Biology is the study of the processes that maintain life, including the complex interactions between organisms and their environment.
The Biology program at St. Edward's fundamental principles of biology at every level of biological organization, from genes to cells and organ systems to even ecosystems. In addition to the core courses, students will have the opportunity to participate in student-faculty research through courses and summer research programs with the goal of producing and presenting professional-level work. All curricula in the Biological Sciences are founded upon evolutionary theory, which provides opportunities for testing of hypotheses that strengthen our understanding of the processes that account for the diversity of life on earth. Over the course of your studies as a Biology major, you will …
Major Requirements: The BA in Biology requires 66 hours of Biology major courses, which include a combination of introductory coursework, biology electives, and supporting courses in subjects such as chemistry.
General Education Requirements: The Biology degree requires 57 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses.
Interested in earning a Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science? Learn more about our dual degree program.
Faculty members are teacher-scholars with years of academic experience and creative passions of their own. They stay active in their fields and bring their expertise to the classroom.
“Being a professor allows me to integrate two things that I love - teaching and research. In this setting, I have the opportunity to work closely with students and mentor them as they put what they’ve learned in class to use. Seeing students get inspired by the science, and in turn inspiring me to be a better teacher and scientist is a very rewarding process!
– Lisa M. Goering, PhD
“I use an interdisciplinary approach to study the evolution of behavior in fish, reptiles and amphibians. I combine controlled laboratory experiments with molecular biology and fieldwork with the goal of conserving wildlife. ”
– Raelynn Haynes, Assistant Professor of Biology
“Over the years, I’ve learned that giving students direct, quick feedback and close one-on-one support works best for heading off frustration and keeping students engaged. I don’t tell them what to do or how. I remind them that this is real science, so often times, I don’t know what’s going to happen either.”
– Bill Quinn, PhD
Along with personal attention and mentorship from their professors, our students have access to offices and programs outside of the classroom that support their success. We encourage students to take advantage of these resources that help them thrive and excel:
Students immerse themselves in Austin’s intellectually curious culture and benefit from the many global leaders in innovation and technology headquartered in Austin. Our programs facilitate engagement with this rich environment by providing students with opportunities for hands-on experience throughout their education.
Kamryn Gerner-Mauro ’17, Vivian Le ’16 and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Lisa Goering raised three groups of fruit flies on diets with varying levels of protein, and then compared several indicators of reproductive capacity among females in the groups. Preliminary data suggest that malnourished female fruit flies lay fewer eggs and provide less nutrition for offspring than control groups. The research could one day give insights about nutrition during pregnancy.
Dr. Fidelma O’Leary, Associate Professor of Biology, was awarded $275,000 by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to support agricultural science education at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. The 4-year grant aims to establish the “Agricultural-STEM Pipeline” project across high school and 2- and 4-year college levels in order to recruit and retain underrepresented students and facilitate their progression to graduate training or careers with the USDA in the NIFA priority area of AFRI Agricultural and Natural Resources Science for Climate Variability and Change.
St. Edward’s University has been awarded a five-year grant of more than $1.6 million from the National Science Foundation through the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) Program to support freshmen students studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at St. Edward's University. The The Living Learning Community/Active Learning (LLCAL) project is under the direction of St. Edward’s University faculty members Richard Kopec, Jason Callahan, Teresa Bilinski, Tricia Shepherd and Fidelma A. O’ Leary.
At the annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Sciences in San Antonio, Texas, 11 Biology students won awards for outstanding research presentations. In addition, 32 St. Edward’s University students were co-authors on a paper published in the scientific journal Genes Genomes Genetics. This research was completed as a part of the Research Explorations in Genomics course taught by Bioinformatics Professor Charles Hauser.
Student clubs facilitate connections to hands-on learning opportunities and create a community students can join with like-minded peers. Some student organizations include the Academy of Science, Herpetology Society, American Medical Student Organization, American Society of Microbiology, Natural Sciences Living Learning Community, and the Society for Computational Biology
Our required, semester-long Capstone course examines a topic of your choosing. This completes a two-semester research/experiential course sequence, which is notable for a smaller liberal arts school. The combination of research and practical learning gives students an opportunity to hone their abilities and develop skills valued by employers and graduate schools.
What’s a Capstone? Find out.
With a Biology degree, you will have the practical and professional experience needed to pursue work in many fields. Many students select this degree to prepare for a career or graduate study in medicine, dentistry, nursing and public health.
82% of our Biology graduates have been accepted into medical, dental, physician assistant and veterinarian schools. In addition, our students are admitted to PhD programs in biological sciences.
Biology major Jana Soares ’15 was awarded a Fulbright in 2015 that funded a year abroad in Sydney Australia to research a "superbug" bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This means that antibiotics are often ineffective against this pathogen, resulting in antibiotic-resistant strains. Learn more about her research and time abroad.
Read about our successful alumni and see what they have to say about life after St. Edward’s.
Students who wish to earn a Biology minor must take the following coursework, totaling 21 hours, with at least 9 hours of upper-division coursework. This includes two required courses:
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.
At St. Edward’s University, all curricula in the Biological Sciences are founded upon evolutionary theory. As a subject of scientific inquiry, the theory of evolution provides opportunities for testing of hypotheses that strengthen our understanding of the processes that account for the diversity of life on earth, and existing data overwhelmingly support the theory as scientifically sound. We regard any non-scientific or teleological attempts that distract from the scientific processes that underlie science as, at best, a diversion to our mission to provide exceptional education to our students in the Biological Sciences. We stand with the numerous scientific societies that have issued statements on the subject of evolution and intelligent design, confirming the demonstrated success of the former and rejecting the scientific viability of latter.