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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 affiliations 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.


Opportunities for coordinated degrees

3 + 2.5 Doctor of Physical Therapy with St. Ambrose University in the Quad Cities; students complete a three-year sequence of coursework including biology, chemistry and kinesiology before continuing at St. Ambrose.

3+2 Master of Science in Occupational Therapy or 3+3 Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy at Washington University, St. Louis, for Augustana students who major in biology, psychology and/or neuroscience.

3+4 Doctorate of Optometry pre-professional and coordinated-degree program with Illinois College of Optometry, the largest and oldest optometry school in the country; most students on this track are biology majors.

3+4 Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine pre-professional and coordinated-degree program with the College of Veterinary Medicine at University of Illinois; most students on this track are biology majors.


  • 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

Alison Lawrence '23 is pursuing an MD at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

Gabriela Loiz '23 is in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Des Moines University.

Gwendolyn Flannery '23 is in Trinity College of Nursing's Accelerated BSN Program.

Lindsey Edwards '23 is pursuing a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Olivia Ruffatto '22 is a science teacher at Leyden High School in suburban Chicago.

Giang Pham '21 is a research associate at Yale College of Medicine.

TaJania Jenkins '21 is pursuing a master's in medical anatomy and experiential pathology at the University of Buffalo.

Diangelo Gonzalez '21 is a research assistant at the University of Texas MD Cancer Center.

Kayla Dillon '21 is a research specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Duy Nguyen '20 is enrolled in a Ph.D. program in biology and biomedical sciences at Harvard University.

Natalie Hardy '20 is pursuing a Ph.D. in health care ethics and is a graduate research and teaching assistant at Saint Louis University.

Monica Wierzbicki '18 is a medical illustrator at Body Scientific International, Ingleside, Ill.

Alison Lawrence
More Than I Imagined Alison Lawrence
“At MD Anderson Cancer Center, I conducted breast cancer research alongside some of the top physician-scientists in the country.”
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Justin Murphy
More Than I Imagined Justin Murphy
“I cannot emphasize enough how supportive, encouraging and helpful my professors and coaches have been to me the past four years.”
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Camila Davila
More Than I Imagined Camila Davila
“I used my Augie Choice to travel to Costa Rica on the Health Service Learning Trip.”
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Dr. Hintzsche and daughter

’06 grad impacting families with PherDal Fertility Science

Some people make a career of improving lives. Dr. Jenn Hintzsche ’06 also helps create them. The FDA has granted clearance to an at-home insemination kit that allows would-be parents to take control of their experience. Dr. Hintzsche created the device.


PBK Visiting Scholar addresses urgent climate crisis

On Oct. 2-3, Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Dr. Corey D.B. Walker of Wake Forest University will present a public lecture, take part in class and seminar discussions, and meet informally with students and faculty.

Alyssa Motzel

’16 grad combats newborn mortality in rural Kenya

By developing curriculum to teach neonatal resuscitation protocol to medical practitioners in Mutomo, Kenya, Dr. Alyssa Nelson ’16 Motzel was determined to not only teach her peers, but also help them continue to train others.