GMercyU Biology major students in the lab

Biology Major: Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology

Gwynedd Mercy University’s biology major emphasizes molecular and cellular biology, genetics and biochemistry with pathways to a variety of career options. Our rigorous Bachelor of Science in Biology degree includes foundational coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, in addition to those in biology.

Here, you will learn directly from experienced, full-time faculty members with doctoral degrees ─ as opposed to teaching assistants (TAs) like other biology colleges. That means richer learning opportunities in the classroom, the laboratory and the field, as well as closer mentoring relationships with the program faculty.

Biology Major Success

  

For the past 11 years, GMercyU's biology degree graduates have scored at or above the national average on the ETS Major Field Test, making it a top biology school in the area. In 2018, GMercyU students ranked in the top 5% in cellular biology, the top 18% in molecular biology and in the top 18% overall among all other institutions whose seniors took the test.

The GMercyU Difference

Gwynedd Mercy University offers biology majors a compelling mix of educational advantages you won’t find at other biology colleges.  While earning your Bachelor of Science in Biology at GMercyU, you'll have the opportunity to:

  • Gain real-world experience through internship placements with institutions like Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and companies such as Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Complete an independent research project - as an undergraduate
  • Prepare for a future in any number of graduate programs in the sciences or science-related fields
  • Get on track for a career as a physician, veterinarian, dentist and more with our pathways that prepare you for a competitive doctoral program application
  • Learn to teach others ─ through our School of Business and Education, you can earn Secondary Education Certification in Biology in accordance with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education requirements.

Research & Labs

GMercyU's biology school offers exciting learning experiences. Laboratories include a wide array of modern instrumentation and facilities for biology and chemistry, including, but not limited to, thermal cyclers, electrophoresis equipment, and a research room with tissue culture hoods used for work in cell culture.

Almost every required course has a laboratory component, resulting in an experience that will help you stand out from other bachelor of science in Biology major graduates when you apply to graduate programs or for jobs after graduation. Here, you have the chance to present research, contribute to publications, and even receive a financial stipend for summer research. 

Examples of current research projects:

  • Studying ecological and pathological effects of parasitic infections in freshwater fish 
  • Studying how the brain’s neuroimmune cells contribute to alcohol-induced brain dysfunction and degeneration
  • Contributing to a national research project focusing on the search for new antibiotics secreted by soil-dwelling bacteria
  • Investigating organic compounds with the potential to function as anti-cancer agents

Summer Research

Gwynedd Mercy University Biology degree students worked on various research projects this summer. For example, they sampled fish from a local stream and evaluated a variety of factors regarding responses to the environment and the reaction of the immune system to pollution. They also measured protein expression levels in microglial cells exposed to alcohol. GMercyU is among the top biology schools in the area, as it emphasizes real-world, hands-on experience for its students.
 

Forge Your Own Path

Students in GMercyU's biology major are encouraged to explore careers that interest them. Jordan Abelson, for example, plans to pursue a career in public health science after graduation when she obtains her Bachelor of Science in Biology. Check out Jordie's student vlog series! 

Undergraduate Minors 

Increase the value of your degree by adding an undergraduate minor. GMercyU offers a wide variety of minors so you can choose the one that best meets your personal and professional goals.

Our biology degrees come with a built-in minor in chemistry. You may also choose to pursue an additional second minor.

Career Pathways

Pre-Professional (Pre-Med / Pre-Vet )

Prepare for a career as a physician, veterinarian, and more

At GMercyU, we offer our students a pathway to help them achieve their pre-professional goals, whether it’s medical school, veterinary school, dental school, or other health professional programs! The biology program ensures you’ll take the courses you need to apply to and be accepted by professional programs.

With a dedicated Pre-professional Advising Office, supportive faculty members, and a curriculum rich in molecular and cellular biology and biochemistry, you’ll develop all the skills you need to jumpstart your career in the medical field. Read more about the Pathway to the Professions and learn about GMercyU’s pre med requirements, courses, and career outcomes of our Pre-med biology students.

Secondary Education Certification

bachelors in biology

Earn a Biology degree with Teacher Certification

If you want to teach Biology in a secondary school setting, you can earn your Secondary Education Certification or your grades 7-12 special education certification through Gwynedd Mercy University’s School of Education. This option allows you to earn a bachelor of science in Biology combined with secondary teaching certification, a unique opportunity among biology colleges in PA.

*Certification: This program was designed to meet the certification requirements of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you reside in a different state, you should carefully review your home state’s certification requirements prior to enrolling in this program.

