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College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Department of Biology

Franklin Science Center
142 Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1401
Department Web Site 


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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016

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Our Ranking

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Biology is the science that investigates living organisms. This broad field extends from the study of the inner-workings of a cell to the interactions between organisms and their environment.

Many students who are interested in science and the environment look for the top PA colleges for biology. The hallmark of the Shippensburg biology undergraduate degree program is our small class sizes. Located on 200 acres in Central PA, undergraduate biology students have ample space to study and work directly with the environment. We also provide biology-related student organizations and clubs, so students can gain experience outside of the classroom.

Biology at Ship

As the cornerstone of the biology department, our faculty is concerned about instruction and our students. In addition to small classes taught by highly trained professors with expertise in their fields, we also offer the opportunity to participate directly in research with faculty members. Students can receive small research grants from the Shippensburg University Foundation to purchase supplies or to help defray the cost of attending professional meetings. Biology students are assigned a faculty advisor from the department to help guide course selection and career goals.

Because Shippensburg University is located less than 100 miles from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, learning is enhanced by accessibility to the Smithsonian Institution, the National Zoo, and the National Aquarium. Within a twenty-five-mile radius of the university campus are three state forests, five state parks and a section of the Appalachian Trail that winds its way through the oldest mountain system in North America.

As a charter member of the Chincoteague Bay Field Station, Shippensburg University—in cooperation with other member colleges and universities—offers a variety of oceanographic study and research opportunities at Wallops Island, Virginia. The consortium maintains a number of small boats, as well as larger ships, that are outfitted for study in the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake and Chincoteague Bays, and their tributaries. Four separate three-week sessions are in operation during the summer months. The station is also a popular destination for weekend class field trips during fall and spring.

Our department is proud of its laboratories containing sophisticated instrumentation such as a scanning electron microscope, DNA sequencer, molecular imaging system, fluorescent microscope, microplate readers, refrigerated centrifuges, micro-video systems, an automated autoclave, and a variety of computers. Environmental chambers, a pond, a thriving greenhouse, herbarium, animal care facility, and a vertebrate museum add to the variety of educational experiences.

Admission and Degree Requirements

The Department of Biology at Shippensburg University offers programs leading to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology.  To complete the undergraduate biology degree, students may choose to concentrate in one of the following areas: health professions, ecology and environmental biology, biotechnology (with a pre-forensic sciences option) secondary education, or general biology.

Students in the Secondary Education program earn Pennsylvania Department of Education Secondary Certification upon successful completion of the teacher education requirements. Students electing to become certified in Secondary Biology may also elect to complete two additional approved certification areas: Environmental Education and General Science Education.

The biology program combines classroom, laboratory, and field studies to provide a comprehensive education. Students take a series of required courses to gain a strong foundation in life sciences, elective courses to specialize in a particular area, courses in allied fields such as chemistry and physics, and general education courses to broaden their education.

Careers in Biology

There is a strong need for qualified people in the natural sciences. Biology majors at Shippensburg University have access to many career options. Many students prepare for careers in the health professions such as medicine, veterinary science, optometry, dentistry, physical therapy, chiropractic, pharmacy, or clinical sciences. Students with an interest in field studies and environmental science enter careers in conservation, wildlife biology, fisheries management, and environmental protection. Industries and pharmaceutical companies look for graduates with an interest and training in cell biology, microbiology, biochemistry, and physiology. A number of our students prepare for careers as secondary school biology teachers.

Get Involved

The biology program offers opportunities for students to become involved outside of the classroom. Several clubs and organizations provide a great opportunity to grow in your field of study and to meet other students with similar interests. Clubs and societies include Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, the Biology Club, and the Health Science Club.

Student internships are strongly recommended and may be completed for university credit. Internships are available through a variety of organizations, including Pennsylvania state agencies and many private, governmental, and nonprofit organizations. Students in the Health Professions often conduct internships at hospitals or private clinics. Internships may be completed during the academic year or summer. Many students choose to find internship opportunities close to home during the summer months.