The biology program at UMN Morris will give you a broad base of biological knowledge and an appreciation of evolution, genetics, cell and molecular biology, the diversity of life, and ecology, including relevant safety and ethical considerations. Faculty, not teaching assistants, teach all UMN Morris classes and labs, which means you will be taught by experts in their field.

Upper-level elective courses provide you with knowledge in specific areas, including experience collecting and interpreting data both in the field and in the laboratory. You’ll learn specific lab and field techniques like microscopy, experimental design, and collecting and analyzing data. The biology program at UMN Morris emphasizes teamwork and incorporates written and oral communication skills into its curriculum. 

Specialty electives include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Conservation biology
  • Evolution
  • Freshwater biology
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Vertebrate biology
  • Microbiology
  • Cancer biology
  • Plant systematics
  • Ecology of agriculture 

Biology and the other laboratory science disciplines at UMN Morris have a strong track record of preparing students for science careers. The biology program at UMN Morris stands out with its pre-health professions advising committee, exceptional biology undergraduate research opportunities, and as one of the few undergraduate campuses to provide a human cadaver for anatomy courses.

There’s a strong relationship between biology and other UMN Morris programs, including:

Degree Requirements

Graduate in four years with one of these subspecialities


While pursuing a biology degree at UMN Morris, you’ll be able to make the most of your academic experience by getting involved in biology-related projects outside of classes. This could be through directed study with a faculty member or a paid experience during the semester or summer. For example, over the last six years, a number of students have worked on the Healthy Prairies Project, funded by the Legislative Citizens Commission on Minnesota Resources. The project aims to improve prairie restoration by providing access to genetically diverse seed sources and through studying the role of local adaptation in successful establishment and growth of plant species in restorations. UMN Morris students in biology have also participated in research in collaboration with the Louis Stokes North Star STEM Alliance

Student Learning Outcomes

By completing a degree in biology you will be able to   

  • apply biological knowledge in a wide range of professional and research settings;  
  • recognize evolution as the unifying theme for all of biology and be able to view biological information and questions in an evolutionary context;
  • apply knowledge of chemistry, statistics, and mathematics to biological systems;
  • understand the global nature of biological issues while cultivating a sense of place through the study of regional species and ecological systems;
  • seek answers to biological questions through developing and executing scientific inquiry in the field or laboratory setting and by querying biological literature;
  • synthesize and clearly articulate scientific information via written and oral communication; and
  • consider ethical issues related to biological research and have the necessary training to conduct work in a safe and sustainable manner.

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School


UMN Morris biology majors are highly sought after by prestigious employers like the Mayo Clinic. Almost 75 percent of UMN Morris biology majors are employed in a biology-related field. Recent graduates have gone on to careers as biology teachers, medical or agricultural lab technicians, naturalists, wildlife biologists, and clinical research coordinators. Recent biology graduates have gone on to work with the Nature Conservancy and US Bureau of Land Management, private consulting firms, management of the WCROC Horticulture Display Garden, research and development technicians at Miromatrix Medical, and basic research scientists for the State of North Dakota. 

Many UMN Morris biology students regularly pursue careers in health professions: 

  • Medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Nutrition

Common careers include:

  • Veterinarian
  • Physician assistant
  • Medical lab technician
  • Genetic counselor
  • Health programs coordinator

Graduate School

Compared to 45 percent of all UMN Morris alumni, 62 percent of biology graduates pursue graduate and professional school. Recent alumni have gone on to graduate school in forensic science, forestry, microbiology, neurobiology, nutrition, science museum curation, and a variety of other fields. It is very common to hear UMN Morris alumni say they were more prepared than their classmates in graduate or medical school. 

UMN Morris biology alumni have completed graduate degrees at many of the most prestigious universities in the United States:

  • Brown University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Mayo (medical and graduate)
  • Scripps
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley
  • University of California Davis
  • University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Texas, Austin

Research & Engagement


Expanding knowledge through collaborative extra curricular research is the core of the UMN Morris biology program. More than 50 percent of UMN Morris biology majors conduct independent research here and across the country. Students frequently publish articles and present their research at national conferences.

The biology department at UMN Morris has been one of 47 biology departments at small undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States to receive a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which funds summer undergraduate programs for college students who are pursuing biology and other science degrees.

At UMN Morris, you’ll have access to pre-professional preparation programs that offer early admission to veterinary medicine and pharmacy programs at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. 

For field-based biology classes, you’ll be able to participate in field trips to “outdoor laboratories.” You may also have the opportunity to write a scientific literature review and present the findings orally in an academic seminar. 

Local opportunities to gain hands-on experience outside the classroom include internships at:


Another way to connect with your major and areas of interest is to join clubs. Most majors at UMN Morris have an affiliated club where you can learn and engage more with content related to your subject or area of interest. 

Biology Club

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
  • Major
  • Minor


University of Minnesota Morris
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