Job Search FAQs

What sort of school is Villanova?

We are a medium sized, comprehensive university with about 6,000 undergraduates and a smaller number of graduate students, mostly at the Masters level. The Department of Biology is in the College of Arts and Sciences; the other colleges are Engineering, Nursing, and the Villanova School of Business.

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Are we good at what we do?

Certainly! Villanova has consistently been ranked #1 by US News and World Report in its annual evaluation of Masters-granting universities in the North, including 2009.

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What’s the geographic setting?

Villanova’s attractive suburban campus is 12 miles west of Philadelphia, and is conveniently accessible by commuter train as well as by car.

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What is the normal teaching load?

During the pre-tenure years, faculty members are responsible for 15 contact hours per year, generally 9 one semester, and 6 the other. A lecture section is generally 3 contact hours per week, and upper division laboratory sections 3 or 4 hours. Tenured faculty members with active research programs continue to teach 15-18 hours. Summer school teaching is optional.

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What about research lab space?

Most faculty members have about 600 square feet of recently renovated lab space, with access to common rooms featuring modern equipment.

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Does Villanova strongly support active research?

Yes! The Department of Biology endeavors to provide good support for research by faculty members, M.S. thesis students, and undergraduates. Many students have been awarded internal and external grants to support their research. Faculty members are encouraged to seek external funding, and we have a good record of success, but research activity is not contingent upon external funding.

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Does the Department have support staff?

Yes. Our staff is very important to a smoothly operating department. We have lab coordinators for introductory and upper division courses an equipment and supplies manager, and administrative support staff. We also have a fully stocked supply room.

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Does the Department interact with other science departments at Villanova?

Of course! The Department of Biology is located in the Mendel Science Center, which also houses the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Computing Sciences, Astronomy, and Geography and the Environment. A new, interdisciplinary biochemistry major accepted its first freshman class this fall. The College of Engineering features the Villanova Center for the Environment, and students in the College of Nursing take several required Biology courses.

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Does the Department offer a Ph.D. degree?

No. In conjunction with Villanova’s emphasis on undergraduate education, we offer outstanding masters programs leading to the M.A. or M.S. (with thesis) degree. We support a number of full time graduate students with TAs and research fellowships. A large number of students from local biotech firms round out the graduate student population. A number of recent graduates have gone on to top tier doctoral programs.

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Is there a problem with teaching evolution at Villanova?

Absolutely not! We have several faculty members who pursue research in evolutionary biology, and we offer both undergraduate and graduate courses in evolution. Related note: Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian monk, and his scientific legacy is greatly honored at Villanova.

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What other institutions in the area could offer potential for collaboration?

A great many opportunities exist for collaboration. There are five medical schools in the Philadelphia area, and a large number of colleges and universities. There are several research institutes, including Wistar, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research, the Coriell Institute, and the USDA research labs. In addition, the area has numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms.

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What benefits does Villanova provide?

Tenure-track faculty members are eligible for University-subsidized health insurance and dental coverage, retirement programs (TIAA/CREF and/or Vanguard), tuition remission for family members, tuition exchange with selected institutions, and other benefits. Details are available through human resources.

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