From infancy we concentrate happily on ourselves and other organisms. We learn to distinguish life from the inanimate and move toward it like moths to a porch light… [T]o explore and affiliate with life is a deep and complicated process in mental development. To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it, hope rises on its currents…[T]o the degree that we come to understand other organisms, we will place a greater value on them, and on ourselves. — E. O. Wilson, Biophilia
Nearly all of us are born biologists. As children, we have a natural fascination with ants, butterflies, earthworms and kittens. In a sense, professional biologists never grow up. We continue to find unending delight in things furry, winged and creepy-crawly.
Biology is the scientific investigation of living things. Life scientists seek answers to questions about the nature of the vast diversity of forms from viruses to humans – how they’re built, how they function and how they interact with the biosphere in which they live and move and have their being.
Faculty in Bethel’s Department of Biology have received numerous teaching awards. In lectures and in the lab, you’ll be taught by professional scholar-scientists. Your classmates share your interests and goals – they will encourage you to excel.
Hands-on experience in the lab and field is essential to the study of biology. At Bethel, you won’t have to wait until your senior year to work with modern scientific instruments. From introductory classes to your own senior research projects, Bethel’s labs are open to you and the facilities you will have to work with are top-notch.
Classes and labs are held in the state-of-the-art Krehbiel Science Center, which includes wireless internet connections, laboratories for exploring everything from molecular genetics to field biology, and a greenhouse for plant study. Our long-held dedication to undergraduate research sets the Bethel biology program apart from that of many other colleges in the region. You can be part of ongoing research right on campus or close by in one of the college’s prairie reserves or restoration sites.
If you enjoy cross-cultural exposure, travel and field research, our January interterm Tropical Biology class may be for you. On this Costa Rica trip, you’ll study biology of both montane and lowland rain forest, as well as dry forest and marine intertidal ecosystems, while also learning about local culture and history.
Since shortly after the very first national Earth Day event in 1970, Bethel has had a program in environmental science. Rooted in the sciences, this interdisciplinary program may be pursued within the Biology or Natural Sciences major. Exploration of relevant social, political, and economic issues round out your preparation as an environmental leader.