K. Joy Karnas
Chair, Department of Biological Sciences
610-437-4471 ext. 3681

Biological Sciences

Develop the strong knowledge base and leadership skills you need to succeed in graduate studies, medical school, veterinary school or the workplace.

The biological sciences are intriguing, complex…and essential to the progress and survival of our world. Today’s biological scientists work to better understand all living things including the damage to good health from diseases and pollution. Some work to preserve delicate marine ecosystems and endangered species. Others help produce more nutritious foods through genetic engineering of crops. Still others serve as physicians, surgeons, educators, geneticists, neuroscientists, veterinarians, dentists or medical researchers.

Learn more about the Cedar Crest advantage »

Whatever your ultimate career goal in the biological sciences, Cedar Crest College will provide you with the solid foundation of knowledge, skills and professional ethics necessary for you to reach your fullest potential. Because our biological sciences programs share many core requirements, you may begin your studies by taking several core curriculum courses before choosing which of our five majors best fits your needs.

Beginning your first year of study, you will participate in relevant, faculty directed scientific research, and these opportunities will be available until the day you graduate. You will work under the direction of nationally respected faculty-scientists in state-of-the-art laboratories.

Some of your field experiences may even take you to exotic locations, where your study of science will include learning from and communicating with individuals from different cultures. You will also develop vital skills in leadership and communications, ensuring that you will be equally competent presenting your research from behind a podium and in a laboratory setting.

For students wishing to prepare for graduate studies and medical, dental or veterinary school, we offer a Health Professions Advising Program to assist you with the preparation and application process. Also, if you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree in forensic science, you may continue your studies right here in our advanced-degree program—one of the top such programs in the nation.

Recent graduates of our biological sciences programs have embarked on rewarding careers in such organizations as:

Others have gone on to pursue their master’s and doctoral degrees at prestigious institutions, including:

The Cedar Crest College Advantage

Highly credentialed faculty
Cedar Crest College biological sciences faculty, all of whom hold advanced degrees in their field, are involved in leading-edge research, including one long-term marine conservation ecology project in Belize. These faculty scientists will work one-on-one with you to develop a program best suited to your career goals.

Guaranteed student-research experiences
During the spring of your first year, you will conduct your first research project. As an upper-class student, your research will be of the caliber to present at regional and national conferences, where you may also develop valuable professional relationships. You can also serve as a research director, overseeing research projects of first-year students.

Customized program options
Our flexible programming allows you to focus on a very specific area of interest or to sample from a wide a variety of biological sciences courses. You can also add a minor or second major in any other discipline, further directing your studies toward your intended career.

Valuable internship and career opportunities
Our students have earned the reputation of being highly skilled and disciplined, which has earned them coveted internships at Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Earthwatch Institute, an environmental conservation organization. Students in the biological sciences program, with the exception of nuclear medicine technology majors, will also participate in the course Junior Colloquium, which includes instruction in the writing of cover letters, resumes and research proposals.

State-of-the-art research facilities
At Cedar Crest, you will be trained on the leading-edge tools and technology to prepare you to be science professionals in the workplace. Our facilities include two genetic engineering labs, a principle of biology lab, a biodiversity and conservation biology lab, two microbiology labs, an anatomy and physiology lab, a bioinformatics lab, a microscopy and imaging center, a fish lab and a greenhouse.

Relevant science exhibits and lectures
Several years ago, faculty in the biological sciences department at Cedar Crest joined forces with the nearby Da Vinci Science Center to observe Darwin Day, a global celebration of science held each February. This program has brought world-class speakers to campus—including Yale biologist Nancy Moran, Ph.D.—and a variety of evolution exhibits to the science center. The department also hosts faculty lectures during the fall and spring semesters.

Mission Statement

Within the broader mission of Cedar Crest College, the mission of the department of biological sciences is to provide women with a background in the fundamental biological concepts and principles in the context of the liberal arts. Students have the opportunity to conduct scientific research and to communicate the results to the scientific and broader community. The department’s curriculum is also designed to help students understand the challenges and opportunities that face women in the natural sciences, and ethical issues that impact our discipline, all within the context and understanding that we are members of the global community. Students have the opportunity to study a biological discipline in depth through one of our specialized majors, and graduates of the department are well prepared to pursue careers and professional or graduate studies. It is our goal that students and faculty use their understanding of science, in general, and biology, in particular, to contribute to the betterment of the College, scientific community, and society.


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