Majors & Minors


Biology involves the study of living organisms and their relationships to their environment. We focus on teaching students how to think critically through thoughtful assignments and projects, hands-on laboratories, field experiences, and a diverse curriculum.


Romi Burks

Chair and Professor of Biology



Romi Burks

Chair and Professor of Biology


At Southwestern, we seek to connect students with the intricacies, discoveries and trials of the natural world in a diverse, hands-on and engaged fashion.

Our professors focus on undergraduate learning through dynamic classroom teaching as well as independent and collaborative scholarship in their specialty area. Small class sizes allow for close attention, collaboration, and personalized learning experiences.

The Department offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree and supports the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Program and new interdisciplinary minors in Animal Studies, Health Studies and Data Science.

In addition, Southwestern offers pre-professional pathways in the areas of pre-medicine, pre-dental or pre-veterinary medicine. These pathways include courses required for admission to these programs, as well as significant resources to help prepare our students for such pursuits.  

No matter which path you choose, numerous career choices await biology graduates, ranging from entrance into graduate or professional schools (including dental, medical, medical technology, nursing, optometry, pharmacy and veterinary) to opportunities in commercial industry, government, nonprofit organizations, public health and teaching.

  • BioScope - Fall 2018 Ed.

    BioScope provides news, updates and descriptions of the activities of the Biology Department at Southwestern.


Featured Alumni Stories

Kira McEntire '13

The Science and Art of Salamanders

Kira McEntire ’13 explores creative expression while teaching and researching wildlife biology.

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Megan Schubert Leese ’01

Looking out for the Community

Inspired by a service trip to Honduras during one eye-opening spring break, Megan Schubert Leese ’01 now champions public health.

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Distinguished Professional: Roy Rivera ’02

Dr. Roy Rivera Jr. ’02

Distinguished Professional

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Biology News

Students pictured: Justin McCormack ’20, Ana Sanchez de Tagle Cardenas ’22, Madison Delmer ’19, and Megan Melo ’21.

Southwestern Students Complete Summer Internships at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Ana Sanchez ’22, Justin McCormack ’20, and Megan Melo ’21 reflect on their hands-on internships in the operating room and in the research lab.

Scout gathers macroinvertebrates to take back to the lab and identify while Vanessa picks any extra insects off the sampling net.

What’s in Your Water?

Southwestern students Scout Gockel ’22 and Nicole Rajtak ’22 study water quality in the San Gabriel River.

Shellsea Miller and Lauren Muskara at their poster

Student researchers present work at Society for Freshwater Science Meeting

Shellsea Miller and Lauren Muskara, both class of 2020, presented their undergraduate research at a national scientific meeting.