Skip navigation

Biology Degrees & Programs


As a biology major at Saint Francis, you have the opportunity to explore the many diverse fields within biology, allowing you to discover what best aligns with your unique interests.

  • Contact us!

    Dr. Justin Merry, Chair
    jmerry@francis.edu

    p. 814.472.3089
    f. 814.472.2773
    Science Center 107

    Schedule a visit

    Why Study Biology?

    Biologists are inquisitive professionals who seek to learn about the nature of life. Do you enjoy learning about animals or plants? Do you wonder how organisms in the field interact with their neighbors and their surroundings? Do you want to use hi-tech laboratory equipment to learn about the world of molecules and cells that lie within each us? Do you love all of the sciences? Biologists use tools from physics, chemistry, psychology, and even economics when trying to explain and understand the structure and function of living things. 

    Biology Department Core Programs

  • General Biology Majors
    General B.S. or B.A. Image

    Our cornerstone programs are our two general biology degree programs.  We offer a B.A. or B.S. in Biology, each of which allows considerable customization by the student while ensuring broad training across biology.

    Biology, B.S.

    A flexible program that encourages broad training in biology, while allowing students to customize the program to their interests.  

    Biology, B.A.

    Flexible like the Biology, B.S. degree, but designed for students who wish to earn a double major, a minor, or a pre-law concentration.

    Aquarium and Zoo Science

    Aquarium and Zoo Science divingAquarium and Zoo Science, B.A.

    This program is specifically built to prepare students for careers in aquariums and zoos upon completion. The students will complete a broad survey of biology the first year and then build upon this by completing courses in animal care, animal nutrition, vertebrate zoology, invertebrate zoology, microbiology, genetics, and marine biology. Students will develop skills while completing their animal care practicum and internships along with laboratory exercises. Presentation skills will be developed in front of and inside a large aquarium, presenting information to school children and visitors to the biology department. 

    Visit the Aquarium & Zoo Science Page

    Environmental Science (Ecology)

    Environmental Science imageEnvironmental Science Concentration (B.S. in Biology)

    Designed for those students highly interested in the environmental side of biology. Students have the opportunity to complete specialized courses related to the environment such as Ecology, Field Biology, Freshwater Aquatics, and Conservation Biology, while still maintaining a solid foundation in the traditional Biological Sciences. This concentration prepares students for both jobs and graduate school in a wide variety of environmental-related fields such as wildlife biology, entomology, resource conservation, environmental law, and environmental education. 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. 

    Marine Biology

    Marine Biology SCUBA DivingMarine Biology Concentration (B.S. in Biology)

    For students wishing to work or continue their studies in a wide array of marine biological careers. Students will focus their studies on completing a wide exploration of marine biology their first two years and then specialize their studies the last two years to prepare for careers as field biologists, coral reef ecologists, fisheries biologists, aquaculturists, etc. or to continue their studies in graduate level programs. Students will build skills in completing marine biological studies throughout the program.

    Medical Laboratory Science

    Medical Laboratory Science imageMedical Laboratory Science, B.S.

    Medical Laboratory Scientist, also known as Medical Technologists or Clinical Laboratory Scientists, are health care professionals who work in laboratories and perform diagnostic tests on human tissue samples.  They have expertise in biology and chemistry, and are trained in the use of state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.  This is a "3+1" program; students spend their first three years at Saint Francis University, and then attend an affiliated Medical Laboratory Science school in their fourth year to complete their B.S. degree and receive specialized training. 

    Visit the SFU Medical Laboratory Science Page

    Molecular Biology

    Molecular Biology imageMolecular Biology Concentration (B.S. in Biology)

     With focus on molecular and cellular biology, this program is designed with both rigor and flexibility to reflect the many different employment pathways open to molecular biologists. Fields such as cell biology, immunology, developmental biology, genetics and the exploding field of bioinformatics offer opportunities for graduates with a solid understanding of the inner workings of the cell. This concentration also allows students the option of combining computer skills with their knowledge of biology. 

    Pre-Medicine Biology

    Pre-Professional ImagePre-Medicine Concentration (B.S. in Biology)

    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.  Pre-medicine students receive one-on-one advising support from their Biology faculty advisor, as well as advice and guidance from our Pre-Medicine Committee.  Dr. Marian Langer, who chairs the committee, is a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP), and is accessible to students for expert advice that comes from years of experience.

