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Biology Degree

Biology Program

Biology Degree

Engaging classes, hands-on lab experiences, and unique research opportunities in the field make Biology one of the most fascinating programs.

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Many of the most important problems facing society today revolve around biological science.  Whether it is the containment and treatment of disease, the development and application of new genetic technology, the conservation of endangered species, or solutions to large environmental issues like pollution and climate change, understanding life and how the planet sustains it is critical for us to make sound choices about these issues.  

In the biology program at McKendree you will receive a broad education into the many facets of biological study.  This will help you to not only gain the skills needed to pursue a fulfilling career, but also to have the capacity to make a contribution to our collective ability to solve some of the biggest questions we face today.




Why a Degree in Biology?

With a bachelor’s degree in Biology, you’ll gain the confidence, skills, and experience with equipment you’ll need to work in a variety of career fields, from medicine to dentistry to environmental conservation and beyond. Our engaging classes, hands-on lab experiences, and unique research opportunities in the field make Biology one of the most fascinating and active of the degree programs.




Photo of Holman LibraryAbout the Biology Major

Housed under the Division of Science and Mathematics, the Biology program is offered in different degree formats and tracks to prepare you for your specific career goals. Whether you’re interested in a future practicing medicine, conducting research, or teaching others, the McKendree Biology major will help you reach it.

B.A. in Biology:

This liberal arts degree requires fewer credit hours, leaving some additional flexibility in electives. Students in this track have the opportunity to sample courses more broadly, double major, and/or earn a minor.

2023-2024 Program Catalog

B.S. in Biology:

This track is for students who want to focus the majority of coursework, including electives, within the discipline of science. Biology courses make up the core and many of the electives, with additional requirements in chemistry, physics, and math. There are also research requirements within this degree.

2023-2024 Program Catalog

Science Education - Biology Emphasis

2023-2024 Program Catalog

A minor in Biology and Pre-Professional Studies are also available.





Photo of McKendree's Entryway MonumentWhy McKendree?

McKendree University provides you with interactive learning opportunities through our small class sizes, experienced faculty, and unique internship experiences that move you beyond the classroom. We are committed to your success in the degree programs we offer, the internships and extracurricular activities that will set you apart, and the college experience you’ll get here. Just 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Missouri, McKendree University is located in historic Lebanon, Illinois, and affords students a host of enriching cultural, career, and entertainment opportunities.



Program Highlights


  • All Biology students complete a capstone course that allows them to apply their knowledge in an active research setting.

  • Our labs and coursework are more than just requirements; they are unique experiences that provide you with active learning opportunities and independent research projects.

  • Students visit prairies, glades, and forest ecosystems and collect data that contribute to active research. All students also take part in an ecology course with a unique overnight lab at Reis Biological Station in Steelville, Missouri.

  • Sigma Zeta Honor Society allows you to present your own research findings, interact with others, and build your resume.




Photo of McKendree Seal MarkerInternship Opportunities

Some of the organizations our Biology students have interned with include:

  • St. Louis Zoo

  • World Aquarium

  • St. Louis Science Center

  • St. Clair County Health Department

  • Environmental Protection Agency

  • Washington University’s Genome Sequencing Center

  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area in Stanley, Idaho




Employment Opportunities

Graduates in Biology find careers in conservation, education, agriculture, research laboratories, and biotechnology. Many go on to graduate school to pursue a future in ecology, molecular biology, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, optometry, and veterinary science.

Some of the companies our recent graduates are employed at include:

  • Sigma Aldrich

  • Monsanto

  • Department of Energy, Los Alamos Research Laboratory

  • St. Louis Zoo

Some of the graduate schools our recent graduates have attended include:

  • Texas Tech University, Zoology

  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Environmental Studies

  • Professional Programs:

    • Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine

    • University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

    • Rice University of Veterinary Medicine

    • Southern Illinois University of Medicine

    • Saint Louis University School of Medicine

    • University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

    • Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine




What Our Students & Alumni Are Saying


Quotation Graphic

McKendree’s Biology program provides a classroom experience where students work closely with their peers and professors to learn, solve problems, and ask questions. It also provides hands-on laboratory and field experience where students delve deeper into scientific topics. It was this experience in the lab, as well as mentorships by my professors, that most influenced my decision to pursue a career in science and has helped me succeed in this field.”

~ Allie Poehler '12, Public Health Consultant, Portland, OR


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The McKendree Biology department stands out as an exceptional and truly remarkable program, distinguished by its unwavering commitment to excellence and a genuine sense of uniqueness that sets it apart from the rest. The professors are the heartbeat of the program, driven by their passion for the sciences and dedication to their students' success. Throughout my time here, I was consistently impressed by the faculty's intellect and compassion, along with their unwavering commitment to ensuring my understanding of the material. Their willingness to go above and beyond in their efforts to support my academic endeavors was instrumental, whether it was through personalized feedback, meeting with me outside of class, or providing additional resources to help me excel in my coursework. Their kindness and encouragement instilled a sense of confidence in myself  ”

~ Abigail Rumpp '23, Master's Student in Medical and Biological Illustration, John's Hopkins University

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The biology program at Mckendree University is an excellent program. the small class sizes enabled me to interact and learn from my professors to a greater degree than I would have at a larger university. That was an overwhelming positive as the professors in the biology program excel in their fields of expertise, which are very diverse and cover a large range of the biological sciences. The professors are also very active in research and give students the opportunity to work with them on numerous research projects. These research opportunities led to publications and played a major role in my acceptance into graduate school.”

~ Andrew Althoff '20, Master's Student in Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff




Interesting Courses


  • Conservation Biology

  • Animal Behavior

  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

  • Biotechnology




Club Information / Honor Societies


  • Sigma Zeta (National Science and Mathematics Honor Society) - The McKendree Beta Chapter is the oldest active chapter in Sigma Zeta and has been awarded the Founder’s Cup five times for its activity at the national and local level. Each year, students and faculty attend the National Conference, where they present their independent research and network with peers and professors from universities across the nation.

  • Green Team - This student organization focuses on campus and community-wide issues related to the environment and sustainability. Members raise awareness through various service projects and “green” efforts on and around campus, while empowering people with information and the opportunity to make a positive difference in the world.

  • Biology Club - The Biology Club plans social activities for any students interested in Biology, including outings and behind-the-scenes tours at the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Science Center.



Related Programs





Your Student Success Support Team




Key Faculty

Angela LaMora, Ph.D.Angela LaMora, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Chair, Division of Science & Mathematics
Voigt Science Hall 120A
(618) 537-6895

Photo of Michael Louison, Ph.D.Michael Louison, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Voigt Science Hall 223A
(618) 537-6096

Michele R. Schutzenhofer, Ph.D.Michele R. Schutzenhofer, Ph.D.

Voigt Science Hall 217B
(618) 537-6934

Robb D. Van Putte, Ph.D.Robb D. Van Putte, Ph.D.

Voigt Science Hall 218
(618) 537-6930