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
For the Healing of the Nations: Global Health and the Environment

The 2018 Wheaton College Science Symposium is co-sponsored by the Science Divison and the Human Needs and Global Resources program. (March 13-17, 2018)

Why Study Biology at Wheaton?

As a Biology major, you will experience rigorous 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 have more than 150 years of combined 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. Courses at the Wheaton College Science Station in the Black Hills (South Dakota) and a Marine Biology class trip to Belize 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.) 

Student Staff Positions

Positions in the Biology Department help students grow in their knowledge of biology, acquire hands-on experience, and develop leadership skills.  Over 20 student staff positions are available by application. For more information, please contact the Biology Department.

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.

Honors’ students successfully complete Biology Honors Research and Seminar (BIOL 499), conduct a research project, write and orally defend a thesis, and maintain a specific GPA.  Students who wish to apply to the Biology Department Honors Program in the Spring semester of one’s junior year must meet course, GPA, and research criteria.  

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.

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.)

Approximately 86% of Wheaton Biology alumni attend graduate schools, medical, dental, veterinary, or nursing schools.  Here are just a few of the recent schools they have attended:

  • Baylor College of Dentistry
  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dartmouth University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Harvard University Medical School
  • Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • Reformed Theological Seminary
  • University of Oxford
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Washington University at 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
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
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."
John Humphry, 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
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."
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."