Biology

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

At Bellarmine, we offer a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Biology.

Why earn your biology degree at Bellarmine?

The Department of Biology offers a broad, 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. Biology students have the opportunity to participate in research with faculty, as well as pursue studies abroad. Students also may participate in annual marine biology field courses in the Bahamas and Belize.

Our goal is to provide students with a solid foundation in biology, preparing them to enter the workforce or to continue with post-graduate studies in their field of choice. As a department of 11 full-time faculty conducting typically small classes, 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.

Program Highlights

The Department of Biology offers both a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. The B.S. degree in Biology is appropriate for students who plan to apply to professional (medical, dental, veterinary, optometry) or graduate schools, and requires more math, chemistry and physics. The B.A degree offers students flexibility to design a curriculum that best fits their interests and career goals. Such students may be considering careers in teaching (with appropriate education courses), law, journalism or other areas. All incoming students are strongly encouraged to discuss the selection of a B.A. or B.S. degree with their academic advisors.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from Bellarmine with a B.A. or 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

Alumni Story

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

Graduate and 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 master’s 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.

Faculty

Roberta C. Challener, Ph.D. (email)
Joanne J. Dobbins, Ph.D. (email) (website
Caroline Doyle, Ph.D. (email)
Mary O. Huff, Ph.D. (email) (website
Mark E. Kaelin, M.S., Instructor (email) (website)
Paul J. Kiser, Ph.D., Chair (email
Anthony J. Lentz, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus (email) (website
David J. Porta, Ph.D. (email) (website
Gail Ramirez-Icaza, Ph.D., Instructor (email)
David L. Robinson, Ph.D. (email) (website
Steven D. Wilt, Ph.D. (email)
Robert W. Korn, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus (email) (website)

Study Abroad

Bellarmine offers a wide variety of study abroad options around the globe. Learn what opportunities are available to you below.

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.

Accreditation

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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