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Natural Sciences Department: Biology Program

…preparing students for graduate and professional studies,
…training future scientists, health care professionals, and teachers,
…connecting students to the natural heritage of the southern mountains.

The Department of Natural Sciences houses the programs in Biology and Chemistry.  These programs prepare students for employment, graduate study, and teaching in a wide variety of fields related to the life sciences. The Biology Program offers majors in Biology and Zoology.

What makes the Biology Program at MHU unique?

The Zoology major is unusual for a small liberal arts college. The Zoology major provides structured training focusing on animal biology. This major is designed to prepare a student for research and further training in graduate or professional school.   Student who are interested in a career working at a zoological park or aquarium may major in either Zoology or Biology.

 Another strength of this program is the level of undergraduate research activity. The faculty are active in the fields of microbiology, biotechnology, physiology, environmental consulting, water quality, field biology, and conservation biology. Faculty research generates opportunities for undergraduate research through faculty-student collaborations. These research activities provide important hands-on experience in learning the process of science as conducted in the laboratory and the outdoors. Research activities are also incorporated into the classroom.   An individual research project is required of each student during the junior-senior years.

Individual instruction and small classes are the rule! Upper division classes typically have <20 students, and all lab sections have <20 students. Labs are taught by faculty (not graduate students), and therefore, provide opportunities for one-on-one interactions between student and instructor. Students receive individual assistance from faculty in choosing classes and exploring career options.

Student internships are commonplace. Students gain real-world experience by doing an internship in the field of interest. Academic credit is awarded based on the time and skill demanded by the experience. Each internship is taylored to the interests of the individual student, a database of past internships is available in the LifeWorks career office.
Examples of recent internships include:

  • assistant at veterinarian clinic.
  • conservation intern with Southern Appalachian Forest Coalition.
  • wildlife technician with National Park Service on St. Croix,VI
  • technical writer for US Fish-and-Wildlife Service
  • animal care at Indianapolis Zoo
  • crime lab technician with State Bureau of Investigation
  • summer field studies in Kenya
  • patient care at hospital and medical clinics

Health Sciences

 MHU allows a student to pursue a liberal arts education while preparing for a career in a health profession field. These programs include:

  • Preprofessional studies preparing students for careers in medical, veterinarian, physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy, and other heath-related professions.
The Preprofessional programs provide the background necessary for graduate study in medical, dental, pharmacy, veterinarian, physical therapy, and physician assistant programs. MHU provides the science requirements for entry for these programs through concentrations in Biology and Chemistry majors. These demanding courses prepare students for the competitive application process. The faculty maintain relationships with universities providing these graduate programs in North Carolina and the Southeast region.  Students receive personalized guidance from a faculty member specializing in this field including assistance in acquiring the clinical hours required prior to  application to many programs.

MHU also has programs in Nursing (pre-licensure BSN and RN to BSN) and Athletic Training.