Natural Science

Natural Science

Central’s natural science major prepares you for a variety of career options and graduate or professional schools. The program includes courses in biology, chemistry and physics. Students can also minor in global sustainability, which provides heightened knowledge and awareness of significant intergenerational issues, problems and solutions on a global scale.

acres make up Central's outdoor laboratory and nature preserve
  • A natural science major is excellent preparation for vet school
  • Graduates may also teach middle or high school science

The Real World


Successful Careers

  • Exhibit manager, Science Center of Iowa, Des Moines
  • Research Scientist, DuPont Pioneer, Davenport
  • Technician, Iowa Hygienic Lab, Coralville


  • Bio-Chem Club
  • SCATE (Students Concerned About the Environment)
  • Health Professions Club
  • Physics Club
  • Tri Beta
Central College student

Graduate Placement

  • The natural science major prepares students for a variety of graduate programs through courses in biology, chemistry and physics—particularly vet school.


Central’s powerful alumni network and the connections of our faculty ensure our students have access to numerous internships. In addition, Central helps students prepare for the internship/job search.

  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
  • Iowa Hygienic Lab, Coralville
  • Vermeer Corporation, Pella

Courses & Faculty

Central’s natural science major is designed for science enthusiasts who want to chart their own path. The program prepares you for a variety of career options and graduate schools. You'll have a strong science background, with courses in biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences and research. Students can also minor in global sustainability, which provides heightened knowledge and awareness of significant intergenerational issues, problems and solutions on a global scale.

Learn more about Natural Science in the course catalog.

Meet the faculty:

Anya Butt, B.A., M.S., Ph.D. Professor of Biology, interest areas include: geospatial technologies and applications, water resources, geosciences, natural disaster resilience and global health

Sample Schedule

First Year
  • Introduction to cells
  • General chemistry
  • Diversity of life
  • Calculus I
Sophomore Year
  • Calculus II
  • General physics I
  • General physics II
  • Inorganic chemistry
Junior Year
  • Genetics
  • Organic chemistry
  • Modern physics
Senior Year
  • Advanced laboratories
  • Analytical chemistry
  • Ecology

The Central Difference


Central became a leader in environmental design when the Vermeer Science Center, which houses biology, chemistry, physics, natural science, mathematics and computer science departments, was awarded a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) medal rating from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).  The science center was the first LEED-rated building in the state and the first LEED rated science building in the nation. The building contains 13 high-tech classrooms and a fully equipped GIS laboratory, as well as open computer labs and science labs where students can conduct their own research.

Central’s 62-acre Carlson-Kuyper Field Station serves as an “outdoor laboratory,” allowing students to utilize the nature preserve for labs as well as hands-on management experience in restoring prairie. Located about 12 miles from campus, the field station is adjacent to the extensive wildlife areas managed by the Corps of Engineers around Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake.  It is also the site of Central’s Biomass Prairie project, engaging students in research and demonstration to promote prairies while working to address the larger global issue of global warming.

Research Opportunities

Natural science majors actively engage in research projects — some during the summer, some as independent senior honors projects and some assisting with faculty research. Students are encouraged take responsibility for a research project and often present results of their research at regional and national conferences, such as the Iowa Academy of Science.

Faculty are involved in many ongoing projects and are always willing to help nurture new ideas for research. Recent student projects include:

  • Study of mushroom extracts on cells and organic molecules that bind with phosphorylated compounds
  • Comparison of Monarch larvae feeding and growth rates on two species of Milkweed
  • Synthesis, coordination and characterization of ligands to strontium complexes
  • Cognitive impairments in Parkinson’s Disease: Promotion of o-synuclein detection for clinical diagnosis

Learn More

Want to find out more about Natural Science at Central? Contact us to learn more about this major and our other strong academic programs. Visit campus to observe classes and experience The Central Difference firsthand.