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We continue to monitor and prepare for additional cases in Iowa and will adjust the university schedule or classes as needed. Please check our COVID-19 webpage for updates and other information.

Biology

Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts

Biology is a rapidly expanding, widely diverse discipline, embracing all aspects of life. Biology is a natural science that involves the study of living organisms with a focus on their structure, formation, growth, distribution, taxonomy, and evolution. As a Biology major at Clarke University, you will have the opportunity to design your own experiments from the introductory course through your senior capstone course, using advanced equipment and unique techniques in our state-of-the-art biology laboratories. Clarke is viewed both locally in Iowa and nationwide as one of the best colleges for Biology.

As you work to earn your BS in Biology or BA in Biology, our Biology Department provides a challenging yet supportive learning environment to foster your personal and intellectual growth. We educate our students to be scientifically literate as well as socially and environmentally responsible citizens. Majoring in Biology prepares students to pursue a career in research, teaching, or the allied health sciences. It is also relevant to careers as diverse as environmental policy, law, public health, creative writing, and textbook development.

While the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Biology share some common core courses, the BS degree requires a lab research class as well as more advanced supporting courses in math, chemistry, and physics. Most students who plan to continue in graduate or professional programs (for example, medical school, vet school, dental school, PA school, Ph.D. programs) or who plan to start their career with their undergraduate degree usually choose the BS degree. Many Biology BA degree-seeking students plan to continue at Clarke in its DPT program.

Your Experience as a Biology Major

As a Biology Major, you will be:

  • Working one-on-one with a Ph.D. biology faculty member to learn the proper use of lab equipment, technology, and materials appropriate to the discipline.
  • Actively engaging in an investigation to solve authentic problems and challenges.
  • Developing scientific skills, including hypothesis formation, critical reading of scientific literature, and communication.
  • Developing an awareness of ethical issues in the life sciences.

Facilities
Those seeking a bachelor’s degree in Biology will use Clarke’s 46,000-square-foot, three-story science building, the Marie Miske Center for Science Inquiry, which provides flexible and modern spaces designed to seamlessly integrate lecture and laboratory. Clarke offers the biology major a 10-table gross anatomy laboratory. This many cadavers in the lab increase the probability of finding the results of interesting surgical procedures and observing anomalies, which enhance learning. The greenhouse at Clarke is fully automated to consistently water plants and shade them on sunny days. This makes it easier to maintain a diverse array of plants for teaching and research.

A biology professor works with Clarke University undergrad biology major students

Program Details

As a Biology major, you will develop skills important to the scientific process including hypothesis formation; critical reading of the scientific literature; and collection, interpretation, and dissemination of results. Your learning will be hands-on and visual. You will see and do, not just listen. In addition to 33 to 36 hours in class and performing lab work, students will produce a capstone project which may involve experimental lab or field research, or development of a research proposal.

Biology is an increasingly complex and thrilling field that incorporates other acute subdisciplines such as anatomy, pathology, ecology, chemistry, genetics, botany, and ecology. Medical and scientific modernism continue to drive biology into new and advanced directions. This indicates that your bachelor of science in Biology will focus on issues that influence human, animal, and plant life and include subjects like genetic engineering, transhumanism, GMO farming, and global climate change.

Your biology degree could lead to a career in academics, laboratory research, pharmaceuticals, or zoology, and more. A bachelor’s degree in biology is an essential educational beginning point if you eventually plan to practice a medical career. A biology degree provides you with the foundational knowledge and undergraduate credentials to enter both a medical profession or medical school.

Internships

Nick Peterson ’20 is a biology major who recently completed an internship at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. He had the unique experience of examining Drosophila (fruit flies) to study gene mutations found in patients with muscular dystrophy and lipodystrophy.

