A major in Biology prepares you for a wide variety of career options. You may choose one of our human health tracks and pursue entrance into allied health professional schools and graduate programs such as medical, dental, physician assistant, pharmacy, public health, physical or occupational therapy, optometry, chiropractic, and veterinary medicine. You may choose an organismal biology or ecology track and pursue careers or graduate studies in areas such as wildlife biology, conservation biology, botany, ecology, environmental science, and many other biology subdisciplines. Regardless of which track you choose to pursue, our faculty strives to ensure you will be well-prepared and equipped to begin your career or continue to your next step.
The learning outcomes and curriculum in Biology are designed around recommendations included in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action, a report released by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The knowledge, competencies, and skills you will gain prepares you to pursue a career or further advanced study in biology.
At HSU you have the opportunity to study Biology in an environment enriched by Christian faith and values. The Biology faculty is dedicated to providing a challenging learning environment where you are encouraged to explore the connections between faith and science.
The Biology program prepares students for graduate and professional programs including pre-medical and other health professions, organismal and field biology. Graduates of our program have succeeded in a wide range of professional and graduate programs.
The Biology department offers our students research opportunities in Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Wildlife, and Field Biology.
We are dedicated to personalized attention for every student. Our majors’ classes and lab maintain a class size from 10 – 40 students per class, allowing faculty and students to interact directly.
"HSU was not only there for my educational growth, but also for my spiritual growth. One of the most remarkable things that I remember hearing in one of my biology classes was that you could be a scientist and you could be a Christian at the same time."
All courses and course descriptions for each degree type can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog:
All HSU students are eligible for the program. Students majoring in biology and pursuing either a B.S. or B.A. degree must pass BIOL 1306/1106, 1307/1107, and 2334 with grades of “C” or better before registering for advanced courses in the Biology curriculum. Exceptions to this rule will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the student’s advisor and the Biology department head.
A degree in Biology prepares you for many different potential career opportunities. Many students choose to pursue a graduate degree to expand their career options.
Course sequences are designed to meet the educational needs of students interested in gaining admittance to professional programs in the medical sciences (e.g. medical, physician assistant, dental, physical/occupational therapy, pharmacy, veterinary schools); baccalaureate degree or certification programs in various allied health fields (e.g. nursing, medical technology, radiological technology); baccalaureate degree or certification in various organismal biology fields (e.g. wildlife biology certification); graduate programs in cellular, organismal, or field biology; or pursuing certification to teach at the secondary school level.
The Pre-Medical track at HSU will prepare you to matriculate into medical school to earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. As a physician, you may:
An MD or DO degree requires 4 years of education. Additional training in the form of residencies and/or fellowships allow you to specialize in fields including obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, cardiology, etc.
Pre-Medical is considered a track in Biology (or Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), it is not a major. Pre-Medical students are required to take specific courses to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and apply to medical school. You can choose to major in any field and you can apply to medical school as long as you complete the prerequisites. As a Biology major, all of the following courses that are required by most medical schools and schools of osteopathic medicine can be taken as a part of the B.S. or B.A. in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry degree plan. These prerequisites are listed below:
There are 10 medical schools in Texas. For specific requirements for each Texas program, you may visit the Texas Medical and Dental School Application System website.
For specific admission information on non-Texas Medical programs please visit the American Association of Medical Colleges website.
For specific admission information on non-Texas Osteopathic programs, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website.
Websites to apply to medical school:
HSU also offers pre-medical students who display a financial need based on your FAFSA information, the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP). The Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP) is a special program created by the Texas Legislature to support and encourage highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education.
Funded through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, JAMP is a unique partnership between all nine Texas medical schools and sixty-seven public and private four-year undergraduate institutions.
Since 2003, JAMP has been helping Texas students achieve their dreams with guaranteed admission to one of the state’s nine medical schools, financial, and academic support to help them get there, and access to resources that allow them to excel.
For more information, please feel free to visit their website or contact Dr. Candace E. Wicks, the JAMP Faculty Director at HSU.
The Pre-Physician Assistant (PA) track at HSU will prepare you to matriculate into an accredited Physician Assistant Program to earn a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies degree. As a PA, you may:
A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited undergraduate institution is required for matriculation into a PA program. An M.A. in PA Studies degree requires 2-3 years of education, with the average program length being 27 months.
Pre-PA is considered a track in Biology, it is not a major. Pre-PA students are required to take specific courses to prepare to apply to a PA program. You can choose to major in any field and you can apply to PA school as long as you complete the prerequisites. As a Biology major, all of the following courses that are required by most PA programs and can be taken as a part of the B.S. or B.A. in Biology. These most common prerequisites are listed below:
Please visit the HSU PA program web page for specific program details. For specific requirements for any specific PA program, please visit the PA Program directory.
