Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

Offered By: College of Natural Sciences

Earn Your Degree in Biological Sciences at GCU

The Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences degree program from Grand Canyon University (GCU) provides an animal conservation-oriented general science track that can help you pursue a career in STEM. This program is ideal if you are curious about the natural world and desire to improve the world through the application of biological principles.

Biological sciences majors will be taught to seek answers to questions that will help us better understand and live in this world. Explore areas like molecular and cellular functions, genetics, ecology, microbiology, organisms and more. This degree serves as the first step for students to enter into a biology, natural, and/or life sciences-related field. Gain foundational knowledge in multidisciplinary science, as well as the skills to develop hypotheses, design experiments, use instruments/tools, work in labs and engage in research. A degree in biological science can prepare you for a career path that focuses on the collection, evaluation, interpretation and application of scientific data.

A career path in biological sciences can lead to challenges and discoveries in areas that make a difference like health and disease, global climate change, sustainability, environmental conservation and threats to species, among many others.

Courses and Curriculum for Biological Sciences Majors

Curriculum in the BS in Biological Sciences program from GCU introduces you to general biology, general chemistry and fundamental physics. As you move through your program, you will engage in topics, such as:

  • Genetic principles
  • Biodiversity analysis
  • Cross-disciplinary applications of biology
  • Basics of ecosystem science
  • Animal diversity including vertebrates
  • Animal behavior
  • Conservation biology
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Many courses include both a lecture and a lab, which can prepare you to apply theories and concepts learned in class to projects outside of class The program ends with a capstone course where you have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned throughout the program to a hands-on, practical project in a specific area of biology and interest. You can expect the capstone course to be rigorous and writing intensive for strong learning outcomes.

The STEM faculty that I worked with still remember me! So, even today I get to have full-on conversations with them. It’s really nice to know there's always somebody who has my back.

Mario Barrera College of Science, Engineering and Technology Alumni, Class of 2020

Career Opportunities for Biological Sciences Bachelor Degree Graduates

The bachelor’s in biological sciences degree from GCU provides a foundation for students to further explore and specialize within an area. Potential career opportunities include the following occupations:

  • Life, physical and social science technician
  • Natural sciences manager
  • Forensic science technician
  • Biological scientist
  • Agricultural technician

These career paths may have different requirements, and some may require further education or training, but a Bachelor's of Science in Biological Sciences degree can be a great starting point for a variety of career paths in science, healthcare and environmental fields.

Some graduates may also choose to move right into graduate studies to build specialized knowledge and advanced skill sets in areas such as biological/academic research, biotechnology, wildlife management and other natural science-related fields.

Benefits of GCU’s Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences

Earning your biological sciences bachelor degree can open a door of possibility for careers in natural sciences, environment and world. You may even choose to advance your education to enter into human-oriented, life and health sciences.

At GCU, you will receive an education with a faith-integrated learning environment, following a curriculum based on a Christian worldview. This is a unique aspect to GCU where a faith focus deepens a student’s understanding of God and the universe to advance faith-science inquiry. Faith guides students in shaping complex thoughts, ideas and practice through scientific exploration and discovery. You will engage in dialogue surrounding ethics and values in regard to biological and natural science principles and decision making, as well as more advanced topics at the interface of faith and science.

GCU’s campus offers STEM-focused learning facilities equipped with modern labs. From the very beginning of your program, you will have access to equipment and tools that facilitate experiential and project-based learning beyond the confines of the classroom.

BS in Biological Sciences FAQs

Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about our biological sciences bachelor degree to help you make an informed decision about your educational journey.

The Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences degree requires a total of 120 credits for completion. Most of the BS in Biological Sciences classes are 15 weeks in length. Fill out the form on this page to speak to an admissions counselor to better understand how long it takes to earn your bachelor’s in biological sciences degree.

A bachelor’s degree in biological science from GCU can be considered a challenging degree program. The field of biology is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest research and techniques requires continuous learning and adaptation. The study of biological sciences covers a broad range of topics that require a strong foundation in scientific principles that apply to practical scenarios. The curriculum may involve extensive laboratory work, research and analysis of scientific data, which can be time-consuming and demanding. This can make the program challenging, but also exciting for those interested in the field.

