Biology students are encouraged to take advantage of faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities while they are at TLU. Every senior participates in a capstone project that may include an original research project, a poster presentation and an oral presentation that is presented at our Student Academic Symposium in the spring.
Students interested in tropical biology and environmental studies can study abroad in Central and South American countries. Aquatic Biology, Plant Biology, Plant Taxonomy, and Ecology courses take trips to local ecosystems. Students can also participate in the Health Professions Club, the TLU chapter of Texas Academy of Science and biology honor society Beta Beta Beta. The TLU Biology Department has developed a wide reputation for excellence in preparing students for professional schools and graduate schools.
Experience Biology at TLU
Summer research program at the Weston Ranch
Students can be hired for the summer as paid biodiversity researchers through our grant-funded program at this large ranch only 15 minutes from Seguin. Students document the flora and fauna of the ranch and can develop independent projects to present at scientific meetings. Students can continue their research during the academic year as paid research assistants.
Biology Seminars provide students and faculty an opportunity to learn about the latest research in biology, as well as an opportunity to present their own research and ideas. All biology seniors present a 15-minute seminar in their last year at TLU.
Seminars are usually held at 1:00 pm on Fridays in Moody Science 101.
Signs will be posted on the doors of the Moody and Krost Science buildings announcing seminars and published on the MyTLU calendar.
Environmental Studies in Central and South America
Students interested in tropical biology and environmental studies can participate in our trips to the beautiful countries of Central and South America. Over the past decade, we have been to Ecuador, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico. Most trips last about two weeks in May.
These short study abroad opportunities are ideal for students who have not been out of the U.S. before, or those who may not have time or money for longer semester programs. Many of our students have described their travels to Central and South America as a highlight of their college experience. We usually travel with two TLU faculty members and about 10-12 students.
In June 2015, students traveled to Costa Rica to study tropical ecology and nonprofits. During the 11-day trip, we experienced the rainforests and learned about how nonprofits work to enhance the environment of Costa Rica. The tropical ecosystem proved very photogenic and brought to life everything the students studied in class the months before. While exploring Carrerra National Park, Savegre and Hacianda Baru, students spotted crocodiles, monkeys, amazing birds such as the resplendent quetzal, the elusive blue morpho butterfly, the dreaded fer-de-lance, two- and three-toed sloths, lizards, tropical and highland plants, and more. For the BIOL 379 Tropical Ecology course, we hiked almost 60 miles led by local guides through lowland tropical forests in and around Uvita, mountain trails in the Talamanca Mountain range and all the way up to the tropical highlands at 11,000 feet elevation at the Cerro de la Muerta park. As part of the Geography 379/Social Entrepreneurship 379 Nonprofits & NGOs, the group heard from Amy Work from GEOPORTers about the role of GIS in Escuela Verde School’s environmental community projects and then volunteered their time trash mapping to help her group find the cause and solutions to excess trash effecting the environment in Bahia.
In May 2013, nine TLU students and two TLU faculty traveled to Belize to study tropical ecology and environmental science. The first part of our adventure was spent on the remote island of Calabash Caye in the center of the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the Americas. Calabash Caye is located in the Turneffe Atoll, which recently was designated as a marine reserve by the government of Belize. The reef is known for its diversity of marine life and for a high density of American crocodiles, which we observed at night. We snorkeled in a variety of reefs and mangrove habitats and saw dozens of species of fish and invertebrates. The second part of our trip was spent on the mainland, and included visits to a community-sponsored sanctuary for howler monkeys and horseback riding in the jungle. We stayed at a lodge at the foothills of the scenic Maya mountains. The lodge is located adjacent to a 3000 acre reserve of primary rainforest. We observed toucans, parrots, boa constrictors, leaf-cutter ants, and many more species of rainforest animals. We also learned about the ancient Maya, and visited one of their sacred caves and the largest Maya city in Belize.
In May, 2010, we traveled to Ecuador, one of the countries with the highest biodiversity on Earth. In one day, one can travel from glaciated mountaintops to lowland rainforest. After a day of exploring the beautiful colonial city of Quito, we drove up to Cotopaxi to observe high-elevation habitats of the Andes. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world, and we could certainly feel the lack of oxygen as we hiked at 15,000 feet above sea level. We then moved down into the mountain cloud forests on the east side of the Andes where we stayed at an awesome hacienda near Banos for a few days. Next, we descended into the Amazon basin to explore lowland tropical rainforest along the Napo River. On our way back to Quito we stayed at the thermal springs in Papallacta. During our trip, we played soccer with local kids, visited a gold-plated cathedral, ate local foods, planted some trees, visited an animal refuge, and continually soaked in the fascinating culture of Ecuador.
Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
In May of 2008 we traveled to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. We visited several Mayan cities (Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, Uxmal). We stayed with college students in Valladolid, explored the city of Merida, hiked through the dry forest to see howler and spider monkeys, and swam in the canals of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve and the cenotes.
We visited Costa Rica in May of 2007. We hiked in rainforests and cloud forests, white-water rafted down a rainforest river, observed an active volcano, swam in the Pacific Ocean, and were raided by monkeys on a boat trip through the mangrove swamps.
Internship & Research Opportunities
The biology faculty believe that completing an internship or research experience helps students to learn more about biology, develop professional skills and an understanding of biology-related careers, while enhancing their applications for jobs and graduate and professional schools. The faculty maintain a network of contacts in various medical schools, graduate schools, and hospitals that enable us to find appropriate internships for our students.
Motivated students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships or research fields to help establish their professional career. We work individually with the students to ensure their success.