Professional organizations recommended for pre-PA students:
Website to apply to PA school:
The Pre-Dental track at HSU will prepare you to matriculate into a dental school to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. As a general dentist you may:
A DDS program requires 4 years of education. Additional training in the form of fellowships or residencies can allow you to specialize in fields like orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, forensic odontology, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral and maxillofacial pathology, and oral surgery.
Pre-Dental is considered a track in Biology; it is not a major. Pre-Dental students are required to take specific courses to prepare for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and to apply to dental school. You can choose to major in any field and you can apply to dental school as long as you have completed the prerequisites. As a Biology major all of the following courses that are required by most dental schools can be taken as part of the B.S. in Biology with a minor Biochemistry degree plan.
There are three dental schools in Texas: Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas, UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry, and UT Health Houston School of Dentistry. For additional application information, please contact each program and check their websites as they may be updated frequently.
To matriculate into dental school you must score competitively on the Dental Admissions Test. The test has four major sections:
Your performance on the Survey of Natural Sciences and Reading Comprehension and Quantitative Reasoning sections are recorded as the Academic Average, which ranges from 1 to 30. A competitive score is >19. You can find out more information about the DAT, including a yearly DAT Guide, on the American Dental Association DAT web page.
In addition to the prerequisite courses and competitive DAT score, successful applicants should also be involved in community service opportunities and complete at least 80 hours of shadowing. One organization that HSU students regularly volunteer with is the Texas Mission of Mercy Smiles Foundation. See their website for upcoming opportunities to serve around Texas, https://www.tdasmiles.org/texas-mission-of-mercy/.
There are great summer programs that allow you to get more experience in dentistry and prepare for dental schools. Find out more information and apply for the Summer Health Professions Education Program.
Dr. Jennifer Hennigan, Jennifer.Hennigan@hsutx.edu, advises Biology majors who are planning to apply for dental school.
Professional organizations for pre-dental students:
Websites to apply for dental school:
The Pre-Pharmacy track at HSU will prepare you to matriculate into a pharmacy school to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Careers in pharmacy cover a variety of different options and specialties. Some career options are listed below:
You can learn more about different pharmacy careers at Pharmacy Is Right For Me.
Pre-Pharmacy is considered a track in Biology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, or Chemistry; it is not a major. Pre-Pharmacy students are required to take specific courses to prepare for the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) and to apply to pharmacy school. You can choose to major in any field and you can apply to pharmacy school as long as you have completed the prerequisites. Pre-pharmacy track students at HSU generally follow one of the following plans:
Following one of the plans listed above ensures that the prerequisite courses required by most pharmacy schools can be taken as part of the B.S. degree plan. You can learn more about pharmacy program prerequisite courses at Pharmacy Is Right For Me.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy (TTUHSC-SOP) 3+4 Dual Degree Information
To matriculate into pharmacy school you must score competitively on the Pharmacy College Admission Test. The test has five major sections:
Your performance on the PCAT is reported as your percentile rank which indicates your performance relative to the current PCAT norm group. Most Texas pharmacy schools prefer a PCAT score >50, but a competitive score for Texas pharmacy schools is >70. You can find more information about the PCAT, including a yearly PCAT guide, on the PCAT webpage.
In addition to the prerequisite courses and competitive PCAT score, successful applicants should gain experience by shadowing pharmacists or volunteering at a health center or hospital. Additionally, it is recommended that pre-pharmacy students work in a pharmacy as clerks or pharmacy technicians.
Approximately 90% of all pharmacy degree programs in the U.S. participate in the Pharmacy College Application Service (PharmCAS) for admission. You should visit the PharmCAS website to learn more about the admissions process and requirements.
Dr. Andrea Jensen advises Biology majors who are planning to apply to pharmacy school.
Dr. Michelle Dose advises Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Chemistry majors who are planning to apply to pharmacy school.
The Pre-Physical Therapy track at HSU will prepare you to matriculate into a physical therapy school to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. As a physical therapist you may:
A DPT program generally takes about 3 years of education. Additional training can allow you to specialize in fields like orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, clinical electrophysiology, and sports physical therapy. You can learn more about physical therapy careers at the American Physical Therapy Association.
Pre-Physical Therapy is considered a track in Biology; it is not a major. Pre-Physical Therapy students are required to take specific courses to apply to physical therapy school. You can choose to major in any field and you can apply to dental school as long as you have completed the prerequisites. As a Biology major the courses that are required by most physical therapy schools can be taken as part of the undergraduate Biology degree. Prerequisite courses vary significantly across physical therapy programs. To learn more about prerequisite courses visit the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service.
Hardin-Simmons University Physical Therapy School Early Admission Agreement:
Most physical therapy programs utilize the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (PTCAS) to facilitate the admissions process. The American Physical Therapy Association provides useful information regarding the admissions process.