After earning a biological sciences bachelor degree, you may have the opportunity to pursue various career paths in growing fields such as research, education and environmental conservation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates job growth for natural sciences managers to increase by about 6% from 2021 to 2031, accounting for an estimated increase of 4,600 new jobs in the field.1 Furthermore, in May 2021, natural sciences managers had a median annual wage of $137,900, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.2 Biological sciences majors often choose to pursue a higher education by continuing to earn a graduate degree in biology or other related fields.

TOTAL CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
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TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]

1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Biological Technicians, retrieved on March 7, 2023.

2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Natural Sciences Managers as of May 2021, retrieved on March 23, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as natural sciences managers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.

Course List

General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
64 credits
Open Elective Credits:
16-22 credits
Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, cross-cultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Co-Requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

Fundamental Physics focuses on the intersection of physics and biology focusing on physics as it relates to life, from the molecules to living organisms. Students will explore the ways in which fundamental laws of physics which direct biological organization at every level by limiting cellular processes. The ultimate focus will be on basic models that enable students to quantify the innate randomness and variability of cellular processes. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261, or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-105L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of Fundamental Physics reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Prerequisite: MAT-154, MAT-250, MAT-261, or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-105.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing the fundamentals of nuclear chemistry. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113L and MAT-154 or higher. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

A study of plants and animals as individuals and in communities in relation to their physical and biological environment. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320L.

Course Description

A laboratory course designed to complement and support the principles being learned in Biology (BIO-320). Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-320.

Course Description

This writing intensive course requires students to analyze and apply the scientific method in the context of the scientific literature and other science communications. Students will read and understand primary literature and will apply the fundamentals of scientific writing and presentation. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L.

Course Description

This courses introduces students to biological change at multiple levels of life, including molecular, cellular, organismal, and population. Students will gain an understanding of the mechanisms of change and how they work, as well as the patterns that result by examining molecular and organismal data, geological time, fossil evidence, and the history of Earth and man. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

Course Description: Interdisciplinary Applications of Biology introduces students to the intersections of biology with other fields of study, i.e. archaeology, paleontology, geology, psychology, and anthropology. Focus will be on how these disciplines intersect in research, practice, and application and include many real-world examples. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L.

Course Description

This course explores the principles of Mendelian and molecular genetics, focusing on the relationship of inheritance to biological function at multiple levels: molecular, cellular, and with multicellular organisms. By examining the multiple levels of genetic organization, students will master concepts related to patterns of inheritance, genetic relationships across species, and biotechnological applications. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course is a study of vertebrates, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. By integrating their history, morphology, physiology, ecology, and behavioral adaptations, students will develop a greater understanding of vertebrates and how they survive effectively in their natural habitats. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-415L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of Vertebrate Zoology reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-415.

Course Description

This course examines the complexities of animal behaviors and how we study them. Specifically, students will develop an understanding of how animals learn and communicate with each other, as well as other behaviors to help them survive and thrive in their natural habitats, by integrating concepts, theories, and models of the discipline with behavioral analyses and an historical perspective. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-328L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of Animal Behavior reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Prerequisites: BIO-182 and BIO-182L. Co-Requisite: BIO-328.

Course Description

Conservation biology systematically and scientifically studies biological diversity and the events and processes that affect the maintenance, loss, and recovery of biological diversity. This courses delves into the concepts and theories behind biological diversity and environmental conservation. As an interdisciplinary field, students will also consider perspectives from ecology, economics, psychology, sociology, and financing. Prerequisites: BIO-320 and BIO-320L.

Course Description

This courses immerses students in a variety of topics related to field work, including hypothesis and methods development, principles and procedures of field methodology, data collection, analysis, and communication, and problems encountered in field research. Prerequisites: BIO-320 and BIO-320L.

Course Description

This writing intensive capstone course requires students to integrate and apply what they have learned in their program. To do this, students will engage in projects and assignments that will demonstrate the knowledge and research skills gained in the program, including literature review, developing a research project, data collection and analysis, and written and oral communication of findings. Prerequisite: BIO-328 or BIO-415 or BIO-457 or CHM-420.

Locations

GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.

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