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

Related Requirements (33-36 credits

  • CHE 104/110  General Chemistry I w/Lab
  • CHE 105/111  General Chemistry II w/Lab
  • CHE 107  Laboratory Safety
  • CHE 201/210  Organic Chemistry I w/Lab
  • CHE 202/211  Organic Chemistry II w/Lab
  • MAT 131  Pre-calculus (recommended)
  • MAT 209  Probability & Statistics
  • MAT 220  Math/Stats Computer Lab
  • MAT 230  Calculus I
  • PHY 200  Physics I w/Lab
  • PHY 201  Physics II w/Lab

Biology Electives (14-20 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 w/Lab
  • BIO 208  Neuroscience for Rehab
  • BIO 211  Kinesiology w/Lab
  • BIO 216  Nutrition
  • BIO 315  Forensic Medicine
  • BIO 401  Vertebrate Physiology w/Lab
  • BIO 405  Pharmacology
  • BIO 409   mmunology
  • BIO 410  Pathophysiology
  • BIO 430  Forensic Biology w/Lab
  • CHE 401/410  Biochemistry w/Lab

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:

  • Isolation and genome sequencing of wild microbes to search for novel antibiotics & antifungals
  • Using environmental DNA (eDNA) to explore biodiversity & ecosystem health - from Alvernia's backyard to the Amazon rainforest
  • Elucidating the neural basis of visually guided behaviors in frogs
  • Examining the effects of various external factors on the differentiation of cells in culture
  • The environmental impacts on plant growth and development
  • The use of bioenergy crops as riparian and agricultural buffers
  • The effects of nitrogen availability and carbon allocation to the cell wall
  • Vitamin D intake and sources
  • Pharmacognosy (the science of plants as medicine)
  • The Effects of Macronutrients on Lipid Profiles and Cardiovascular Inflammation
  • Environmental sustainability

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:


Dr. Eric Recktenwald

Interim Science Department Chair

Bernardine Hall 120