Bernardine Hall 234
"Forensic science goes beyond combining chemistry and biology; it requires critical thinking and a desire to challenge what the eyes see. At Alvernia, my professors taught me the true value of research and how the results can change how we see the world around us. In the 17 years I've been in school, I've never learned a more valuable lesson."
- Kelsey Schubert '16, PSU Graduate Student
Welcome to the Biology Department of Alvernia University. We hope you’ll take some time to get acquainted with our B.S. in Biology program.
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.
Why should you study biology at Alvernia University?
Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.
Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 17:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.
Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed. Meet the biology faculty at Alvernia University.
Interested in a specific area of study within biology? View the faculty areas of expertise here.
Alvernia offers opportunities for biology students to work with mentors on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. These collaborations prepare students for professions and/or graduate school.
Students have worked with research mentors to explore a variety of topics, including plant diseases, life in freshwater systems, the effects of hormones on biochemical pathways and sustainability gardening.
A two-course series introduces biology students to the fundamentals of research, prepares them for participation in an ongoing research project and teaches how to interpret and disseminate findings.
Biology students also have opportunities through the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program for internships that offer laboratory and resaerch experience. Alvernia students have participated in programs at Louisiana State University, the University of Southern California and Texas A&M.
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.
The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations. Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors.
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides biology students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.
Biology majors have the optionof completing 252 hours of major-related activities at an off-campus location where an internship sponsor supervises your work or completing research under the direction of a faculty member at Alvernia University.
Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.
Many students have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico. Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program.
All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. To view the 2014-2015 Academic Course Catalogue go to http://alvernia.edu/academics/catalogs/Catalog_2014-15/index.html. View your Major Academic Plan (MAP) by year here.
As a biology major, you’ll need to earn 80 to 89 credits in the major.
Biology Core Requirements (28 credits)
BIO 103 Principles of Biology w/Lab
BIO 104 Zoology w/Lab
BIO 221 General Microbiology w/Lab
BIO 303 Genetics
BIO 304 Cell Biology
BIO 309 Molecular Genetics Lab
BIO 311 Cellular Physiology Lab
BIO 402 Senior Seminar
SCI 480 Biology Internship OR
SCI 406 Research I AND
SCI 407 Research II
Biology Electives (18-24 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 205 Botany w/Lab
BIO 208 Neuroscience for Rehab
BIO 211 Kinesiology w/Lab
BIO 216 Nutrition
BIO 320 Ecology w/Lab
BIO 405 Pharmacology
BIO 409 Immunology
BIO 410 Pathophysiology
Students are required to complete either an internship or a research experience as part of their biology major.
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. You can find out more about real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.
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:
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.
Dylan James '16
As a student, Dylan is getting hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom. He works with Dr. Heinze to monitor temperature change and how that impacts the behavior of microorganisms. Dylan's work has shown that temperature can be a primary reason for movement of certain species of microbes. This work helps provide a scientific basis for discussions on the diverse impacts of local and global climate change.
Some research interests of Alvernia Biology faculty members include:
You can visit the Biology faculty pages to learn more about research that might match your interests.
The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alvernia’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.
Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.
Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education; it also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers, and they also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and to discuss the options available for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing email@example.com.
If you’re interested in applying to the biology program at Alvernia, Admissions Counselors are available to discuss and answer any questions you might have at 610-796-8269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
400 Saint Bernardine Street,
Reading, Pennsylvania 19607