Biology

Earlham’s biology program encompasses all facets of biology, from cells to ecosystems, from neuroscience to environmental science and health. From day one, you will have unparalleled access to our faculty who teach and do research in and at the intersection of our different disciplines—environmental science, neuroscience, biochemistry, health science, ecology, evolution, and cell and molecular biology.

Our alumni have found work as physicians, nurses, zookeepers, museum specialists, vets, biomedical researchers, GIS specialists, conservation biologists, university professors, wildlife biologists, stem cell and cancer researchers, and educators, among many others. They have worked with state and federal governments and major corporations around the world.

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Top ranked
Earlham ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. for the percentage of our graduates who earn doctorates in the life sciences.
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24%
of biology majors from the classes of 2017-2019 were attending graduate school within six months of graduation.
Outcomes

Top jobs for 2017-2019 graduates were in education, recreation and tourism, environmental/sustainability management and veterinary/animal care.

The world is our laboratory, and the laboratory is our world

Hands-on research begins with your first biology course. Throughout your Earlham experience, you’ll do research in the field and lab. You’ll also apply what you learn beyond campus through internships, opportunities with our research partners and amazing off-campus experiences across the U.S. or overseas.

Hands-on experience

Recent biology majors have completed internships at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, the Alaska Zoo, Schepens Eye Research Institute and the United Nations, among other places.

Exceptional facilities

From a fully equipped molecular biology lab, human cadaver lab and college-owned field sites to a greenhouse, herbarium and the Joseph Moore Museum of Natural History, you’ll have access to top-notch facilities for your studies.

Learn more about our facilities

Earlham faculty holding lecture in a prairie

Our faculty

Our faculty believe in developing the whole person, as well as the biologist within.

Program details

In the biology major at Earlham, you’ll be part of a community that cares about you and has a rich history of success in placing students into a wide variety of life science graduate and professional programs. Our faculty will get to know you by first name (you’ll do the same with them) and they will use their resources and networks to help you discover and follow your career path.

Students interested in majoring in biology should speak with a biology faculty member early in their undergraduate career.

Faculty will help lay out a four-year plan that includes required courses, elective courses, opportunities for off-campus study, and possible internships. Early consultation is important to the sequencing of several courses so that off-campus study remains an option.

In general, students should take BIOL 111 and CHEM 111 in their first semester, CHEM 221 and BIOL 112 in their second semester and BIOL 341 in the fall of their sophomore year. A summer research experience is highly recommended, and faculty work with students to identify appropriate opportunities.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
  • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity
  • BIOL 341 Cell Physiology
  • BIOL 480 Senior Seminar
  • BIOL 488 Senior Capstone Experience
  • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
  • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
  • One of the following courses:
    • CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
    • CS 128 Programming and Problem Solving
    • ENSU 151 Environment, Science and Sustainability
    • GEOL 201 Earth and the Environment
    • MATH 120 Elementary Statistics
    • MATH 180 Calculus A
    • MATH 280 Calculus B
    • PHYS 120 General Physics I
    • PHYS 125 Analytical Physics I
    • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics
    • PSYC 250 Brain and Behavior
  • Majors should complete at least 16 additional credits in upper-level biology courses, of which at least 13 must be from courses numbered from 342 to 471.

View a full list of biology courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To minor in biology, you must complete a total of 24 credits in biology, including at least two of the following courses:

  • BIOL 111 Ecological Biology
  • BIOL 112 Cells, Genes and Inheritance
  • BIOL 226 Biological Diversity

Twenty-one (21) credits must be in courses numbered below BIOL 472. Four credits for the minor may be from CHEM 111 or CHEM 221.

Note: CHEM 221 is included as an option for the minor for those students who test out of CHEM 111 but still want to take more chemistry.

View a full list of biology courses and their descriptions.

Biology majors are strongly encouraged to plan for an off-campus study semester. Talk to your adviser early in your college career to plan for this. Learn more about upcoming opportunities through the Center of Global and Career Education.

Through our 3+1 Education Program, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and teaching license—all in just nine semesters.

You’ll leave Earlham with two degrees, licensed to teach grades 5-12 in Indiana. (And it’s easy to transfer your license to other states—many of our graduates do!)

Learn more about our 3+1 program.

If you’re interested in biology research, natural resource management, healthcare, veterinary medicine or education, the biology major may be for you.

Recent graduates have earned prestigious post-graduate fellowships including National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, Fulbright Grants and Watson Fellowships.

Our alumni have found work as physicians, nurses, zookeepers, museum specialists, vets, biomedical researchers, GIS specialists, conservation biologists, university professors, wildlife biologists, stem cell & cancer researchers, and educators, among many others. They have worked with state and federal governments, and major corporations around the world.

Looking for information about the biology senior seminar and comprehensive exams?

Find resources and more information here.

Next steps