Majors and Minors

School ofBiology Department

ContinueContinue to the Biology Department's website

Why Biology?

Southern’s Biology Department strives to keep pace with recent discoveries in the biological sciences while maintaining a distinctly Seventh-day Adventist Christian perspective. Because most biology majors are on pre-professional tracks (medical, dental, veterinary, or pharmacy, for example) coursework schedules are generally designed to prepare interested students for professional tests such as the MCAT, DAT, and GRE.

  • Undergraduate students assist professors in teaching labs, and several dozen participate in research opportunities each year.
  • The E.O. Grundset Lecture Series includes natural history lectures and research seminars given by experienced professions in the field of biology.
  • The Biology Department fully supports a biblical six-day creation and developed the Origins Exhibit, a museum-quality display that showcases topics such as irreducible complexity of the cell, the geologic column, the flood, and dinosaurs. View more information on the Faith and Science website.
  • Of the students who apply to medical, dental or graduate school and meet the school's minimum requirements, well above 90 percent are accepted.

Interesting Facts

Students in Action

  • A field ecology trip takes students to the Bahamas and a tropical biology trip takes students to Indonesia every other summer.
  • Volunteer opportunities at rural medical and dental clinics serve people without insurance.
  • The department offers many research opportunities: paleontology, toxicology, dendrochronology, air quality, ancient DNA, sanitizing of fresh herbs, microbiology, genetics, animal behavior, and psychology.
  • The human anatomy class uses cadavers (seniors only).
  • The Bauxite Ridge and White Oak Mountain trails feature 37 miles of biking and hiking trails to study local flora and fauna.
  • A plants in medicine class teaches students how plants are used for medicinal purposes.
  • Two computerized laboratories allow for virtual tutoring online while dissecting in lab.
  • With the fluorescence microscope, special dyes are placed into living cells to allow students to see how they function.
  • Pre-dental, pre-med, allied health, biology, and Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society clubs connect students professionally.

Statistics to Note

  • An average of 280 students major in biology each year (not including more than 140 allied health students).
  • 85 percent of qualified graduates are moving forward in graduate/professional school or their chosen careers.
  • 75 percent of graduates go into medicine or related fields such as dentistry, optometry, and pharmacy.


  • Keith Snyder, PhDKeith Snyder, PhDDepartment Chair, Professor
  • Ben Thornton, PhDBen Thornton, PhDAssociate Professor
  • Joyce Azevedo, PhDJoyce Azevedo, PhDProfessor
  • Aaron Corbit, PhDAaron Corbit, PhDAssistant Professor
  • Ann Foster, PhDAnn Foster, PhDProfessor
  • Lucinda Hill, MDLucinda Hill, MDAssociate Professor
  • Rick Norskov, MDRick Norskov, MDProfessor
  • Randy Bishop, MPTRandy Bishop, MPTAssociate Professor
  • David Nelsen, PhDDavid Nelsen, PhDAssociate Professor
  • Tim Trott, PhDTim Trott, PhDProfessor

The biology professors
care about my future
and are helping me get
where I want to be.
Victoria Ahles, ’15Biology major

An experiment


Labs and Classrooms

Biology Department offices are located on the second floor of the Hickman Science Center, along with two general and four specialized laboratories. Lecture halls are located on the first floor.

Careers in Biology

One Southern biology graduate is a senior biologist at the National Aquarium in Baltimore after working in the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and before that the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smoky Mountains. She was chosen as one of two senior biologists to oversee the Ocean Voyager exhibit, the largest of its kind in the world at 6.4 million gallons.

Openings for science teachers continue to increase nationwide.

In addition to jobs in the medical field, potential jobs for a biology major include:

  • Animal scientist/trainer
  • Biochemist/molecular biologist
  • Bioengineer
  • Botanist/zoologist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental health specialist
  • EPA inspector
  • Forensic serologist
  • Forest supervisor
  • Health officer
  • Immunologist
  • Marine biologist/mammal trainer
  • Medical researcher/technician
  • Microbiologist
  • Science laboratory technician
  • Science teacher
  • Scientific photographer
  • Soil conservationist
  • Technical writer
  • Toxicologist
  • Veterinarian technician
  • Wildlife biologist


Keith Snyder, chair