Program Overview

Academic Program Type

Available as Major
Available as Minor

The biology program prepares students for traditional fields of study as well as emerging fields, such as biophysics, bioinformatics, and molecular genetics.

Transylvania students have a variety of opportunities to conduct research, both independently and with professors. Research projects may receive funding from the university or from outside organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health. Current faculty research interests include evolution and behavioral ecology of cannibalism, physiological and other correlates of avian personality, and ecology of non-native plant invasions.

See the results for yourself—the majority of our students go on to medical, dental, or pharmacy school or are doing research in graduate programs at leading research institutions across the country.

Compare the difference

  • In our small lab sessions, you’ll be encouraged to sharpen your investigative skills by undertaking independent research.

  • You’ll gain firsthand knowledge of subjects through field trips to destinations such as Kentucky’s Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest.

  • May term travel courses have enabled students to study invertebrates in Florida, tropical ecology in Belize and Hawaii, native plants and animals in the forests of eastern Kentucky, and public health issues in the Philippines.

The science of biology plays a central role in important issues like global climate change, stem cell research, and ecological restoration, as well as global health issues such as avian influenza, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. Transylvania’s biology graduates actively engage these issues, both as researchers in the laboratory and as medical personnel on the front lines. Look around these pages to find out more about the program, and contact us with any questions!

Possible Career Options

Environmental protection agent
Medical doctor
Research scientist

Positions our graduates have held

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Office for Women’s Physical and Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Smithsonian Institution
Mount Sinai Hospital
National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Emory University
Boston Medical Center

Course Catalog

View Course Catalog (PDF)

Major or Minor Course Information

General Biology Major

We believe that student-lead research is the best way for our students to learn to think like a scientist, work collaboratively, and develop their problem-solving skills. Because of this commitment, all of our biology classes have a laboratory component that is also taught by the faculty. In the laboratory, students are trained in modern techniques (e.g., PCR, cell culture, physiological monitoring) and then use those techniques to explore questions they have developed.

All biology majors take the same foundational classes. After completion of the common core, students can select from one of three tracks: biology; molecular and cellular biology; or ecology, evolution, and behavior.

15 course units, including:
BIO 1204 Integrated Concepts of Biology: Molecules and Cells
BIO 1206 Integrated Concepts of Biology: Organisms and Ecosystems
BIO 2042 Biologists’ Toolkit (1/2 unit)
BIO 4432 Capstone in Biology (1/2 unit)
9 additional electives including:
6 Biology courses at the 3000-level or above
Remaining 3 electives may come from Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Mathematics, or Physics excluding BIO 1164, BIO 2014 and BIO 2104.  
Allied Courses
CHEM 1055 Principles of Chemistry I
CHEM 1065 Principles of Chemistry II
MATH 1304 Calculus I -OR-
MATH 1144 Elementary Statistics

To become certified to teach biology, students must complete the following:
Biology Major
Education Minor for Secondary Certification
Completion of Education Minor for Secondary Certification (8-12) for Teaching Biology requires:
EDU 1004 Observing the Learner
EDU 2014 Schooling in American Culture
EDU 2094 Standards-Based Instruction
EDU 2164 Designing Constructivist-Based Learning Climates
EDU 3054  Instructional Strategies and Content Area Literacy for Learners in Middle and Secondary Schools 
EDU  3244  Practicum in Learning Experiences 
EDU  4114  Supervised Teaching in High School 
EDU  4514  Senior Seminar
OR Senior Seminar in the student's discipline 
Students must also take the following allied course:
PSY 1004 General Psychology



Transylvania University
300 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797