Biology

BVU's biology program combines a rigorous academic experience with a unique emphasis on research that allows students to develop exceptional professional competency. Students work directly with outstanding faculty in the classroom and laboratory while receiving personalized academic and career advising.

The science of life

Many concerns facing humans today draw answers from biology. BVU's biology program emphasizes problem solving skills and practical knowledge of nature. We apply our expertise to human and animal health, public policy, and the development of solutions for hunger and disease. Students can obtain interesting and meaningful employment in wildlife management, environmental testing, academic research, teaching and medicine as examples. The program's research opportunities in particular provides students with skills in the scientific method and improves their chances for admission to graduate and professional programs.

Students who graduate with this major can pursue careers in:

  • Medicine & pharmaceuticals
  • Genetic engineering
  • Food production and safety
  • Research laboratories
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Fish and wildlife agencies
  • Forensics

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Within the Beaker

Experience the Estelle Siebens Science Center

Biology students at BVU have access to the same cutting-edge technologies one would find at a big research institution while interacting directly with faculty. We don’t just allow students to change the genetic makeup of organisms or study cells and physiology with high tech electronics, we require it. Biology students can study human anatomy on real cadavers, explore the natural world in our neighboring lake and streams, and elucidate the mechanics of subcellular function using a quarter million-dollar confocal microscope. The Estelle Siebens Science Center is like a museum with half billion-year-old fossils, skeletons of elephants and giraffes, mammal specimens from tigers to mastodons, and flowering plants from our multi-zone greenhouse.

A Future in Medicine

The Rural Health Fellowship

The Rural Health Fellowship is an interim internship during which participating students spend three weeks in the fields of dentistry, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy, or occupational therapy. The program even offers a $3,000 stipend to help defray expenses associated with pursuing a career in medicine. 

Biology Travel

Have you tagged a great white?

In the last two years, BVU biology students have traveled to Nepal, Peru, and Tanzania to engage in medical internships at orphanages and field hospitals. Not only do they get to participate in direct patient contact, but they get to see unusual diseases like leprosy and elephantiasis. Other students have tagged great white sharks, studied dominance relationships in Africa lions, and interned at Mayo Clinic and research universities around the country. In January 2017, four students studied wolves and wolverines in the north woods of Minnesota while another student studied secondary metabolites in mosses in Chile. 

 

Each January, up to three pre-med students intern at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake and three other area hospitals as part of the URMED program.

Students participating in the URMED program also receive a $3,000 stipend to help defray expenses associated with applying to medical school.

Pre-professional opportunities are also available for students interested in physical therapy, radiology, optometry, and pharmacy careers in rural settings.

STEM C.A.R.E.E.R.S.

Career And Research Exploration to Enhance Retention in STEM

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, we've established the Career And Research Exploration to Enhance Retention in STEM (C.A.R.E.E.R.S.) program. Each year 15-18 students receive grant funding of $5,000 per year and $2,000 for a science interim trip.

Internships

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital
  • Research Field Station, Omora Park, Navarino Island, Chile

Careers

  • Fredericksburg Family Practice Associate, Family Practice Physician
  • National Center for Infectious Diseases, Podiatrist
  • Trimark Physicians Group, Research Scientist in Molecular Biology

Dedicated Career Help

Interest discovery, application assistance, internship/job connections and more.

Major in Biology (55 credit hours)

53 credit hours with a minimum of 37 credit hours in biology with a minimum of 12 credit hours at the 300 or 400 level taken at BVU. Biology courses numbered 301-304 do not count toward the biology major. Students must complete all 5 areas of the major as listed.

Area 1: Support Work (16 credit hours)

  • CHEM 151 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 152 General Chemistry II
  • PHYS 201 General Physics I: Trigonometry Based or PHYS 211 General Physics I: Calculus-based

At least one course from

  • PHYS 212 General Physics II: Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 202 General Physics II: Trigonometry-Based
  • CHEM 261 Organic Chemistry I
  • MATH 140 Elementary Applied Statistics

Area 2: Biological Principles (8 credit hours)

  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • BIOL 164 Biological Principles II

Area 3: Distributional Course Selections and Electives (25 credit hours)

Students select five courses from three fundamental areas of biology in the distributional course selection section: cell/genetics (8 credits); ecology/evolution (7 credits); and organismal biology (4 credits). Students also take a minimum of 6 credits of electives from the electives listed.

Choices within Cell/Genetics (8 credit hours)

  • BIOL 305 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 260 Genetics
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology

Choices within Ecology/Evolution (7 credit hours)

  • BIOL 270 Evolution
  • BIOL 360 Ecology
  • BIOL 365 Freshwater Ecology

Choices within Organismal Biology (4 credit hours)

  • BIOL 210 Zoology
  • BIOL 222 Botany

Choices within Electives (6 credit hours)

  • BIOL 311 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 325 Endocrinology
  • BIOL 380 Human Physiology
  • BIOL 385 Neuroscience
  • BIOL 420 Immunology
  • BIOL 422 Virology
  • BIOL 424 Parasitology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy
  • BIOL 430 Human Anatomy
  • BIOL 450 Special Topics in Biology

Area 4: Research Experience (3 credit hours)

  • BIOL 200 Biology Research Experience I
  • BIOL 300 Biology Research Experience II
  • BIOL 400 Biology Research Capstone

Area 5: Internship (1 credit hours)

  • BIOL 495 Internship

Major in Biology with Teaching Licensure (5-12) (52 credit hours)

Credit hours broken down as described for the biology major with the following two exceptions:

  1. Students pursuing a major in biology with teaching licensure are not required to complete Area 5 (Biology Internship) because they will be doing an internship when student-teaching.
  2. Students pursuing a major in biology with teaching licensure must also complete the requirements listed under secondary education and education core.

Minor in Biology (22 credit hours)

  • BIOL 164 Biological Principles II
  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology or BIOL 260 Genetics or BIOL 305 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 270 Evolution or BIOL 360 Ecology or BIOL 365 Freshwater Ecology
  • BIOL 210 Zoology or BIOL 222 Botany
  • 3 hours biology with BIOL 163 and 164 (or higher) as prerequisites, excluding BIOL 200, 300, 400

Minor in Biology with Teaching Licensure (5-12) (22 credit hours)

  • BIOL 164 Biological Principles II
  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology or BIOL 260 Genetics or BIOL 305 Cell Biology
  • BIOL 270 Evolution or BIOL 360 Ecology or BIOL 365 Freshwater Ecology
  • BIOL 210 Zoology or BIOL 222 Botany
  • 3 hours biology with BIOL 163 and 164 (or higher) as prerequisites, excluding BIOL 200, 300, 400
  • Plus requirements for secondary education and education core

Faculty

Dr.   James  Hampton

James Hampton

Professor of Biology

Meet the professor
Dr.   Brian  Lenzmeier

Brian Lenzmeier

Professor of Biology

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Dr.   Melinda  Coogan

Melinda Coogan

Professor of Biology

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Dr.   Kristy  McClellan

Kristy McClellan

Associate Professor of Biology

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Dr.   Thomas  Bonagura

Thomas Bonagura

Assistant Professor of Biology

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Students Attend Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting

The event proved to be a great experience for both the students and Dr. Melinda Coogan, who served as this year's IAS president.

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Students Attend Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting