About the Biology Department

Amber Givens

The Biology Department aims to cultivate students who understand and respect scientific approaches to the study of life; produce graduates who demonstrate excellence in their scientific training; prepare graduates to think critically, to communicate biological principles effectively, and to make informed decisions based on a solid understanding of science and their Christian worldview; and embolden faculty and students to lead lives of grace-filled wholeness, and personal and professional integrity.


As a Biology major, you will take introductory and intermediate core courses that explore the wide expanse of biology. You can then pursue advanced, elective courses according to your interests, from an emphasis on the cellular/molecular side of biology, to a focus on organismal biology, to the sphere of ecology and environmental issues. One of the distinctives of the Biology Department is that our faculty integrate their research into the courses they teach. This allows many more students to gain valuable experience with actual research.

Student Research Opportunities

Doing research is one of the best ways to learn science, develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and mature as a clear-thinking person who can solve problems. Such skills are essential in most professions. You can participate in internships and/or original research projects at SPU, at Blakely Island Field Station, at various Seattle area laboratories, or in industry. You’ll have opportunities to present your work at scientific meetings and to publish with faculty in scientific journals.

Pre-medical Education

Medical schools recommend a well-rounded education, including a strong foundation in the sciences and broad exposure to the humanities and liberal arts. Biology majors at SPU not only receive a high-quality science education, but also join all students in completing the Common Curriculum, which includes eight required courses spread over four years. For more information about pre-medical, pre-veterinary, pre-dental, and other pre-professional preparation, see Pre-Professional Health Sciences.


Since biology is such a wide-ranging field, Seattle Pacific's Biology majors head in many different directions, including teaching, health care, research, and conservation and environmental fields.


Discover Our Biology Majors

The Biology Department at SPU offers six undergraduate majors for you to choose from, each framed by rigorous coursework and critical, ethical thinking.


Meet the Chairs

Cara Wall-Scheffler, PhD, is a professor of biology and Jenny Tenlen, PhD, is an associate professor of biology. They serve as co-chairs of the Biology Department.