Dear Prospective Student,
Thank you for taking the time to learn about biology here at Drake. Please feel free to contact me or the Biology Department about any questions you may have, however, I would like to point out some important features of Biology here at Drake University.
Size: I like to think of the Biology Department here at Drake as being medium sized. Like smaller institutions, faculty are constantly interacting with students. In fact, you are likely to have several of our faculty in two or three courses before you graduate. This helps to build relationships between faculty and students. But we are also big enough that we can represent a lot of diversity within the field of biology, both in the number and variety of classes we are able to offer as well as the range of research interests we cover.
Faculty Instructors: There is not a graduate program in biology at Drake. For some lower division laboratory courses, we do utilize full-time lab instructors (they teach multiple lab sections as a full-time job). The majority of our upper division labs are taught by our faculty, again helping build that relationship between faculty and students.
Faculty are required to have at least five hours of office hours a week. When you have questions about the course materials, you can get help directly from the very person who is evaluating your comprehension of course the content. Teaching is our faculty’s major responsibility. Each semester, most of our faculty members teach three courses (lectures or laboratories or a combination of the two).
Curriculum: Biology, and in general all of the science courses at Drake, are rigorous enough to prepare students for the next level. This can be in preparation for future courses here at Drake, exams like the MCAT, post-baccalaureate programs, and employment.
Resources: With the addition of our new science building and planned remodeling of Olin Hall, the facilities here are Drake are designed to give students a learning environment that will help them to be successful. For more information about specific resources, please check out the resources link.
Research Opportunities: While our size limits the number of research labs, there are fewer students, and no graduate program so the opportunity for students to be able to find research is comparable, if not better, than you might find at larger universities. Also, all of the research equipment and resources are intended for our students to be able to utilize in undergraduate research.
Careers: Biology students from Drake have gone onto a wide variety of careers. Many of our students go on to careers in the medical field (physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, dentists, optometrists, nursing, veterinary medicine to name a few). In addition, we have numerous students who go on to careers in research (some go to graduate school, but many go directly into the workforce). However, these are not the only options available to biology majors. Our students have used their science backgrounds to go onto law school, pursue careers in sales (i.e.; pharmaceuticals), have pursued careers in public health (such as Peace Corps; others have gone on to earn a master’s degree in public health), or have found careers with government agencies. Keep in mind, this not a complete list of all the possible career paths you can take with a degree in biology.
Des Moines: It is important to keep in mind that Drake University is located in a relatively large metropolitan area. In addition to Drake University, students have the opportunity to utilize all of the resources the city of Des Moines has to offer. This includes three major hospitals (for those looking for volunteering or shadowing opportunities), Des Moines University (a doctor of osteopathy medical school), Blank Park Zoo, as well as numerous other opportunities that come with a large metropolitan area.
Why I Chose Drake: I love to teach. Like most of our faculty, I came to Drake for the opportunity to prioritize teaching. Unlike most biology faculty at larger institutions who are focused on research, our major focus is the classroom. However, unlike faculty at some smaller institutions, we do have the facilities and resources to still maintain active research careers that we are able to engage students in. Perhaps the thing I enjoy most about my job is being able to build relationships with students. I get to watch them learn, grow, help them find their likes and dislikes and hopefully see them be able to leave Drake University with the foundation that will allow them to be successful in life.
One Final Note: This is not an exhaustive list of all the benefits of a degree in biology here at Drake University, but hopefully, it is a starting point. Please take the time to explore the biology website, and please take a look at some other the other science majors here at Drake. On a personal note, when talking with prospective students, one piece of advice I like to leave students with is this: your goal in determining where to go to college should not be based on the idea of being successful in college, but where you feel you will be the most successful in your preparation for your life after college.
Marc Busch Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Biology Department Chair
212 Science Connector Building
2714 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA 50031