Guadalupe Regional Medical Center
UT School of Public Health
Various medical and dental clinics
San Antonio Zoo
Texas Parks and Wildlife
Brook Army Medical Center
UT Health Science Center - San Antonio
Texas A&M University - Graduate School - Department of Bioengineering
Joint Admission Medical Program
Public high schools (biology education)
TLU Students can participate in research projects with faculty members either during the semester or during the summer.
Here are some examples of recent projects:
- Stress-response pathways in bacteria (microbiology/molecular biology)
- Aquatic macroinvertebrates of a spring-fed spring (environmental biology/zoology)
- Isolation of ethanol-producing bacteria for producing biofuels (cell/molecular/microbiology)
- Vascular plants and lichen survey of a local ranch (environmental biology/botany)
- Effects of spinal decompression therapy (biomedical)
- Distribution and abundance of rare mayfly in a nearby lake (environmental biology/zoology)
- Analysis of data from a local school district on relationships between physical fitness and academic achievement (public health)
- Water quality monitoring in a local stream (environmental biology)
- Seasonal changes in mayfly abundance at Lake McQueeney (environmental biology)
- Evolutionary changes in soil bacteria (microbiology)
- Creation of a porcine model for diabetes (physiology)
- Epidemiology and characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (microbiology)
In addition to these biology projects, some biology majors do research in the TLU chemistry department during the summer. Often these students are double-majoring in biology and chemistry.
Off-Campus Summer Research
Usually funded through government-sponsored programs for undergraduates
- Programmed cell death in dinoflagellates (marine biology/cell biology)
- Effects of nanoparticles on bacteria of Galveston Bay (marine biology/molecular biology)
- Effects of hyperosmolarity on Vibrio bacteria (marine biology/cell biology)
- Effects of maternal nutrient restriction on mammalian development (physiology)
- Biochemical properties and hemostatic function of plasma-derived vs. recombinant fibrinogen (molecular biology/physiology)
- Maternal and fetal insulin-like growth factors (physiology/molecular biology)
- Role of sensory nerves in the vasoconstrictor response to local cooling in humans (physiology)
- Investigation of a genetic bottleneck in the California treefrog (genetics/environmental biology)
- Mercury in marine fish in the Gulf of Mexico (environmental biology/chemistry)
Careers in Biology
Skills Acquired as a TLU Biology Major
All biology majors develop a broad knowledge of biology and take supporting courses in chemistry, physics, and statistics.
Students develop skills in:
- using the scientific method,
- using laboratory techniques,
- reviewing scientific papers,
- presenting scientific information both orally and in writing,
- effectively analyzing and presenting numerical information in graphs
Students in the molecular biology track develop advanced skills in laboratory techniques, while students in the environmental biology track develop advanced skills in field techniques and identification of animals and plants.
Career Options for Biology Majors
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- physician's assistant
- veterinary medicine
- wildlife biology
- fisheries biology
- plant ecology
- natural resources
- conservation biology
- state certification for grades 8-12 life sciences
Business and Industry
Students can minor in the Business of Science or Communication Studies or go into careers such as:
- pharmaceutical industry
- environmental consulting
- health care administration
Graduate Studies & Research
Preparation for graduate-level research
- Molecular genetics
- Cellular biology
- Conservation biology
- Law School
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Physician's Assistant
- Veterinary Medicine
TLU Graduates in the Health Professions have continued at:
- Air Force Medical School
- Angelo State Physical Therapy School
- Baylor College of Dentistry
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Baylor University, School of Nursing
- Baylor University, Physician Assistant School
- Blinn College of Nursing
- Dallas Chiropractic School
- Dallas EMT-Paramedic
- Duke University Medical School
- Guadalajara Medical School, Mexico
- MD Anderson Cancer Center-Houston, Laboratory Technician
- Marymont University-Massachusetts, Forensic Science Program
- Medical University of S. Carolina-Charleston, Physician Assistant School
- Midwestern University Physician Assistant School
- New England Optometry School
- Nova Southeastern University Medical School
- Nova Southeastern University Dental School
- Nursing School, San Jacinto College
- Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
- Ross University Medical School
- St. George Medical School, Grenada
- Southwest Biomedical Research Foundation
- Texas A&M Kingsville, Pharmacy School
- Texas A&M University, Graduate School
- Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ft. Worth
- Texas Women's University, Nursing School
- Texas Women's University, Physical Therapy School
- Texas A&M Medical School
- Texas A&M Veterinary School
- Texas Southern University, Pharmacy School
- Texas State University, Hospital Administration MA Program
- Texas State University, Speech Pathology
- Texas Tech Medical School
- University of North Texas, PhD Forensics Program
- University of Colorado Medical School
- University of Houston Pharmacy School
- University Of Houston Public Health
- University of Houston Nursing
- University of Houston Optometry
- University of the Incarnate Word, Pharmacy School
- University of Minnesota Medical School
- University of Puerto Rico Medical School
- University of Texas-Arlington, Chemistry Graduate School
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas
- University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston Medical School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Graduate School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Dental School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Medical School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Nursing School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Physicians Assistant School
- University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Physical Therapy School
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston-Nursing
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Medical School
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Physician Assistant School
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Physical Therapy School
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, MD/PhD
- University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, PhD Bioethics
- Western University Pharmacy School, California
- William Cary University, Osteopathic Medicine
- Degree Plans
Major in Biology for a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree
Major in Biology for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree
Customize your bachelor’s degree in biology with a specialization in molecular biology or environmental biology.
Major in Biochemistry for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree
Minor in Biology
Minor in Biochemistry
Minor in Business of Science
Minor in Environmental Science
Minor in Environmental Studies
Study Pre-Med or Health-Related Pre-Professional Programs like
- Occupational Therapy
- Physician Assistant
- Physical Therapy
- Veterinary Science
To learn more about the program download the biology brochure below.
Assoc. Professor, Biology, Department Chair
Professor, Environmental Studies Program Director