Biology

Tex Sordahl (department head)

Biology is the scientific study of living systems. The discipline ranges from studying the structure of biomolecules to the interactions of species with their environment. Courses are taught from an evolutionary perspective, which explains both the unity and diversity of life.

The biology major is designed to be flexible in meeting the needs and interests of students. Students are introduced to the discipline in the two-semester introductory course, Principles of Biology. Beyond that, students are encouraged to select courses across the breadth of the discipline, from molecular/cellular to systemic to organismic to ecological aspects. Supplementing the biology courses are courses in general chemistry and calculus. Depending on students' interests and goals, they may be advised to take supporting coursework in chemistry (202 or higher), physics (151 or higher), mathematics (152 or higher), computer science (150 or higher), or environmental studies (134, 220, 310, 320). Students are encouraged to seek undergraduate research opportunities and internship experience in addition to their coursework to better prepare them for their future career.

Required for a major:

Plan 1 (non-teaching): Minimum of 28 hours in biology, including BIO 151 and BIO 152; 20 hours in biology numbered above 200 to include 12 hours in biology lab courses and 4 hours in a biology course numbered 340-370; CHEM 151 and CHEM 152, or CHEM 201; MATH 141 or MATH 151 (or higher); one course (4 hours) from the following: CHEM 202 (or higher), PHYS 151 (or higher), CS 150 (or higher), ENVS 134. No courses numbered 185 may be used to fulfill the major. No more than 4 hours from biology courses above 370 can be applied toward the major. Transfer students must complete at least four biology courses (four hours each) at Luther.

Majors are required to attend a minimum of 12 approved biology colloquia. Biology colloquium meets approximately 10 times during the academic year for lectures and discussions led by visiting scholars, faculty, and student researchers. Declared biology majors are expected to attend as often as possible.

Plan II (teaching): Same as the major requirements in Plan 1 except that the 20 hours in biology numbered above 200 must include one course from each of the three categories listed below. See education department for secondary education minor requirements.

  1. ecology or evolution (BIO 245, 354, or 365)
  2. microbiology, genetics, or physiology (BIO 243, 248, 255, or 262)
  3. botany or zoology (BIO 251, 252, 253, or 258)

Writing requirement for either major plan completed with one of BIO 251, 253, 258, 262, 354, 358, 359, 363, 364, 365, 367, or selected special topics courses in biology.

Required for a minor: A minimum of 20 hours in biology, including BIO 151 and BIO 152, and 12 hours in biology courses numbered above 200.

Affiliated programs are available in medical technology, cytotechnology, and nuclear medicine technology. Consult with the Biology department about the 3 + 1 options.