Explore the processes which maintain life, as well as the events that disrupt it.

The Department of Biological Sciences at St. Edward’s approaches the study of biology from the level of genes, through cells and organ systems, to populations of living organisms.

We offer BS and BA degrees in Biology, with multiple areas of focus depending on a student's desired outcome. These different degree tracks prepare students for entry to medical, dental and other schools in the health professions; graduate programs leading to doctorate or master of science degrees in related disciplines; and for entry into exciting careers such as biotechnology, ecology, neurophysiology and research. Each program allows students to study electives that are specific to their own interests.

Teaching labs throughout the curriculum focus on experimentation and students are given the opportunity to conduct independent scientific investigations. Summer research scholarships are available from faculty research grants, and presentation of findings at scientific meetings is encouraged and facilitated.

Evolutionary Foundation for Curricula

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.

Texas Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, Junction, TX

St. Edward's University students and faculty members gave 32 presentations and students won 9 awards (25% of the awards given!) at the annual Texas Academy of Science meeting in March.

Degree Plans

Major Requirements: The BA in Biology requires 76 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 56 hours of general education courses that students complete over four years in addition to their major courses.

1. Bachelor of Arts in Biology

  • Primarily designed for students pursuing a double major, biology education certification, or admission to professional schools
  • Provides a solid foundation in biology with more latitude in the choice of general electives
  • An example of a course you will take is Molecular Genetics which offers a study of the structure and function of DNA as the genetic material and focuses on details surrounding the “central dogma of molecular biology,” including DNA replication, transcription, RNA processing and translation, as well as mechanisms of control and regulation of expression of genetic information.
General Biology Track
Biology Education Track
Pre-Nursing Track
Allied Health Track
BA in Biology + MS in Clinical Laboratory Science (3 + 2) Program
  • Earn two degrees in five years: a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from St. Edward’s University, and a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) from UTMB.
  • View or download the full 3+2 Program degree plan (PDF)

2. Bachelor of Science in Biology

Health Professions Track
  • Designed for students who intend to pursue further education and a career in the health professions such as medicine, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, dentistry, physical therapy, public health or nursing
  • Degree requirements include the prerequisites for most professional schools
  • An example of a course you will take is Evolution, an in-depth analysis of evolution via natural selection using examples from all major classes of organisms. Emphasis is placed on the mechanism and resulting products of evolutionary change. Evolutionary change is examined at the molecular, organismal and population levels of organization.
  • View or download the full BS in Biology - Health Professions degree plan (PDF)
Graduate School Track
  • Designed to provide a strong background in biology and research and prepare students for graduate school
  • Prepares students for education at the graduate level leading to careers outside the health professions. Students might study molecular biology, cellular biology, developmental biology, microbiology, neurobiology, zoology, botany, ecology or other fields
  • An example of a course you will take is Population Biology and Ecology wherein students study the abundance and distribution of populations and collect and analyze data in experiments designed to test the theories presented in lecture. These include studies of distribution patterns, foraging behavior, and population and community structure.
  • View or download the full BS in Biology - Graduate School major degree plan (PDF)

3. Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science

  • Prepares students to be health care detectives, investigating the cause of infectious disease, cancer and other ailments
  • Involves coursework at St. Edward's University and clinical training at an affiliated MLS program (currently Austin State Hospital). These courses span disciplines such as microbiology, hematology, immunology, clinical chemistry and molecular biology.
  • An example of a course you will take is Immunology where students will discover the molecular nature of the human immune system including the cellular and noncellular components involved and how these factors interact to combat disease.
  • View or download the full BS in Medical Laboratory Science degree plan (PDF)

Interested in earning a Master of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science? Learn more about our dual degree program.

Faculty & Staff

Our faculty research foci include epidemiology, microbiology, soil metagenomics, chloroplast and mitochhondrial genome evolution in legumes among other research. Field research has taken them to Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Alaska, Colorado, and other parts of the world. 

View Faculty/Staff

Research

Research is an important option for undergraduates at St. Edward’s University. Many students join a research lab on campus while others participate in research at other institutions. Involvement in one of these research labs allows students the opportunity to work alongside distinguished professionals, be a part of published research and gain real-world experience in a field specific to their interest.

Biology research projects at St. Edward's vary across many different areas of focus, including neuroscience, immunology, cell biology, food microbiology, developmental biology, genetics, evolution, animal behavior and plant evolutionary ecology. These opportunities are made possible by special funding and grants, some of which have even been provided by the federal government.

Specific projects, imploring the use of model organisms, explore:

  • Relationships between nutrition and fecundity 
  • Epignenetic Inheritance
  • Sexual Preference
  • Microbes
  • Bioinformatics 

On-campus locations for these studies vary — from the state-of-the-art greenhouses at St. Edward’s to our Wild Basin Center for Creative Research. Off-campus opportunities may take place at other universities or in private research labs.

Student Success

Korey Nuchia (Class of 2018) won an award for presenting her research entitled, "Analysis of the Antibacterial Activity of Costa Rican and Gabonese Plant Extracts," at the 2015 UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference on October 9, 2015. Dr. Patricia Baynham is Korey's research advisor. Congratulations Korey and Dr. Baynham!