GCU Science

GCU Science in Grand Canyon University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology integrates many forms of science studies for a cohesive learning experience. Degrees in biology, chemistry, forensic science, exercise science and others are encompassed in a unique environment that includes classrooms, laboratories and equipment wholly dedicated to STEM learning. Our faculty members – not instructional or graduate assistants – deliver every lecture inside the classroom. Many of our faculty are not only experts in their field, but many also possess clinical or terminal degrees in their respective industry.

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GCU Science emphasizes STEM learning with bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, forensic science, nutrition, environmental science and exercise science, along with master’s degrees in biology and chemistry for educators and in forensic science. Learn more and find the science degree that is right for you.

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Department Equipment, Laboratories and Programs

GCU Science students have the benefit of access to laboratories and science lab equipment. Additionally, students can take advantage of programs outside the classroom to achieve real-world experience.

  • Human Cadaver Lab
    • GCU is among the few undergraduate institutions in the nation that provide undergrad students access to human cadavers. Traditionally, students must wait until they are in medical school before they have the opportunity to work with a cadaver. At GCU, our undergraduate students study human cadavers for a full academic year as part of our biology programs. Hands-on cadaver education is important because it enables our students to be more competitive for medical school.
  • Lopes Lab
    • The Lopes Lab is an on-campus collaborative learning space that helps GCU students engage in an interactive environment that enables students from all degree programs to work together to create projects of interest. Support equipment includes 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, plasma cutters and standard industrial tools like mills, lathes and welders.
  • GCU Exercise Science (EXS) Program
    • The GCU Exercise Science Program has been recognized by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as an approved NSCA Education Recognition Program. Among many other benefits, this recognition provides GCU EXS students with enhanced opportunities for NSCA internships and scholarships, NSCA career assistance and discounts on conference attendance, exam prep and certification exams. Additionally, the GCU Exercise Science Program was awarded Gold Status by the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine On-Campus program — the program’s highest level of recognition.

The Research & Design Program at GCU funds promising and innovative investigation and development in various STEM programs on the GCU campus. Students work alongside faculty and have the opportunity to attend professional conferences to present their project.

  • Anatomy and Dissection
    • Students engage with anatomy and physiology through a variety of projects, such as a student-generated, high-quality, publishable photographic atlas of human anatomy, workbooks of histology and associated relevant clinical correlates, 3D printing and VR technology. Students in Anatomy and Dissection will train and engage in human cadaveric dissection and can opt to complete the intensive Mastering Anatomy Program. With multiple student subprojects, opportunities for leadership experience abound in the dissection labs.
  • Mastering Anatomy Program
    • The Mastering Anatomy Program (MAP) is a unique co-curricular program designed to give undergraduate students graduate-level anatomy education and cadaver dissection. As part of the program, students can complete a full human cadaver dissection. Additionally, students can pursue clinical anatomy research and leadership opportunities. Upon completion of MAP, students earn college-level graduation honors.
  • Performance Optimization, Wellness & Exercise Research (POWER) Lab
    • The POWER Lab is designed to contribute to research in the areas of health, nutrition, kinesiology, biomechanical analysis, sports performance and cognitive strength. This program involves projects where students may gain research experience while utilizing a variety of research-grade testing devices to measure body composition, blood cholesterol levels, hemoglobin levels, vertical jump, speed, agility, blood pressure, muscle activation, physical activity, central hemodynamics and oxygen consumption. This experience will provide students with practice in professional communication skills as well as skills necessary for entry into the field and graduate programs, with the potential for conference presentations and publications.
  • Antimicrobial Discovery Lab
    • Nature has been a source of medicinal products for millennia, with many useful drugs developed from plant sources. Desert plants synthesize a wide variety of secondary metabolites to survive adverse conditions of the arid zone. In recent years, efforts have been made to find effective and safe bioactive phytochemicals, such as essential oils, phenolic compounds, and saponins. The present investigations evaluate and characterize plants and algae to address the need for safe and effective antimicrobial agents against drug resistant microbes.
  • Physical Science Research
    • Students learn the operation, maintenance and sample preparation methods for chemical analysis instrumentation focusing on HPLC, NMR, ICP-OES, UV-Vis and FT-IR. They will provide support to research groups that need instrumental analysis but lack the experience or time to use instrumentation effectively. Students in this program will also provide support to the chemistry laboratories by refining and developing new methods to enhance the quality of the student’s experience. Many past students have presented at venues such as the American Chemical Society annual conference.
  • Canyon Neuroscience Group
    • The Canyon Neuroscience Group focuses on the investigation of basic science questions relating to the functions of the brain and nervous system, addressing important neurological questions using different approaches, from human studies to genetic studies with Drosophila melanogaster to cell and molecular studies using tissue culture models. This multilevel approach enables greater outcome related to important neurological issues faced by our society today.
  • Environmental Sustainability
    • Students can work to find solutions to environmental problems through broadly cross-disciplinary research projects encompassing both laboratory work and work in the field, including environmental surveying and monitoring, environmental remediation, sensor development, conservation and ecology. Further, projects can focus on local, regional and international issues, with partnerships with organizations and agencies at all levels. Students regularly present their work at a wide range of venues.
  • Forensic Science Research
    • Students conduct research and generate products that will aid forensic scientists locally and nationally, with multiple projects that allow students to gain practical hands-on experience using various forensic techniques. These include topics such as fingerprint analysis, establishment of evidence databases and DNA recovery.

