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Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees with a major in biology.

Description of Program

Biology is the study of life and all its remarkable forms and processes. Pursuing a degree in biology will be very rewarding, exciting and valuable. Biologists learn and study how living things work from the level of cells to the level of ecosystems and the biosphere. The Drake Biology program is designed to build a solid foundation of general biological understanding while at the same time providing opportunities for students to develop expertise in a more specific discipline.

Courses offered in the Biology Department allow students to choose from several areas of study, including preparation for graduate programs, careers in the health sciences, or industry or other areas in the biological sciences. Drake University’s biology program is notable for having a large number of new faculty actively engaged in research and a rich diversity of courses in traditional and modern areas of biology

Students who earn a B.S. or B.A. degree in biology and who meet the entrance requirements may apply to schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, osteopathic medicine, 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, food science, agriculture and forensic science.

Requirements for Major

Minimum of 32 credit hours in biology, which must include 6 courses having laboratory experiences (courses with “L” designations) and the following requirements:

  • BIO 12 and 13 (General and Pre–Professional Biology)
  • BIO 191 and 192 (Seminar in Biology)
  • BIO 199 (Senior Capstone Experience)

One course from each of the five core areas is needed:

  • Molecular and Cellular Processes
    • BIO 105 (Introduction to Genetics)
    • BIO 165, 165L (Cell Biology)
    • BIO 186, 186L (Molecular Biology)
  • Biological Diversity
    • BIO 019, 19L (Introduction to Botany)
    • BIO 101, 101L (Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates)
    • BIO 103, 103L (Microbiology)
    • BIO 113, 113L (Vertebrate Biology)
    • BIO 123, 123L (Biology of Invertebrates)
  • Systems Biology
    • BIO 018, 18L (Introductory Anatomy and Physiology)
    • BIO 126, 126L (Developmental Biology)
    • BIO 127, 127L (Histology)
    • BIO 129, 129L (Mammalian Physiology)
  • Ecology/Evolution
    • BIO 114, 114L (Evolution)
    • BIO 117, 117L (Ecology)
    • BIO 125, 125L (Conservation Biology)
    • BIO 152, 152L (Field Botany)
    • BIO 168, 168L (Limnology)
  • Applications of Biological Principles
    • BIO 21 (selected Topics in Biology)
    • BIO 24, 24L (Field Ornithology)
    • BIO 61 (Natural History Photography)
    • BIO 95 (Principles of Microbiology)
    • BIO 98 (Introduction to Primatology)
    • BIO 99 (Biological Research and Statistical Methods)
    • BIO 104 (Introduction to Virology)
    • BIO 106, 106L (Research in Genetics)
    • BIO 108 (Emerging Infectious Diseases)
    • BIO 110, 110L (Iowa Natural History)
    • BIO 115, 115L (Aquatic Biology)
    • BIO 116 (Bioinformatics)
    • BIO 119, 119L (Herpetology)
    • BIO 120, 120L (Ecosystem Ecology)
    • BIO 121, 121L (Parasitology)
    • BIO 122, 122L (Mammalogy)
    • BIO 130, 130L (Ornithology)
    • BIO 133, 133L (Kinesiology)
    • BIO 134, 134L (Biology of Exercise and Sport)
    • BIO 145 (Selected Topics in Biology)
    • BIO 156 (Biology Short Course)
    • BIO 158 (Biomedical Aspects of Aging)
    • BIO 167, 167L (Population and Community Ecology)
    • BIO 176, 176L (Neurophysiology)
    • BIO 182, 182L (Immunology)
    • BIO 185 (Human Genetics)
    • BIO 187, 187L (Molecular/Cell Biology Lab)
    • BIO 188, 188L (Structural Biology)
    • BIO 189 (Regulatory Biology)

Additional requirements for the major include:

  • Mathematics 20 (College Algebra or higher)
  • Chemistry 1/3 and 2/4 (General Chemistry I and II with Labs)
  • Chemistry 107/109 and 108/110 (Organic Chemistry with Labs)
  • Physics 11 and 12 (General Physics I and II with Labs)

B.A. Degree: Students pursuing the B.A. degree also must take one course of at least 3 credit hours in either calculus, statistics or Computer Science 65.

First-Year Students: First-year students who plan to major in biology are encouraged to enroll in Biology 15 (Introduction to Biology) during the fall semester of their first year. Students have the responsibility to develop their program of study and review it with their faculty adviser in biology.

B.S. Degree: 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 what students will encounter in their future careers . Students will become collaborators with faculty and contribute to all aspects of a research project from proposal and hypothesis formation to data analysis, interpretation and presentation. The research typically occurs at Drake University with Drake faculty, but it could also happen during an off-campus experience with a non-Drake adviser (e.g., study abroad, local workplaces). Off campus research still requires a Biology faculty adviser (through enrollment in BIO 197 or 197L).

B.S. Requirements:

  • Collaboration with a faculty advisor in a significant research investigation (minimum of 2 semesters)
  • Research proposal submitted to the Biology department for approval before your senior year
  • BIO 99, Biological Research and Statistical Methods, or its advisor-approved equivalent
  • A minimum of 2 credits of BIO 197/197L, Undergraduate Thesis Research
  • Presentation of the research in BIO 192 (student should be enrolled in 192 the spring semester the research is presented); for students graduating in fall, presentation in BIO 191 is an option
  • Research paper and a copy of the presentation submitted to the department

Students planning to complete a B.S. in Biology should obtain a copy of the full description of the B.S. requirements from their advisor or the department office by their sophomore year.


Program of study for minor: Completion of 20 credit hours in biology, at least 3 of which must be from laboratory courses. 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.

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