Biology Major, B.S
Imagine being part of a research team that captures the first video of a rare True’s beaked whale or that identifies patterns of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation in human cancer.
With a Biology degree from MSU Denver, exciting advances in the world’s knowledge and understanding of life ‒ from microorganisms, to animals, to humankind ‒ could be in your future.
Biological Sciences has undergone tremendous expansion in recent years and now comprises numerous sub fields, including cell biology, evolutionary biology and ecology. MSU Denver’s Biology program offers courses in the entire spectrum including General Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, General Botany, Zoology, Ecology, and Cell and Molecular Biology.
Possibilities for amazing internships or research projects for MSU Denver Biology majors abound. For instance, during a summer research program you could study HIV pathogenesis or how gene activity can change even without altering the genetic code or you could help develop latex boots to protect the infected feet of rhinos during an internship at the Denver Zoo. You can even spend an intensive two weeks studying the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, “Walk in Darwin’s Footsteps” during 13 days in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, or study Paleobotany while exploring the Eocene world of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Choose the MSU Denver bachelor of science degree in Biology if you are interested in a science career or postgraduate study or select the B.A. degree in Biology degree if you’re interested in teaching and seeking secondary licensure.
- B.S. in Biology
- B.S. in Biology with a Concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology
- B.A. in Biology
- Minor in Biology
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
What can you do with a Biology degree from MSU Denver? The career path for entry-level careers if you hold a B.S. in in Biology includes research scientist (life sciences and medical), microbiologist, pharmacologist, physician associate, nature conservationist and education among many others.
Most MSU Denver students earning a B.A. in Biology concurrently study education, pursuing secondary teacher licensure.
If you pursue a postgraduate degree, your career options are nearly endless in the fields of medicine, education, research, botany and zoology.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, here are examples of what you can expect as a graduate of MSU Denver’s B.S. Biology program for salary and the outlook for employment growth in the field between 2014-2024:
- Biological technicians, $41,650, 5 percent
- Microbiologists, $67,550, 4 percent
- Zoologists and wildlife biologists, $59,680, 4 percent
- Environmental scientists, $67,460, 11 percent
“My experience participating in the MSU Undergraduate Research Conference has been very fulfilling and enlivening. To be able to share my research with my peers and to have the opportunity to be informed about the research being done by them was a real privilege.”
“I found a home here. The student body is highly motivated and welcoming. The professors are amazing. They took a personal interest in me and my future.”
“When you do molecular science, it makes you so curious. And when you see the big picture, how you contribute to medicine to cure diseases, cancer, the sense of importance you get, the satisfaction, is so amazing.”
Helen Ver Eecke
Assistant Professor Helen Ver Eecke, who, in addition to her microbiology courses, teaches fermentation science in MSU Denver’s Brewery program, recently conducted a research project showing that decades-old beer bottle yeast can still be viable. Her findings could have a lasting impact on the beer industry. She has an active laboratory within the Biology Department that researches various questions related to fermentation science and extreme microbiology.
Associate Professor Robert Hancock has studied, taught about and filmed insects all over the world for more than 25 years. A medical entomologist and authority on mosquitoes, bed bugs and other blood-sucking insects, his close-up footage has been featured on network and cable television programs world-wide and his documentary series “Mosquito Man” was recognized internationally. His film, "Bedbugs of London" received an Honorable Mention for macro cinematography from the International Wildlife Film Festival.
Professor Rebecca Ferrell’s research interest is nitrogen cycling, especially nitrification. Her current projects include assisting Centro Ecologico Akumal with water-quality issues on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, assessing nitrogen cycling microbes on the green roof of the Student Success Building on the Auraria Campus and studying the water quality in Bear Creek.
Alumni at Work
MSU Denver Biology alumni have been hired by these organizations:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc., Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Children’s Hospital, Tolmar, Inc., University of Denver, Vital Signs and Queens University.
MSU Denver Biology graduates have been accepted for post-graduate study at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Montana State University.
In addition to basic required classes, the Biology program offers a range of fascinating courses to complete your general B.S. or B.A. degree or Cell and Molecular concentration, including:
- Biology of Cancer
- Tropical Field Ecology (Costa Rica study abroad course)
- Animal Ecology
- Issues in Conservation Biology
- Plant Anatomy and Taxonomy
- Advanced Human Cadaver Anatomy
- Microbial Ecology
- Genetics: Principles and Analysis
Facilities and Resources
Housed in the state-of-the-art Science Building on the Auraria Campus adjacent to downtown Denver, MSU Denver’s Biology Department has 14 teaching labs and five research labs with optimal instrumentation, including:
- Genetic Analyzer/DNA Sequencer
- Scanning Electron Microscope
- UV-Vis spectrophotometers
- Quantitative PCR Systems
- PCR thermalcyclers, gel boxes and gel imaging systems
- Bright-field, Phase-contrast, and Indirect Immunofluorescence Microscopes
- Biological safety cabinets and growth chambers
- dedicated cold room