A student crouches in long grass by the creek to collect environmental samples.

Biology

When you’re curious about the world around you, reading about how things work is never enough. Make your own discoveries in York College’s hands-on Biology degree program.

A degree in Biology opens up career possibilities in a wide range of industries: laboratory research, healthcare, environmental conservation, and more. At York College, our bachelor of science in Biology serves as an opportunity for you to explore your options with guidance from faculty experts—whether you come in knowing exactly which branch of biology interests you, or need some time to figure it out. 

YCP Biology classes go beyond the textbook. Every class in the major includes hands-on research, with access to state-of-the-art lab facilities right here on campus. Our students tackle real-world issues and make real contributions to science. Many have presented their findings at regional and national conferences

Through a series of major-specific and elective courses, student in this program build a broad foundation in biology. From there, they may choose to either continue pursuing the general study of biology or specialize in one of the following concentrations:

  • Biotechnology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Pre-Professional Medicine

Biology majors who are interested in healthcare and related fields also have the opportunity to take courses through WellSpan York Hospital, located just around the corner from campus.

Two students wearing latex gloves work with syringes and slides in the bio lab as a professor in a lab coat looks on.

Majoring in Biology

  • Key Courses

    Biology Courses

    As a York College Biology major, you’ll take both required classes and electives to provide you with the well-rounded background desired by employers in the field. 

    You’ll work with state-of-the-art equipment and modern lab spaces as you gain a foundational knowledge of biology. You’ll also have opportunities to focus your interests through a dedicated concentration in Biotechnology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Conservation, or Pre-Health Professions.  

    Examples of Biology major requirements and electives include:

    • BIO 142: Molecules, Genes and Cells
    • BIO 240: Genetics
    • BIO 306: Animal Behavior
    • BIO 324: Marine Ecology of the Chesapeake Bay
    • BIO 332: Developmental Biology
    • BIO 350: Biochemistry
    • BIO 360: Neurobiology
    • BIO 364: Virology
    • BIO 404: Ecological Action

    Pre-Professional Medicine

    Many students in the Biology major are interested in Pre-Medical Studies or pursuing other careers related to the field of medicine: physical therapy, dentistry, veterinary care, optometry, etc. 

    At York College, you’ll be mentored by faculty advisors within the Biology program who take the time to understand your professional goals and help you map out a plan to achieve them. The College partners with local organizations like WellSpan, offering opportunities for students to take courses in a hospital setting, conduct clinical research, and obtain internships in your field of choice. You’ll receive guidance on which classes will best prepare you for graduate school, and you’ll have someone readily available to offer advice as you prepare for exams like the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or GRE.

  • Career Opportunities & Benefits

    Careers with a Degree in Biology

    A bachelor’s degree in Biology opens up a wide range of possibilities for your future career, research opportunities, and/or graduate studies. Popular career paths for Biology majors include:

    • Research Scientist
    • Microbiologist
    • Biotechnologist
    • Quality Assurance Manager
    • Environmental Educator
    • Natural Resource Manager
    • Pharmaceutical Sales and Marketing
    • Field Biologist

    Some students also choose to pursue graduate education after completing their Biology degree. A bachelor’s in Biology can prepare you for med school, veterinary school, physical therapy school, optometry school, or a variety of other graduate programs.

    Biology Degree Salary Information

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for Biological Scientists exceeds $90,000 per year. Wages will vary depending on your location, experience, and individual area of specialization.

    Benefits of a Biology Degree

    Biology is a field with many opportunities and competitive entry-level salaries. With a variety of workplaces and industries to choose from, you can select a career path that allows for a dynamic, engaging work environment—whether that means a laboratory setting, a national park, a classroom, or an office building.

    While pursuing a B.S. in Biology from York College, you’ll have a supportive community of faculty and professional advisors in your corner to help you discover what success looks like for you. Contact the Career Development Center or your academic advisor to get started.

  • Internships & Work Experience

    Internships & Work Experience

    Undergraduate Biology Research

    At York College, Biology majors get real-world experience long before senior year. All students are required to complete a two-semester research course where they ask novel questions and carry out research to advance knowledge in cutting areas of research like cancer treatments, antibiotic development, and microplastics in stream ecosystems. Many students also work directly with faculty mentors on independent research projects. Past student research projects have focused on:

    • The CRISPR-Cas9 system for gene editing cancer treatments
    • Disease prevalence in amphibian and reptile populations
    • Migratory patterns of owls
    • Molecular mechanisms of retinal development
    • Viral entry into host cells

    First-semester Biology majors in BIO 142 participate in the “Small World Initiative,” a global research team in which students address the worldwide health threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In other courses, students have completed ecological action projects involving study of the Tyler Run stream that runs through campus, as well as conservation biology projects with York County Parks. YCP’s Biology program also collaborates with WellSpan Health, offering students opportunities to work with clinical researchers in the area. 

    Biology Internships and Assistantships

    To complement their coursework, many students pursue optional internships over the summer, working with local organizations like West Shore Wildlife Center, Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories, and York County Parks.

    York College also partners with WellSpan’s Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program (SURIP) to offer opportunities for paid work experiences in their research facilities. Students must apply for this selective program, and if accepted, will conduct summer research alongside WellSpan investigators and clinical research staff. Student researchers receive a stipend for their work.

