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.


Featured Alumni Stories

Dr. Catherine Chappell '03

Alumna Researches the Screening of Hepatitis C in Babies

Alumna Dr. Catherine Chappell ’03 finds that fewer than a third of infants exposed to hepatitis C are later screened to monitor and treat the potentially fatal virus.

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Vanessa Toro Barragan '12

Alumna heads to MIT for graduate study in city planning

A biology and environmental studies graduate, Vanessa Toro Barragan ’12 seeks to tackle climate change at the intersections of science and social justice. The flexible and interdisciplinary Master in City Planning (MCP) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will allow her to do just that.

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psych alumni

Stephanie Braccini Slade ’02, Distinguished Professional

Humanity benefits greatly from her contributions to the well-being of the animal kingdom. The global perspective Stephanie Braccini Slade ’02 has achieved through her work with primates allows her to see—and share with others—that humans aren’t the only part of humanity; that human and animal lives are connected, influencing and relying on one another.

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Biology News

Spring Picnic 2018

Biology Honors its Senior Graduates!

Every Spring, the Biology Department hosts a Spring Picnic honoring its Biology and Animal Behavior Senior Graduates. Faculty sign up for some potluck items and we order sandwich trays for a great picnic. We set-up this year’s’ picnic in the shadow of construction on FJS, but had such a nice day and some shade from the trees as well. Each graduate also got their own personalized graduate hat cookie thanks to Lab Director Dr. Stacie Brown.

Below are photos highlighting the event!

Brantley Freeman ’11, BA in Accounting, Atlet Sports, high performance sports training

Start Ups

The ability to conceive, create, launch, and nurture a new venture is a monumental achievement. Thanks in part to their Southwestern Experience, these four alumni have done just that.

crochet coral reef detail

Coral Reef and Book Display

See the beautiful coral reef, crocheted by SU students, faculty & alumni