Areas of Study

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The Department of Biology serves as the cornerstone of life science education and research at the University of Iowa. All students majoring in biology take courses that emphasize the investigation of research models to understand the structures and processes common to living systems at molecular, cellular, organismic, and population levels of organization.

Undergraduate Programs of Study

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Biology works well for those students looking for a broader base of Biology and with our combined undergraduate to graduate programs through the College of Education, College of Public Health, and College of Business.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology is geared toward concentrated study within an area of Biology. Students can specialize in one of four different tracks (see below).

We also offer a Biology Minor where students may take 12 hours of upper level courses in Biology or select courses through our affiliated field station: Lakeside Laboratory. For more detailed information, check out the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences General Catalog.

The official requirements for the B.A. and B.S. in Biology are maintained by the Office of the Registrar and can be found under the General Catalog (see Academic Requirements and 4-Year Graduation Plan links above). For students on previous catalog years, please consult the General Catalog Archive page, your degree audit, and your academic advisor.

Goals of the Undergraduate Degree Programs

Goals for student learning in the majors are classified into five primary areas:

  1. Foundational Knowledge: Comprehension of Fundamental Principles and Concepts of Biology
  2. New Discovery: Scientific Reasoning and Experimental Process in Biology
  3. Quantitative Skills: Mathematical Reasoning and Basic Numeracy Applied to Biology
  4. Information Literacy: Acquisition, Analysis and Summary of Published Biological Information
  5. Communication Proficiency: Written and Oral Presentation of Biological Information

In essence, the curriculum of the undergraduate majors strives to build a foundational understanding of processes and structures of living organisms, to reveal the scientific procedures used for new discovery of living systems, to examine experimental and observational data for sources of natural causation in organismal processes, to interpret scientific findings reported in the literature, and to communicate biological information in both oral and written forms.