Contact the Biology Program Coordinator to learn more
Why major in Biology?
With a degree in Biology from Penn State Altoona, you’ll be well prepared for your future, whether you are interested in a career in medicine or other health-related professions, looking to pursue an advanced degree through graduate study, or interested in working with various governmental agencies or industries having biological responsibilities. Importantly, you’ll understand the world of living things and gain practical experience through laboratory and fieldwork in small classes taught by faculty.
The Penn State Altoona Biology program, through excellence in teaching and research, supports the academic success of all students in a welcoming and inclusive environment.
The Penn State Altoona Biology program develops students’ understanding of the theories and principles that govern life by providing a breadth of classes and an array of unique out-of-classroom experiences. Our small classes, high-quality instruction, faculty accessibility, one-on-one mentoring, and personalized academic advising allow us to focus on student growth and success in an inclusive, community-centered environment. After completing their carefully curated curriculum, our graduates possess well-developed critical thinking skills, a range of laboratory and field skills, awareness of current global issues, and competitive applications for professional and graduate schools and the workforce.
At Penn State Altoona, three options are available for study.
- The General Biology option focuses on all aspects of modern biology.
- The Vertebrate Physiology option focuses on animal physiology and anatomy and prepares students for careers in medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, and animal physiology.
- The Ecology option explores the evolution, behavior, and population and community biology of plants and animals, preparing students for environmental management and conservation careers.
Undergraduate research opportunities are available at Penn State Altoona and will help you achieve your career goals. Students performing research with our faculty have traveled to field sites and conferences worldwide. Their work has been presented at local, regional, national, and international meetings and, in some cases, has led to student-coauthored publications in scientific journals.
Penn State Altoona is part of the Early Acceptance Program at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). It has the first active Penn State chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. Students may join the Biology Club and Science Club to enhance their classroom experiences.
Unique to Penn State Altoona, the Human Dimensions of Health Care course provides students on-site experience with patients, their families, and health care providers. Our Health Professions adviser can provide personalized guidance in advancing a career in health care, which can require careful planning for successful applications to secondary schools.