Biology professor demonstrating to students how to use a microscope.

B.S. in Biology Overview


We are extremely proud of our science programs and facilities. Biology courses are taught in the O’Pake Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility with two floors of laboratory and classroom space, all offering the latest in educational technology.

As a biology major, you’ll use laboratory materials and equipment to examine cells and tissues, explore human physiology, isolate and manipulate DNA and protein, grow and analyze microbes such as bacteria and study and propagate plants. You may participate in studies involving biomedical and environmental analysis, facilitated by the very latest equipment and tools.

Scientific study has the potential to improve lives and advance the world for a better and more sustainable future. The study of biology is particularly important, as it enables students to develop scientific skills and techniques that can be applied to fields such as environmental science, healthcare and biotechnology.

Biology students at Alvernia learn more than what is contained in textbooks. You’ll experience real-world learning that will enable you to link your classroom experiences to the larger community and, indeed, the world. Scientists, and perhaps biologists in particular, have the potential to influence positive change in the world. At Alvernia, you’ll develop an appreciation for and knowledge of the fundamental skills, principles and techniques that enable you to do just that.

Careers in Biology

Biology majors acquire the skills and knowledge needed to pursue careers in many fields. In addition, biology provides excellent training for students who want to earn advanced degrees or pursue research opportunities.

The study of biology prepares you for opportunities in areas including healthcare, allied healthcare, animal care and research, legal, environmental, industry, plant biology and education.

You might consider a career as a genetic counselor, epidemiologist, food safety expert, gamekeeper, medical illustrator, conservation biologist, environmental scientist, botanist, biology teacher or health official. Alvernia graduates are employed as physicians, dentists, research associates, educators, pharmacists, optometrists, podiatrists and immunologists.  

In addition, Alvernia’s Biology program offers coursework that enables qualifying students to enter the Reading Hospital Medical Laboratory Science program after completing their third year at Alvernia. We also partner with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to offer an early acceptance program for students who qualify to enter the college’s School of Dental Medical, School of Pharmacy or Medical College following completion of their degree at Alvernia.  

A sampling of employers of Biology Program graduates:

  • Pfizer Inc.
  • Drug Scan
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Church & Dwight
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Carpenter Technology Corporation
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • The Graduate Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Reading Health System

For more information about careers in Biology check the American Institute of Biological Sciences’ website at

Some biology students return to school after graduating from Alvernia to earn graduate degrees.

Alvernia University, in partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), offers an early acceptance program that allows qualified students to enter into LECOM’s School of Dental Medicine, School of Pharmacy or Medical College upon completion of their degree at Alvernia. Specific guidelines and requirements are available from the Chair of Science and Mathematics.



All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

As a biology major, you’ll need to earn 80 to 89 credits in the major.

Biology Core Requirements (32 credits)

BIO 103  Principles of Biology w/Lab
BIO 104  Zoology w/Lab
BIO 221  General Microbiology w/Lab
BIO 303  Genetics or
BIO 304  Cell Biology
BIO 309  Molecular Genetics Lab
BIO 311  Cellular Physiology Lab
BIO 320  Ecology
SCI 402  Seminar
SCI 480  Biology Internship    OR
SCI 406  Research I AND SCI 407  Research II

Biology Electives (18-24 credits)

BIO 107/117   Anatomy & Physiology I w/Lab
BIO 108/118   Anatomy & Physiology II w/Lab  OR
BIO 115/116  Human Form & Function w/Lab
BIO 200   Medical Terminology
BIO 203   Biosphere
BIO 205   Botany
BIO 208   Neuroscience for Rehab
BIO 211   Kinesiology w/Lab
BIO 216   Nutrition
BIO 315   Forensic Medicine
BIO 401   Vertebrate Physiology
BIO 405   Pharmacology
BIO 409   Immunology
BIO 410   Pathophysiology
BIO 430   Forensic Biology
CHE 401/410   Biochemistry

Students are required to complete either an internship or a research experience as part of their biology major.


Research interests of Alvernia Biology faculty members include:

  • Development of immunologic and cell based functional assays
  • The effects of hormones on biochemical pathways
  • The etiology of plant diseases
  • Genetics of plant disease resistance and plant disease control
  • The effects of minor temperature changes on the interactions of life in freshwater systems
  • The reproductive success of American Kestrels
  • The effects of forest fragmentation and acid rain to key species of songbirds and raptors
  • Agriculture and sustainability gardening

You can visit the Biology faculty pages to learn more about research that might match your interests.

Experiential Learning 

Through internships, students have opportunities to apply theories and knowledge learned in the classroom in a variety of professional settings. In addition to providing exposure to the activities and expectations of a real-world workplace, internship experiences help students develop their network of professional contacts.

As a biology major, you have the option to participate in at least 252 hours of biology-related activities at an off-campus location under the supervision of an internship sponsor. Internships normally are completed during the junior year. You need to have a 2.5 GPA to qualify for an internship.

A sampling of internships of Biology Program students:

  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Bristol-Myers Squib 
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Alliance for a Clean Environment Reading Hospital
  • The Graduate Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Rainforest Action Network
  • Virginia Marine Science Museum
  • Echo Hill Outdoor School
  • Reading Public Museum
Research Opportunities

In addition to real-world learning, biology majors can also benefit from research opportunities. Two research courses will introduce you to the fundamentals of research, prepare you to participate in an ongoing research project under the direction of a research mentor, and teach you how to interpret and disseminate data collected during the project.

Research I (SCI 406) is the first of two courses in the student research sequence. Students will develop a research project with a faculty member of their choice. This course will focus on a literature review, developing a research plan, conducting experiments and interpreting results.

Research II (SCI 407) is the second of two courses in the student research sequence. Students will continue to work the research project with the faculty member of their choice from the previous semester; this will include completing any final experiments and wrapping-up their research project. Students will work to formulate conclusions and output their data in a presentable research format.


To determine the cost of this program, please visit our Tuition page.  For a personalized estimate, please contact an admissions counselor at 610-790-8269 or at

Financial Aid

Alvernia offers loan, grants, scholarships, and payment plans. Our admissions counselors can help you identify the aid that is available to you and for your program. For more information, visit our Financial Aid page.


All programs offered by Alvernia University are approved by the Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


Learn More

For more information about Alvernia’s Biology Program, please contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or, or reach out directly to:


Rosemarie C. Chinni, Ph.D.

Science & Mathematics Department Chair

Director of the Forensic Science Program

Bernardine Hall 234


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