The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is to prepare students for graduate or professional school, for employment as entry-level research and development scientists, and for teaching positions in the biological sciences. The program delivers a comprehensive set of biology courses designed to generate versatile graduates who are problem solvers in the biomedical or ecological fields. Our program incorporates a diverse and meaningful set of laboratory experiences because laboratory experiences are essential to scientific development. The curriculum also requires several liberal arts courses that aid in the production of graduates who are well-rounded, thoughtful contributors to society.
Most biology majors at Murray State are interested in a career as a healthcare professional or as a wildlife and conservation biologist. Our Pre-Health degree tracks include Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Physician’s Assistant, Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Optometry. The Wildlife and Conservation Biology students choose from degree tracks in Wildlife Biology, Conservation Biology, Zoological Conservation, Conservation Law Enforcement, and Conservation Education. Other program options include General Biology, Biomedical Sciences (research-intensive program), Fisheries and Aquatic Biology, and Biology/Secondary Certification. Finally, students from other disciplines may choose to minor in General Biology, Cell Biology, or Wildlife and Conservation Biology. The coursework in our degree programs and the research opportunities within the department prepare our students for professional school, graduate school, or entry into the workforce.
Research and Other Opportunities
Scientific and professional development require strong academic training, along with the experience gained by joining a research laboratory and learning the techniques employed in modern biological research. Many of our students work in the laboratories of our research active faculty (Faculty Research Interests), who have an established history of obtaining state and federal funding and publishing their research with graduate and undergraduate students. Students also have the opportunity to present their research at regional, national, and international conferences. For students who have an interest in teaching high school biology or earning extra income, there are opportunities to work in the department as a Teaching Assistant.
Departmental and Associated Facilities
In 2007, the Department of Biological Sciences moved to the newly constructed Biology building. Recent building renovations (HVAC and other remodeling) were be complete in spring of 2021. The completion phase of the Biology building in the late 2000’s coincided with the construction phase of the Chemistry building. The Engineering and Physics building was completed in 2017 and biology gained some additional teaching and research space. Most Biology faculty have offices and research laboratories in the Biology building, but a few faculty have research space in the Chemistry building and a few more faculty have office and research space in the Engineering and Physics building. Most of our teaching labs are in the Biology building but our two largest lecture halls are in the Engineering and Physics building.
The Biology department has a wonderful partnership with Hancock Biological Station, which is a preeminent research and teaching facility. Other resources available to scientists and research students include the Mapping Applications Resource Center and the Chemical Services Laboratory. The department is a proud partner with the Watershed Studies Institute, which maintains several long-term databases. The monitoring program employs the data collected from the LandSat TM satellite, and monitors changes in water quality as samples are collected from several sites on Kentucky Lake. Lastly, Murphy’s Pond is a 175 acre wetlands complex that contains one of the largest bald cypress stands in Kentucky. Students and faculty utilize Murphy’s Pond and the surrounding area for teaching and research projects.
Please contact the Biology Department office with questions or if you would like to plan a visit.