student looks at a substance in a container

Biology Major

Biology is an exciting field centered on the study of the living world. Unique opportunities at Bethany include our cadaver dissection course and a wealth of options for field research.

Bethany’s biology major is designed to prepare you for human, field, or cellular biology. Students receive valuable one-on-one time with supportive faculty members as they learn techniques used in biology and develop skills for their future careers.

Potential Careers

Biology majors often enter these careers:

  • Medicine/dentistry
  • Veterinary medicine
  • Research/testing
  • Physical therapy
  • Environmental education
  • Microbiology/pathology
  • Wildlife management
  • Plant science
  • Lab technician

Pre-professional programs

These guidelines can help you choose coursework:

Or see general Major Requirements below.

What Sets Us Apart

Cadaver Dissection

Our biology program offers the course BIOL491 Introduction to Human Gross Anatomy. At Bethany, this course includes human cadaver dissection which is not offered at the undergraduate level at most schools. In this course, students gain invaluable learning experience and a strong advantage when applying to medical school or further studies in physical therapy.

Field Biology

Get involved with Hawk Watch or The Cobb River Project, a collaboration between Bethany and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Campus Community

In the words of one of our graduates, “One aspect of the biology program at Bethany that truly sets it apart from other schools is the relationship that develops between the students and the professors. The professors reach beyond the classroom to ensure students succeed. They are available for questions almost everyday. They also give advice on getting a job or tips on graduate school. The professors genuinely care about the students. As a student, to have the support and encouragement from a professor is motivating and can be the push that one needs to succeed.” – Ivy Pike (’05), Lab Technologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.


Our biology students and professors are passionate about their field and highly involved. In addition to trips to the Minnesota Zoo or the Cobb River Waterfowl Production Area, science-related trips, events, and speakers are also planned by The Bethany Organization of Student Scientists (B.O.S.S.), the science club on the Bethany campus. Members typically major in mathematics, chemistry, or biology though other interested students have joined. Past speakers have talked to students about graduate studies, medical school, and undergraduate research opportunities.

Biology Student Stories

Photo of Rebecca Jahns and a large tortoise
Rebecca Jahns

Rebecca (Riediger) Jahns – Class of 2014 – Biology Husbandry assistant-LTE at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo, in Green Bay Wisconsin.

Read More »
Photo of Katherine Caflisch - headshot
Katherine Caflisch

Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences PhD Program; Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics track Est. graduation date 2022 What

Read More »

Entry into the Major

A student desiring to declare a biology major/minor must achieve a GPA of 2.0 or better in all college coursework, complete BIOL151 General Biology I and Lab BIOL152 General Biology II and Lab at least a “C-” or better and complete an interview with a faculty member in the Biology Department to ensure satisfactory progress and arrange for proper academic advising.  A course can be repeated only once to achieve the minimum grade required.

Core Requirements

Students must successfully complete all of the following course work: 

Collateral Requirements

Students must successfully complete all of the following course work: 

Choose One: 

Choose One:

NOTE: MATH151 Calculus I I and CHEM215 Organic Chemistry I and Lab – Organic Chemistry I are recommended for biology majors pursuing graduate or professional schooling upon graduation. 

^ Students intending to enter careers in medicine, physical therapy, or related fields should plan to take either PHYS151 College Physics I and Lab PHYS152 College Physics II and Lab or PHYS213 General Physics I and Lab PHYS214 General Physics II and Lab; a year of physics is often required for entry into such professional programs. 

Biology Elective Cluster I: Apologetics 

Students must successfully complete one of the following courses

Biology Elective Cluster II: Organism & Ecology 

Students must successfully complete one of the following courses

Biology Elective Cluster III: Human Biology 

Students must successfully complete one of the following courses

Additional Biology Electives

Students must successfully complete an additional 7 credits or more from the elective clusters above or the additional electives listed below: 

Only one course marked with an * can be taken as an elective for the biology major; others can be taken for credit but do not count towards the major 

Capstone Elective Cluster

Students must successfully complete one of the following courses:

Biology Minor

The Biology Minor requires BIOL151 General Biology I and Lab, BIOL152 General Biology II and Lab a minimum of 15 credits of biology electives.  Three courses must be laboratory courses and one course must be upper division.  Only one course with a * may be counted as an elective.  A grade of “C-” or better must be achieved in all minor coursework.

The minor in biology requires:

Electives: 15 credits from biology major electives section. A minimum of 3 credits from upper division courses; no more than 2 SCIE courses.

To view the most recent course list and requirements for the biology major, please consult the Academic Catalog.

Biology Facilities

All students, including freshmen, have access to our research and classroom facilities and equipment. The Marvin G. Meyer Hall of Science and Mathematics is a 53,000 square foot facility that houses four biology labs, four chemistry labs, three computer labs, and three physics labs as well as numerous classrooms and faculty offices. Special features of the facility include ample lab preparation and storage areas, as well as a 120-seat seminar room with tiered seating. Our students also have access to 3,000 acres of field study sites, the campus prairie and teaching garden, and greenhouse.

Meyer Hall

Meyer Hall

The Marvin G. Meyer Hall of Science and Mathematics is a 53,000 square foot facility designed to support baccalaureate majors in biology, chemistry, computer science,

Two birdwatchers use binoculars to view and count hawks as part of Bethany's Hawkwatch
Bethany Hawkwatch

Bethany’s location overlooking the Minnesota River Valley affords excellent viewing opportunities for migrating birds. A total of 182 bird species have been recorded on campus

A students releasing a Sharp-shinned Hawk outside
Bird Banding Trip

Bethany students visit Minnesota’s North Shore to band and release hawks. Bethany students visit the North Shore to band and release birds Chad Heins with

student looking through telescope for birds
Bird Watching Trip

On occasion, Professor Chad Heins will take students from his course up to northern Minnesota in search of uncommon birds from the boreal forest and


Biology Faculty

Additional information is available on the Biology Department page.

Next Steps

Interested in studying at Bethany? Scheduling a campus visit is a great way to see what we have to offer. You can meet professors or sit in on a class too! Contact our admissions office to learn more.