Feb 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Natural Sciences

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For More Information

Jennifer Napper, Ph.D., Chairperson


Heather Thacker, Academic Administrative Assistant II


Department of Natural Sciences
Shawnee State University
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662-4344

Phone: 740.351.3456
Fax: 740.351.3815
E-mail: hthacker@shawnee.edu











The Department of Natural Sciences prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century. This mission is accomplished:

  • For science majors, through degree programs that provide depth and breadth in scientific learning, experience with modern technologies, and opportunities in undergraduate research and field studies.
  • For students majoring in science-related disciplines, through service courses that provide science content and develop technical competence.
  • For science majors and general education students, through courses that promote an understanding of scientific reasoning and methodology.

As a Natural Science Department we offer majors in the broad scientific areas of Biology, Chemistry, and Geology.  In conjunction with the SSU School of Education, we have four Natural Sciences majors that prepare students for Adolescent to Young Adult teacher licensure.  Our diverse programming allows for interdisciplinary collaboration among students and faculty, as well as further specialization in the tracks within our majors.

For students preparing for a technical career, or looking for a stepping stone toward a baccalaureate degree, we also offer an associate degree in Natural Sciences.

For students wishing to add minors to their current degree programs, science or non-science majors can choose from ten minors in Natural Sciences.

Thanks to a low student:faculty ratio, students in all majors in our department gain hands-on experience with scientific equipment during laboratory classes, and in mentored research projects. In addition to our laboratory instrumentation, the department also provides unique opportunities to students interested in organismal and field sciences.

The Waller Conservatory is a 1500 square foot, solarium-type greenhouse attached to the southeast corner of Massie Hall.  The plant biology complex also includes a support room for the Conservatory, large classroom/laboratory, conference room, and faculty office. Generous donations from the Kettering Foundation and the local Waller family were instrumental in making the construction of the Conservatory possible.

Within a 15-minute drive from campus, General Biology and Geology students utilize the 68,000-acre Shawnee State Forest system for their natural classroom and laboratory. Through our expert faculty, students gain access to smaller preserve systems in the region and routinely participate in valuable field experiences during their undergraduate careers. This makes our students stand out when compared to other programs. On campus, students have access to more than 220 species of trees and museum-grade biological and geological specimens housed right here in Massie Hall.  Our field-based science majors have a proven record of success in acceptance into graduate programs, environmental, government and industry positions.

Our department also offers outstanding lab-based programming with outstanding majors in Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences.  The B.S. in Chemistry contains three tracks from which students choose, depending on their career goals, in graduate study, pharmacy school, or industrial paths. For students pursing graduate training in biomedical sciences, or entrance to professional schools such as medical, dental, or veterinary school, we offer a highly successful program in Biomedical Sciences. Our students complete all of the prerequisite courses for graduate or professional school, and are able to choose from upper-level microbiology and anatomy electives not often found at small institutions.




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