The world needs biologists like never before to solve many of today's challenges. At Wilkes, you'll get solid preparation for graduate and medical programs as well as a range of biology-related professions in business, government, non-profit organizations and education.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Major, Minor On-campus 122 (22 for minor)

Why Study Biology at Wilkes?

Our faculty work closely with you both in and outside the classroom to help you gain knowledge and skills to be successful as biologists. Biology faculty members are dedicated to teaching excellence and ability to conduct research with undergraduates. You’ll dive right into real projects as early as your first year. Our broad curriculum provides you with maximum flexibility and prepares you for a variety of advanced programs and biology careers. In essence, the Wilkes University Biology faculty members want to you to be successful. By taking advantage of our extensive research opportunities, you can complete your bachelor’s degree with a master's level of research experience. Many of our students directly enter doctoral programs upon graduation.

What Will You Learn as a Biology Major?

  • You'll gain knowledge encompassing diverse areas of biology, including cell and molecular biology, structure and function, ecology and evolution and the plant sciences.
  • You'll build scientific investigative skills and learn techniques including genomics, animal behavior, biodiversity, population and ecosystem biology, botany and quantitative modeling skills.
  • You'll gain the ability to think critically about biological issues and to think about the human dimension as it relates to the biological sciences. And you'll become adept at reading technical literature in biology, how to write about biology and how to develop and present oral, poster-based and manuscript-based descriptions of your work.

Program Highlights

Undergraduate Research

As early as your first year, you'll be encouraged to pursue original research with faculty members. Current faculty research projects include DNA fingerprinting of plants and insects, development of cancers in digestive and respiratory systems, restoration of ecosystems disturbed by human activity, small-mammal communities, the effects of juvenile hormones on invertebrates and identification of structure and expression of genes in plants, fruit flies, mice and other organisms.

Summer Research

Many students receive state and national grants for summer research. Students have spent summers in programs in China, India and Australia. Others took part in research closer to home at Penn State University, Albert Einstein Medical Center and Cornell University. Wilkes offers numerous paid summer positions as well, and these include free summer housing.

Bioengineering 4+1 Program

The Bioengineering 4+1 Program combines four years of undergraduate study in biology and one year of graduate study in bioengineering. This cross-disciplinary program includes concepts in engineering, biology, medicine, health and computer science, with your choice of biomedical engineering or synthetic biology tracks.

“Your college experience is what you make of it, I truly love everything I’m involved in.”Neha Metgud '22 - Biology Major
I will forever cherish the amazing relationships I have made during my time here at Wilkes, from not only my close friends but also the faculty members.Megan Eller '20 - PhD student in biomedical sciences
No matter what title someone held, they were always full of a bounty of knowledge that would help to guide you in one direction or another.Seth Platukas '20 - Secondary Science and Career Technology Teacher

of students complete research, often starting as early as their first year


acres of forest and streams for outdoor classwork and research at Wilkes' Jacobs Property


admission rate for Wilkes students applying to medical or other professional schools

Cohen Science Center

The Cohen Science Center features state-of-the-art equipment and laboratory space for hands-on, experiential learning – a hallmark of the Wilkes experience. It’s LEED-certified, so you know it’s built to environmentally friendly standards.

Nuangola Bog

This 10-acre scrub-shrub wetland on the southern end of nearby Lake Nuangola provides an outdoor ecological laboratory. The bog is home to unusual and valued plants such as the pitcher plant, sundew, large-fruited cranberry, water arum, buttonbush and several species of Sphagnum moss.

The Bog

Genomics Center

Located on the second floor of the Cohen Science Center, the Genomics Center has high-end equipment needed for advanced molecular genetics analyses. Students have access to an ABI StepOne Plus real time Thermo cycler and two Bio-Rad T100 Thermo cyclers. We have two NanoDrop micro-scale spectrophotometers, a Molecular Devices Spectramax M4 micro plate reader and a UVP gel documentation camera. Finally, we have two New Brunswick Excella E24 shaking incubators, one with refrigeration capabilities and a Thermo Sciences -80˚C freezer.

Microscopy Facilities

The Wilkes Biology Department boasts fine microscopy resources. Student labs are outfitted with Leica stereoscopic dissecting and compound microscopes, with the front microscopes having image capture capabilities. A microscopy center features a dark field/phase contrast/fluorescence compound microscope for research and advanced coursework use.

Rosenthal Herbarium

Housed in the Cohen Science Center, the herbarium holds more than 3,300 specimens of pressed plants, 85% of which were collected in Pennsylvania. More than half come from student collections.

Jacobs Property

The 110-acre Jacobs Property serves as an outdoor classroom and research laboratory. It consists mainly of forest and features two streams and a beaver pond. Students monitor trees and wildlife and inventory organisms using the iNaturalist app.

Careers & Outcomes

The majority of our students enter professional school after graduation. Many achieve high-paying jobs in allopathic and osteopathic medicine, as well as allied health professions like optometry, podiatry, and dentistry. Our students regularly score above average in the MCATS and GREs and have an acceptance rate of more than 90% to medical school.


  • Commonwealth Health System
  • Geisinger Health System
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
  • Sanofi
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Bode Technology Group Inc.
  • Wiscasset (Maine) School Department
  • San Mateo County (California) Health Department
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • ExxonMobil

Graduate Schools

  • Princeton University
  • Penn State College of Medicine
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Geisinger Commonwealth Medical School
  • Drexel University College of Medicine
  • Texas A&M University
  • Washington University
  • University of Delaware
  • Texas Tech University
  • University of Maryland

Which Degree is for You: BA or BS?

Bachelor of Science (BS)

In the BS major, you will take a minimum of five electives, with one upper-level course from each of the five categories.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

In the BA major, you will take a minimum of four electives, with one upper-level course from each of four of the five categories.

Regardless of the degree you choose, you'll study a diversity of upper-level courses: molecular and cellular biology, structural and functional biology, diversity and population biology, plant biology and quantitative biology.