Request more information today to see how you can be a part of the future of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

STEM Learning Success

GCU Science students have the opportunity to participate in or run their own research project and present in fields as diverse as neuroscience, microbiology, computer science, environmental science and exercise science.

Learn about some current and past research projects and presentations students and faculty have conducted in STEM programs below.

Students with the GCU Antimicrobial Discovery Lab traveled to Superior, AZ on Feb. 29, 2020 to participate in Boyce Thompson Arboretum Family Day. Students have been screening plants grown by the arboretum for antimicrobial molecules, and they presented their findings to the public by preparing posters describing their experiments and results. They also developed educational activities for visitors to enjoy, which included showing how microorganisms can spread onto our hands, educating people on the medicinal properties of various teas and demonstrating the use of plant-based essential oils as cleaning agents.

CSET student Adam Copeland presented his poster at the Arizona Psychological Association meeting in Phoenix on Nov. 1, 2019, entitled, “Effect of Caffeine on Heart Rate Variability in Stress and Depression.” His co-authors were students Brianna Reha, Karla Shields and faculty mentor Anju Dubey.

CSET students Payton Oxner, alum Charis Courtney, Karla Shields and faculty mentors Anju Dubey, Chinenye Anako and Madhavi Chakravadhanula presented their poster at the Arizona Psychological Association meeting in Phoenix, Nov. 1, 2019, entitled, “Heart rate variability: Physiological effects of anxiety and depression on autonomic nervous system.”

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Academic Relationships

GCU Science is proud to engage with several graduate schools and outside organizations to provide the best opportunities for our students.

A.T. Still University was the world’s first osteopathic medical school, founded in 1892, with an original campus in Kirksville, MO and a second in Mesa, AZ. Its program offerings include osteopathic medicine, dental medicine and physical therapy. Across five different programs at its Mesa campus, A.T. Still reserves up to 21 interview slots on an annual basis for GCU students and alumni.

Before Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) opened its first campus in Meridian, ID, in 2016, Idaho was the most populous state without a medical school of its own. For the incoming medical class, ICOM reserves up to 10 interview slots for its osteopathic medicine program on a yearly basis for GCU students and alumni.

LECOM has grown to become the nation’s largest medical college with campuses in Erie, PA, Greensburg, PA and Bradenton, FL. Its program offerings include osteopathic medicine, pharmacy and dental medicine. Through the Early Acceptance Program (EAP), up to 15 students can receive provisional acceptance to medical, pharmacy or dental school as an undergraduate.

With its original location in Downers Grove, IL and an additional campus in Glendale, AZ, Midwestern University has grown to become the second-largest medical school in the state of Arizona. Its program offerings include osteopathic medicine, dental medicine and physical therapy. Among 16 different programs at both the Illinois and Arizona campuses, Midwestern reserves up to 67 interview slots on an annual basis for GCU students and alumni.

The New York Institute of Technology College of Medicine includes campuses in Long Island, NY and Jonesboro, AR and is among the first medical schools in the U.S. to train students via telemedicine. NYIT reserves interview slots on a yearly basis for GCU students and alumni.

A sampling of other organizations that have engaged with our pre-health students include:

  • The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen)
  • Mayo Clinic – Scottsdale
  • Phoenix Children’s Hospital
  • Banner Health
  • Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center
  • Walgreen’s Pharmacy
  • Barrow Neurological Institute
  • St. Vincent de Paul Charities
  • EXOS
  • Fischer Institute
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