Penn State York adds biology major

November 14, 2014

Does growing cells, collecting insects and studying plant life sound like fun? The new four-year degree in biology at Penn State York will begin spring 2015.  

“Penn State York is pleased and proud to usher in the University's acclaimed four-year program in biology at the campus,” said Robert Farrell, director of academic affairs and associate professor of biology at York. “The biology major is a welcome addition to our expanding portfolio of programs available in York. At Penn State York there is robust ongoing research in several areas of biology, including parasitology, cancer, plant biology, gene expression and many more.

"This campus has a long history of engaging motivated students in all aspects of research alongside our award-winning faculty, and it is not uncommon for students who take advantage of these opportunities to be published in a scientific journal by the time they graduate."

Recent high school graduates and adult learners beginning college for the first time or returning to college are welcome to apply to the program. Students may enroll as a first-year student or as an advanced standing or transfer student.

The bachelor of science in biology degree is designed to provide a broad background in the biological sciences and allows students to become familiar with both the theory and practice of science. Two options are offered and students must select one: the general biology option or the genetics and development biology option.

Opportunities are available for students to become involved in collaborative research activities with science and math faculty members. Descriptions of some of the research activities can be found by visiting the undergraduate research page.

Also noteworthy is the opportunity for students to take some of their junior and senior-level courses online, if they so choose. A minimum of 124 credits is required for graduation.

A variety of career opportunities can be pursued upon completion of the degree; career fields include biomedical and environmental sciences. Students following the general biology track will be broadly trained and well equipped for jobs in research laboratories, industry, zoos/aquariums/museums and environmental agencies. The developmental biology and genetics track will prepare students for biomedical and pharmaceutical careers, as well as laboratory and hospital research facilities. Additionally, students can tailor their degree to meet the specific requirements of professional programs such as medical, dental or pharmacy schools and graduate study in the life sciences.

For more information on the program, visit the website or contact Anne Vardo-Zalik, assistant professor of biology and program coordinator, at 717-718-6705 or For information about admissions, contact the Penn State York Admissions Office at 717-771-4040 or email The program is a collaboration between Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State York.

  • York Biology Degree1 2014

    Fulgentius Lugemwa, assistant professor of chemistry, center, works with students in the lab as part of a chemistry class.  Penn State York's Edward M. Elias Building offers high-tech facilities and is home to most of the science labs on campus.

    IMAGE: Barbara Dennis
Last Updated December 10, 2014