Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences



Department of Biological Sciences



College of Science and Technology


Overview of the program

The overall educational objective of the biological sciences undergraduate program is to provide students with a conceptual foundation in biology and a skills base necessary to build successful careers in industry or business or to succeed in graduate school or professional school.


Other program objectives include:

  1. Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of general biology, including a basic knowledge of the biological molecules, the cell, genetics, regulation, structure/function, interaction with the environment, and evolution.
  2. Students will develop an appreciation for the scope, unity and diversity of life in the biosphere, including the classification of plants, animals, and microbes.
  3. Students will develop essential professional skills such as interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, and problem solving skills including scientific inquiry.
  4. Students will be able to apply technology for the purposes of problem solving and reporting results.

Total semester hours required: 122-123



  • Ecology, Environmental, and Evolutionary Biology
  • Microbiology and Molecular Biology
  • Organismal and Integrative Biology
  • Pre-professional programs such as Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Agriculture, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre Veterinary Medicine generally follow the curriculum outlined for a concentration in Organismal/Integrated Biology


Strengths of the program

The Department of Biological Sciences continues be a leader on campus in its academic programs, scholarship and outreach activities, and the department's faculty continue to be campus leaders in classroom innovation, research, and service to the University and community.  The department has been cited by an external review team as among the top such departments in Louisiana.  Among its nationally recognized faculty are National Institutes of Health Research Fellows, a Fulbright Research Fellow, editors of national and international science journals, recipients of national and university research awards, recipients of top teaching awards, and a recipient of a career research grant from the National Science Foundation.  In addition, the department offers excellent instruction as evidenced by the fact that the departmental Student Opinion of Teaching average is consistently above the University average.


Additional strengths include:

  • Annual average of more than 45 national and international publications.
  • Annual average of more than $3 million in research grants and contracts.
  • Undergraduate research funding and research opportunities in areas such as cell biology, ecology, endocrinology, evolution, genetics, herpetology, ichthyology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, neurophysiology, parasitology, phylogenetics,  and wetland ecology.
  • More than $4 million in teaching and research equipment.
  • Three buildings, including a new $12 million four story building with state of the art teaching and research laboratories.
  • Comprehensive Electron Microscopy Center.
  • Molecular biology laboratories.
  • Mesocosm wetlands facility.
  • Teaching/research greenhouse.
  • Million-dollar endowed chair devoted to environmental studies.Special computer labs/equipment.


Preparing for a job in the program

  • Students hoping to pursue a career in biology or a profession such as medicine should:
  • Develop good communication, interpersonal and decision making skills.
  • Gain experience through work or internship programs, or volunteer work if possible.
  • Learn leadership skills and develop them through securing leadership positions in school, community or other organizations.
  • Take as many science and mathematics classes as possible in high school and college.
  • Develop excellent laboratory skills.
  • Learn to problem solve, and develop work habits that are systematic and precise.
  • Acquire good computer skills.


Careers in the program

A major in biological sciences prepares students for work in the following type organizations:

  • State agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality, Wildlife & Fisheries, Department of Natural Resources, and Parks and Recreation
  • Federal Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forestry Department, National Park Agency, Centers for Disease Control, etc.
  • Hospitals
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Industry, particularly biotechnology firms
  • Colleges and universities


Starting Salaries after completing the program (estimates only)

In 2003, general biological scientists in non-supervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions with the federal government earned an average salary of $66,262; microbiologists, $73,513; ecologists, $65,207; physiologists, $85,181; geneticists, $78,652; zoologists, $90,178; and botanists, $55,727.


According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, beginning salary offers in 2003 averaged $29,456 a year for bachelor's degree recipients in biological and life sciences; $33,600 for master's degree recipients; and $42,244 for doctoral degree recipients.


In 2003, the average earnings of physicians was $175,000; dentists $123,000; optometrists $86,090; veterinarians $63,090; chiropractors $65,330; physical therapists $57,330; occupational therapists $51,990; and pharmacists $77,050.


Campus organizations and activities affiliated with the program

Delta Omega Alpha (pre-professional society) is an organization of students who are interested in professional careers in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, etc.  They take tours of professional schools, have invited speakers such as the Deans of Admission, current medical and dental students, professionals working in the field, etc. Contact Information:

Beta Beta Beta is the National Biology Honors Society.  Students are invited to join if they are a Biology major who have reached sophomore status with a GPA of 3.3 or better.  The society schedules activities such as visits to area research centers. Contact Information:


Related fields that might interest you

A degree in biological sciences opens the door of many professional and graduate schools.  Some of the related occupations you may consider:

  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Optometrist
  • Medical laboratory technologist
  • Physical therapist
  • College professor
  • Pharmacologist
  • Cell biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Botanist
  • Geneticist
  • Biology teacher
  • Fisheries biologist
  • Ornithologist
  • Veterinarian
  • Entomologist
  • Conservation biologist
  • Zoologist
  • Taxonomist
  • Physiologist
  • Parasitologist
  • Paleobotanist
  • Marine biologist
  • Chiropractor
  • Ecologist
  • Mycologist
  • Plant pathologist
  • Podiatrist

Some of these occupations may require additional schooling at Graduate or Professional schools. For information on training and qualifications needed for the specific occupations you are considering, consult the Occupational Outlook Handbook or other career guidance resources. Also, take advantage of career planning services offered by the university.


How do I know this is the degree for me?
Common Strengths and interests of students in the program

Helpful qualities for biology majors include:

  • An analytical mind and critical thinking skills
  • Enjoy working with living organisms and studying biological systems
  • Good laboratory skills
  • An ability to quickly assess large amounts of information and data
  • Leadership skills
  • Self-confidence and motivation
  • Determination
  • Good decision-making skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Have the ability to work successfully with others
  • Be a logical thinker who likes to solve problems
  • Have good computer skills


Notable Alumni

Numerous Southeastern biology graduates are college professors in universities and colleges, work for state and federal agencies, or work in industry and business. Many others are successful physicians, dentists, physical therapists, pharmacists, or have other health care careers.


Contact Information

Department of Biological Sciences
College of Science and Technology
SLU 10736
Hammond, LA 70402

On Campus: New Biology Building, Rm. 421
Telephone: 985-549-3740
Fax: 985-549-3851