Biology

Programs offered*
  • Applied Human Biology (major)
  • Biology (BA, BS, and minor)
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (major)
  • Ecology (major)
  • Physiology (major)
  • Bioethics and Humanities (minor)
  • Biological Anthropology (minor)

Biology Faculty

*Please consult with your faculty advisor to select the best major for your interests. Be sure to discuss coursework modifications that may be required to meet your specific career goals.

About the Biology Department

The primary goals 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.
  • Emboldening 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.

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”), participation in original research and public 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 prepares students to pursue post-graduate work in Physical Therapy or Physician's Assistant programs. 

  • A minimum of 108 credits are required for this major, including 23 upper-division credits.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 3.0* GPA in your SPU 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.

*The GPA for admission to the BS in 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 for students planning 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 SPU 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.

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 wide variety of professional careers in biology.

  • A minimum of 104 credits are required for this major, including 35 upper-division credits.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your SPU biology courses.
  • This major emphasizes undergraduate research
  • 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 coursework emphasizing outdoor research and data collection. 
  • 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

The Cellular and Molecular Biology program is intended for you if you are interested in pursuing a career or graduate program in cellular, developmental, genetics or molecular biology. This major prepares you for careers such as clinical microbiology, medical or agricultural biotechnology, medicine or genetic counseling.

  • A minimum of 107 credits are required for this major, including at least 26 upper-division credits in biology.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your SPU biology courses.
  • This major emphasizes undergraduate research.

Ecology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

The Ecology program is intended for students who are interested in pursuing graduate degree programs in ecology. This major prepares you for careers in areas including forestry, fisheries, agriculture and wildlife management. 

  • A minimum of 105 credits are required for this major, including 40 upper-division credits in biology.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 2.5 GPA in your SPU biology courses.
  • This major emphasizes undergraduate research.
  • As a part of either core requirements or electives, you are required to take a minimum of 3 credits of field biology coursework emphasizing outdoor research and data collection.

Physiology (BS)

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

This major meets provides the appropriate background for students who will pursue graduate studies in biology or health sciences. This major is particularly well suited for students pursuing pre-professional health training in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, and certain other health-related careers.

  • A minimum of 105 credits are required for this major, including 35 upper-division credits in biology.
  • Acceptance to this major requires at least a 3.0* GPA in your SPU biology courses.
  • This major requires courses in ethics or the completion of an Undergraduate Research Project. The ethics focus is appropriate for students interested in medical school or other professional health-science training.  Undergraduate Research is essential if you are interested in graduate studies in other areas.
  • If you are interested in pre-professional health-science training, consult with your advisor as early as possible to determine what other courses you should take to meet your career goals. Please visit the Biology PPHS resource site 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 higher GPA for admission.

Minors

Biology

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

  • A minimum 34 credits are required for this minor, including 15 upper-division credits.
  • This minor is appropriate for students pursuing careers in business, computer science, government, law, and psychology that will be enriched by a foundation in biological principles.
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA in SPU biology courses is required for admission.

Anthropology

Biological anthropology is the study of the biological and behavioral aspects of human beings. In this minor, you are exposed to the disciplines of anthropology, and will think critically about what it means to be human “beings.”  

  • A minimum 30 credits are required for this minor, including 15 upper-division credits.
  • This is an excellent minor for students pursuing careers in medicine, missions, public health, education, ecology, and forensics.
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA in SPU courses is required for admission.

Bioethics

VIEW DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A minor in bioethics allows students to explore the human dimensions of health care, public health, and biomedical research to better prepare those seeking a career in the health sciences.

  • A minimum 36 credits are required for this minor, including 15 upper-division credits.
  • A minimum 2.5 GPA in SPU courses is required for admission.

Applying to the major or minor

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

  • Application to a Biology major requires you to have successfully completed BIO 2101 and one of BIO 2102 or BIO 2103 or BIO 2129.
  • Students must meet the GPA requirements listed for each major.
  • If you are a transfer student who has completed the required course sequence at another institution, you may apply for admission to a biology major after successfully completing one 5-credit upper-division SPU biology course (numbered 3000 or higher).
  • Applications for a minor in Biology require a GPA of 2.5 in SPU biology courses. You must complete the minor requirements in effect at the time that you are admitted to the minor.
  • Pursuing two Biology majors. Students wishing to double major in any two 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 select 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) should be coordinated with the advisor for the natural sciences concentration, Dr. Kara Gray (greyk5@spu.edu).

Secondary Teacher Certification

Students planning to seek Secondary Teacher Certification should pursue one of the Biology majors. Please meet with your advisor to select the most appropriate option.

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.