Biology Degree

The Biology Program at Mount Mercy aims to deepen your appreciation for the life sciences and to increase concern for living things and their environment.

Another goal is to help you develop the intellectual competence and the technical skills necessary in your chosen career. Our new introductory sequence of courses emphasize the interconnectedness of knowledge, analysis, and communication in science.

Your education in biology will build upon a foundation that emphasizes fundamental principals, evolution of organisms, genetics, ecology, chemistry, mathematics, and statistics. Because diversity is encouraged, the program accommodates students who double major and/or minor in other fields. We support a wide variety of career goals, such as physician assistant, physical therapist, medical technologist, educator, lab technician, and students who hope to attend medical school or graduate school in biology-related fields.

Laura Howell McCreeryWith the addition of our newest building, Basile Hall, you will have the opportunity to learn in new biology labs with access to statistical and data analysis programs. You will have access to the lab 24-hours a day, as well as to current technology in the biology and chemistry laboratories. Our new tissue culture lab offers opportunities for research and modern laboratory experiences.

We're proud of the success of our alumni, such as Laura Howell McCreery, pictured at left. Laura is the 2010 winner of the Excellence in Science Teaching Award for her outstanding work and innovation in science education. Many of our alumni go on to be leaders in their chosen field taking with them the knowledge, principles and values learned at Mount Mercy.

Mount Mercy also offers several pre-professional tracks through the biology program.

Pre-Medicine: Pre-medical and pre-dental students should pursue a biology major and a chemistry minor with two courses in physics with laboratory. Suggested biology electives are Basic Human Anatomy, Basic Human Physiology, General Microbiology, Histology, Parasitology, Molecular Biology, and Immunology. Additional suggested courses are Calculus I and Developmental Psychology

Pre-Physician Assistant: Students pursuing admission to physician assistant programs should follow a similar program to the pre-medical students (above), but they should take Pre-calculus or Mathematical Modeling as their mathematics, and more courses in psychology. Most physician assistant programs require a BS degree.

Pre-Physical Therapy: Most physical therapy programs require a BS degree, which our biology major satisfies. Courses needed include: Basic Human Anatomy, Basic Human Physiology, Histology, Physics I and Physics II, and additional psychology classes.

Pre-Occupational Therapy: Admission requirements for occupational therapy programs differ depending on whether the degree sought is graduate or undergraduate. Graduate programs require a BS degree, preferably with a major in biology, but other majors are also a possibility. Students wishing to pursue a graduate degree in occupational therapy should carefully plan a four-year course of study with their advisor that is based upon programs to which they will apply. Most occupational therapy programs require a BS degree, but students wishing to transfer to a baccalaureate program after two (2) years should consult the requirements of the program.


The biology section of the current catalog will outline, more specifically, the course work required for these career paths. The outdoor conservation major is also contained in the Department, and all students can satisfy some of their requirements through study at field stations such as Iowa Lakeside Laboratory

In addition to academics, the Department sponsors the biology club. It is designed to help students, interested in pre-medical programs and other biology-related areas, meet and express their ideas. Students join the club to fulfill an interest, show concern for the environment, or provide useful experience to their major field of study. Along with speakers and experiences with health professionals, the club raises awareness of our fragile environment by bringing speakers to campus and encouraging hands-on involvement, as well as providing opportunities for students interested in spending time in the outdoors.