Planning for a Career in Medicine

Marly Aziz '22 shares why she loves LVC, what sparked her interest in science, and how she's working toward a career as a physician who will assist those in need.

A biology degree that will take you far.

Zoology. Veterinary studies. Ecology. Medicine. Dentistry. Physiology. Neuroscience. Genetics. At LVC, we combine an in-depth study of biology with courses in chemistry and physics to prepare you for the career of your choice. You'll learn the broader skills employers seek, too—including critical thinking, collaboration, writing, presentation, and analysis.

But we don't just want you to master biology coursework in the classroom. We’ll also help you get extensive experience in the lab and field, practice using advanced instrumentation, and develop the foundational skills you need to become a skilled professional. You may also want to specialize further through study in one of our related programs, including biochemistry, neuroscience, environmental science, or medical laboratory sciences.

If you're planning on a career in the health professions—medical school, veterinary medicine, physician assistant programs, pharmacy, podiatry, dentistry, or optometry—our faculty-led Health Professions Committee will advise you, help you track your academic progress, guide you through the graduate school application process, and prepare you for medical, dental, or veterinary school. Our rigorous mock interview will get you ready for the admissions process, so you'll be ready to take the next step in the field that suits you best.

Discover Your Degree Pathway

Dive into Research and Get in the Field

We want you to choose upper-level courses based on your interests and skills, and to pursue the self-directed research opportunities that will be most meaningful to your life-long career in biology. Our biology faculty investigate topics that range from mammalian physiology to plant ecology, and from DNA analysis to the role of T cells in the inflammatory response. Each faculty member has a dedicated research laboratory with equipment to carry out advanced experimentation in their discipline—and you can be involved in their work. 

With faculty mentoring them, our students have conducted independent research on:

  • Local watersheds
  • Microbiology and HPV
  • Synthetic genomics
  • Plant biology
  • Lizards in Puerto Rico
  • Cancer cell life
  • Parkinson’s
  • Environmental effects on bird communities

Your research project could be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at scientific conferences. During the past five years, more than 50 biology majors have co-authored and presented research at regional and national scientific meetings, like the Mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America Annual Conference and 21st annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences.

You can also gain experience in biology-related careers through our for-credit internship program. Develop clear career goals or identify potential employers that will jumpstart your career. During the past five years, our biology majors have served as interns in:

  • Conservation
  • Environmental education
  • Environmental management
  • Medical research
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Plant breeding
  • Water quality control
  • And other fields

Interested in graduate school? The LVC Biology Department is located near the chemistry and physics labs to encourage interdisciplinary research. Take advantage of advanced or independent research to prepare for further study, or the next step in your professional career.

What Makes Studying Biology at LVC Special?

  • Work in our state-of-the-art facility, the Neidig-Garber Science Center, complete with teaching and student research laboratories, a microscopy suite, greenhouses, and animal behavior labs.
  • Conduct research with our award-winning faculty, who specialize in areas like plant ecology, pediatric cancer, and DNA analysis.
  • Receive extensive support for pre-medicine and other pre-health profession tracks.
  • Apply to our Research First program for incoming freshmen, which pairs newly admitted students with faculty-led research teams.
  • Join a student-faculty research project, design your own, or take your career plan for a test drive with an internship.

What You Can Do with a Biology Degree

Our bachelor's degree in biology prepares you for a multitude of careers and scientific pathways. While about half of our students pursue graduate school in fields like medicine, animal behavior, and dentistry, your biology degree opens an array of career opportunities. We'll prepare you to work in many settings, whether that's a research lab, watershed, veterinary clinic, or counselor's office.

Recent biology graduates work as industrial or research scientists for companies like Pfizer, DuPont, The Hershey Company, Merck, and Upjohn. Others have pursued government work at the National Institutes of Health, Federal Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Smithsonian.

Strong Health Professions and Medical School Preparation

Our majors who pursue health professions—including medical school—have an 83% acceptance rate to graduate or professional school. In the past three years, biology graduates have enrolled in programs at West Virginia Medical School, East Carolina University, Temple University, Drexel University, Indiana University, Penn State College of Medicine, Pennsylvania College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sarah Lawrence College, The Commonwealth Medical College, the University of Maryland, and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.

When I look at the neurosurgery faculty at Penn State Hershey, I see that they attended such schools as Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania. But the chairman attended Lebanon Valley College.

University Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Dr. Robert E. Harbaugh '74


Median salary of college graduates of physical and life sciences (2019; Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Grad school acceptance rate for LVC biology majors entering health professions programs


of LVC biology majors go on to graduate or professional education