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 is a year of general chemistry and two courses from supporting disciplines. 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 (nonteaching): 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 300-368; CHEM 151 and CHEM 152, or CHEM 201; and any two courses (4 hours each) from the list below. 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.

chemistry: 202 or higher

physics: 151 or higher

mathematics: 140 or higher

computer science: 150 or higher

environmental studies: 134, 310, or 320

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)

Affiliated programs are available in medical technology, cytotechnology, and nuclear medicine technology. These programs are also described in brochures available from the biology department and the admissions office and on the department home page ( Transfer students must complete at least four biology courses (four hours each) at Luther.

Writing requirement for either major plan completed with one of BIO 251, 253, 258, 262, 354, 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.