Bachelor of Arts and ScienceBiology

Student looking into microscope

Prepare for a successful career in science or medicine with a biology major at Bellarmine.

Why earn your Biology degree at Bellarmine?

The Biology major at Bellarmine offers a contemporary curriculum that familiarizes students with both the principles and practices of the biological sciences. The curriculum develops the intellectual competencies needed to join the scientific workforce or to enter graduate, medical, dental, veterinary, or other professional schools. Students have opportunities to participate in research with faculty, pursue studies abroad and take annual marine biology field courses in the Bahamas and Belize.

A Bellarmine trademark, biology students have the opportunity to get to know professors as they advance through our program. Along the way, students build their technical, communication, and critical thinking skills to be conversant across a range of scientific disciplines.

The Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree with two distinct tracks designed to support students' personal academic and career goals.

  • The Pre-professional track is designed to specifically prepare students for application to professional or graduate schools – medical, dental, veterinary, physical therapy, etc. and research/laboratory-based graduate programs.
  • Our Organismal track is a broader exposure to the wider world of Biology preparing students to enter the workforce with a well-rounded scientific understanding of the living world around us. Students design a tailored curriculum based on other career paths, such as teaching (with appropriate education courses), law, journalism or other areas. The Organismal track has also been developed together with the graduate program in the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education so students can graduate with their undergraduate degree and MAT. 

Department Outreach

The AMGEN Biotech Experience (ABE) empowers teachers to bring biotechnology to their classrooms. The ABE Kentucky program run through Bellarmine University's Biology Department provides a physical presence, centrally positioned to establish a vibrant contribution to Kentucky education.

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Rachel Crebessa

“I would do my biology degree 1000 times over at BU if I could; the biology and biochemistry professors are passionate about their work and students, they provided me with a diverse, heavily integrated curriculum that fosters thorough understanding and curiosity for biology, as well as prepared me for the challenge of medical school. The liberal arts curriculum encouraged me to appreciate how all subjects are connected and how knowledge of all of them builds the foundation for a well-rounded worldview and education.”

Rachel Crebessa ’17

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from Bellarmine with a B.S. in Biology will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the underlying principles of biology.
  2. Apply skills and techniques used in biological laboratories.
  3. Critique, synthesize and communicate biological principles and data.

Career Opportunities

The career plans of students graduating with degrees in Biology vary from year to year. Approximately 25 percent of Biology graduates pursue professional degrees in medical, veterinary, dental, optometry, physical therapy or pharmacy school. Another 5 percent go into the life sciences industry (medical supply, pharmaceutical sales, laboratory technician, quality control). About 50 percent of our students go onto graduate school to seek a Masters or Ph.D. in biology or a biology-related field. Our most recent graduates have been accepted at Colorado State University, Auburn University, Boston University, Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.

On Campus Experiences

The Biology Club is a student-run organization that is open to all students at Bellarmine University who have an interest in biology. We sponsor lectures on a variety of biology topics, medical school and graduate school, participate in service activities (environmental clean-up, food drive, tree give-away) and just have fun! The club provides a great way for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors to interact with each other as well as with faculty in a nonclassroom setting. In the past, we have taken field trips to the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Mammoth Cave and the Newport Aquarium in Northern Kentucky. We also have visited other research laboratories, canoed on the Blue River, organized bowling and movie nights, and raised hundreds of dollars for food shelves at Christmas time.

Any student may enroll in independent research and have the opportunity to work with faculty in such diverse areas as: plant allergens, environmental science and ecology, behavior, neurophysiology, cancer, genetics, forensic science, biomechanics, zoo microbes and entomology.

Each spring, Bellarmine students present their research to the Bellarmine community during our annual Undergraduate Research Week. Students create professional posters explaining their research project and answer questions during this popular event.

Our Biology students have been co-authors of numerous research abstracts and oral presentations given at state, regional and national conferences. Students need not wait until their senior year to begin working with a professor.

Students and faculty are also involved with cooperative research at the Louisville Zoological Gardens. The zoo offers our students numerous opportunities to study life science in unique, natural environments. In classes such as botany, students use our on-campus Bellarmine Greenhouse to study major biological principles as they relate to the plant kingdom.


Roberta C. Challener, Ph.D. (email)
Joanne J. Dobbins, Ph.D. (email) (website
Caroline Doyle, Ph.D. (email
Caroline Driscoll-Braden, Ph.D. (email
Mary O. Huff, Ph.D. (email) (website
Josef J. Jareczek, Ph.D. (email)
Paul J. Kiser, Ph.D. (email
Mary B. Kroetz, Ph.D., (email)
Anthony J. Lentz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus
David J. Porta, Ph.D. (email)
Gail Ramirez-Icaza, Ph.D. (email)
David L. Robinson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus (email)
Steven D. Wilt, Ph.D., Chair: Division of Natural and Physical Sciences (email)

Study Abroad

Bellarmine offers a wide variety of study abroad options around the globe. Learn what opportunities are available to you on our Study Abroad and International Programs site.

In addition to the numerous opportunities our students have to study abroad in over 50 countries, the Biology Department offers tropical marine biology courses at two locations: the Gerace Research Center at the College of the Bahamas on San Salvador Island and the Tropical Research and Education Center on Ambergris Caye in Belize.

Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The faculty, staff and students of Bellarmine University’s Biology Department are committed to making our department and discipline more inclusive and diverse*. We share a collective responsibility towards each other's well-being, with an understanding that the relevance, ingenuity and advancement of biological science depend on greater inclusion of historically underrepresented groups in society and science as a whole. For this reason, we are dedicated to preventing all forms of discrimination that unfairly disadvantage some, privilege others, and run counter to Bellarmine University’s values of inclusion and compassion, which help ensure equity and justice. We are committed to providing and embracing opportunities to explore and celebrate the differences and similarities within our community to create a fertile environment for learning, problem-solving and discovery—one that is equally inventive, inclusive and compassionate.

*Including but not limited to all dimensions of diversity, such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality, age, religious affiliation, physical abilities, learning disabilities, family and parental status and veteran status.


Bellarmine University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.

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