Biology program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor TTeaching/Certification GGraduate program

Do you want to prepare for a career in healthcare, learn about organisms worldwide or help cure diseases?

Studying biology at UW-La Crosse, you will find an abundance of research opportunities working alongside professors in a department recognized statewide for excellence in teaching.

The UWL Biology Department supports undergraduate and graduate programs in biological sciences. The department has access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for course instruction and research. Undergraduate research opportunities are available across many biological disciplines, and most undergraduates have the opportunity to perform independent research with a faculty mentor. Courses and research opportunities make use of the rich learning environment right here in our backyard — the Mississippi River and La Crosse River Marsh.

What is biology?

Biology is the study of all living things from microscopic bacteria and viruses to plants and animals. UWL's biology program is home to a wide variety of disciplines spanning from the molecular to the ecosystem level.

A professor once told me, a good scientist never stops being curious. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for the professors in the biology department constantly encouraging my curiosities.

Sarah Hahn

What can you do with a degree in biology?

A biology major provides graduates with a wide variety of career options and continuing education opportunities. The majority of UWL graduates continue their education with graduate or professional school. Others find careers in industry or the government sector in areas such as biomedical sciences, river studies, aquatic toxicology, fisheries biology, watershed studies, food science, seed genetics and more.

Biology careers

  • Environmental health and safety
  • Research and development
  • Sales
  • Technical support
  • Primary and secondary education (with teacher certification)
  • Geographical information systems
  • Data management and analysis
  • Wildlife management
  • More

Further education

  • Medical doctor or nursing
  • Chiropractic
  • Dentistry
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Dietetics
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Veterinary medicine

What distinguishes UWL's biology program?

Recognized teaching excellence

The UWL Biology Department was awarded the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award for the best UW System department in 2013. The department is also home to the 2021 UW Regent’s Teaching Excellence Award winner. Faculty have also earned numerous other UWL and statewide awards.

Post-graduation success

About 65% of biology graduates go on to graduate or professional schools, and 98% of those who didn't continue their education were employed within a year of graduation in areas including biomedical sciences, river studies, aquatic toxicology, fisheries biology, watershed studies, food science, seed genetics and more.

Partnerships with numerous regional research centers

UWL's Biology program has partnerships with local, state and regional research centers (Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center), as well as several unique ecological habitats close to campus and field sites around the region. Students are able to interact with practicing scientists and medical professionals in a wide variety of fields whether through internships, job shadowing, research, or other activities. Many of these experiences result in summer jobs and part-time employment for students.

Undergraduate research opportunities in most fields of biology

Students will find an abundance of student research opportunities in areas such as cell and molecular biology, bioinformatics, genetics, developmental biology, biomedical research, organismal biology, parasitology, mycology, plant biology, aquatic and environmental sciences and toxicology.

State-of-the-art facilities

Courses and undergraduate research opportunities take advantage of state-of-the-art science facilities on campus. Research labs are in UWL's modern science labs building, the Prairie Springs Science Center. The use of high-tech research equipment prepares students for the skills required in the modern world.

Close proximity to unique research sites

With the Mississippi River and the La Crosse River Marsh within blocks of the campus, various courses and research projects extend into local ecological habitats. Others research and learning opportunities include trips to field stations in northern Wisconsin.

Beautiful natural surroundings

La Crosse is ranked the # 19 Best college town in America by The American Institute for Economic Research. Learn why we love La Crosse.

Tailor the program to meet your goals

Because UWL's program offers multiple concentrations, students can choose the pathway in biology that meets their specific goals. Each student meets individually with their faculty adviser each semester to discuss goals and develop a curriculum to meet them.

Areas of study

Sample courses