Biology at Saint Francis University

    Biology is the study of life in all of its variety and complexity. Biologists approach the study of life at levels ranging from molecular biology and physiology to ecology and evolution. Students of biology must each find the unique niche within this diverse field that best suits her or his passions.

    The Biology Program at Saint Francis University is designed with the uniqueness of each student in mind. Our department provides customizable degree programs and personal academic advising by biology faculty.  We have small class sizes, a tight-knit community of students, and opportunities for students to engage in novel research with faculty mentors.  Many of our graduates go on to graduate schools and professional schools, while others use their bachelor degree to pursue careers in research, education, wildlife management, medical laboratories, as well as aquaria and zoos.

    Biology Program Highlights

    • Personalized Programs
    • Student Research
    • Accessible Faculty
    • Beyond the Classroom
    • A Learning Community
    Personalized Programs

    Genetics PipettingStudents can opt for 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. SFU Biology majors go on to graduate schools, professional schools, and work in governmental agencies, biomedical industry, environmental monitoring, and more.

    Learn More about Biology Degrees & Programs

    Student Research

    Erika CayakOur students conduct research in small teams that work closely with faculty members in dedicated student/faculty research labs. Many students begin research as freshmen, and students can work with multiple faculty on different projects over their four years. Students present their research at regional, national, and international conferences, and have the opportunity to be lead author on publications of their work.

    Learn More About Undergraduate Research Opportunities

    Accessible Faculty

    Dr. Loya TeachingHighly qualified faculty members, holding doctorates in diverse fields within biology including anatomy, animal behavior, cell biology, ecology, endocrinology, entomology, evolution, microbiology, and molecular biology. Our faculty prioritize student learning above all other commitments, and can provide individualized attention thanks to average class sizes of 20 students : 1 instructor.

    Learn More About Our Faculty

    Beyond the Classroom

    Underwater Reach HigherStudents can take classes for a semester while living at Raystown Lake Field Station, or pursue study abroad opportunities. In addition to SFU's semesters in France or Italy, the biology department offers off-semester field biology courses. Past courses have traveled to St. Lucia, the Galapagos, the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and have dived with Manatees in Crystal River, Florida!

    Learn More About Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

    A Learning Community

    Biology Student ZoneBiology department classrooms, laboratories, and collaboration areas are housed within our brand-new 70,000 square-foot facility.  Biology students have a dedicated student zone where they can relax, study, and interact with their peers. The Biology Club, Environmental Action Society, and SCUBA Clubs are student-run groups that foster interaction between students across cohorts, and organize service activities for the community.

    Learn More About Student Organizations

    • Alayna Hawkins SPOTLIGHT

      Marine Biology Student Spends Semester in Alaska

      Alayna Hawkins spent her Fall semester studying Marine Biology at the Kenai Peninsula College, which is part of the University of Alaska Anchorage.

      Read About Her Experience

    • Flash Spotlight

      The Biology Department published their Winter 2017 Newsletter

      Stories include a feature on new equipment in the department, new relationships with local wildlife rehabilitation centers, and a feature on Marine Biology senior Stephanie Wilson.

      Find Out What's New in Biology

    • Erika Dreikorn Spotlight

      Biology Honors graduate starting Masters program

      Ms. Erika Dreikorn graduated with Department Honors in May 2016 after only 3 years at SFU. She is putting her B.S. in Biology (Pre-professional Concentration) to good work as she begins a Master’s program in Human Genetics this Fall at the University of Pittsburgh. 

      Read more about Erika's story

    • Nikki Nastasi 532

      Nikki Nastasi, biology graduate and bone marrow donor

      Biology alumnus, Nikki Nastasi, is a stem cell lab specialist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC for the bone marrow transplant team, and recently became a bone marrow donor herself.

      Read Nikki's story

    • Studds_PsychDogs_Spotlight

      A Dog's-Eye View

      After spending a semester together in a course focused on animal behavior, alumna Meghan Studds and her companion (and former classmate) Maizie headed to Veterinary School. 

      Read about Maizie's journey from the Humane Society to Veterinary School

    • Diatom Research SPOTLIGHT

      SFU Biology Students Search for Diversity in Polluted Waters

      Teams of SFU students spent their summer investigating biodiversity in local streams and ponds affected by pollution.

      Learn About Their Research

    • BIO James Burke Spotlight

      He's a brainiac...

      Neurosurgeon Dr. James Burke still remembers the first time he saw a human brain in person. Even today, after countless surgeries, he still finds the experience of seeing and operating on a brain “surreal.”

      Get inside James' brain

    • Leah Trout

      Kitten care prompts future career

      Taking care of animals was something that always appealed to Leah (Christ) Trout. Growing up on her parents’ farm the menagerie that surrounded her included goats, cats, cows, pigs, and sheep. She enjoyed caring for all of them.  

      Meet Leah Trout