Biology-Chemistry, B.S.

Program Overview

Are you observant and curious about the world around you? Do you enjoy researching, performing experiments, and understanding how things work? If you have a passion for biology and chemistry, consider focusing your academic career on integrating the two.

The Bachelor of Science in Biology-Chemistry combines the study of matter (chemistry) with the study of life (biology). This joint major between PLNU's Biology Department and Chemistry Department is designed for you to study and understand life at the molecular level. Through courses in cell biology, organic chemistry, immunology, and more, as well as hands-on research labs, you will work to uncover how chemical structures, reactions, and interactions affect living things. You will gain the foundation and skills to engage in scientific investigation and become prepared for work or research in industries like pharmacology, biotechnology, biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology, and many others. A Bachelor of Science in Biology-Chemistry is also an ideal path if you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.

PLNU has a robust pre-health program to train and equip you for professions in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine. Since 2004, over 90 percent of PLNU students who have applied for health professions schools have been admitted. Similarly, the acceptance rate for biology and chemistry students applying to graduate school programs (M.A., M.S., and Ph.D.) is over 90 percent. By offering rigorous courses alongside individualized support and guidance in the form of research and internships, academic advising and mentorship, laboratory courses, and more, you can be confident and prepared moving onto graduate and health profession schools.

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Kris Koudelka, Ph.D.

Dr. Kris Koudelka, assistant professor of biology, spends his days working in the realm of the invisible. But, it’s this aspect of his work that forces him and his students to grow the most, offering opportunities to think critically, problem solve, and look at the world in different ways.

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Each summer, PLNU Biology Department and Chemistry Department students have the opportunity to participate as partners with their professors in nationally funded and reported research projects. Acceptance into the undergraduate research program is instrumental in preparing you for the research aspects of graduate and medical studies, and also increases the likelihood of acceptance into such programs. You will take on an active role in projects, using sophisticated instrumentation and computational resources to gain practical skills and experience as you share in the failures and triumphs of original research.

Learn more about how students gain hands-on STEM experience through PLNU’s summer research program.

If you are interested in other academic disciplines, like computational science and business, consider adding a minor area of study to complement your degree. These minors offer the chance to specialize and gain in-depth, expert knowledge that will set you apart as you move onto a career or graduate program.

Course List

For information about the courses required for the Biology-Chemistry, B.S. program, view the PLNU Catalog. 

Course Information

Major Map

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Student Support

For most students, the transition into college life is one full of adjustments. There is the excitement of newfound freedoms, but also some uncertainty as you begin to make choices and take responsibility for your own future. 

At PLNU, we’re committed to supporting you — academically, professionally, spiritually, personally — so that you may be successful both in your time as a student and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Student Support

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Student Profile

Tanner Matthews

PLNU doesn’t just give you the tools you need to get a job once you graduate; it teaches you how to be human, to ask questions, to never stop learning, to find comfort in your doubts, to seek truth, and to be a follower of Christ.

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Career Opportunities

Combining chemistry and biology into a singular degree will prepare you for either becoming a researcher or being an expert healthcare provider. If serving others and exploring the science of life are passions of yours, begin your college journey with a Biology-Chemistry (Bio-Chem) B.S.

At PLNU, our Biology-Chemistry B.S. program focuses on two goals:

  • Helping you study and understand life at the molecular level through revealing how chemical structures, reactions, and interactions affect living things
  • Giving you the foundation and skills to engage in scientific investigation and become prepared for work or research

Job outlook for bio-chem careers

Employment in careers related to a degree in bio-chem is projected to remain steady yet still competitive. For biochemists (one of the careers pursued by graduates of the PLNU biology-chem program), overall employment is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). For medical scientists, employment is projected to grow 6% from 2019 to 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

What can you do with a bio-chem degree?

PLNU bio-chem graduates are sought after for the ways they are able to confidently integrate and apply their faith, knowledge, and skillset to their work. As one of the most common degrees chosen by those aspiring for a pre-health track or medical school, a bio-chem major offers students many resources on their educational journey, including references for volunteering, shadowing, research/internship opportunities, first- and second-round mock interviews, and meetings with the pre-health advisor (just to name a few). 