Study Abroad

Nicole Nelson ’19 is a Spanish and Biology major, so it was natural for her to spend fall 2018 in Madrid, Spain, where she took classes at St. Louis University, she volunteered with an organization for adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made! It pushed me to not only speak in another language but to think about and see things from the viewpoints of others,” Nicole says.

Clubs

The Biology Club is for Biology majors and well as other majors, and it participates in a wide range of activities, including a plant sale from which they donate the profits, hiking in a local state park, and educating the campus community through fun, hands-on activities. Students in the Hippo Society invite local health professionals to campus to talk about their educational and career pathways.

Classes You'll Take

Admission to Clarke University

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Apply to Clarke today to begin your journey.

Cool Classes as a Biology Major

FUNDAMENTALS OF CELL BIOLOGY AND GENETICS — Unifying concepts of biology, including cell structure and function, metabolism, and genetics.

SUBTROPICAL ECOLOGY — Travel to Florida for two weeks to study the subtropical ecosystems including the ocean.

HUMAN GROSS ANATOMY — Utilizing dissection as the major learning method, the fascinating and complex regions of the human body are studied.

Pretty Sweet Jobs

The type of career you select will determine whether you should take the Bachelor of Art or Bachelor of Science degree program, which varies slightly in course requirements. Career options for Clarke biology degree graduates include:

  • Professional biologist with graduate training
  • Teaching or performing research in an academic setting
  • Clinical or industrial laboratory technician
  • Natural resource management
  • Various health professions including the following areas:
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pharmacy
Atrium Interior

Meet Our Faculty

When our Biology degree graduates speak about the Clarke moments that helped shape them, there’s always a professor in the story. That’s because being a faculty member at Clarke University requires a deep passion for educating, encouraging, and empowering students. Here, your professors will know your name. They will push you to develop your full potential, and then they’ll ask for more. And, they’ll be right there to congratulate you when you exceed even your own expectations. Often, it’s a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

View Our Faculty & Staff
Andrea Bixler, Ph.D.

My courses are challenging – what’s the point of just memorizing the text? Instead, let’s take the information, analyze it, and apply it in new situations.

Shaun Bowman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

I attempt to relate the coursework to the students’ lives and future career aspirations, while having a lot of fun along the way.

Melissa DeMotta, Ph.D.

Melissa DeMotta, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

I hope that students learn to appreciate the world around them and the wonder of their own bodies so that they realize science is not scary but fantastic.

Laura Hecker, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

It is my goal to create a classroom environment that encourages curiosity. I like to remind students that it’s the questions they can’t answer that sometimes end up teaching them the most.

Michelle Slover, Ph.D.

Michelle Slover, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor of Biology

The integration of lab and lecture in my anatomy courses works well. The two components complement each other and provide multiple ways to learn.

Marie Miske Center for Science Inquiry At Clarke University
There’s more to college than going to class.

The Classroom and Beyond


But don’t take our word for it…

Our Students & Alumni

Theresa Koos

Theresa Koos

Biology/Pre Physical Therapy '17

I love studying biology. As part of the Biology Club, we held a ‘Genetic Taste Test’ in the lobby of the Atrium, in which students and faculty placed a piece of paper on their tongue to determine certain genes. The findings of the experiment were very cool!

Courtney Traser

Courtney Traser

Biology '13

The ability to learn using human cadavers is a rarity that most undergraduate students do not get. Dr. Slover’s passion for what she taught was evident and infectious, and my experiences with her and her encouragement motivated me.

Ellie Northrop

Ellie Northrop

Biology and Math '17

I have plans to cure cancer. I just completed a summer internship at the University of Minnesota researching cancer in rats. I want to be an epidemiologist (one who researches diseases).


21 %
Job growth

Percent increase in the number of jobs for biologists from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

$76,690
Annual earnings

The median yearly wage earned by general biologists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1 on 1
Student to faculty ratio

Work one-on-one with faculty on an undergraduate research project – an important criterion for entering graduate school.

Experience Clarke Biology for Yourself

Atrium Interior