At Lawrence you won’t just study biology; you will do biology.

One of our largest majors at Lawrence, the biology program’s coursework and collaborative research with faculty will help you study and apply your talents to create new knowledge. Experimental work increases in sophistication as you flex your creative muscles and synthesize new information with previous discoveries.

Since biological entities span a range from macromolecules such as DNA and proteins within cells, to organs such as animal hearts or plant leaves, to entire ecosystems, you’ll be exposed to the breadth of biology through courses, labs, local and global field experiences and research. Your path toward the major will be unique.

Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians can enjoy careers in...

Research, medicine, cardiology, radiology, pediatrics, wildlife biology, nursing, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, sports medicine, genetic research, education (elementary, secondary, collegiate)

Recent employers include...

Mayo Clinic, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New Jersey State Academy for Aquatic Sciences, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, University of California-San Diego

Lawrentians can earn advanced degrees in...

Biology, biotechnology, medicine, optometry, veterinary medicine, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, ecology

Recent schools include...

(MD) Mayo Clinic, Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, Dartmouth, Minnesota, Utah; (DDS) Michigan and Marquette; (PhD) Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Emory, Wash U, Boston University, Penn State, Chicago, North Carolina, Oklahoma, University of Washington, UC-Riverside, Wisconsin


Get research experience from day one

You’ll work in small groups with faculty members on a co-designed research project, building skills in experimental design and implementation, data analysis and presentation of scientific results. The theme continues in coursework covering the diversity of organisms and a course on experimental design and analysis.  Research extends beyond the introductory sequence, both on and off campus, in upper-level courses and summer research opportunities.

Explore with the Lawrence University Marine Term Program

Marine biology at a land-locked college? Yes! Take courses on coral reef ecology, environmental microbiology and ecological energetics, and spend two weeks on a Caribbean island, diving to undertake a census of coral reef biodiversity and complete a self-designed research project.

Integrate lab, field and classroom

Upper level courses in aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology and plant ecology have students sampling lakes and rivers and searching for bats and bugs in fields and woodlands. In cell biology, students create a portfolio of images using our (very expensive!) confocal microscope while genetics students map genes and fingerprint DNA.

Share research during BioFest: Senior Symposium

What biology topic are you especially passionate about—dance-based physical therapy, dental abnormalities, fungi soil remediation?  This is your chance to communicate your research to the Lawrence campus and wider community in the format of your choice, such as a research poster, sculpture, website, or podcast.

Components of the Major

  • Integrative Biology:
    Cells to Organisms
  • Integrative Biology:
    Organisms to Ecosystems
  • Integrative Biology:
    ​Experimental Design and Statistics
  • Principles of Chemistry: Energetics and Dynamics
  • At least seven courses in intermediate and upper-level biology, at least five of which must be lab courses
  • Completion of Biology Senior Experience.

Course descriptions and more courses

The Chandler Senior Experience

Purposeful advising in spring of sophomore year, and attendance at BioFest will spark you to think about what you want to undertake for your culminating project. At a weekend Björklunden retreat during junior year, you’ll brainstorm project ideas and further sharpen your focus. Internships, LU Research Experiences and tutorials may shape your project further, which you’ll launch prior to Term II of your senior year.  (More about Biology Senior Experience available in the Course Catalog.)

Recent Senior Experiences include:


Fox Valley Bat Detectives: Using Citizen Science Acoustic Bat Monitoring to Understand Local Bat Activity

The Effect of Hierarchical Relationship on Social Behavior in a Troop of Japanese Macaques

A Secret to the Synapse? Investigating Targets of the Transcription Factor, DAF-19, in the Nervous System of C. elegans.

Effects of Toxic Cyanobacteria on Feeding and Reproduction Ecology of a Copepod from Green Bay, Lake Michigan

Navajo Tea: A Traditional Navajo Medicine and a Promising Cancer Therapeutic

Hands-only CPR in India



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