Physical therapy schools require applicants to observe practicing physical therapists. Different programs have different PT observation requirements. PTCAS provides a comparison of observation requirements by programs.
Dr. Austin Alexander advises Biology majors who are planning to apply to physical therapy school.
To prepare to enter a Veterinary Medicine program our students pursue a major in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry. With the correct choice of advanced electives in Biology, students can complete all course requirements needed to become a Certified Wildlife Biologist.
The Grassland Initiative was established by the Rolling N Ranches L.P. to provide research opportunities to Hardin-Simmons faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students in a variety of disciplines. The mission of the Grassland Initiative is to restore native grassland ecosystems to areas previously altered by agricultural conversion and is designed to employ conservation and management plans, through partnerships and cooperative efforts, resulting in restoration and overall biodiversity preservation.
The Grassland Initiative also offers student internship opportunities to provide support to graduate and undergraduate student researchers. The Grassland Initiative Student Internship Endowment, established by Dr. George Newman and his wife Carolyn, provides stipends for students conducting independent research projects through the Grassland Initiative. The stipends support student researchers and are awarded for Summer (May – July), Fall (Aug – Dec), and Spring (Jan – Apr) as funding allows. Students are encouraged to coordinate with the Grassland Initiative Program Director concerning Internship Requirements and Application Deadlines.
We offer several opportunities for field-based labs and travel courses. You have the option to study Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica (May term of odd years), Natural History in London (date varies), or Wildlife Conservation at the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN (summer of even years). Due to our partnership with the Grassland Initiative, we offer field labs in courses such as Mammalogy, Animal Behavior, General Entomology, Wildlife Techniques, and Advanced Botany.
HSSM Research Society, Advisor—Dr. Wendi Wolfram
The purpose of the HSSM Research Society is to promote interest in undergraduate and graduate research through the development, communication, and publication of original research across disciplines. The HSSM Research Society enhances connections between peers and faculty and promotes research. The HSSM Research Society hosts an annual Symposium each spring.
Pre-Health Club, Advisor—Dr. Candace Wicks
The Pre-Health Club serves as a home to HSU students aiming to enter any facet of the medical profession. The organization provides students with information regarding admission requirements, entrance exam preparation, shadowing and volunteering opportunities, a forum for networking with current medical professionals as well as assists in graduate school application preparation and admission interviews.
Pre-Physical Therapy Club, Advisor—Dr. Marsha Rutland
The Pre-Physical Therapy Club is a great resource and application booster for students interested in becoming physical therapists. The club meets once a month to allow members the opportunity to explore and learn about the Anatomy Lab, receive advice from current PT students and admissions faculty, and learn about various topics in the field of physical therapy from practicing PT’s. Members of this club are also invited to attend presentations hosted by HSU’s DPT school and take part in physical therapy related service events. In addition, there are five officer position s available each year to members who are interested in gaining leadership experience.
Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, Advisor—Dr. Jennifer Hennigan
Beta Beta Beta is a national biological honor society, with Delta Psi being the local chapter at HSU. All members are sophomores or higher, have an interest in the biological sciences, and have attained a biology GPA of 3.0 or higher. The honor society seeks to cultivate intellectual interest in the natural sciences and promote a better appreciation of the value of biological study. Members are involved in promoting science in the community through working with high schools, health fairs, research forums, or similar events. Members are eligible for some funding for undergraduate research and to publish for reduced costs in the Beta Beta Beta journal BIOS.
The Mission of the Department of Biology is to provide quality science education and research experiences in our unique university environment. Our goals include:
Biology Program Learning Outcomes
Beta Beta Beta is a national biological honor society, with Delta Psi being the local chapter at HSU. The honor society seeks to cultivate intellectual interest in the natural sciences and promote a better appreciation of the value of biological study. Our mission is three-fold: stimulating scholarship, disseminating scientific information, and promoting biological research. Delta Psi holds inductions every spring for regular membership and associate membership.
Regular Membership Requirements:
Associate Membership Requirements:
Any undergraduate with a demonstrated interest in the biological sciences that does not meet the regular membership requirements is eligible (ex. biology minors).
What do we do?
Our members are involved in promoting science in the community through working with high schools, health fairs, research forums, or similar events. We have partnered with the University Interscholastic League (UIL) at ATEMS high school in Abilene since 2015 to provide science enrichment. For each visit, Delta Psi provides an interactive experiment or demonstration in either chemistry, biology, or physics. Additionally, we help host invited speakers at HSU and participate in a variety of community service projects.
As a member, you get recognition for your commitment to biology. You receive Tri Beta honor cords in your membership packet.
Members are eligible for some funding for undergraduate research and to publish for reduced costs in the Beta Beta Beta journal, BIOS.
You have fun with other biology majors!
Want to join?
Contact the Tri-Beta sponsor Dr. Jennifer Hennigan for information on the next induction.
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