Biology Major and Minor

Biology, the study of life, is a discipline of astonishing variety. It encompasses not only the diversity of living things on the Earth today, but also the diversity of levels (from molecules to ecosystems) at which life can be studied.


Biology At a Glance


Acres of College-owned woodlands and wetlands are used for research.


Of majors attend graduate or professional school.

Program Opportunities


Allied health care (Meadville Medical Center), summer REU programs (Research Experience for Undergraduates)

Field Studies

Bousson Environmental Research Reserve, Allegheny National Forest, Geneva Wetlands, Presque Isle and Pymatuning State Parks, and more

The Biology Major

The major includes three introductory courses, three advanced courses, a Junior Seminar, a two-semester Senior Project, and two additional science courses outside of biology.

The first year begins with a solid foundation in chemistry and math, as well as the first introductory course in biology, organismal physiology, and ecology.

The second year typically includes the remaining introductory biology courses, Genetics, Development, and Evolution as well as Investigative Approaches in Biology. This year also includes additional courses in chemistry, usually organic chemistry.

In their third year, students will take their Junior Seminar and begin taking their advanced courses in specialty areas of biology. Majors also may be taking their courses in cognate sciences in their junior year.

In their fourth year, biology majors will carry out their Senior Comp and finish taking their advanced biology courses. They may also be finishing up their cognate courses in their senior year.

Learning Outcomes for Biology Majors and Minors

Demonstrate an understanding of the central features of the extraordinarily diverse landscape of modern biology; demonstrate an understanding of important principles and laboratory techniques in at least three different biological sub-disciplines.

An Understanding of Modern Biology

You'll be able to demonstrate an understanding of the extraordinarily diverse and expanding landscape of modern biology.

Present Your Results

You will be able to present results of independent research clearly and effectively in both written and oral forms.

Independent Laboratory or Field Research

You'll design and conduct independent laboratory or field research that meets the highest standards of biology.

Karina Sarver, Alumna

Class of 2016, Biology Major/History and English Minors; Employed by Cook MyoSite, a biotech firm focusing on developing and marketing regenerative medicine products using human myocytes

“ All of my student colleagues have such an incredible respect for learning, just as faculty have incredible respect for us as learners. … That aspect of Allegheny has had the greatest impact on me throughout my college experience. ”

Study Away Opportunities

Students interested in studying away from campus their junior year often spend a semester at either Duke Marine Laboratory in North Carolina or James Cook University in Australia.

James Cook University

Courses offered include:

Australian Vertebrate Fauna, Oceanography, and Rainforest Ecosystems

James Cook
Duke Marine Laboratory

Courses offered include:

Marine Ecology, Physiology of Marine Mammals, and Drones in Marine Biology

Duke Marine students
Clinical Research Internship at the Meadville Medical Center

This collaborative clinical epidemiology research experience pairs an Allegheny College student with a family medicine resident at the Meadville Medical Center. Together, they work to plan and conduct preliminary research, draft an Institutional Review Board proposal, collect and analyze data, and draft manuscripts for publication.

Meadville Medical Students

Next Steps

Early Decision App Deadline

November 15, 2022

Regular Decision App Deadline

February 15, 2023

For More Info

Brad Hersh, Ph.D.

Department Chair