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

As a biology major 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 for Biology Majors

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.

Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements. 

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.

Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements.

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. These students complete a three-semester sequence during which they work with a faculty mentor to propose and conduct an independent, investigative, novel laboratory or field research project in the biological sciences, culminating in a senior thesis. In recognition of their commitment and their motivation to exceed the requirements of the bachelor’s in science degree in biology, students that complete and defend their senior thesis before a committee and earn a minimum grade of “A-”, will graduate with the “Honors in Biology” designation. 

Our three minors in biology provide students in all majors outside of biology an opportunity to focus on a biological area that aligns with their specific interests.  

  • Loading...Gain a deeper understanding of how evolution by natural selection drives adaptations and the complex interactions we see in ecological systems.
  • Loading...Examine how evolutionary mechanisms at cellular and molecular levels affect information flow in living systems.
  • Loading...Broadly explore biological principles.

Students interested in teaching high school biology can obtain secondary education certification in biology as part of their BS or MEd degree. Program offerings in the Center for Education describe the requirements for all the different undergraduate and graduate options. 

View the Loading... for curriculum and coursework requirements for the secondary education certification in biology.

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 in Costa Rica, 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.

Clubs & Organizations

Biology majors have the opportunity to oin various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Biology Club, the Environmental Club, and many more


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

Michael Toneff
Assistant Professor
Bruce W. Grant
Professor of Biology and Environmental Science

I engage my students through courses and 1:1 independent projects in ecological research locally in Chester and internationally in Latin America, as well as through service learning projects in urban gardening with a local elementary school. At Widener you will grow in skills, confidence, and empowerment in your career path. Visit and find out more!

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."

Stephen R. Madigosky
Chair of Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability

Now more than ever, students are needed in all sectors of society who can think critically and wholistically about the complex environmental problems facing our world. This program is purposely designed to train the next generation of professionals who will help solve these issues.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

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 5% from 2019-2029 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. 

Recent Employers

  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • DuPont Chemical Company
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • McCormick Corporation
  • Monell Chemical Senses Center

Pride Perspectives

Hear from our students about their experience in the biology program.

Female student examines samples in a laboratory in front of microscope.

“I always wanted to be a doctor. I think it was an intrinsic motivation that I’ve always had.”

Michaela Jemison

Michaela's Story
Student Zan Usmani standing in the Amazon rainforest in Peru

I’ve never felt unsure about what the next steps of dental school were. I always had professors guiding me along my way.

Zan Usmani

Zan's Story

Take the Next Steps

Join a leading university dedicated to your success.

Visit Us

To visit Widener is, more often than not, to fall in love with the place. To fit your timeline and schedule, we offer a variety of ways to get to know us.

View Tuition and Fees

When comparing costs, we encourage you to look beyond sticker price. Because Widener is a private institution, we’re able to offer financial assistance that brings our exceptional education within reach.

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.

Get in Touch