Associate Degree in Natural Science

 associates degree in biology

Earn an Associate Degree in Natural Science

The Natural Science degree is a two-year program designed for students wishing to gain a foundation in scientific theory and practice. Students who earn their Associate of Science Degree will qualify for entry-level employment or continued education toward the baccalaureate degree. The degree is ideal for part-time students already working in the science field, especially in industry, who are looking to advance in their current position. The program is closely aligned with the first two years of the bachelor of science degree in biology, making the transition from the AS to BS degree seamless.

Curriculum

In addition to general education course requirements, our bachelor of science in biology students will complete the following courses:

Major Requirements – 57 Credits

BIO 203/203L   General Biology I/Laboratory
BIO 204/204L General Biology II/Laboratory
BIO 230/230L Ecology/Laboratory
BIO 251/251L  Genetics/Laboratory
BIO 402/402L Molecular Biology of Cell/Laboratory
BIO 415/415L Developmental Biology/Laboratory
BIO 421 Biology Research (may be satisfied by BIO 440 - Internship)
BIO Biology Elective
BIO Biology Elective
BIO Biology Seminar I- Capstone    
BIO Biology Seminar II- Capstone    
BIO Biology Seminar III- Capstone    
CHM 151/151L Principles of Chemistry I/Laboratory
CHM 152/152L  Principles of Chemistry II/Laboratory
CHM 203/203L Organic Chemistry I/Laboratory
CHM 204/204L Organic Chemistry II/Laboratory
CHM 301/301L Biochemistry I/Laboratory
CHM 302 Biochemistry II
PHY 241/241L General Physics I/Laboratory
PHY 242/242L General Physics II/Laboratory
MTH 234 Probability and Statistics
MTH 245 Calculus

Secondary Education Certification Option – 33 Credits

EDU 100  Education in America 
EDU 300 Pre-Student Teaching 
EDU 319 Selected Topics Sec. Educ.
EDU 325 Secondary Methods
EDU 351 Meeting the Needs of English Language Learners
SPE 215 Exceptional Person for Secondary Education
SPE 231 Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Inclusionary Setting 
SPE 331 Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment for Mild/Moderate
EDU 490  Student Teaching & Professional Seminar – 12 Credits

Credit Requirement
A minimum of 125 credits is required for the BS in Biology degree.

To review course descriptions, please refer to the undergraduate catalog (PDF).

 

Internship Opportunities

All Biology majors are required to complete a research experience as part of the completion of their degree. Students may satisfy this requirement through a summer internship or the conduction of research under the supervision of a faculty member.

Our biology major students have completed internships with: 

  • M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
  • Colorcon
  • Emerson Resources, Inc.
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Merck
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Philadelphia Zoological Garden
  • QC Laboratories
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Wissahickon Water Shed

Our Outstanding Faculty

Career Outcomes

A bachelor's degree in biology from this well-established biology school will prepare you for entry-level work in the biological sciences, as well as for admission to graduate school and professional doctoral programs in the health professions.

Possible careers for biology majors

•    Aquaculture Farmer
•    Aquarium & Museum Worker
•    Aquatic Biologist
•    Barrier Beach Manager
•    Biochemist
•    Bio-technologist
•    Botanist
•    Brewery Laboratory Assistant
•    Coastal Resources Worker
•    Commercial Fishing Engineer
•    Dentist
•    Dietitian & Nutritionist
•    Ecologist
•    Environmental Engineer
•    Environmental Health
•    Environmental Protection
•    Epidemiologist
•    Ergonomist
•    Fisheries Conservationist
•    Food Scientist
•    Forester
•    Genetic Counselor
•    Genetic Engineer
•    Health Officer
•    Hydrographic Survey Technician
•    Marine Fisheries Worker
•    Medical Librarian

•    Medical Technologist
•    Microbiologist
•    Mining & Petroleum Industry
•    Molecular Biologist
•    Mycologist
•    Neurobiologist
•    Optometrist
•    Pharmaceutical Salesperson
•    Pharmacologist
•    Pharmacy Technician
•    Physical Therapist
•    Physiologist
•    Physician
•    Physician Assistant
•    Public Health Worker
•    Quality Control
•    Science Illustrator
•    Science Teacher
•    Science Writer/Technical Writer
•    State Parks & Recreation
•    Toxicologist
•    Veterinarian
•    Water Quality Technician
•    Wildlife Resources

*    Some of these careers may involve acquiring additional education.
*   This is only a partial list and not meant to limit you.