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Biology

The study of life and its forms

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You’ll want a strong background in the science plus opportunities to explore and experience a specific career path. You’ll get this at Augustana.

About half of our biology majors go on to graduate school for biology, genetics or ecology, or into medical, dental, nursing or veterinarian programs.

Use the major as a foundation for one of our outstanding pre-professional health programs, then continue to graduate school for optometry, occupational or physical therapy, pharmacy or physician assistant careers. Or go directly into a position in research, industry or government.

To help you navigate the complexities and find what inspires you most, you’ll have talented, devoted faculty. All biology professors lead both their class and lab sessions. Many conduct important, nationally funded research in partnership with their students.

Augustana offers a biology major and minor, a biology teaching major and a major in pre-medicine, plus coordinated degree programs and affiliation with graduate programs in the professional health sciences.

What you'll learn

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intellectual curiosity

Intellectual curiosity

Set yourself up for lifelong intellectual growth. Take responsibility for your own learning.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Quantitative literacy

Quantitative literacy

Interpret, represent and summarize information. Use math and statistics to solve problems.

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Distinctions

• Every year, select biology majors have life-changing internships through Augustana’s summer internship program with the Texas Medical Center in Houston, the largest medical complex in the world. Augustana is one of only a few colleges and universities invited to participate in this prestigious program. Other biology majors intern around the country or as far as Australia, or with faculty in labs right here on campus.

• One of the many laboratories in Augustana’s Hanson Hall of Science is the human anatomy lab for work with human cadavers, a rare opportunity for undergraduates.

• Augustana’s study-abroad programs often include a biology focus — from biodiversity or health care in Costa Rica, to ethnozoology in Latin America, to conservation in Ghana.

•  Our location along the Mississippi River is a bonus, whether you are interested in aquatic biology, health care, education or the environment. The college’s three field stations provide access to the rich learning laboratories of open fields, upland hardwood forest, native loess hill prairies, a limestone cliff, streams and wetlands, and a floodplain forest along the Rock River.

Recent graduates

Katie Laschanzky '18 is a visiting research fellow at Lund University in Sweden.

Monica Wierzbicki '18 received a master's in biomedical visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a medical Illustrator at Body Scientific International, Ingleside, Ill.

Dr. Sarah Foreman '18 is an instructor in equine medicine and surgery at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Valeria Melo '18 is attending medical school at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Dr. Amanda Ico '17 earned a doctor of optometry degree at the Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago.

Dr. Carli Hogan '17 graduated from dental school at Marquette University.

Dr. Jeneen Schier Anderson '16 is a veterinarian with the Iron Mountain (Mich.) Animal Hospital.

Camila Davila
More Than I Imagined Camila Davila
“My peak experience was getting accepted into the Texas Medical Center program my junior year!”
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Carstyn Joiner
More Than I Imagined Carstyn Joiner
“My peak experience was my internship at Loyola University Chicago, to work in a cell and molecular physiology lab.”
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Jack Morkin
More Than I Imagined Jack Morkin
“Dr. Gehler's cell bio and human physiology classes taught me to have a deeper understanding of the material.”
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Dan and Jan Duncan Neurological Research Institute

Texas Medical Center: Life Lessons from the Lab

Although I didn’t realize it at the beginning, Augustana prepared me perfectly for this experience.

McKenna Burns

Burns ’17 helps future biologists focus on biology

Having dealt with imposter syndrome herself, McKenna Burns '17 is on a mission to help others gain the computer skills needed to be successful biologists.

 

Macy Koepke '18

Pre-optometry grads score 100% placement rate

This fall 12 aspiring optometrists will begin professional school, the largest cohort Augustana has seen since Dr. Dara Wegman-Geedey began keeping track 20 years ago. Find out why students are attracted to this health-care field. 

Students take landscape photos at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico.

Art and climate change

Students take landscape photos at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Dr. Stephen Hager, professor of biology, led the course Art and Science of Climate Change. The course blends photography and biology to document changes in the landscape, aiming to help students think about their observations as they relate to the global climate. (Learn more)

Peter J. Lindberg, M.D., Center for Health and Human Performance

Grant to help launch new minor in integrative medicine and humanities

The minor and an internship program with UnityPoint Health will serve students who pursue pre-professional degrees in health care.

Sarah Allen

POST Scholars prepare to teach in high-need classrooms

The $10,000-$30,000 Promoting Opportunities in STEM Teaching (POST) scholarships make an extraordinary difference.

Dr. Jenny Arkle

Augustana’s focus on the health of streams is local and far-reaching

The Sustainable Urban Watersheds Project has received three grants totaling $40,700 from local organizations to support its work.

Open house: environmental studies

Prospective students who would like to learn more about environmental studies are invited to an open house hosted by faculty.