The Biology Program offers a selection of courses that allows students to develop scientific competency in diverse biological topics, develop critical thinking skills, and improve students' understanding and appreciation for current biological issues and their relevance to society and the environment. Furthermore, research experiences are embedded into the curriculum so that all students get the opportunity  to perform independent research projects.

The Science department also plays a major role in advising and teaching students in pre-professional programs, including those in pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, and other health care-related areas.

Our newly remodeled laboratories provide an excellent environment for doing science. In addition, all teaching Biology faculty have doctorates in their field of study.


Browse the Photo Gallery!

Biology Challenge: Minute to Win It! ...May the best team win...


Degree Programs Available

  • Biology
    • The major in Biology is broadly based in biology and the supporting sciences. It is designed especially to prepare students for continued study at the graduate level and can lead to a wide variety of career opportunities.
  • Biology Education
    • The Biology Education major, including coursework in the Education Department, prepares the graduate for a teaching career at the secondary level.
  • Biology-Medical Laboratory Science
    • The major in Biology-Medical Laboratory Science is designed for entry into the Medical Laboratory Science profession at graduation, contingent upon certification by National Registry Examination. *note that Sanford is no longer accepting international students into the clinical internship part of this program


Pre-professional Healthcare Programs

Biology Minor

Biology Catalog and Course Descriptions 

 Program Fact Sheet

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Goal 1. To achieve scientific competency in diverse biological topics

Student Learning Outcome 1.1: Demonstrate knowledge of scientific content, including core concepts and principles in biology

Goal 2. To understand and apply the scientific method.

Student Learning Outcome 2.1: Apply the scientific method in laboratory or field including competency in: observation skills,hypothesis formulation, experimental design, and use of proper controls

Goal 3. To develop critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques.

Student Learning Outcome 3.1: Demonstrate competency in data analysis including the preparation and interpretation of graphs and tables

Goal 4. To obtain, critically evaluate, and communicate biological information.

Student Learning Outcome 4.1: Demonstrate information literacy skills by ability to identify, locate, and evaluate biological information.
Student Learning Outcome 4.2: Demonstrate competency in communicating experimental findings or data interpretations both orally and in writing including:Demonstrating proper use of binomial nomenclature and use of appropriate scientific format with appropriate citations.

Goal 5. To improve students’ understanding and appreciation of current biological issues and their relevance to society and the environment.

Student Learning Outcome 5.1: Use scientific evidence to evaluate biological and societal issues.

Goal 6. To appreciate the central role of evolution in the unity and diversity of life.

Student Learning Outcome 6.1: Demonstrate knowledge of how mutation and selective pressures drive the process of evolution.

After Graduation

After Graduation...Biology Students Do Great Things!

The SMSU Biology Program prepares students for a career in science by providing a high-quality education in a supportive and enriching environment.

“…I feel the science background I received at SMSU has prepared me very well for the introductory courses I have encountered in veterinary school. I wanted to thank you and the rest of the faculty for that and that I think the science education I received is on par and even exceeds the education at other universities.”

                                             Nick Schneider
                                            Class of 2009
                                            B.A. Biology / B.A. Chemistry

After graduation, a number of SMSU Biology students choose to pursue postgraduate studies at graduate institutions and professional schools. Recent graduates have been accepted to:

  • Creighton University (microbiology; nursing; pharmacy)
  • Des Moines University (Osteopathic Medicine, Physical Therapy)
  • Logan College of Chiropractic
  • Mayo Clinic (medical school; physical therapy; post-baccalaureate research education)
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato (nursing)
  • Northwestern College of Chiropractic
  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • South Dakota State University (microbiology)                        
  • University of Iowa (medical school, pharmacy)
  • University of Minnesota (school of veterinary medicine; school of dentistry, public health)
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha (Plant physiology, Microbiology)
  • University of North Dakota (molecular biology/biochemistry)
  • University of South Dakota (physical therapy, physician assistant, microbiology)
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison (molecular biology)

Other SMSU Biology graduates have been successful in securing internships as well as jobs in a wide range of fields including health care, government, and private industry. Recent graduates completed internships or were offered employment by many organizations including:

  • ADM (laboratory technicians)
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (Education & Communications Associate)
  • Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
  • Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Minnesota Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
  • Sanford Hospital, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Summit Consulting Services, Alaska (Biology)
  • The Schwan Food Company
  • Upper Iowa University
  • Wenck Associates, Inc (consulting)

Graduation Statistics

Contact Information

Science Department, Biology Program
SM 178
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State Street * Marshall, MN 56258
Ph: (507) 537-6178 * Fax: (507) 537-6151

Last Modified: 8/10/17 3:16 PM