A-Z Index


Why Major in Biology?

Biology is the study of all life forms. Northwest faculty focus on preparing students for careers in all areas including botany, cell biology, ecology, environmental science, molecular biology, microbiology and zoology. Upon completion of core courses, students choose an area in which to specialize based on interests.

The comprehensive major in biology emphasizing in general biology is the most flexible track as it provides students the opportunity to take courses in zoology, botany, ecology, physiology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology and environmental science to align their interests seek admission to graduate school.

The comprehensive major in biology with a general biology track does not require a minor. 

Minor in Biology

A minor in biology teaches students the foundations of biology, chemistry, botany, zoology and genetics. Students are required to have a lab course for biology, chemistry, botany and zoology courses. After taking the required courses, students can customize their minor from a list of approved electives. For a list of required courses, visit the academic catalog. This minor requires the completion of 24 credit hours.

Career Ready. Day One.

Northwest ensures students are career ready, day one through internships, field experiences and networking opportunities. Read Jordan's story »

Jordan is Career ready. Day One.

Career Opportunities

placement rate

100% percent of students who graduate with a degree in biology obtain employment or continue their education within six months after graduation. Jobs related to this major include:

  • College Instructor
  • Conservation Agent
  • Field Environmentalist
  • Laboratory Technologist
  • Horticulturist 
  • Research Technician
  • Quality Control
  • State Biologist
  • Government Biologist
  • Wildlife Biologist

*Based on self-reported data.

Profession-Based Learning Experiences

Center for Innvoation

The award-winning Dean L. Hubbard Center for Innovation features labs with more than $3 million in state-of-the-art instruments and technology that undergraduate students may access to gain hands-on experience.

Professors at Northwest are committed to providing students with profession-based learning experiences. Some examples are:

Mozingo Lake

Squaw creek is located in Mound City and is a location designated for bird and wildlife breeding. 

Students gain experience on campus with synthetic cadaver in human anatomy courses. Undergraduate research experiences provide opportunities for students to develop as working scientists. 

Garrett-Strong Science Building offers 26 labs where students gain profession-based experience on campus. The building is the home to the synthetic cadaver, aquarium, two museums and living animals that include a hedgehog, rats, iguanas and others kept in labs. 

Faculty-led research is an opportunity for undergraduate students to produce original research with the goal of publishing their work. This is available for students showing interest in furthering their education.

Mozingo Outdoor Education Recreation Area (MOERA) features more than 320 acres of land dedicated to providing experiential learning opportunities. Students taking wildlife ecology and conservation courses construct Sherman traps for small animals, pitfall traps for reptiles and amphibians and conduct vegetation surveys. 


Although internships are not required with the biology major, they are highly encouraged to gain real-world experiences.

QuoteJennifer BlakelyI had an apprentice position as a veterinary technician at Lindquist Veterinary Care Center in Kirksville and Edina Mo. The apprentice gave me the opportunity to gain a firm grasp of veterinary medicine, and learn valuable skills as a technician. During this internship, I assisted in surgeries, radiology, scheduled and emergency appointments, as well as participate in blood draws, common testing and diagnostic procedures.Quote

Jennifer Blakely
Brashear, Mo.

Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Study abroad is an opportunity for students to apply hands-on international experience to their own academic development. Faculty members supervise short-term study abroad programs that prepare students before, during and after the program. Two types of study abroad programs are available – faculty-led and traditional study abroad.

The traditional program may be a semester, summer or year-long program and is taught by Northwest’s international partner institutions.

Students from the natural sciences department have recently traveled and studied in Hawaii.

For more information about study abroad opportunities »

The Northwest Difference

The Northwest Difference

Founded in 1905, Northwest is a traditional campus with more than 7,200 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in the middle of everywhere, Maryville is two hours from Omaha, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri and 2 ½ hours from Des Moines, Iowa.

Textbooks and Laptops Included

Save more than $7,200 over four years through our textbooks and laptop program.

Laptop Program Information
$22 Million money for you

Nearly $22 Million in scholarships and grants awarded annually.

Scholarship Information
Career Ready. Day One.

Students organizations, internships and profession-based learning experiences ensure students are Career Ready, Day One.

Read student stories
Graduation Rate: 90th percentile

Graduation Rate: 90th percentile of Northwest's national peer group.