    The academic program emphasizes biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, physiology, and anatomy.  It is front-loaded, such that most critical science courses can be completed prior to the end of a students' third year.  This ensures that our students are well-positioned for success on entrance exams, such as the MCAT, OAT, DAT, or GRE, which are taken following the third year.  

    Secondary Education (and Special Education), Biology

    Secondary education imageSecondary Education Concentration (B.S. in Biology)

    This program provides students with an in-depth, well-rounded biology education that will allow them to master the content needed to teach science in secondary education. Furthermore, students will take a full slate of education courses, and work in tandem with an advisor in the education department, to develop the teaching skills needed to communicate these concepts effectively. Students in this program complete their undergraduate coursework in seven semesters, and then spend their final semester doing student teaching for an area school. 

    We also offer a dual certification program in both Biology, Secondary Education and Special Education.  In this 4.5-semester program, students take an additional 18 credits of courses that develop skills in special education.

    Secondary Education, Biology (B.S.)

    Secondary Education, Biology (B.S.) & Special Education Dual Certification

  • Affiliated Programs - Biology Department

    In addition to our core biology degree programs, the Biology Department also maintains affiliation agreements with a number of graduate and professional schools throughout the region.  Many of these programs allow early acceptance and admission into professional or graduate schools.  Each school has different entrance requirements and standards that must be upheld for students to stay in the program. For more information on these affiliation programs, please contact Dr. Marian Langer, Professor of Biology and Pre-Medicine Program Coordinator (mlanger@francis.edu).

    View our official affiliation agreement for each school

  • Dental School Affiliations (Accelerated Pre-Dental Program)

    Kornberg School of Dentistry, Temple University

    Under a joint agreement between Kornberg School of Dentistry Temple University and Saint Francis University, select undergraduate students who have successfully completed specific core course requirements at SFU may continue their education in dentistry at Temple University in this program of study. This accelerated academic program is referred to as The "3+4" Accelerated Program Leading to the Baccalaureate and Doctor of Dental Medicine Degrees (or Program). The program is comprised of two phases: Phase I consists of the first three years of undergraduate education at Saint Francis; Phase II consists of the remaining four years of dental school education at Temple University. Saint Francis University will confer the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree to students who have successfully completed the first year of Temple University School of Dentistry's academic curriculum.

    Read More about the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry

     

    Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Dental Medicine

    Under a joint agreement between the Lake Erie University of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and SFU, undergraduate students are enrolled jointly by SFU and LECOM. The program is comprised of two phases: phase I consists of four years of undergraduate education at Saint Francis; Phase II consists of the remaining four years of dental school education at LECOM. Saint Francis University will confer the Bachelor of Science degree to students after the completion of the first phase of the program.

    View the SFU Biology/LECOM 4+4 Plan of Study

    Learn More About LECOM's Early Acceptance Programs 

     

    Medical School Affiliations (Accelerated Pre-Medical Program)

    Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM)

    Under a joint agreement between the Lake Erie University of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and SFU, undergraduate students are enrolled jointly by SFU and LECOM. The program is comprised of two phases: phase I consists of the first three or four years (depending on which program you select) of undergraduate education at Saint Francis; Phase II consists of the remaining four years of medical school education at LECOM. Saint Francis University will confer the Bachelor of Science degree to students enrolled in the "3+4" track upon successful completion of the first year of LECOM's academic curriculum.

    View the SFU Biology/LECOM 3+4 Plan of Study

    View the SFU Biology/LECOM 4+4 Plan of Study

    Learn More About LECOM's Early Acceptance Programs

     See Requirements: View the SFU Academic Catalog.

    Optometry School Affiliations

    Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Salus University

    Under a joint agreement between the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO)/ Salus University and SFU, undergraduate students who have successfully completed specific core course requirements at SFU may continue their education in medicine at PCO in this program of study. The program is comprised of two phases: phase I consists of the first three years of undergraduate education at Saint Francis; Phase II consists of the remaining four years of optometry school education at PCO. Saint Francis University will confer the Bachelor of Science degree to students upon successful completion of the first year of PCO academic curriculum.

