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

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

Front page of the Fall 2019 BioScope Issue

Biology Dept. Fall 2019 Newsletter

BioScope provides news and updates about the Southwestern University Department of Biology. Published on an (semi-)annual basis, the newsletter contains information about faculty-student research, classes, volunteer opportunities and more.

Shi Solis ’20, one of Todd’s current research assistants, can attest that her mentor has been a delight to work with.

Researching the Future of Cancer Treatment

Professor of Biology Maria Todd mentors undergraduates while examining the mechanics of how cancer spreads.

Dr. Romi Burks, Professor of Biology

Romi Burks, Ms. Homecoming 2019

The Southwestern University Alumni Association has selected Professor of Biology Romi Burks as the 2019 recipient of their Ms. Homecoming Award. The Ms. Homecoming Award is presented to one faculty member each year as a token of affection and respect of former students.