Majors & Minors


Learn to think critically through the study of living organisms and their relationships to the environment.


Romi Burks

Chair and Professor of Biology



Romi Burks

Chair and Professor of Biology


Majoring or minoring in biology is your gateway to a richer understanding of living organisms, from the molecules within cells to the biosphere that encompasses all of Earth’s ecosystems. At Southwestern, you’ll deepen your knowledge of molecular processes, ecological diversity, genetics, the human body, and evolution through our rich and wide-ranging curriculum. You’ll engage in thoughtful assignments and projects while gaining hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art on-campus laboratories. You will have opportunities to conduct research and collaborate with our engaged and enthusiastic faculty on a range of projects, such as studying

  • the diversity and distribution of snails using genetics and field sampling
  • DNA repair and mutation
  • the development and progression of breast and uterine cancer
  • gene expression within bacteria
  • the complexities of antibiotic resistance
  • the relationship between natural selection and gene evolution
  • the ecology of local amphibians
  • the development of neural circuits in the brain

Majors may choose to pursue either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. Our students often take courses in SU’s robust environmental studies program or elect one of our new interdisciplinary minors, such as animal studies, health studies, and data science. In addition, SU offers preprofessional pathways in the areas of pre-medicine, pre-dental, and pre-veterinary medicine that will provide you with personalized advising and other helpful resources that will prepare your for advanced study. No matter which path you choose, you will have numerous career choices to choose from. Our alumni have gone on to successfully complete graduate and professional programs in the dental, medical, medical technology, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary fields. They’ve also enjoyed satisfying careers in industry, government, nonprofit organizations, public health, and education.


Featured Alumni Stories

Dr. Robert W. Karr ’71

Dr. Robert W. Karr ’71

Medal of Honor

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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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Biology News

Several faculty report that the quietest students in their brick-and-mortar classes have blossomed in the online environment, contributing more frequently to both synchronous and asynchronous conversation

It’s Just Not the Same, Part 4

Southwestern faculty reflect on how remote teaching might change how they teach in the classroom when campus life resumes this fall.

Associate Professor of German Erika Berroth

It’s Just Not the Same, Part 2

SU faculty reflect on the challenges—and some unexpected rewards—of moving their classes online.

Information regarding the Capstone Presentations

Biology Capstone Presentations

Biology majors will present the findings of their Capstones as 5-minute “Inspire” video talks that highlight the context, results and importance of their interests.  A live question and answer period (Q&A) will follow each of the Capstone presentations.
You can join us with the links below.