    View the SFU Biology/Salus PCO 3+4 Plan of Study

    Read More about the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University

    See Requirements: View the SFU Academic Catalog

     

    Pharmacy School Affiliations

    Mylan School of Pharmacy, Duquesne University

    Saint Francis University maintains a pre-pharmacy program in affiliation with Duquesne University.  This program exists as a "2+4" or "3+4" program.  They operate as follows:

    • 2+4 Early-Entry Program: Students accepted into this program apply to Duquesne University and receive preferential consideration for admission after their second year at SFU.  Upon acceptance at Duquesne, they begin pharmacy school and receive a Associate's Degree in Bio-Chemical Sciences at Saint Francis University.
    • 3+4 Early-Entry Program: As above, students in this program receive preferential consideration for admission to the Mylan School of Pharmacy at Duquesne University.  In this case, however, students complete a third year at Saint Francis before beginning pharmacy school.  Subsequently, once they complete their first year of Pharmacy school, students receive a B.S. in Biology from Saint Francis University.

    View the SFU Biology/Duquesne Pharmacy 2+4 Plan of Study

    View the SFU Biology/Duquesne Pharmacy 3+4 Plan of Study

    Read More about the Mylan School of Pharmacy

     

    School of Pharmacy, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

    Saint Francis University maintains several different pharmacy programs in affiliation with LECOM.  They differ in the number of years a student enrolled in the program would spend at Saint Francis University, and the degree that students would receive from SFU.

    • 2+ Track Accelerated Program in Pharmacy - Students spend two years at Saint Francis University before matriculating to LECOM School of Pharmacy to complete their Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.).  Students can receive an Associate's Degree in Bio-Chemical Sciences from Saint Francis University at the conclusion of their first two years.  View the SFU Academic Catalog.
    • 3+ or 4+ Track Accelerated Program in Pharmacy - Students spend either three or four years at Saint Francis University before matriculating to LECOM School of Pharmacy to complete their Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.).  Students receive a Bachelor's Degree from Saint Francis University upon completion of their fourth year in the program (students in the 3+ receive their B.S. after completing their first year at LECOM).  View the SFU Academic Catalog.

    View the SFU Biology/LECOM 2+4 Pharmacy Plan of Study

    View the SFU Biology/LECOM 3+4 Pharmacy Plan of Study

    Learn More About LECOM's Accelerated Programs

    Podiatry School Affiliations

    Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine

    In a joint program with Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, students accepted in this program complete three years of undergraduate education at Saint Francis University. After successful completion of their undergraduate curriculum, they matriculate into Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine.

    View the SFU Biology/Temple Podiatry Plan of Study

    Read More: Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Accelerated Program

    See Requirements: View the SFU Academic Catalog

     

    Forestry & Environmental Management Affiliations

    Nichols School of the Environment, Duke University

    The 3+2 cooperative program through the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University is a highly-competitive alternative available to Saint Francis University students. Students attend Saint Francis University for three years to complete their undergraduate studies, and then matriculate into a Master's program at Duke in their fourth year.  Students in the program typically earn their bachelor's degree after their first year at the Nicholas School and their master's degree after their second year, thus earning both a bachelor's and master's degree in a total of five years of study. The program provides a unique combination of liberal and professional education well-suited for those desiring to enter a variety of fields relating to the protection of our natural resources.                                     

    Students are eligible to be accepted into one of two Master's degree programs: Master of Forestry (MF) or Master of Environmental Management (MEM). Students in the MEM program can choose a program of study in one of the following areas: (1)  Coastal Environmental Management, (2) Energy and Environment, (3) Ecotoxicology and Environment Health, (4) Environmental Economics and Policy, (5) Ecosystem Science and Conservation, (6) Global Environmental Change, and (7) Water Resources Management. Students may also pursue the Master of Environmental Management concurrently with the Master of Forestry degree.

    Learn More About The Cooperative College (3+2) Program through Duke

  • Minors Offered by Biology Department

  • Biology Minor

    Minor in Biology

    Non-majors can obtain a minor in biology.  Please see the Course Catalog Major Requirements.

    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 for diving experience. 

    Please see the Course Catalog Major Requirements.