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Student Profile

Pieter Baker

Pieter Baker's community-based infectious disease surveillance system has been implemented by a variety of governmental organizations and has helped to decrease Ebola cases dramatically in West Africa.

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Not to mention, 90% of PLNU students who have applied to health professions schools have been admitted! Alumni have combined their passion for science and strong academic foundation into careers in pharmacology, biotechnology, biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology, and many others.

Some of the positions PLNU graduates currently hold:

Biochemists and Biophysicists

2020 Median annual salary: $94,270 

Biochemists and biophysicists study and research the properties and principles of living things and our biological processes. They usually work in laboratories to conduct experiments, collect data, and analyze the results. They may also work in offices depending on the company or organization they work for. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Care and intentionality with high-tech, powerful lasers, and other medical equipment 
  • Leadership and delegation to manage laboratory teams 
  • Knowledge of isolating, analyzing, and synthesizing molecules
  • Inquisitive and curious about research into hormones, nutrients, and biological processes
  • Efficient in analysis and reading to go over the findings and research from conferences and contributors
  • Strong speaker and communicator to present findings to colleagues
  • Strong writing for research grant proposals, technical reports, and applying for funding from government agencies 

Medical Scientist

2020 Median annual salary: $91,510

Medical scientists conduct research with the goal in mind of improving overall human health. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to complete their research and answer their hypotheses. They must have experience and knowledge of how to prepare and analyze medical samples and data to investigate the causes and treatment options of toxicity, pathogens, or chronic diseases.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ingenuity to create and test medical devices
  • Ability to develop programs that improve health outcomes in partnership with other health departments
  • Care and intentionality with high-tech, powerful lasers, and other medical equipment 
  • Strong writer to draft research grant proposals and apply for funding from government agencies
  • Knowledge of procedures and responsibility to avoid contamination and maintain safety

Forensic Science Technicians

2020 Median annual salary: $60,590

Forensic science technicians aid criminal investigations by collecting and analyzing evidence. They often specialize in either crime scene investigation or laboratory analysis but can work in between. Some of their duties include cataloging evidence, running DNA polymerase tests, and reconstructing crime scenes. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Care and intentionality with high-tech, powerful medical and testing equipment
  • Attention to detail with recording observations and findings
  • Knowledge of cataloging system and preservation of evidence for transfer to crime labs
  • Robust knowledge of human anatomy and inner workings
  • Exploration of possible links between suspects and criminal activity, using the results of DNA or other scientific analyses

Molecular Biologist

2020 Median annual salary: $85,290

Molecular biologists design and perform experiments on molecules and cells to gain insight into their components and how they operate and communicate. Molecular biologists often perform experiments related to DNA sequencing, cloning, RNA functioning, and other cellular behavior. They then communicate their findings to colleagues through reports or academic publications. Many molecular biologists, in addition to their research, also instruct students at institutions of higher education. 

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Design and analysis of DNA constructs
  • Care and intentionality with software tools for molecular modeling and constructing design
  • Presentation of data at scientific meetings 
  • Strong reader and analyzer of current scientific literature and journal articles 
  • Ability to perform analyses of biological specimens for discovery and quality control purposes
  • Knowledge of how to prepare stains, solutions, and reagents
  • Ability to analyze test results and prepare reports for a variety of viewers

Family Medicine Physicians

2020 Median annual salary: $214,370

These physicians diagnose, treat, and offer preventive care to individuals and families across their lifespan. They may transfer patients to specialists when needed for further diagnosis or treatment but ultimately try to help their patients in their journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Necessary attributes and skills:

  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests
  • Advising patients on necessary health changes
  • Monitoring patient progress and records
  • Analytical diagnosis 
  • Physical fitness 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Leadership skills 
  • Organization 

Be the intersection of biology and chemistry in your community and make your mark in research efforts or quality healthcare

The Biology-Chemistry B.S. from PLNU prepares you with experience and knowledge to be an innovator in the science or medical industries. Whether you pursue research, healthcare, or other careers within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, you’ll be ready with the insight gained at PLNU. 

Apply to PLNU today or get connected with one of our counselors for additional support and to answer any questions you may have.

Department Faculty