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About Us

Biology

Iowa State University is a major center for research and education in the biological sciences. Students have the opportunity to learn from leaders in biological research, and to participate in innovative, meaningful research projects that explore frontiers of biology. 

Read more about the history of the Biology Program here


An Interdepartmental Major

The Departments of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) and the Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology (GDCB) jointly offer the undergraduate Biology major.

The biology major prepares students for graduate study and entrance into various professional schools, such as human medicine, physician’s assistant, physical therapy, or veterinary medicine.

Our professional advisors help students design a unique program of study that will meet individual student objectives.

Breadth and Flexibility

The Biology major offers a rich variety of coursework addressing most of the areas of biology. The curriculum provides exposure to all areas of biology with complementary knowledge from courses in chemistry, physics, and math/statistics. The biology major provides five advising tracks or areas of specialization: Human Medicine and Pre-Med, Veterinary Medicine and Pre-Vet, Cellular and Molecular, Biodiversity and Evolution, Ecology and Conservation, and Teaching and Education.

Opportunities in Biology

Beyond academics, there are many opportunities Biology majors can take advantage of during their degree program. Some of the most popular opportunities include: 

  • Undergraduate research - Students are encouraged to become involved in faculty members’ research projects on campus. Those doing so may receive credit for the experience in BIOL 499 Undergraduate Research Experience. Making an effort to find a suitable research mentor and engaging in research work can be one of the most valuable undergraduate education experiences.
  • Field trip courses and International experience – The Biology Program offers two field trip courses: BIOL 393 (North American Field Trips in Biology) and BIOL 394 (International Field Trips in Biology). In recent years field trip opportunities in Honduras, Belize, and Spain have been available. The classes are limited enrollment and allow extensive interaction between instructors and students in locations of biological interest. Biology majors are encouraged to include an international or study abroad component in their degree programs. This can be done by participating in BIOL 394 (International Field Trips in Biology) or attending a university in another country for up to a year as an exchange student. 
  • Summer Biological Field Stations - Courses taken at summer field stations may be transferred to Iowa State University as credit in BIOL 481 Summer Field Studies. Such stations are found throughout the country and often offer courses that emphasize the adaptation of plants and animals to unique environments.