Students snorkeling underwater
Students in lab looking at skulls


Why Study Biology?

Biology majors explore the beauty, complexity, and intricacies of the natural world God created. At Wheaton, the broad curriculum, hands-on research, and engagement with current issues within a Christian context will position you to succeed in professional school, graduate school, or the workforce. You will study and learn in a community where faculty-student mentorship is valued and practiced.

hours of required Biology coursework (+16 hours supporting courses)
full-time faculty
annual scholarship awards

Why Study Biology at Wheaton?

As a Biology major, you will experience a challenging and energetic study of life sciences purposefully engaged within a Christian context and designed to equip students for effective service and stewardship. You will prepare for personal and professional vocation through comprehensive study of biological concepts, active participation in scientific research and communication, and expectations of professionalism.

Our faculty collective have an average of 20 years of teaching experience. Collectively, they have published more than 100 scholarly articles and given over 160 scientific presentations. They receive grants from public, private, and governmental funding agencies and maintain collaborations with scientists around the world. Faculty value the training and mentorship of students and cite ‘teaching’ as the most enjoyable part of their job.

An integral research methods course provides valuable hands-on learning experiences and opportunities to discuss research ethics. On-campus or off-campus research opportunities provide an awareness of how scientific processes work and what it is like to participate in an active research community. Summer courses at the Wheaton College Science Station in the Black Hills (South Dakota) put you in the field for real-world experience.

Our facilities include a greenhouse, several large instructional laboratories, a neuroimaging suite, and a well- equipped ecology lab, all used by students and faculty for coursework and collaborative research projects.  In addition to typical undergraduate instructional laboratory equipment, controlled-temperature growth chambers, tissue culture incubators, a photosynthesis/respiration measurement system, a cell imager, fluorescent and inverted microscopes, and molecular biological equipment are available for classes and research.

Research and Internships

On-campus and off-campus research opportunities provide students with an awareness of how scientific processes work. Students engage collaboratively with scientists and learn to participate professionally in an active research community. Students who wish to receive college credit for their research or internship should enroll in BIOL 495 or BIOL 496, respectively. (See Biology course list for more information.) 

Additionally, biology-related internships are offered through Global Programs and Studies (GPS), the Human Needs and Global Resources program, or off-campus organizations.

Student Staff Positions

Over 30 student staff positions develop leadership skills with hands-on experiences working closely with faculty, staff, and fellow students. Positions include laboratory teaching assistants, laboratory preparation workers, greenhouse caretakers, fish/hydroid keepers, and tutors for college, middle, and elementary schools.

Student-led Departmental Organizations

The Biology Student Advisory Council (BSAC) consists of Biology students interested in interacting with Department faculty and staff on matters of mutual interest. BSAC sets its agenda according to student interest and priorities in biology. The Symbiosis Club aims to foster community within the Biology Department by providing an atmosphere which enables students to get to know each other while growing in their love for biology.

Study Abroad

Study biology in places such as Denmark, New Zealand, Thailand, and Uganda.

What Will I Learn?

  • The Biology curriculum addresses and integrates scientific processes of life at the molecular, organismal, and ecosystem levels. The major positions you well to specialize in many areas as you enter professional school, graduate school, or the workforce.
  • Biology Major with a Neuroscience Certificate provides knowledge in cellular, molecular, systems, and behavioral neuroscience. In addition to instruction in the life sciences, students receive training in neuroscience techniques and discuss neuroscience topics in the context of a biblical understanding of the nature of persons.
  • The Biology/Secondary Education program double major prepares students to be licensed to teach the life sciences in grades 6-12.

The current Honors Program in the Biology Department requires at least six hours of biological research credit or its equivalent, an overall GPA of 3.50, a biology GPA of 3.70, and a combined Biology + supporting courses GPA of 3.50. Learn more about our current Honors Program and our New Honors Program which comes into effect for the class of 2020 and beyond.

The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program is available with a Biology major. A combined Bachelor’s/M.A.T. program may be completed in five years and one summer. This combined Bachelor's and Master's program is only available to currently enrolled students.

Enables currently enrolled undergraduate biology students can take graduate level education courses to earn a Master's of Arts in Teaching degree one year after receiving their Bachelor's of Science degree.  

Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.

Biology News and Stories


Taylor Gevry 13 Wheaton College Biology Major
Taylor Gevry '13

Wheaton, specifically the biology department, prepared me so well for law school and business school.

Kristen Anderson Wineinger 12 Wheaton College Biology Alumna
Kristen Anderson Wineinger '12

I feel incredibly blessed that God opened up this opportunity at Cerner Corporation for me, and for the solid foundation that the Wheaton College Biology department gave to me.

