Majors & Minors

Biology

We encourage our students to learn to think critically through the study of living organisms and their relationships to the environment. 

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Maria Todd

Maria Todd

Professor of Biology & Chair

Maria Todd

Maria Todd

Professor of Biology & Chair

Biology
Biology

Majoring or minoring in biology acts as 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

  • diversity & distribution of snails using genetics and field sampling
  • DNA repair & mutation
  • development & progression of breast & uterine cancer
  • gene expression within bacteria
  • complexities of antibiotic resistance
  • relationships between natural selection & gene evolution
  • ecology of local amphibians
  • development of neural circuits in the brain
  • response & impact of climate change on terrestrial ecosystems

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 pre-professional 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 from which to choose. 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.


We also strive to provide a safe and supportive environment for all students, including, but not limited to, students of color, sexual and gender minorities, low-income students, first-generation students, differently-abled students and those with chronic health conditions.

Click here to learn more about our Department’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity. 



AFTER SOUTHWESTERN

Featured Alumni Stories

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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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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EXPLORE SOUTHWESTERN

Biology News

Marcelo Salazar-Barragan ’23

How Southwestern Got To 100% Medical School Acceptance

In the summer of 2023, every one of the University’s applicants to medical or dental school was accepted. Behind this extraordinary accomplishment was the hard work of exceptional students supported by an exceptional pre-health program.

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Southwestern Student Conducts Insect Biodiversity Research in Gunnison, Colorado

Learn more about Cooper Philips’ research on insect biodiversity.

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Video: Southwestern Student Interns in Cutting-Edge Cancer Research Lab

Natasha Ndele ’24 spent her summer researching bladder cancer at the Houston Methodist Research Institute.  

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