Biology

Available Options

Biology department web site


Program Overview

Biology is the study of life and all its remarkable forms and processes. Drake University’s biology program uses an inquiry-based and integrated approach throughout the curriculum. This modern approach engages students in scientific methods and research from the first year of study, giving students a jump-start on developing skills in research, critical thinking, scientific communication, and data analysis.

Coursework toward a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biology exposes students to microscopic cells, complex ecosystems, and everything in between (and beyond). Drake’s biology curriculum is designed to provide students with a strong foundation of biological understanding in four core subject areas. Students also can delve more deeply into disciplines of their choosing in preparation for graduate and professional programs, careers in the health sciences, or other areas in the biological sciences. We are committed to supporting all Drake students in their pursuit to better understand life on earth and build a roadway to success in their own lives after Drake.

The department's diverse and dedicated faculty provide students access to more than 50 different courses, covering biological content from molecules to ecosystems, examining microbes, invertebrates, vertebrates or plants, and covering an array of topics from ethnobotany to kinesiology, histology to animal behavior, and nature photography to experimental design and data analysis. Drake’s affiliations with Iowa Lakeside Laboratory and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi provides opportunities for Drake students to earn credit towards a Biology degree while taking specialized courses such as soil genesis, watershed hydrology, prairie ecology, marine biology and ecology, marine mammals and ichthyology, coastal herpetology and oceanography.


B.A. Degree Requirements

Students who earn a B.A. degree in biology and who meet the entrance requirements may apply to schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic medicine, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, or other health related programs. Further opportunities include advanced study in graduate school or career positions with industry, government or private agencies in biologically related fields such as biotechnology, conservation biology and resource management, food science agriculture, environmental education and forensic science.

The B.A. in Biology requires a minimum of 34 credit hours in biology which includes courses as outlined below, chemistry, physics and math courses outlined below, an average GPA of 2.0 or higher in biology courses, and at least 6 biology courses having laboratory experiences (courses with “L” designations).

Restrictions for Biology credits that can be used to fulfill the required 34 credits:

  • A maximum of 16 Biology transfer credits
  • BIO 015 cannot be used towards Biology degree requirements
Course Credits
BIO 012, 012L - General and Pre-Professional Biology I (with lab) 4
BIO 013, 013L - General and Pre-Professional Biology II (with lab) 4
BIO 199 - Senior Capstone Experience 3
One course from each of the five core areas  
Molecular and Cellular Processes  
BIO 105 - Introduction to Genetics 3
BIO 165 - Cell Biology 4
BIO 186 - Molecular Biology 3
Biological Diversity  
BIO 019, 019L - Introduction to Botany 4
BIO 092, 092L - Introduction to Ethnobotany 4
BIO 101, 101L - Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 4
BIO 103, 103L - Microbiology 5
BIO 113, 113L - Vertebrate Biology 4
BIO 123, 123L - Biology of Invertebrates 4
Systems Biology  
BIO 018, 018L - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology 4
BIO 120, 120L - Ecosystem Ecology 4
BIO 126, 126L - Developmental Biology 4
BIO 127, 127L - Histology 4
BIO 129, 129L - Mammalian Physiology 5
Ecology/Evolution  
BIO 114, 114L - Evolution 4
BIO 117, 118L - Ecology 3, 2
BIO 125, 125L - Conservation Biology 4
BIO 152, 152L - Field Botany 4
BIO 168, 168L - Limnology 4
Career Specialization  
BIO 021 - Special Topics in Biology 1-3
BIO 024, 024L - Iowa Birds & Birding 2
BIO 025 - Animal Behavior 3
BIO 026L - Ethological Methods 3
BIO 030 - Personal Fitness and Nutrition 3
BIO 032 - Wellness and Nutrition 3
BIO 061 - Natural History Photography 3
BIO 063L - Zoo Biology 3
BIO 095 - Medical Microbiology 3
BIO 098 - Introduction to Primatology 3
BIO 104 - Introduction to Virology 3
BIO 107 - Behavior Genetics 3
BIO 108 - Emerging Infectious Diseases 3
BIO 110, 110L - Iowa Natural History 2
BIO 111 - Evolved Foodways 3
BIO 115, 115L - Aquatic Biology 3
BIO 116 - Bioinformatics 3
BIO 119, 119L - Herpetology 3
BIO 121, 121L - Parsitology 5
BIO 122, 122L - Mammalogy 3
BIO 130, 130L - Orinthology 3
BIO 131, 131L - Biochemistry 4
BIO 132 - Medical Biophysics 3
BIO 133, 133L - Kinesiology 4
BIO 134, 134L - Exercise Physiology 4
BIO 138 - History of Biology 3
BIO 140 - Biological Research and Statistical Methods 4
BIO 145, 145L - Selected Topics in Biology 1-6
BIO 156 - Biology Short Course 1
BIO 167, 167L - Population and Community Ecology 4
BIO 176, 176L - Neurophysiology 4
BIO 182, 182L - Immunology 5
BIO 185 - Human Genetics 2
BIO 188L - Structural Biology 3
BIO 189 - Regulatory Biology 2
Coursework representing a dedicated experiential component to biological study or its application to society. A minimum of 2 credits required, a maximum of 4 credits can be applied to the total requirement of 34. Coursework indicated by an (*) is subject to approval by the Chair of Biology.  
BIO 064 - Museum Curation 1-3
*BIO 093L - Lab Assistant 1-2
BIO 106L - Research in Genetics 3
BIO 109 - Zoo/Great Ape Practicum 2
BIO 112L - Avian Winter Ecology 3
BIO 124L - Research Collaboration 1-3
BIO 135L - Foot and Ankle Research Lab 1
BIO 159 - Zoo/Great Ape Internship 3
BIO 187L - Molecular Cell Biology Lab 1-2
*BIO 193L - Senior Lab Assistant 2
BIO 195L - Advanced Molecular Life Sciences Lab 3
BIO 196 - Biology Internship 1-3
BIO 197, 197L - Undergrad Thesis Research 1-3
*BIO 198 - Independent Study 1-3
Total Biology 34
Other Required Courses  
MATH 020 - College Algebra (or higher) 4
MATH 050 - Calculus I, or
CS 065 - Introduction to Computer Science I, or
BIO 140 - Biological Research and Statistical Methods
3-4
CHEM 001/003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 002/004 - General Chemistry II (with lab) 4
CHEM 097/098 - Organic Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 108/110 - Organic Chemistry II (with lab) 4
PHY 011 - General Physics I (with lab) 4
PHY 012 - General Physics II (with lab) 4

