Department of Biology/Toxicology

Description of Majors

Biology Major

Majors in the Biology program explore the characteristics of life, living organisms, and the environments that support life. This exploration comes at many levels—from the molecular and cellular to the interactions between organisms and their environment. Along with classroom work, students gain extensive laboratory and field exposure and are encouraged to conduct undergraduate research. Biology majors have many career options, including medicine and other health-related fields, pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, engineering, forensics, education, environment, or agriculture. They may work with animals, manage wildlife, work with plants, manage forests, work in the field or parks, or work in laboratories. Biology majors may choose to add a concentration.

Forensic Biology Concentration

The Forensic Biology program was developed to meet the needs of students interested in pursuing a career in forensic biology, the application of biological principles to law enforcement. The major provides a strong basic background in both biology and chemistry, along with specialized upper level courses specifically applicable to forensics. Course work in criminal justice and other areas provide additional perspectives. After graduation, forensic biology majors will be well prepared for either on-the-job training in a forensics laboratory or for graduate study in the area of forensics.

Medical Laboratory Science Concentration

This concentration provides students with a Biology degree, and with the completion of the extended senior year at the Cleveland Clinic, eligibility for certification as a Medical Laboratory Scientist.  Certified Medical Laboratory Scientists work in hospitals and other clinical laboratories, processing patient samples and performing tests essential for doctors to properly diagnose and treat patients.  With increasing numbers of aging persons requiring more medical care in the United States, Medical Technology is an expanding field with an excellent employment rate for graduates, especially those with the appropriate certifications.

Toxicology Major

Toxicology is a field that combines elements of biology and chemistry to study the actions of poisons (toxicants) on living systems. Toxicologists apply their knowledge and skills to interesting and relevant biomedical and environmental problems in areas such as cancer research, drug development, environmental health, forensics, and ecological toxicology. While at AU, toxicology majors take courses in basic and applied toxicology and have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research and/or internships. After graduation, toxicology majors may choose to go on to graduate or professional school, or may choose to enter the workforce directly. Our Toxicology majors often work as paid interns and gain full-time employment at Charles River Laboratories, a drug safety testing company in Ashland, Ohio.