    For those in search of on-campus employment, paid lab assistant job opportunities are open to students after completion of their first biology lab course.

  • Mentorship & Community

    Mentorship & Community

    Thanks to collaborative, hands-on research projects starting during their first semester, students in the YCP Biology program soon become part of a tight-knit community within the major. Faculty get to know their students, culminating in advising sessions that focus on completing your degree in a timely manner, as well as setting you up for personal and professional success.

    A number of student-run clubs and organizations are available to those interested in building connections across campus, including:

    • Tribeta (Beta Beta Beta) National Biological Honors Society
    • Pre-Med and Allied Health Society (PMAHS)
    • Biology Club
    • Women in STEM
  • High-Demand Skills

    Biology Degree Skills and Requirements

    Some of the most valuable skills you’ll gain through your coursework in the Biology degree program include: 

    • Proficiency in laboratory and field techniques, including PCR, cell culture, ethical animal research, and bioinformatics 
    • Experimental design and data collection
    • Data analysis and interpretation
    • Problem-solving and troubleshooting in a research setting
    • Teamwork and collaboration
    • Effective written communication and presentation

    Best Minors for Biology Majors

    If you’d like to complement your Biology degree with a secondary skill set, you may consider declaring a minor. Some of the most popular minors for Biology majors are: 

    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
    • Neuroscience
    • Professional Writing

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What research opportunities are there for Biology majors at York College?

    Undergraduate research is the heart of YCP’s Biology program. You’ll start working on research from your very first semester—with experiences that go far beyond standard “cookie cutter” lab projects. York College Biology classes take you through a curriculum designed to provide meaningful, authentic research and encourage scientific exploration.

    As a student, you’ll have access to the same types of equipment used in professional research laboratories. Facilities include a state-of-the-art tissue culture suite, a large aquaria space, and modern labs. 

    Students interested in clinical research may also apply to the Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program (SURIP), offered in partnership with WellSpan. Those selected are able to conduct paid research in a WellSpan lab during the summer months.

  • What concentrations can I focus on as a student in the Biology program?

    As a Biology major at York College, you have the option to choose a concentration and specialize in a particular branch of biology. For students interested in this path, there are four concentrations available:

    • Biotechnology
    • Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Ecology and Conservation
    • Pre-Professional Medicine

    Biotechnology

    In the Biotechnology concentration, you’ll learn about the tools and techniques used in healthcare and medicine. You’ll gain hands-on experience working with a wide range of equipment, and an understanding of the development work and research that goes into making these devices available to medical professionals around the world. Biotechnology may be an excellent fit if you’re interested in careers including pharmaceuticals, the biotech industry, or science/technical writing 

    Cell and Molecular Biology

    A concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology allows you to look at living things at the most fundamental level. From microbes to animals, you’ll examine how genetics influence cellular actions and interactions. You’ll practice the techniques used while working in molecular biology, learning through state-of-the-art equipment and real-world research. Cell and Molecular Biology may be a desirable concentration if you plan to pursue a career in biomedical research, forensics, or bioinformatics.

    Ecology and Conservation

    The Ecology and Conservation concentration focuses on organisms, their relationship with their environment, principles of biological diversity, and exploring solutions to environmental problems. Students conduct hands-on research and data analysis, with a goal of addressing contemporary challenges in the real world. If you are interested in work that includes ecological research, environmental consulting, natural resource management, environmental education, or a related field, you may be well-suited for a concentration in Ecology and Conservation.

    Pre-Professional Medicine

    Concentrating in Pre-Health Professions prepares you for a future in medicine or a medicine-related field like physical therapy, optometry, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. You’ll learn about animal and human bodies, their structures, and how they function. You’ll work closely with faculty mentors to ensure that your science coursework and research/internship opportunities are aligned with the needs of graduate programs in the health or medical field of your choice.

  • Can I become a doctor with a Biology degree?

    Earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology is a great first step toward becoming a doctor, dentist, optometrist, physical therapist, veterinarian, or other healthcare provider. 

    Each of these disciplines has their own advanced educational requirements (for example: medical school, veterinary school, or a physical therapy doctoral program). Biology is a highly desirable undergraduate major for most graduate programs in the health and medical fields. Medical school and other professional programs also place great value on research experience.

    If your goals for the future include an advanced graduate and/or doctoral program, your Biology faculty advisors can offer valuable advice and help to guide you toward the necessary classes, undergraduate research opportunities, and academic requirements.

  • Do I have to become a medical doctor with a Biology degree?

    Majoring in Biology prepares you for many different career paths. In YCP’s Biology degree program, you’ll develop the skills and experience needed for work in a research lab, environmental education, contributing to sales or marketing for a pharmaceutical company, conducting field research, and much more. Studying Biology in college will provide a strong foundation to support your career interests.

Contact Us
Biological Sciences
Wendy Boehmler, Ph.D.
Chair, Biological Sciences Department
Appell Life Sciences, Room 207
Phone: 717.815.6637
biology@ycp.edu

Gretchen Young, Administrative Assistant
Appell Life Sciences, Room 209
Phone: 717.815.1335
gyoung4@ycp.edu

Semester Hours
Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Summer Hours (May-August)
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 
Friday: 8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Institutional Animal Care and Use