Kalamazoo College biology students

Biology Major

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Concentration

Why Study Biology at K?

As a biology major, you have the chance to observe, assess and analyze the marvels of existence and use that knowledge to improve the world around you. 

professor instructing students in a biology lecture

The department takes an empirical approach to biology so that you can develop a strong foundation in the field and the critical thinking required to answer probing questions, interpret scientific literature, conduct experiments and make original observations of biological phenomena. 

Through courses, research, personalized advising, and departmental experiences, you will gain a keen awareness of the natural world and the confidence and skills to further the field of biology. Specifically, by the time you graduate the department hopes that you will: 

  1. Feel curious about the natural world and empathetic toward our shared environment; 
  2. Know what has been discovered about the natural world, the process by which such knowledge is gained, and how to evaluate competing claims; 
  3. Identify as new members of an interdependent community whose goal is to address socially relevant problems and questions; and 
  4. Continually apply/practice newfound knowledge and skills via career exploration, problem-solving, research, communication, and teamwork. 

The lifelong learning our biology alumni developed during their time at K has enabled them to pursue meaningful careers in public health, conservation, academia and other sectors.

What can you do with a biology degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools of our biology alumni.

Job Titles

  • Physician
  • Research Assistant
  • Sustainability Analyst
  • Geologist
  • Teacher


  • Bronson Hospital
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Pfizer
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
  • Charles River Laboratories

Graduate Schools

  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Rochester
  • Johns Hopkins University

Program Spotlights

Four Kalamazoo College biology students attending class in the Arboretum

Learn in the Great Outdoors 

As a Kalamazoo College biology student, you will be able to learn about ecology and environmental science on location at the College’s Lillian Anderson Arboretum, 140 acres of marsh, meadow, pine plantation and second-growth deciduous forest. The arboretum serves as an outdoor classroom where you will be able to collect samples for labs and learn about environmental stewardship first-hand. Many students have chosen to complete their Senior Integrated Project in the arboretum; past students have researched pollination patterns, invasive plant species, and bee populations.

Take your Studies Across the Globe 

At K, study abroad is central to your education and K-Plan, and biology students are heavily encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. While you can choose from any of the College’s 50+ study abroad programs and transfer any relevant biology classes, three programs offer unique experiences for biology students: learn about ecology and evolution exactly as Darwin did in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, apply your community and global health knowledge in San José, Costa Rica, or study and observe sustainable ecological development in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Student presenting her research to president Gonzalez

Showcase your knowledge with your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)

Whether you completed your Senior Integrated Project (SIP) within the Biology Department or not, we are proud of our seniors and want to showcase all you have learned. In that spirit, the annual Diebold Symposium is a three-day event for seniors to present their SIPs in front of their classmates, professors and families and revel in all they have accomplished. The symposium is headlined by a prominent biologist who is invited to campus to present their most recent research in a keynote address.

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisors

Onora Lancaster

Onora Lancaster (She/Her)

Majors: Biology and Psychology

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

Students work together and help each other to get the most out of their education.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

The open curriculum offered has allowed me to take a wide variety of classes, which has helped me meet a lot of people and hear a lot of different perspectives that I otherwise would not have experienced in my undergraduate education. The first year of college, because there were no general education requirements, I was able to explore different fields of study and take my time settling on a major.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I have participated in a couple of programs through the CCE [Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Center for Civic Engagement] including volunteering with Woodward Elementary and Helping Youth Through Personal Empowerment (H.Y.P.E.). I have been a TA [teaching assistant] and a SI [supplemental instructor] for the introductory biology courses Form & Function and Evolution and Genetics. This summer I am in an internship that is focusing on biology-based education research.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

My SIP is on biology-based education research which I am conducting over the summer.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

My next steps are to go to graduate school for biological research, maybe centered around genetics, and to also teach in some capacity. I am still settling on future plans but look forward to whatever is next.

Alex Stolberg

Alex Stolberg (He/Him)

Major: Biology

Concentrations: Environmental Studies and Public Policy and Urban Affairs

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The exceptionally impactful relationships one can build with the professors, faculty, and fellow students in the biology department.

What is your advice to first-years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?

Talk to everyone and attend K Biology events! Possibly cliché advice but by putting yourself in situations where you can make connections (i.e. bio events) you will realize everyone in the department wants to help you achieve your goals.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

Evolutionary Ecology with Dr. Santiago Salinas. Not only were the themes of the class extremely interesting but Dr. Salinas teaches and designs classes such as Evo Eco in ways that highlight student engagement and learning. We collaborated and worked through big questions the way you might when doing “real science” which was super impactful.

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

Utilizing data I will collect with colleagues in the Fish Conservation Physiology Lab at the University of California Davis. I will be looking to identify key swimming criteria for safe and timely passage of sturgeon through artificial water diversion structures.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

Following graduation, I hope to take on a few seasonal and/or field tech related jobs before ultimately going to grad school and pursuing a career in marine and/or freshwater fish science.

Biology Department News