Undergraduate Major

Biology Major (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.

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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. 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.

Admissions Information

Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

When to Apply​

We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

Key dates to keep in mind:​

  • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
  • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

What to Expect After Applying​

Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

Learn more about the application process

If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

  • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
  • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
  • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
  • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to transfer@widener.edu and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

Learn more about applying as a transfer student

Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

Learn more about applying as an international student

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

Faculty

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

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

Student Stories

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

Class of 2023
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

Class of 2021

Take the Next Steps

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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