First-year students who plan to major in biology are encouraged to enroll in BIO 015 - Introduction to Biology during the fall semester of their first year. BIO 015 informs students about the Biology program and the career opportunitiesin biology; it does not contribute to the 34 required credit hours. Students have the responsibility to develop their program of study and review it with their faculty advisor in biology.


B.S. Degree Requirements

Students who earn a B.S. degree in biology and who meet the entrance requirements may apply to schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic medicine, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, or other health related programs. Further opportunities include advanced study in graduate school or career positions with industry, government or private agencies in biologically related fields such as biotechnology, conservation biology and resource management, food science and agriculture, environmental education, and forensic science.

The B.S. in Biology requires a minimum of 34 credit hours in biology which includes courses as outlined below, chemistry, physics, and math courses outlined below, an average GPA of 2.0 or higher in biology courses, at least 6 biology courses having laboratory experiences (courses with “L” designations).

The B.S. degree program in Biology is designed to provide significant experience in biological research by engaging students in genuine scientific investigations similar to those students will encouter in their future careers. Additional requirements for the B.S. degree program include:

  • Collaboration with a faculty advisor in a significant research investigation (minimum of two semesters)
  • Research proposal submitted to the Biology department for approval before senior year
  • An oral presentation to the department
  • Research paper and oral presentation submitted to the department

Restrictions for Biology credits that can be used to fulfill the required 34:

