Biology

Programs offered
  • Applied Human Biology (major)
  • Biology (majors and minor)
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (major)
  • Ecology (majors)
  • Physiology (major)
  • Bioethics and Humanities (minor)
  • Biological Anthropology (minor)

The primary goals of the Department of Biology include:

  • Cultivating students who understand and apply the scientific method to the study of life.
  • Preparing students to think critically and effectively communicate biological principles.
  • Producing graduates who make informed decisions based on reliable evidence and guided by their Christian worldview.
  • Embolden graduates to lead lives of grace-filled wholeness, and personal and professional integrity.

Find out more about this program’s mission, vision, and learning outcomes.

BioCORE placement score

  • Your BioCORE placement score is based on your performance on standardized exams and your high school or SPU GPA. There are no extra exams for you to take.
  • Your BioCORE placement score will be assigned when you are admitted to the University.
  • Your BioCORE placement score is an advising tool that is used to select the courses that will best prepare you for success in the sciences.
  • A BioCORE placement score of 3 is required to register for Bio 2103 and most upper-division biology courses.
  • You may apply by March 1 of each year to have your score reevaluated by completing the form at on the Biology Department website. You must complete 15 credits of college-level math, chemistry, and/or biology coursework at SPU prior to applying.
  • Visit the Biology Department website for more information.

Undergraduate research

Many biology majors will require you to complete an Undergraduate Research Project for graduation. You will collaborate with a faculty member on an investigation that requires a formal proposal (BIO 4978 “Biological Research Proposal”) and participation in original research and the presentation of your results (BIO 4979). No more than 6 credits of courses numbered from BIO 4900 through 4999 may be applied to any major.

Please visit the Biology Department website for more information on research opportunities.

Applied Human Biology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The BS in Applied Human Biology is appropriate for you if you choose to pursue post-graduate work in Physical Therapy or Physicians Assistant programs. 

  • A minimum of 108 credits are required for this major, including 23 upper-division credits.
  • This major requires at least a 3.0* GPA in your biology courses.
  • The interdisciplinary curriculum in this major will satisfy the basic requirements for entry into physical therapy as outlined by the American Association of Physical Therapists.
  • BIO 3899 is recommended, but not required for this degree.
  • No more than 6 credits of courses numbered from BIO 4900 through 4999 may be applied to this major.

*The GPA for admission to the BS Applied Human Biology is higher because this degree is designed for students intending on professional postgraduate training in the health sciences. Such postgraduate programs are competitive and require a high GPA for admission.

Biology (BA)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The BA in Biology provides a broad foundation in biology and is especially appropriate if you hope to teach at the elementary or secondary level.

  • A minimum of 81 credits are required for this major, including 30 upper-division credits.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your biology courses.
  • If you are preparing for biology teaching career, you should become familiar with Washington state endorsement requirements prior to selecting core and elective options. 
  • You may not apply more than 6 credits of courses numbered from BIO 4900 through 4999 to this major.

Biology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A BS in Biology provides a broader and more in depth preparation than the BA program for students pursuing graduate studies or a professional career in biology.

  • A minimum of 104 credits are required for this major, including 35 upper-division credits.
  • This major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your biology courses.
  • Special emphasis is placed on undergraduate research in this major. 
  • Depending upon interests and professional goals, you may choose the core and elective coursework to emphasize botany, cellular and molecular biology, ecology, marine biology, physiology, or zoology. 
  • As a part of either core requirements or electives, you are required to take a minimum of 3 credits of field biology, taught primarily in the field and emphasizing field methods. Seattle Pacific University field biology courses are listed under the major requirements link below. 
  • As part of your core requirements or electives, you are also required to take at least one botany course (generally chosen from BIO 3453, 4415, or 4744).

Cellular and Molecular Biology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

This Cellular and Molecular Biology program is intended for you if you are interested in pursuing a career or graduate program in cellular and molecular biology, medical and agricultural biotechnology, or medicine or genetics.

  • A minimum of 107 credits are required for this major, including at least 26 upper-division credits in biology.
  • This major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your biology courses.
  • Special emphasis is placed on undergraduate research in this major. 
  • If you are interested in graduate school, consult with your faculty advisor as to whether coursework beyond degree requirements (e.g., physics, MAT 1235) would be appropriate.
  • No more than 6 credits of courses numbered from BIO 4900 through 4999 may be applied to this major.
  • Elective courses should be discussed with your biology faculty advisor.

Ecology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The Ecology program is intended for you if you are interested in pursuing careers or graduate degree programs in ecology and related larger-scale sub-disciplines of biology, including marine biology, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, behavioral ecology, wildlife management, and similar fields. 

