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If you want your college education to be a hands-on, experiential experience, join biology majors in research with professors amplifying DNA, exploring marine habitats in Jamaica, and assessing the health of Wisconsin's waterways.

  • WLC biology students learn by working closely with faculty who are not only dedicated teachers, but also enthusiastic researchers. Like professors at many major research universities, nearly all WLC faculty members in the biology department hold a doctorate degree and have made meaningful contributions to their field of expertise. But unlike these larger schools, you will never find yourself supervised by a “teaching assistant.” You will work directly with the faculty. It should therefore come as no surprise that WLC biology majors have consistently scored above the national average compared to their peers at other American colleges and universities in the ETS major field test in biology.

    What Makes the Program Distinctive?

    Students explore life at the molecular, cellular, organic, and ecosystemic levels in the classroom, but most importantly in the laboratory and the field. Biology majors actively engage in biological research with professors, a practice rarely found in most undergraduate programs. WLC’s location also presents unique opportunities for biology students, including nearby ecologically significant lakes, rivers, and streams. Close proximity to the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as the Milwaukee County Zoo and Discovery World, provide additional opportunities for research, education, and graduate employment. 


    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.


    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 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.


    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.


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