Discovering inspired solutions from the natural world.

Learning is about discovery. Exploration. It’s about finding realistic solutions to life’s toughest questions. And there are few academic disciplines that exemplify this in quite the same way as biology. Marian’s biology program will put you at the forefront of that discovery, and position you for a lifetime of answering those tough questions.

Program Information

Marian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission .


The Biology Program offers a broadly-based biology program that appeals to students with a variety of career interests in biology. Through effective teaching, advising and scholarly activity, the Biology Program prepares students to engage in scientific inquiry and thought, select and pursue appropriate career options, become productive members of our scientific and technological society, and develop an appreciation of their own capabilities and accomplishments.

In addition, the Biology Program services other academic programs at Marian, particularly Nursing and Education. Non-majors coursework targeted primarily to Nursing is offered through the Biology Program. This includes BIO 100 Life Systems, BIO 205 Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology and Lab, and BIO 210 Microbiology, taken by pre-nursing majors during their first four semesters at Marian. Secondary Education majors may select Biology as their content area for a double major (Secondary Ed/Biology) and take a prescribed curriculum in biology that specifies certain electives to be taken in addition to the normal requirements for the major. Elementary/Middle Education majors and others often take the Environmental Science minor within the Biology Program.

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Master fundamental knowledge of biology
  • Develop a repertoire of lab and field skills
  • Prepare and deliver accurate scientific information in a professional manner
  • Understand and use scientific method to propose, design, conduct, and interpret research
  • Be able to make informed decisions based on scientific, moral, and ethical principles

The Program
If anything in life has the power to inspire, it’s finding truths from the natural world around us that can enhance the way we live. The biology program is all about empowering you to do just that. You’ll benefit from the program’s small, dynamic lectures, which will give you the theoretical knowledge that you'll apply in extensive laboratory, research and field work. You’ll work closely with our experienced and respected faculty, who are recognized leaders in the field and believe in a true mentoring relationship with their students.

General Education Program: 46–49 credits of University requirements. Major satisfies lab science common core and natural sciences elective core requirements.

Other requirements
16 credits:

CHE 101 Principles of Chemistry I, 4 cr.
CHE 102 Principles of Chemistry II, 4 cr.
CHE 201 Organic Chemistry I – Lecture, 3 cr.
CHE 202 Organic Chemistry II – Lecture, 3 cr.
CHE 251 Organic Chemistry I – Laboratory, 1 cr.
CHE 252 Organic Chemistry II – Laboratory, 1 cr.

38 credits as follows:
28 credits:

BIO 010 Biology Seminar I, 0 cr.
BIO 020 Biology Seminar II, 0 cr.
BIO 101 Biological Principles I & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 102 Biological Principles II & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 231 Botany & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 300 Biology Literature and Seminar, 2 cr.
BIO 301 Genetics & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 302 Cell and Molecular Biology, 4 cr.
BIO 311 Molecular and Physiological Microbiology, 4 cr.
BIO 425 Biology Senior Research I, 1 cr.
BIO 426 Biology Senior Research II, 1 cr.

4–8 credits from the following:

BIO 201 Anatomy and Physiology I, 4 cr.
BIO 202 Anatomy and Physiology II, 4 cr.
BIO 310 Invertebrate Zoology & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 312 Developmental Biology & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 322 Vertebrate Zoology & Lab, 4 cr.

2–6 credits: Biology electives
Biology/middle–secondary education double majors must take the following courses, which may be applied toward their biology electives:

BIO 104 Environmental Science & Lab, 4 cr.
BIO 315 Ecology, 3 cr.
BIO XXX Biology elective

17-20 credits:
University electives

Other math and science courses outside of biology required for teaching certification in biology/middle–secondary education are:
MAT 112 Pre-Calculus Mathematics, 5 cr.
MAT 122 Introduction to Probability and Statistics, 4 cr.
PHS 108 Earth Science & Lab, 4 cr.
PHS 211 Elementary Physics & Lab, 5 cr.
PHS 203 University Physics I & Lab, 5 cr.

For more details regarding this program, view Marian’s Academic Bulletin.

