Undergraduate Major

Biology (BA/BS)

From genetics to zoology, biology forms the comprehensive study of life. At Widener, you'll gain the scientific skills and creativity necessary for discovery and innovation in a range of scientific fields.

biology student in lab

Program Overview

When you major in biology at Widener, you'll graduate with more than a degree—you'll emerge a critical thinker skilled in the scientific process with a passion for making discoveries of your own.

Choose the traditional BS track to prepare for graduate study and admission to medical school, or the BA track for cross-disciplinary training in another field like anthropology or professional writing. Both degrees offer a rigorous foundation and an individualized series of electives you'll plan with a faculty advisor.

As early as your first year of study, you'll engage those skills in research projects. You'll have the chance to present your findings nationally and publish in peer-reviewed journals, all as an undergraduate.

Along with opportunities for international travel and community engagement, you'll graduate with a distinguished résumé that prepares you for graduate study, medical school, or any number of scientific careers.

Program Options

Choose from two degree tracks in biology. The first three semesters of both programs are identical, giving you the flexibility to select either degree path during your second year of study.

BS in Biology

The BS in biology program is designed to provide a solid foundation in the sciences. In addition, it incorporates a flexible selection of biology electives that permits students to design biology curricula tailored to their individual academic interests and career goals. Through appropriate selection of courses, curricula can be designed to prepare students:

  • For entrance into professional schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatric medicine, and other branches of the healing arts.
  • For graduate education in various fields of the life sciences such as biochemistry, molecular biology, plant or animal physiology, environmental science, genetic engineering, or microbiology.
  • For post-baccalaureate education in careers in the allied health fields such as physical therapy.
  • For careers in academic or industrial research, governmental agencies, or technical sales.

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BA in Biology

The BA in biology program is designed to allow students to seek training in biology and in another field. Careers and graduate programs benefiting from this cross-disciplinary approach include physical therapy, genetic counseling, law, technical writing, and management in the biomedical sciences.

Students pursuing the BA will design a curriculum of 18–24 credits in some area of specialization outside of biology that supports their professional goals. Suggestions for achieving this objective are to minor in areas such as a modern language, anthropology or sociology (pre-PT), psychology (pre-PT, counseling), legal studies and analysis (pre-law), professional writing, and economics. Student-designed curricula are strongly encouraged. To facilitate this increase in course requirements, BA students have reduced requirements in their science coursework.

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Widener's pre-professional pathways give you the flexibility to follow your interests while preparing for a professional career.

Biology majors can participate in the following pathways:

The Honors in Biology program is for students who wish to extend their studies beyond the requirements for a BS in biology. Students wishing to graduate with “Honors in Biology” must complete a senior thesis. The senior thesis is intended to provide an opportunity for students to participate in an independent, investigative research project with recognition of their commitment and their motivation to exceed the requirements of the bachelor in science degree in biology. The students will carry out novel laboratory or field research in the biological sciences. Students must defend their theses before a committee and earn a minimum grade of “A-” to receive the honors designation.

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Students can obtain secondary education certification in biology by completing the secondary education track. Students must also follow Center for Education instructions and requirements. Students may seek certification in more than one field; however, this usually requires more than eight semesters. Students who wish to become certified in more than one area should work closely with their faculty advisor when planning course schedules.

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Program Highlights

Biology Research Presentation

Extensive Undergraduate Research Opportunities

You'll engage in research as early as your first year with multi-week projects and presentations in introductory courses spanning molecular biology to field ecology. From there, you'll take on multi-semester research projects with distinguished faculty and have the chance to publish and present your findings nationally. Deepen your studies by participating in the summer research program.

Costa Rica Students

International Learning Experiences

Travel the world through short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs. Engage skills learned in the lab as you investigate coffee growing at Widener's Costa Rica hub, conduct research on the tropical ecology of the Amazon River basin in Peru, or explore the cloud forests of Honduras.

Expert Faculty

Biology faculty members offer a wide range of undergraduate research experiences in areas such as botany, ecology, tropical ecology, organismal biology, neurobiology, genetics, and cell and molecular biology. Here you'll find a diverse set of mentors eager to help you achieve your personal and professional goals.

Personalized Attention

Unlike at larger universities, all of your classes and labs will be taught by full-time faculty members, not teaching assistants. With laboratory classes capped at 16 students, you'll receive the individualized attention you need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Faculty

Our professors invest in your success through close mentoring and continual feedback. Get to know our biology faculty.

Cary H. Leung
Associate Professor

"The students we attract to biology are inquisitive, conscientious, and hardworking—it's why I love teaching and conducting research with students at Widener. My research currently focuses on studying the effects of stress on neural activity in the songbird brain."

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Recent Employers & Industry Connections

  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • DuPont Chemical Company
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • McCormick Corporation
  • Monell Chemical Senses Center
  • WuXi PharmaTech
  • Cornell University Medical Center
  • Beth Israel Medical Center

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Technical writing
  • Genetic counseling
  • Biomedical sciences management

Industry Growth

Job outlook for life and physical science occupations is expected to grow 10% from 2016-2026 as demand for expertise in fields including biomedical research and environmental protection increases.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Graduate Early

Students that bring in transfer and/or AP credit may be eligible to graduate a semester early and get a head start on graduate and medical school applications. 

Take the Next Steps

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View Tuition and Fees

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Financial Aid

Our financial aid team takes the guessing game out of applying for financial aid. To determine your financial aid package, including scholarships and grants, apply and complete the financial aid process. You might be surprised at how much we can offer in assistance.

Next steps to apply

Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.

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