Recent Biology Major Graduates

  • DVM Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine
  • DVM Purdue College of Veterinary Med.
  • MD Medical College of Wisconsin
  • MPH University of Minnesota
  • PA University of Colorado Denver
  • MS University of Cincinnati
  • MS/PhD Pohang University of Science and Technology
  • PhD University of Iowa
  • Interning at Lawndale Christian Health Center
  • Park Ranger Intern
  • MD Thomas Jefferson University
  • DDS University of Maryland Baltimore
  • Masters in Physiology, University of Cincinnati
  • Working at a Research Laboratory
  • Hired in a Management Position
  • Nursing
  • Masters Global Health Emory University
  • Taking a gap year then pursuing a Graduate Education
  • MPH Yale University School of Public Health
  • PHD Neuroscience University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio
  • MAT Wheaton College Graduate School
  • DVM Texas A&M University
  • MD Albert Einstein School of Medicine
  • MD Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University
  • MD University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Public Health University of Illinois at Chicago

Possible Careers for Biologists

A biologist is a scientist who studies life and understand structure, function, and the structure/function relationship at all levels of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems. In partnership with our Center for Vocation and Career, Wheaton biology students pursue a variety of careers including, but not limited to, doctors, dentists, researchers, professors, and more.

  • About 79 percent of our alumni attend graduate, medical, dental, veterinary, or nursing schools within five years of graduation.
  • About 86 percent attend these schools within 10 years of graduation.
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
  • Doctor of Medical Dentistry (D.M.D.)
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.)
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)
  • Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)
  • Physician Assistant (P.A.)
The acceptance rates of our graduates to professional or graduate schools are above the national average. Here are a few of the schools attended by biology graduates in recent years:
  • Baylor College of Dentistry
  • Ben Gurion University of the Negev
  • Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dartmouth University
  • Harvard University Medical School
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Oxford University
  • Reformed Theological Seminary
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Washington University in St. Louis

The Biology Department has set me up well for being a professional biologist. It has also taught me about the body of Christ. So much of what I learn here is how to be a friend and how to be in community with others. — Nathaniel E. Wright '17, Goldwater Scholarship recipient
I honestly don't think there's anything quite like learning zoology and ecology in a classroom like the Black Hills--it was a truly unforgettable experience. — Lauren Tsao-Wu '19
After the rigorous, high-quality coursework and the exposure to modern laboratory techniques and technologies in the Wheaton Biology Department, I was well-prepared for pursuing a career in pharmacology. — Thomas M. Bridges '05
Christopher Stokes Biology alumnus
Chris Stokes '05
Emergency Physician, Tulsa, OK
Engagement With Others
"I was encouraged to pursue other disciplines . . . Wheaton opened my eyes to a more global perspective which sent me to Latin America and has gotten me involved in short-term medical missions. Wheaton’s extracurricular activities taught me how to engage with people. These experiences prepared me to help the people I treat in the ER every day."
David Hoekman '02 Biology Alumnus
David Hoekman '02
Assistant Professor of Biology, Southern Nazarene University
Prepared for the Academy and Beyond
"My experience at Wheaton prepared me well academically for graduate school, a postdoc and other research and academic positions. It also prepared me with strong relationships, a deep appreciation for creation and the value of pursuing excellence to further the kingdom."
Wheaton College Alumni John Humphry and Connie Keung
John Humphrey, Connie Keung '05, '04
International Physicians
Our Journey as International Physicians
"Amidst discouraging circumstances, it is helpful to step back and view things as God might view them – as part of a bigger picture and greater purpose than we recognize them to be at the time."
Kristen Anderson Wineinger 12 Wheaton College Biology Alumna
Kristen Anderson Wineinger '12
Consultant for Cerner
The Skills to Succeed
"The ability to understand and speak to the science behind blood transfusions makes me a better consultant, and I have my Wheaton College Biology degree to thank for that. My time at Wheaton also helped strengthen my organization and presentation skills, which have been vital during my consulting career."
Rachel Rienstra Liao Biology Alumna Spotlight Image Square
Rachel Rienstra Liao '07
Scientific Adviser at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Alumni Connections lead to a Rewarding Career
" was an internship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital offered through an alumnus of the College the summer after her sophomore year that cemented her current path."
Taylor Gevry 13 Wheaton College Biology Major
Taylor Gevry '13
Attorney, Boyd Watterson Asset Management
From Biology to Business and Law
"Wheaton, specifically the biology department, prepared me so well for law school and business school. I found out very quickly that having a science background was a huge advantage in law school."