As a student in the biology program, you’ll be presented with countless opportunities to enhance your learning experience and set yourself apart in the eyes of employers and graduate schools. From gaining valuable insights into the human anatomy through dissecting a human cadaver, to exploring amazing habitats and ecosystems in places like Costa Rica and Australia, to working on significant research projects and presenting your findings to the Marian community, the possibilities are endless. In fact, a Marian student recently earned an international fellowship to continue his research on E. coli.

For more information, please contact:

Office of Admission

John Morris, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor & Chair
Biology Department

A key benefit to studying biology at Marian is the true liberal arts core we provide in our academic setting. Think about it. Studying the sciences at a school that is focused on the sciences and scientific research delivers a fairly one-dimensional learning experience. At Marian, you’ll immerse yourself in the theory and practical application of biological principles, while at the same time enhancing your education with exploration of the arts, humanities and social sciences. You’ll see how these areas of inquiry really do interconnect in the real world. And you’ll see how they’re also impacted by things like social justice and service to a greater cause, which are pursuits that have always been a part of Marian’s founding mission.

Biology majors must achieve an average GPA of 2.50 in their biology coursework before graduation. Transfer students must complete one-half of their major and one-third of their minor credits at Marian University.

Graduates of Marian’s biology program really do find a world of opportunities waiting for them. For many, their path is graduate school, so during their time at Marian they couple their biology major with another major or minor in the sciences, or engage in a pre-professional curriculum. Whether graduate school is in your future or not, the biology program offers outstanding theoretical and practical preparation for careers in medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, allied health, research, environmental conservation and teaching—many of which are expected to see exceptional job growth through the year 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Over the 3 year period of 2011-14, the average number of graduating biology majors was 13.7 students per year. Of the students who responded to a post-graduation survey, 79% had either found employment in the field or had continued on into graduate school.

The Biology Program administers the ACAT Standardized Exam to its majors at the beginning of freshman year and again at the end of the senior year. The assessment benchmark is to have the overall average for the class at the 50% level or higher and for the class average to be 50 percentile points or higher from freshman to senior level. This benchmark has been achieved for students graduating over the 2012-15 period as shown in the following table, which demonstrates a very sizable increase in student knowledge of biology between freshman and senior years.

Biology ACAT Chart

The Biology Program has also used VALUE rubrics to assess student’s ability to prepare and deliver accurate scientific information in a profession manner; in the most recent semester evaluated the overall rate of achieving the benchmark has been 90.6%. The Biology Program contributes to the General Education program; in the academic year 2014-2015, 90.8% of students met benchmark levels for knowledge acquisition and 76.7% met benchmark levels for critical thinking.

Employment: 80% of graduates are employed within six months of graduation from the Biology Program.

Ryan Breuer

Ryan Breuer is currently an Extension & Outreach Dairy Field Specialist for the Iowa State University in Northwest Iowa. Formally, Ryan was a veterinarian (Bovine & Food Animal medicine) at a private practice. He attended the University of Wisconsin – Madison Veterinary School after graduating from Marian with majors in Biology and Chemistry. (’08)

Matthew Zimmerman

Dr. Matthew Zimmerman is an Associate Professor and Director of the Free Radicals in Medicine Program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After earning a B.S. degree with majors in Biology and Cytotechnology, he attended graduate school at the University of Iowa and earned his Ph.D. in 2004. (’99)

Dan Tenpas

Dan Tenpas is a teacher at Beaver Dam High School. He graduated from Marian University with a B.S. degree with majors in Biology and Middle/Secondary Education, as well as a minor in Environmental Science. (’12)

Morris, John

John Morris, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Chair
Biology Department

Lance Urven

Lance Urven, Ph.D.
Biology Department

Lalitha Ramamooorthy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biology Department

Susan Bornstein-Forst

Susan Bornstein-Forst, Ph.D.
Biology Department

Jessica Brandt, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Biology Department

John Hammond, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Biology Department

Carolyn Harvey, M.P.H.
Part-Time per Course Faculty
Biology Department

Margie Winter, M.S.
Part-Time per Course Faculty
Biology Department

Vlad Timofeev, B.S.
Part-Time per Course Faculty
Biology Department


Did You Know?

Adult accelerated undergraduate programs were started in 1986, one of the first in the state. The first graduates were in May of 1987 (Source: Marian University Archives).

Campus Info

Marian University
45 S. National Ave.
Fond du Lac, WI 54935-4699


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