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Department of Biology
Welcome to Biology at Penn State
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Why Biology at Penn State?

Are you looking for the exciting opportunities provided by a larger university, yet still wanting to receive individual attention? If so, the Biology program at Penn State may be a perfect fit for you! Being a top tier research institution, our faculty conduct research on a wide range of topics ranging from coral reef ecology to molecular evolution to the neurological basis underlying mental disorders. Penn State's Biology curriculum is designed to help give you both the breadth and depth you'll need to understand modern biology at all levels of intergration. Within the major, we offer the following six options, allowing you to tailor your studies to your specific interests:

  • General Biology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics & Developmental Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Plant Biology
  • Vertebrate Physiology

 

What Can a Biology Degree Do For You?

The biology major will allow you to pursue exciting career in diverse fields, including health care, education, research, pharmaceutical sales, law, genetic counseling, medical illustration. . . The list is nearly endless and only limited by your imagination. A breakdown of the careers our recent graduates entered is shown here:

Health Care (40%)

Our program provides excellent preparation for professional schools including medical, dental, and optometry. About 80% of Penn State Biology majors who apply to medical school are accepted; this is well above the national average of 42%. Other career paths include allied health fields ranging from physical therapy to physician assistant programs. 

Research (25%)

Many of our graduates accept entry-level research positions in industry, government, non-profit organizations, or universities. Penn State Biology provides a variety of research experiences opportunities to prepare students for theses positions of for graduate level research programs.

Teaching (10%) 

A Penn State Biology degree provides a strong foundation for potential educators. High school level positions require certification through a secondary education program or a master's degree in education. Teaching at the college or university level typically requires a Ph.D.

Other Options (25%)

Our biology graduates have also entered careers in a wide range of related fields including: pharmaceutical sales or supply, government agencies such as the FDA and EPA, and non-profit conservancy organizations. Click here to visit our After Graduation page for more information about what a biology degree can do for you!
 

 

 

 

 

Advising

Undergraduate students planning to become biology majors are assigned a faculty adviser when they arrive on campus. In addition to meeting with the officially assigned adviser, students are welcome to visit with any of the advisers in the Biology Undergraduate Advising Office. In the first semester at Penn State all incoming students are required to participate in the course, PSU 016, or First Year Seminar. This serves as an orientation to college life and all of the opportunities offered on campus. In addition, the Eberly College of Science offers several 1-credit seminars to aid in career development.

 

Entrance to Major Requirements while at Penn State

Entrance to College Pre-Major (SCIEN)

To enter the Eberly College of Science Pre-Major (SCIEN) as an undergraduate student at Penn State, you must have: 

  1. Completed MATH 140 or 140B with a grade of C or better
     
  2. Obtained a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0

These requirements do not apply to incoming first-year students.

 

Entrance to Biology Major

Penn State undergraduate students usually declare a major at the end of their second year. In order to declare biology as your major at Penn State, you must have:

  1. Completed the following courses with a grade of C or better: BIOL 110, MATH 140 or 140B, CHEM 110, and any one of the following BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W, or BIOL 240W
     
  2. Attained at least a 2.0 cumulative grade-point average

 

*Please note: Students intending to transfer from another institution must have completed a minimum of 60 credits, including the equivalent of MATH 140 and MATH 141, as well as the requirements listed above. For additional information contact the Admissions Office.

 

Click here to learn more about the curriculum requirements as a Biology undergraduate student at Penn State.

 

How to Apply to Penn State

Visit the Undergraduate Admissions site to learn more.

 

Financial Aid

A number of grants, loans, work-study programs, and scholarships are available through Penn State. To learn more about financial aid and how to apply, contact:

Penn State Office of Student Aid
314 Shields Building
University Park, PA 16802
Ph: (814) 865-6301
Email: click here
Website: https://studentaid.psu.edu/

 

To Schedule a Campus Tour and Speak with an Adviser

Department of Biology Undergraduate Advising Office
248A Ritenour Building
University Park, PA 16802
Ph: (814) 865-2329
Email: bioadvising@psu.edu
Website: click here