Biology

Your biology degree from Lock Haven University allows you a variety of different options.  Whatever track you choose, you will have hands-on experience in the laboratory and in off-campus field settings beginning in your freshman year. The relatively small class sizes give you personalized attention from highly-qualified and dedicated professors to help you succeed.                       

You may also choose to do independent research under faculty supervision. Recent student independent studies have included research in cytotaxonomy, microbiology, entomology, ornithology, aquatic ecology, molecular biology and wildlife management. Some of these projects have been so successful that the results have been published in scientific journals.                       

Cellular/Organismal Track

This track emphasizes laboratory studies to prepare you for a career in molecular biology, forensics, genetics, or other medical or health-related fields or to continue your studies in medical, dental, veterinary or graduate school. Our students have a high rate of acceptance into professional studies at schools such as Johns Hopkins  University, University of New Hampshire, University of Tennessee, Thomas Jefferson Medical School, Hershey Medical Center, Temple University and others. The upper level classes include a variety of specialized courses such as: Advanced DNA methods, Endocrinology, Developmental Biology, and Bioinformatics and Genomics just to name a few.                       

Secondary Education – Biology

This major prepares you to teach biology in grades 7-12. Along with your extensive coursework in biology, you will also study teaching theory and methods of classroom management. You will have a variety of hands-on field experiences as well as a semester of student teaching in your senior year in both middle school and high school settings.                       

DNA Analysis Methods Track

While you may think immediately of DNA analysis associated with criminal forensics, the power ofDNA-based methods influences all fields of biology... medicine, evolutionary biology, ecology, species identification, and more. That's why, along with still providing you with hands-on experience in DNA Forensics, the LHU program has widened its scope to include broad applications in biology.                       

In our laboratories, you will learn to isolate, quantify, cut, clone, copy, and sequence DNA from bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals. Examples include studying and identifying the evolution of cell-signaling genes, identification of breeding trout stock, cloning the genes for glowing in the dark from marine bacteria, and more. You will also learn forensic identification of humans using crime laboratory methods and the DNA sequencing methods used by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.                       

You will be able to copy DNA using a forensic/ medical-grade PCR thermal cycler, then genotype or sequence DNA using an ABI 310 Genetic Analyzer, an automated capillary-electrophoresis instrument. With DNA sequences in hand, you will search national databases in our Wi-Fi-ready Ulmer Hall science building.                       

Internships play a vital role in this track. Some recent student interns have used DNA sequencing to verify a strain of virus infecting salmon for the Fish and Wildlife Service. Other students have conducted research to identify bacteria using DNA sequencing.  Future areas of student research include animal typing for wildlife crimes, such as poaching, smuggling, and illegal trading of wildlife remains.                       

Ecology/Environmental Track

This track focuses on the relationship between living things and their environments to prepare you for a career in fields such as environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife biology, public health, pollution abatement, conservation, environmental education, and others. The natural habitats surrounding the LHU campus in central Pennsylvania provide an excellent "laboratory" for hands-on field experiences. You will also experience field trips to area rivers, streams and wetlands such as the Sieg Conference Center operated by the University where you will research the freshwater life of central Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, you may choose to work in various state and federal agencies, private consulting firms or industry. Our graduates have also continued their education in graduate schools including Colorado State University, Penn State University and State University of New York.                       

Marine Biology

The extensive hands-on experiences at Wallops Island combined with classroom study and laboratory research will prepare you for a career as a marine biologist. LHU is a member of the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium on the Delmarva Peninsula in Virginia. The Consortium maintains a brand new, modern teaching/research campus and several ocean-going vessels with modern oceanographic equipment for use by faculty  and students. This location provides ready access to wetlands and barrier islands as well as inshore and offshore ocean habitats. In this track, you will be required to spend a minimum of three summer sessions (three weeks each - nine semester hours) at the Wallops Island facility where you will collect data and perform research on a diverse variety of aquatic life. You will use ocean-going research boats to reach points of study and to collect samples. Other resources near Wallops Island for student use include Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and the Assateague National Seashore.  You may complete all nine hours in one summer, but it is recommended that you spread this experience over two or more summers.                       

Internships

As a biology major, you will have ample opportunity during your Junior and Senior years to gain hands- on experience in real life settings with a wide range of internship choices. The biology faculty have established many contacts with numerous organizations and institutions ranging anywhere from environmental to medical to molecular research.  Some of these include Johns Hopkins University, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States Geological Survey (USGS), Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Clinton County Conservation District, and Cornell University. These internships are invaluable in gaining future employment or for entrance into graduate school.  LHU has an Internship Coordinator and Career Services department that work closely with biology faculty to aid in preparing and planning for your future.

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