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.

  • Understanding how living things work
  • Understanding how living things interact with their environments and with each other
  • Conducting research with others and on your own
  • Human health and public health
  • Ecology, animal behavior, plant biology, marine biology
  • Genetics, cell biology, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology, and more!


Life After Lawrence

Lawrentians enjoy careers in...

Research (recent areas include molecular genetics, marine biology, human genetics, and more), medicine (cardiology, radiology, pediatrics, internal medicine, surgery, sports medicine, and more), wildlife biology, nursing, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, sports medicine, genetic research, education (elementary, secondary, collegiate), biotechnology, hospital administration, law, marine biology

Recent employers include...

Mayo Clinic, 3M, U.S.D.A., U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, New Jersey State Academy for Aquatic Sciences, Shaw Group (environmental consulting), Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, University of California-San Diego

Lawrentians earn advanced degrees in...

Marine biology, biology, biotechnology, ecology, medicine, microbiology, veterinary medicine, nursing, dentistry, law, physical therapy, business

Recent schools include...

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

Get research experience from day one

In your first year, 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 scientific presentation. You'll build on this with courses covering the diversity of organisms and experimental design and analysis, followed by more research opportunities through upper-level courses and Lawrence University Research Fellowships.

Dive deeper 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.

Explore ecology, cell biology, and genetics

With upper level courses in aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology and plant ecology you can sample lakes and rivers and search for bats and bugs in fields and woodlands. In cell biology, you will create a portfolio of images using our confocal microscope (check out the video below). In genetics you can map genes and fingerprint DNA.

Share your research during BioFest: Senior Symposium

What biology topic are you especially passionate about—dance-based physical therapy, dental abnormalities, fungi soil remediation... or something else we haven't explored yet?  At BioFest you will communicate your research to the Lawrence campus and Appleton community in the format of your choice, such as a research poster, sculpture, website, or podcast. (And it will become part of your post-Lawrence portfolio.)

The Biology Curriculum

  • 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.)

A sample of recent Senior Experience projects:

(all designed by Lawrentians with their professors)


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