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Biology

Biology majors seek to better understand living things. The field of biology spans the study of microscopic cells and how they combine to form organisms comprised of billions of cells to how they compete with and prey upon each other to form complex ecosystems. If you want your college education to be a hands-on, experiential experience, join our biology majors in research with professors amplifying DNA, exploring marine habitats abroad, and assessing the health of Wisconsin's waterways.

  • What Makes our Biology Program Distinctive?

    Learn in a supportive and nurturing environment: You will work closely with faculty at WLC who want to see you succeed. Our small class sizes mean that faculty are invested in every student’s success – not interested in “weeding” or “thinning” freshman and sophomores. No biology laboratory section has ever had more than 18 students and no class was ever taught by a teaching assistant. This means you will develop close, personal relationships with your classmates and faculty.

    Experiential learning: Experiential learning is embedded into your very first introductory science classes and culminates in a senior research project where you will design, execute, and share your original research ideas. Biology majors actively engage in biological research with professors; a practice rarely found in most undergraduate programs. Recent students have presented the results of their senior research project at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and the Milwaukee-area Undergraduate Biological Research Conference. 

    Leverage local advantages and unique opportunities: WLC’s location also presents unique opportunities for biology students, including nearby ecologically-significant lakes, rivers, and streams. Close proximity to a top-ten academic medical center, as well as the Milwaukee County Zoo and Discovery World, provide additional opportunities for research, education, and graduate employment. Participation in an international bioengineering competition (iGEM) provides a fun research and networking opportunity. 

    Additionally, agreements with several professional schools give our biology majors an advantage for entry into programs such as pharmacy, optometry, podiatry, medicine, and chiropractic studies.

  • ACADEMICS AND RESEARCH

    Faculty

    WLC biology students learn by working closely with faculty who are not only dedicated teachers, but also enthusiastic researchers. Unlike larger schools, our highly-trained professors will work directly with you rather than leaving you to be instructed by teaching assistants. These personal interactions, small class sizes, and the variety of course offerings provide students an excellent, well-rounded biology education that leads to above-average national test scores and exciting careers.

    Student Research

    The number of faculty-guided undergraduate research projects is always growing. Dr. Jarrod Erbe uses molecular genetic techniques to engineer microbial phosphate biosensors. Dr. Robert Anderson directs a number of well-funded projects in aquatic ecology in both local and tropical watersheds. Dr. Robert Balza heads up several research projects in heart development and non-embryonic stem cell biology. Dr. Angela Ebeling works with students in field and greenhouse soil science research. Dr. John Werner's research focuses on understanding the subcellular workings of bacteria to identify targets for new antibiotics. Dr. Allison Phillips' research focuses on the genetics of plant development. Dr. Jim Henkel studies infectious diseases and uses biochemistry, cell biology, immunology, genetics, and microbiology techniques to answer questions about the infection process.

    State-of-the-Art Facilities

    The biology department is located in Generac Hall. This 81,700-square-foot facility allows undergrads to experience state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that students at many other institutions would not have access to until graduate school.

    BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

    Field Research

    Research collaborations with the Milwaukee County Zoo and St. George's University in Grenada offer WLC students the chance to participate in marine and freshwater biological monitoring and terrestrial herpetology studies in the tropics. Several nearby ecologically significant lakes, rivers, and streams provide unique opportunities for field research in aquatic ecology.

    International Competition

    Wisconsin Lutheran College students have participated in iGEM - the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition - for the last three years. Participation usually involves lab work with synthetic biology, and education initiatives. Last summer, a team of WLC students focused on modifying a strain of E. coli in the lab for their research on bacterial resistance to antibiotics. In the end, the team earned a gold medal and received honorable mention at the iGEM competition in Boston.  

    GRADUATE SCHOOLS AND CAREERS

    Graduate School

    Nearly 35% of WLC biology majors continue their education in professional school. Examples include Duke University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Texas Tech University, and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. A WLC biology degree provides a solid educational foundation upon which one may succeed in graduate classes.

    Careers

    A bachelor's degree in biology from WLC may lead to a successful career in a wide range of fields including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, biomedical research, education, zoology, and natural resource management. Job growth in the biological sciences is expected to be strong in the coming years, especially in the areas of molecular biology and biotechnology, two strengths of the WLC biology department. WLC graduates have been hired by Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Aurora Healthcare, Blood Center of Wisconsin, Cellular Dynamics International, Dynacare, Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Mayo Clinic, North Carolina State University, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

    ADVISING INFORMATION

    Learn more about course offerings, sample programs, and entrance requirements for this major:

    BIOLOGY ADVISING PAGE