Department of Biology

Welcome to the McMurry University Department of Biology. We cultivate the knowledge and skills our graduates need to be successful in careers related to health and medicine, nature and the environment, and excellent science teacher preparation. Our faculty balance a love for discovery with a love for teaching.  It shows in the lives of our students and alumni.

About the Majors

Biology is big, and so we have crafted three special options for the study of life to meet the interests of students:

Find out more about our 4 year plans .     

In addition, Biology offers two minors, the Biology minor and the Allied Health minor.   View the minors .

Departmental Honors and Awards

Students of high achievement are encouraged to pursue Departmental Honors in Biology by completing an Honors research project and writing an Honors thesis.  More information about the Honors program can be found on the Honors Program webpage.  The Pi Beta Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society is dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Each spring, awards are presented to the outstanding freshman, sophomore, junior, senior Biology majors, and Biomedical Science and Life Sciences majors. The Ko Sari-Bob Uselton scholarship is presented annually to the top junior in the department. The Danny Cooley award and scholarship is given to the top Biomedical Science major.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

We believe the best way to engage students is to "learn by doing", and there is no better way to implement this strategy than by engaging students in the process of discovery.  At McMurry, this happens in three ways.

  • We make our courses discovery based. Classes often include small research projects in lab as a way to teach experimental design, techniques used in biology, collection of data, and analysis of results. Applying the knowledge and skills being learned to doing an open-ended scientific project has proven an effective method for teaching and learning.
  • We invite our students to join in faculty research. This can be in the form of weekly participation in a research project, or through summer research conducted on campus or other research centers.
  • We require all students to complete senior capstone experiences. This confirms to us our students have a working knowledge of the skills required to design, conduct, analyze, and present scientific information.

Beasley and Bloomer Research Stipends are two special programs providing financial support to students doing research at McMurry. The Clark Beasley Summer Research stipend is a competitive award providing funding for Biology, Biomedical Science, and Life Sciences students wanting to participate in summer research with a Biology faculty member. The Charles and Lisa Bloomer Research Stipend is a competitive award providing funding for any science major to support undergraduate research with a sponsoring faculty member during the fall/spring academic year. Both programs are administered by the Science and Mathematics Advisory Board.

In the Classroom

We have designed our efforts in the classrooms and labs of the Biology Department to optimize student learning.

  • Relevant courses.  Our programs are always in touch with practicing professionals to find out what they look for in college graduates.  Great teaching of irrelevant things is of no value to students. We stay on top of things so our students stay on top of things.
  • Small class sizes.  We operate on the principle that freshman and sophomore classes should have no more than 40 students, and junior and senior classes should have no more than 20 students.Our labs are designed to hold no more than 16-24 students, depending on the course.  You cannot escape accountability!
  • The best faculty.  Our faculty are all terminally-qualified, holding a d octorate related to the field in which they teach. We have selected them for their commitment to teaching first and secondarily on their fit with the department and our students. When those qualities are met, then we look for a passion for involvement in the process of discovery.
  • No graduate assistants teaching courses. Unlike big universities with graduate programs, McMurry's Biology courses and labs are taught by professors instead of by graduate assistants who may only have a few more courses in biology than their students.  Our faculty know what's going on.
  • On-going assessment and program improvement.  We assess our courses to see "what works".  We listen to our students and our alumni to see "what's needed".  Students are a part of the process through evaluation of teaching in courses, participation in junior exams over knowledge from the first two years, and performance on the ETS Major Field Test in Biology during their senior year. And we keep in contact with our alumni to stay updated on their success. Their success is our success.

The result is relevant knowledge and skills delivered in engaging ways to provide a solid foundation of lasting value. For a list of our courses, visit the  Courses page.

Beyond McMurry

In the past four years, over 80% of McMurry's Biology, Biomedical Science, and Life Sciences graduates have pursued careers or advanced degrees in a science field. This record continues the success achieved by our graduates for decades, including presidents of the American Medical Association, the Texas Dental Association, and The International College of Dentistry. Doctors and lawyers, professors and teachers, researchers and environmentalists all continue to rise from our ranks. The sky is the limit for those who dare to work and dream. 

Here are some of the professions in which you can find McMurry Biology Department graduates:

  • Dentistry and Medicine
  • Physician Assistant, Chiropractic, Podiatry, Optometry
  • Pharmacy and Allied Health fields (Physical Therapy, Prosthetics, etc.)
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Hospital Administration
  • Science education at the secondary and collegiate levels
  • Zoos and Wildlife Management
  • Research Scientists
  • Law
  • Governmental positions: US Secret Service, USAF Office of Special Investigations, and more...

More Information?

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For More Information On Biology Programs Contact

Dr. Larry Sharp, Student Relations
Department of Biology
McMurry University
Abilene, Texas 79697-0368