  • A minimum of 105 credits are required for this major, including 40 upper-division credits in biology.
  • Discuss your elective courses with your biology faculty advisor.
  • This major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your biology courses.
  • Special emphasis is placed on undergraduate research in this major.
  • If you are interested in graduate school, consult with your faculty advisor as to whether coursework beyond degree requirements (e.g., physics, cell biology, MAT 1235, etc.) would be appropriate. 
  • BIO 4950 “Special Topics in Biology” may be used to meet certain stated requirements if the topic is determined to be appropriate by the Department of Biology in advance. 
  • As a part of either core requirements or electives, you are required to take a minimum of 3 credits of field biology, taught primarily in the field and emphasizing field methods. See below for field biology courses.

Physiology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

If you are interested in pre-professional health training for medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and certain other health-related and applied-biology fields, the Physiology program is intended for you.

  • A minimum of 105 credits are required for this major, including 35 upper-division credits in biology.
  • This major requires you to have at least a 3.0* GPA in your biology courses.
  • This track requires courses in ethics or the completion of an Undergraduate Research Project. If you are interested in medical school or other professional health-science training, an ethics course is strongly recommended. Completing a Research Project is essential if you are interested in graduate school.
  • If you are interested in professional health-science training or graduate school, consult with your advisor as early as possible to determine what other courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics you should take to meet your career goals. Please visit the Biology department website for more information.

*The GPA for admission to the BS in Physiology is higher because this degree is designed for students intending on professional postgraduate training in the health sciences. Such postgraduate programs are competitive and require a high GPA for admission.

Minors

Biology

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A minor in Biology complements degrees including business, computer science, and psychology by allowing you to pursue selected areas of biology that will complement your career goals. A minimum 2.5 GPA in biology courses is required for admission.

Anthropology

Biological anthropology is the study of the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings. Students in this minor experience the various fields of anthropology, and think critically about what it means to be human 'beings'.  This is an excellent minor for students going into fields including medicine, missions, public health, education, ecology, and forensics. A minimum 2.5 GPA in biology courses is required for admission.

Bioethics

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A minor in bioethics will explore the human dimensions of health care, public health, and biomedical research to better prepare you if you’re seeking a career in the health sciences. A minimum 2.5 GPA in SPU coursework is required for admission to this minor.

Applying to the major or minor

You may apply for a major or minor from your SPU Banner Account. You must complete the major or minor requirements in effect when you are admitted to the major or minor.

  • Your application to a Biology major requires you have completed BIO 2101, 2102, and 2103.
  • Successful students must meet the GPA requirements listed for each major.
  • If you are a transfer student who has completed all or part of this course sequence at another institution, you may apply after completing one 5-credit upper-division biology course (numbered 3000 or higher) at SPU.
  • Applications for a minor in Biology are considered individually by the biology faculty, but the normal minimum requirement for admission to the Biology minor will be a GPA of 2.5 in biology courses. You must complete the minor requirements in effect at the time that you are admitted to the minor.
  • Pursing two Biology majors. Students wishing to double major in any two of the above Biology degree paths must complete at least 20 credits of biology specific coursework that is unique to one major and not part of the second. Applications for a double major are submitted directly to the department chair after consulting with your Biology faculty advisor. Your application must include a rationale for selecting two Biology majors and a clear description of how you will meet the requirements of both degrees.

Related programs

Pre-Professional Health Programs

SPU offers specialized faculty advising in the Pre-Professional Health Sciences (PPHS) to help prepare you for acceptance into graduate-level professional health programs including medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physicians assistant, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. 

Future teachers

Elementary Teacher Certification

If you plan to obtain elementary Residency Teacher Certification and are interested in teaching science, you must major in the Integrated Studies major with a concentration in the natural sciences.

  • This concentration includes courses in biology, physics, and chemistry. mathematics, physical education, and natural sciences courses.
  • Application to this major (PDF) is through the advisor for the natural sciences concentration, Dr. Kara Gray (greyk5@spu.edu).

Secondary Teacher Certification

If you plan to seek Secondary Teacher Certification, you should pursue one of the Biology majors.

Eaton Hall's greenhouse

Biology Department

Learn more about the Biology Department to see how a degree in Biology can help you achieve your goals to make a difference in the world.

Meet the Biology faculty.

Time Schedule: Biology

Course planning

Suggested course sequences help you complete your degree in a timely manner.

Blakely Island

Blakely Island Field Station

Biology majors can take their upper-division biology courses at SPU’s unique 965-acre field station.

Not a Biology major? Some courses at BIFS will meet portions of the Exploratory Curriculum.

Planning ahead for graduate school

If you intend to pursue any graduate-level training, you are encouraged to apply for a major in the BS in Biology, BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology, or the BS in Ecology.