Central College’s biology department is committed to hands-on learning and research in the life sciences through classroom and field opportunities and one-on-one faculty mentorship. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment in the Vermeer Science Center and the nearby 79-acre Carlson-Kuyper Field Station. Central biology graduates are currently changing the world as clinical and environmental researchers, field biologists, college professors, high school teachers, doctors, veterinarians, nurses, dentists, occupational therapists and more.
Athena Bowen ’12 spent a summer analyzing dicentric chromosomes with a leading leukemia researcher and fellow Central alumna.
Thanks to rigorous coursework and research opportunities, 92 percent of biology students who applied to graduate school were accepted into a program of their choice.
Central's biology department equips students for future research with hundreds of internship opportunities, which prepare students for graduate school.
Introductory courses such as Introduction to Cells and Diversity of Life lay the foundation for the biology major. In the second year, students begin to explore biology more deeply in ecology and genetics. Both the junior and senior years include research opportunities, seminars and electives in a student’s specific area of interest.
Electives include botany, human anatomy, animal biology, microbiology, tropical ecology, evolutionary medicine, conservation biology, aquatic toxicology and many others.
Learn more about biology in the course catalog.
The faculty and students in the biology department truly believe in changing the world. Globally we are facing enormous problems as well as expanding opportunities. This is especially true in the areas of social, medical and environmental issues. Each of us has a role to play, and a biology major can have a global impact on the future of humankind and the planet.
Opportunities to conduct hands-on research are an integral component of the biology program at Central. Students conducting research with Central faculty members gain experience in all levels of research, from hypothesis building to data analysis and communication of results at scientific meetings.
Biology students are also encouraged to study abroad on one of Central’s international programs, such as the Yucatan peninsula where students can observe varied habitats such as salt marshes, mangrove swamps, rocky and sandy beaches and rainforests.
The Heartland Global Health Consortium provides students with many opportunities to learn and meet leaders in the health field. Central is a founding member of the consortium, which consists of 10 Iowa-based institutions, collaborating on educational and research opportunities in global health.
Funding for research in biology is made possible through the Arthur J. Bosch Endowment for Student Research, which supports collaborative research projects with faculty and alumni during summer breaks. In the past, students have studied the impact of drought on prairie plants and the distribution of the endangered Indiana bat.
Central’s Vermeer Science Center was awarded the silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating from the United States Green Building Council, the first LEED-rated building in the state. Students have direct access to classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and presentation technology. Additionally, several parks and wildlife areas are within 10 minutes of campus, including Lake Red Rock, the largest lake in Iowa.
Twenty-three students turned full-time researchers this summer. They investigated bats, bees, polymers, criminal sentencing and more — and received research grants to do it!
Recent graduates look back on what helped them succeed in grad school, and how their liberal arts background prepared them for the future.
After months exploring topics like sports analytics, Parkinson’s Disease, prairie grasses and consumer behavior, 182 Central students presented their research May 5-6.