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Explore living systems from microscopic to ecosystem levels. Kickstart your future in research, teaching, medicine, and more. Prepare for a life in science through our academically rigorous biology program.

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Why Study Biology?

If you love to learn about living things and how they relate, studying biology might be the right fit for you. As a biology student, you’ll get an in-depth understanding of the natural world. Learn how to conduct research, solve problems, organize information, and grow as a critical thinker.

Graduating with a biology degree opens the door to many exciting job opportunities. Prepare for a career in health care, lab services, restoration and conservation ecology, environmental biology, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology, or other science-related jobs. No matter your interest area, prepare for a lifetime of exploration.

Why Study Biology at Luther?

The foundation of Luther’s biology major is its rigorous academic program. Luther’s customizable curriculum will help you explore your interests and shape your future. Luther biology students enjoy considerable flexibility in their curricular choices.

Luther’s state-of-the-art facilities and natural areas promote collaborative faculty-student research. Hundreds of acres of prairie and woodlands will be easy for you to access as “outdoor laboratories.”

Our biology program prioritizes experiential learning. You’ll take part in ongoing research projects, work-oriented internships, and restoration of natural areas.

Finally, Luther’s biology faculty are leaders in their scientific fields. As dynamic educators, they will challenge and support you in your development as a scientist.

Program Highlights

Hundreds of Acres of Outdoor Labs

Luther’s campus is unique—it contains 700 acres of forests, woodlands, prairies, and the Upper Iowa River. These natural areas will become valuable spaces for you to learn in and research during your time here.

Active Research Program

Research experience is an essential part of preparing for a career as a biologist. It’s also necessary when applying for graduate programs. At Luther, you can partner with faculty to make groundbreaking discoveries and get a head start on your future in biology.

Study Biology in the Wider World

Luther’s study-away programs will broaden your understanding of the natural world. Head north to study winter biology in the Boundary Waters. Learn about marine biology in Roatan, Honduras. Explore desert ecology in the American Southwest. We’ll help you make the world your lab.

What You’ll Learn

At Luther, you’ll develop your own flexible course plan based on your goals and interests. We introduce all biology majors and minors to the program through three core courses. These courses are then supplemented by additional electives.

  • BIO 151: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
  • BIO 152: Cells and Molecules
  • BIO 201: Genetics

As a biology major, you’ll attend at least 12 biology colloquia. Luther’s biology colloquia let you gather with other biologists for lectures and discussions. These presentations represent a wide diversity of biological topics.

No matter what areas of biology you choose to focus on, Luther will set you up for life as a scientist. At Luther, you will:

  • Become proficient in using fundamental biological concepts
  • Apply the process of science by designing experiments and making observations
  • Develop problem-solving strategies
  • Communicate scientific ideas
  • Use quantitative reasoning
  • Understand the relationship between science and society


White man wearing swim cap with goggles, plus a stethoscope
The Luther biology major equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to get into medical school, from introduction to biology to advanced classes like human anatomy and dissection.
Matt Benson '22
Read Matt's story
Anila Bano
Science has a special place in my heart—it always will, but the arts and humanities at Luther made me realize that science can only be strengthened if combined with humanities and art.
Anila Bano '20
Marta Williams
Gaining experience in Dr. Fretham’s lab opened a lot of doors for me. It was that initial lab experience that allowed me to gain even more complex lab experience.
Marta Williams '19
Read Marta's Story

Careers and Outcomes

Luther biology alumni are physicians, ecologists, geneticists, and more. Our graduates are successful in a variety of biology-related careers.

Career Fields

  • Health sciences
  • Education
  • Conservation and wildlife
  • Government policy and field work
  • Pharmaceutical research and sales
  • Applied research

Recent Employers

  • University of Iowa Hospitals
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Epic Systems
  • Integrated DNA Technologies
  • Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
  • US Geological Survey
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

Many of our biology graduates go on to graduate school or professional programs. They hold advanced degrees in fields from pharmacology to ecology, entomology to immunology.

Those interested in medical school or health-related careers often major in biology. They frequently obtain careers as:

  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Dentists
  • Optometrists
  • Physical therapist
  • Podiatrists
  • Veterinary medicine doctors

If you’re planning for a career in the health sciences, you’ll leave Luther well-prepared for further education.

Real World Biology

Luther College microbiology students tackle real-world issues in the lab. They are testing soil in northeast Iowa to help solve the antibiotic resistance crisis.

Formal Affiliations

Prepare for careers in clinical lab science, nuclear medicine technology, or cytotechnology. Complete the necessary Luther coursework in three years. Your fourth year will be at an affiliated hospital in clinical preparatory courses. You’ll receive your degree from Luther and take board exams to become certified.

Learn More About Formal Affiliations

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