BS Biology - Neuroscience

Program Codes: BSBIONC
Bachelor of Science


Biology is the scientific study of life in all its astonishing forms from its origins some 4 billion years ago to the present day. This experimental science involves an examination of life on multiple scales from the molecular to the global. Though difficult to define, the study of life rests upon two fundamental notions. The first is that living systems operate via basic thermodynamic and kinetic principles. The second is the unifying concept of evolution, the most original and important idea of the modern era. Given these principles and great time, life has generated immense and complex diversity. Biologists strive to understand and manage this diversity by examining the genetic history and special features of each species as well as the interactions between each species and its environment.

On a more applied level, biologists are concerned with the impact humans have had and continue to have upon the environment and how, in turn, the environment affects our own quality of life. Additionally, new discoveries in biology often have social, political, economic, and ethical implications. Biology provides both the knowledge and the tools required to understand these complex problems and challenges.

Beyond the basic but substantive curriculum, several specialized programs are available through the Department of Biology. The Department’s newest specialized programs include Bioinformatics and Environmental Science with a concentration in Biology Field Studies. The environmental program is coordinated with a similar program in the Geology Department and students benefit from specialized training in both subjects. In support of the Environmental Science program, the Biology Department utilizes two natural areas owned by the University in the Erie area: The Jean B. and J. Douglas James Ecological & Wildlife Preserve on the Asbury Woods Greenway and the Mary Jo and Ed Maier Field Station located on Elk Creek near Lake City.

The Department is a full member and active participant in the Regional Science Consortium, a collaborative, non-profit organization which focuses on and coordinates educational and research projects for Lake Erie and the upper Ohio River Basin, offering college courses and research opportunities to students from more than a dozen regional colleges and universities at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle.

Consortium facilities available to Mercyhurst biology students include well-equipped research and teaching laboratories, classrooms, greenhouse, natural history collections, sampling equipment and research vessels.

Mercyhurst is a member of Beta Beta Beta, a national honor and professional society for students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.

Mercyhurst students who aspire to teach biology at the secondary level can earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, a Master of Science degree in Secondary Education, and become certified to teach grades 7 through 12, in a total of five years.

The course requirements for a biology major fit well with coursework necessary to apply to pharmacy, medical, veterinary, physician’s assitant, and dental schools, among other health professional programs. To increase opportunities for students interested in the health professions, the University has cooperative agreements with several professional schools.

Mission Statement
The primary goal of the Department of Biology is to provide thorough and basic training in the broad field of biology through a forwardlooking and comprehensive curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and the development of a scientific perspective. This includes instruction by dedicated faculty in each of the principal areas within biology and supporting coursework in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Central to the program is the Department’s commitment to experiential learning through rigorous laboratory exercises, hands-on field experiences, and the opportunity to participate in faculty-student collaborative research, travel courses, professional conferences, community service, and professional practicum training. Personal attention and close interaction between faculty and student provides the biology major with a solid core of learning, experience, and preparation, and the means to secure fulfilling employment or continue their education at the graduate and professional level.

A great college education depends upon human relationships and good advising is central to creating a positive educational environment for the student. Upon enrollment in the department an advisor is assigned to the student. Additional specialized faculty advisors are available for students in specific career alternatives including medicine and other health professions, secondary education and any of the concentrations offered by the department. These advisors assist the student with course selection, keep student records, monitor student achievements, and guide students through the application process to graduate and professional schools.

Biology Minor

BIO 142/143Cellular and Molecular Biology & Lab - 4 credits

BIO 146/147Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Organisms & Lab - 4 credit

Four (4) additional Biology courses 200 or higher - 12-16 credits


Program Outcomes:

The Biology Department has identified four learning outcomes that all biology majors should meet before they earn their degree. Upon completion of the Biology curriculum all students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge in three major areas of biology: cellular and molecular biology (including genetics), ecology and evolution, and organismal biology.
  • Critically analyze scientific information.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in lab, field, or clinical techniques.
  • Communicate scientific findings in a professional manner.
Program Requirements:

The Biology Department offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Biology. Those who expect to attend graduate or professional schools after graduation are strongly encouraged to also pursue the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Biology. Biology majors must maintain a 2.50 GPA in the major program as well as an overall GPA of 2.50. Biology majors in the 4+1 accelerated program leading to the M.S. in Secondary Education must maintain a 3.00 GPA in the major program and overall. Students accepted to the 2+3 and 3+3 accelerated programs in Pharmacy must maintain an overall and science GPA of 3.40 with no grade lower than a “C”. Those enrolled in the 3+4 accelerated programs in Medicine must maintain an overall GPA of 3.40 and a science GPA of 3.20 with no grade lower than a “C”. Students earning a grade lower than “C” in a major or cognate course must repeat the class and earn a grade level of Pass.

Neuroscience Concentration

The Neuroscience Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentrationadministered by the Biology and Psychology Departments.

Neuroscience Core Courses



Biology Neuroscience Elective Courses

Choose five (5) of the following:

Click here to see this course group.
B.S. Cognate Courses







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A second math course numbered 109 or higher; STAT 137 Biostatistics highly recommended.

Degrees & Certificates
Course Descriptions