Biology

Biology

Biology

Biology is a broad area of science that includes the study of every aspect of living systems and their interrelationships. One of its purposes is to help people to understand themselves and their role in the biosphere. Students majoring in biology at Augustana are prepared for a wide variety of professional, cultural and vocational opportunities, including graduate study, the biomedical and health professions, and teaching. Present-day biology makes liberal use of chemistry, mathematics and physics as tools, so our biology students acquire a sound background in these basic fields, as well.

Student looking in microscope

Biology at AU

At Augustana, biology isn't just about memorizing facts. It's about exploration, experiential learning and discovery.


Neuroscience -- This emphasis is designed for students who want to understand how the nervous system allows animals to control their bodies, explore their surroundings, form memories about their experiences and produce complex behaviors and thoughts. This emphasis area provides students who wish to pursue neuroscience-related careers in medicine and research preparation that combines a strong foundation in the natural sciences with interdisciplinary explorations of psychology or philosophy. In addition to a comprehensive biology major, students may elect to study additionally in one of four emphasis areas:

  • Cell and molecular biology — This emphasis allows students to explore the emerging understanding of the complicated, yet effective inner workings of cells and systems that make up all organisms, and would be especially helpful for students interested in learning about the molecular and biochemical underpinnings of health and disease. This emphasis supports the career goals of students interested in health professions in basic or translational research in cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, immunology, microbiology or physiology.  
  • Ecology and environmental science — This emphasis allows students to explore the interactions between organisms and their abiotic environment. Courses in this emphasis enable students to learn outside in the field and understand of the diversity of species, patterns of distribution and behavior of organisms and human impacts on natural systems. The emphasis supports the career goals of students interested in doing research in evolutionary, ecological or organismal biology, or working in environmental, conservation or resource management sciences.
  • Allied health — This emphasis may be of particular interest for students interested in pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-chiropractic and pre-optometry. Note that the emphasis does not fulfill all the pre-requisites for these graduate programs. Please refer to the pre-professional program of study for guidelines for admission into specific graduate programs. 

Interested in learning more? Hear Dr. Mark Larson, associate professor of biology, talk about student-professor collaboration.