  • A maximum of 16 Biology transfer credits
  • BIO 015 cannot be used towards Biology degree requirements
Course Credits
BIO 012, 012L - General and Pre-Professional Biology I (with lab) 4
BIO 013, 013L - General and Pre-Professional Biology II (with lab) 4
BIO 140 - Biological Research and Statistical Methods
(PSY 011 or STAT 060 may be substituted with Chair approval)
4
BIO 199 - Senior Capstone Experience 3
One course from each of the five core content areas  
Molecular and Cellular Processes  
BIO 105 - Introduction to Genetics 3
BIO 165 - Cell Biology 4
BIO 186 - Molecular Biology 3
Biological Diversity  
BIO 019, 019L - Introduction to Botany 4
BIO 092, 092L - Introduction to Ethnobotany 4
BIO 101, 101L - Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates 4
BIO 103, 103L - Microbiology 5
BIO 113, 113L - Vertebrate Biology 4
BIO 123, 123L - Biology of Invertebrates 4
Systems Biology  
BIO 018, 018L - Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology 4
BIO 120, 120L - Ecosystem Ecology 4
BIO 126, 126L - Developmental Biology 4
BIO 127, 127L - Histology 4
BIO 129, 129L - Mammalian Physiology 5
Ecology/Evolution  
BIO 114, 114L - Evolution 4
BIO 117, 118L - Ecology 3, 2
BIO 125, 125L - Conservation Biology 4
BIO 152, 152L - Field Botany 4
BIO 168, 168L - Limnology 4
Career Specialization  
BIO 021 - Special Topics in Biology 1-3
BIO 024, 024L - Iowa Birds & Birding 2
BIO 025 - Animal Behavior 3
BIO 026L - Ethological Methods 3
BIO 030 - Personal Fitness and Nutrition 3
BIO 032 - Wellness and Nutrition 3
BIO 061 - Natural History Photography 3
BIO 063L - Zoo Biology 3
BIO 095 - Medical Microbiology 3
BIO 098 - Introduction to Primatology 3
BIO 104 - Introduction to Virology 3
BIO 106L - Research in Genetics 3
BIO 107 - Behavior Genetics 3
BIO 108 - Emerging Infectious Diseases 3
BIO 110, 110L - Iowa Natural History 2
BIO 111 - Evolved Foodways 3
BIO 112L - Avian Winter Ecology 3
BIO 115, 115L - Aquatic Biology 3
BIO 116 - Bioinformatics 3
BIO 119, 119L - Herpetology 3
BIO 121, 121L - Parsitology 5
BIO 122, 122L - Mammalogy 3
BIO 130, 130L - Orinthology 3
BIO 131, 131L - Biochemistry 4
BIO 132 - Medical Biophysics 3
BIO 133, 133L - Kinesiology 4
BIO 134, 134L - Exercise Physiology 4
BIO 135L - Foot and Ankle Research Lab 1
BIO 138 - History of Biology 3
BIO 140 - Biological Research and Statistical Methods 4
BIO 145, 145L - Selected Topics in Biology 1-6
BIO 156 - Biology Short Course 1
BIO 167, 167L - Population and Community Ecology 4
BIO 176, 176L - Neurophysiology 4
BIO 182, 182L - Immunology 5
BIO 185 - Human Genetics 2
BIO 187L - Molecular Cell Biology Lab 1-3
BIO 188L - Structural Biology 3
BIO 189 - Regulatory Biology 2
Coursework representing a dedicated experiential component to biological study or its application to society. A minimum of 2 credits required, a maximum of 4 credits can be applied to the total requirement of 34. Coursework indicated by an (*) is subject to approval by the Chair of Biology.  
BIO 064 - Museum Curation 1-3
*BIO 093L - Lab Assistant 1-2
BIO 106L - Research in Genetics 3
BIO 109 - Zoo/Great Ape Practicum 2
BIO 112L - Avian Winter Ecology 3
BIO 124L - Research Collaboration 1-3
BIO 135L - Foot and Ankle Research Lab 1
BIO 159 - Zoo/Great Ape Internship 3
BIO 187L - Molecular Cell Biology Lab 1-2
*BIO 193L - Senior Lab Assistant 2
BIO 195L - Advanced Molecular Life Sciences Lab 3
BIO 196 - Biology Internship 1-3
BIO 197, 197L - Undergrad Thesis Research 1-3
*BIO 198 - Independent Study 1-3
Total Biology 34
Other Required Courses  
MATH 020 - College Algebra (or higher) 4
CHEM 001/003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 002/004 - General Chemistry II (with lab) 4
CHEM 097/098 - Organic Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 108/110 - Organic Chemistry II (with lab) 4
PHY 011 - General Physics I (with lab) 4
PHY 012 - General Physics II (with lab) 4

First-year students who plan to major in biology are encouraged to enroll in BIO 015 - Introduction to Biology during the fall semester of their first year. BIO 015 informs students about the Biology program and the career opportunitiesin biology; it does not contribute to the 34 required credit hours. Students have the responsibility to develop their program of study and review it with their faculty advisor in biology.


Biology Minor

A minor in biology is designed to provide students with a broad background in biology while allowing them the flexibility to explore courses of interest.

  • Completion of 20 credit hours in biology is required, which must include at least three biology laboratory courses (courses with "L" designation), and
  • 8 credits of Biology courses numbered 100 or higher, and
  • A minimum grade-point average of 2.00 must be achieved, and
  • Credit/no-credit courses may not be used for the minor.
  • The program for the biology minor must be approved by the chair of the Biology department.

2017-2018 Drake University Undergraduate Catalog
University News
November 21, 2017
Madison Glennie, a Drake golf standout and straight-A student, was a finalist for the highly prestigious Rhodes Scholarship this year. 
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