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About Us

The Department of Biology & Chemistry showcases what is best about career preparation in biology and chemistry. The programs and facilities are recognized throughout the state for excellence in preparing students to become successful professionals in their chosen field.  Faculty members are committed to providing outstanding instruction and advising. Students are not only successful in gaining entrance to professional and graduate schools, they excel in them. As a student, you will develop skills and scientific insights in lecture and laboratory facilities that utilize modern technologies and provide hands-on experiences in nearly every course.

Professional School Acceptance Rates During the Last Five Years 

(Based on number accepted vs. number of applications)


                                           MSU          State      National

Pre-Medicine                           90%           45%         38%            

Pre-Dentistry                          100%           38%         48%

Pre-Pharmacy                          88%           45%         50%

Pre-Physical Therapy               70%           44%         28%

Pre-Physician Assistant           85%           35%         14%


Much more experimental. 

One of the best ways to learn is through “hands on” science.  Using this approach, students may visualize abstract concepts presented in the lecture portion of a course, deepening their understanding of that concept.  The biology and chemistry department requires more laboratory experience in their curriculum than any other Kentucky state-supported institution.   

Many of the laboratory courses are taught from a research project-based format in which students are given “research” goals, and it is their job to explain the assigned experimental question.  For instance, a cell/molecular student may be asked to resolve the sequence of a cloned DNA fragment.  The application of these inquiry-based techniques not only supports the concepts learned in lecture, but also provides the students with a skill set not normally found in college science graduates.  The superior technical skills gained are often a deciding factor in whether students are admitted to graduate school.

In addition to excellent facilities and equipment support, the Department of Biology & Chemistry has an active Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.  MSU has allocated money to support students, through an hourly stipend, to conduct research with faculty members.  Research opportunities include such projects as:

  • characterizing the macroinvertebrate population of a pristine environment,
  • analysis of coal by-products using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy,
  • refinement of a strategy for enhanced drug discovery, and
  • the nanoscale-level examination of novel cellular structures employing atomic force microscopy


Much more than a career. 

In the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost all careers associated with biology and chemistry were expected to grow at a pace “much faster than average,” including the health professions (pharmacy, physician, etc), environmental chemists, environmental biologists, and cellular/molecular biologists.   

In a rapidly changing world, biologists and chemists will play an important role in solving problems related to health, industry, and the environment.

News in
Biology & Chemistry

  • Two new faculty members join the department
  • Dr. Gibbs awarded two NIH-KBRIN grants
  • Dr. O'Keefe receives funding to conduct environment assessments in Tennessee
  • Dr. Ellison awarded NIH-KBRIN grant
  • Students receive travel grant to attend national ACS meeting
  • Dr. Hare awarded NIH-KBRIN grant
  • Dr. Dennis awarded NIH-KBRIN grant
  • Dr. Peyton awarded KY
  • Dr. Risk mentors high school students from Puerto Rico
  • Dr. Risk takes students to Costa Rica for plant study
  • ACS Students receive travel grant to attend national ACS meeting
  • More news

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