What Can I Do With a Biology Major?

Student studying in the biology lab

Augustana Grad Studies Icefish in Antarctica

Earlier this spring, Biology alumnus Braeden McCluskey '09 spent time conducting research in Antarctica, as a part of his Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon.

Students who major in biology prepare themselves for careers in areas such as teaching, research, industry, medicine, dentistry, medical technology, physical therapy, and environmental biology.

Graduates of the biology department have been very successful in gaining admission into prestigious graduate and professional schools, such as Vanderbilt, Cornell, Michigan State, UC Davis, Oregon Health Sciences University, the University of Chicago, and Penn State. In fact, our students’ acceptance rate to medical school is nearly twice the national average.

The Accidental Researcher

Dr. David Bader, class of 1974, didn’t plan on a career in cardiovascular research. But a ruptured appendix and gentle guidance from Augustana science faculty members helped steer him down a path that has included service at some of America’s top medical research institutions.

Our graduates have gone on to distinguish themselves in a variety of fields related to biology, including the health professions. Recent graduates have found employment at Duke University Medical Center, Sanford Research, the University of Washington Children’s Hospital and the South Dakota Department of Health, to name just a few.

The following sample of alumni provides an indication of the careers pursued and positions achieved by our graduates. It is a mere snapshot in time, as well-educated, capable and successful professionals sometimes change jobs and even careers. In fact, it is often their liberal arts education that gives them that flexibility and versatility.

  • Dr. Maria Bell ’84
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Director of Gynecologic Oncology
    Sanford Health
  • Dr. Lon Kightlinger '77
    Pierre, SD
    State Epidemiologist
    South Dakota Dept of Health
  • Dr. Patrick Casey '78
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Senior VP of Research, Pharmacology/Cancer Biology Professor
    Duke University Medical Center
  • Dr. Nancy N Nichols '87
    Peoria, IL
    Microbiologist, Bioenergy Research Unit
    United States Department of Agriculture
  • Elizabeth (Davis) Hultgren '08
    Vermillion, SD
    MD/PhD Program
    University of South Dakota
  • Anders (AJ) Davidson '08
    Omaha, NE
    Medical School
    Creighton University
  • Dr. Jesse Munkvold '01
    Ithaca, NY
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    Cornell University
  • Dr. David Olson '71
    Edmonton, Alberta Canada
    Director of Perinatal Research
    University of Alberta
  • Angela Peck Campbell '93
    Seattle, WA
    Pediatrics — Division of Infectious Diseases
    University of Washington
  • Ellen Holste '03
    East Lansing, MI
    Graduate Program, Department of Forestry
    Michigan State University
  • Dr. Joy Buswell Zedler '64
    Madison, WI
    Aldo Leopold Chair in Restoration Ecology
    University of Wisconsin
  • Chad Backsen '08
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Biology Teacher
    Roosevelt HS
  • Dr. Bartholomew (Bart) Johnson '08
    Marshall, MN
    Johnson Family Dental Care
  • Kelsey O’Fallon ‘11
    Omaha, NE
    Physical Therapy Doctoral Program
    Creighton University
  • Raelyn Walczak ‘12
    Blacksburg, VA
    Virginia — Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Carl Hjelmen ‘13
    College Station, TX
    PhD Program Entomology
    Texas A&M