A degree in biology from Wartburg College is well-recognized around the nation.

The Wartburg Department of Biology prepares students for a variety of careers, including health professions, research, teaching, biotechnology, and fields involving global and environmental issues. We teach what science is, not just the knowledge it has produced, with inquiry-based learning. While the curriculum of the biology department is rigorous, students also gain an appreciation of how studying biology can be fun, exciting, and rewarding. The success of the biology program is grounded in its inquiry-based emphasis where students facilitate their learning by experiencing science rather than merely reading about it.

Wartburg’s medical school acceptance rate is extremely high and the college has one of the highest rates of students accepted into the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Graduates applying to dentistry, optometry, podiatry, occupational therapy, nursing, medical technology, and chiropractic medicine programs have had similar acceptance rates. Students in pre-health programs who are double majoring in Spanish will have the opportunity to participate in a unique Spanish for Health Professions program at the University of Oviedo, Spain, which includes an advanced Spanish for Health Professionals course and a one-week clinical field experience in Oviedo at the end of the course. 

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The Academic Experience

Incredible opportunities are available for both on-campus and off-campus field and lab research experiences in biology.

Hands-on projects are an integral part of the courses throughout your four years.

Most biology majors conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member.

A Challenge That’s Rewarding

Small-college environment with more personal attention and greater opportunities to excel without the pressure of impersonal large classes.

Wartburg faculty teach ALL classes, unlike larger colleges and universities

A degree in biology from Wartburg College is well-recognized around the nation. Wartburg has one of the highest rates of students accepted into medical school and other fields of medicine. Below are some of the fields of medicine our students tend to pursue.

Chiropractic Medicine
Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts that is concerned with human health and disease processes. Doctors of Chiropractic are physicians who consider man as an integrated being and give special attention to the physiological and biochemical aspects including structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular, nutritional, emotional and environmental relationships.

If the thought of helping people feel better about their smiles is not enough to attract you to dentistry, consider this: dentists are often the first healthcare professionals to recognize and identify many different diseases, including high blood pressure and cancer. It may seem hard to believe, but that relatively small space between your jaws can contain a wealth of information about your body.

Ecology/Environmental Science
Ecology and environmental science is the branch of biology concerned with the relations between organisms and their environment. Ecologists are concerned about preserving the earth’s natural resources. Due to the enormous increase in technology and population in the last 200 years, there has been a lack of balance between consumption and replenishment of natural resources on the planet.

Graduate SchoolYou might want to consider a couple of options when it comes to graduate school. The following are a list of some options to consider:

M.D./Ph.D Medical Science Program
D.O./Ph.D. Medical Science Program
Perhaps you are an excellent student torn between a research career and clinical career? The medicine scientists training program (MSTP) may be right for you.

Osteopathic Medicine
Admission to osteopathic medical school is competitive and selective. The person who is well-rounded, has a broad background, who demonstrates the qualities listed above and who has demonstrated academic excellence has the best chance for admission to osteopathic medical school.

Medical Technology
Medical Technology (MT) or Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) is a profession that combines the challenges and rewards of basic science, medicine and technology. As a vital member of the health care team, the clinical laboratory scientist works closely with pathologists and other physicians to uncover clues to disease. Medical Technologists are people who are certified health care professionals whose laboratory analyses play a critical role in the diagnosis and management of disease.

Registered nursing programs prepare people to work as RNs. Students learn techniques and procedures of caring for patients and helping doctors. They learn to give medicine and treatments. They also learn to comfort and instruct patients.

Optometrists examine patients’ eyes to diagnose vision problems. They prescribe corrective lenses or other treatments.

Occupational Therapy 
Occupational therapists help people regain or learn daily living or work skills. Occupational therapists (OTs) help people who have mental, physical, or developmental disabilities. These disabilities are caused by birth defects, injuries, illnesses, or aging. Therapists help people develop, recover, or maintain their living and work skills.

Physician Assistant
Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. PAs employed by the federal government are credentialed to practice. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and in most states can write prescriptions.

Podiatry is a branch of medicine devoted to the study and treatment of disorders of the leg and foot.

Physical Therapy
Physical therapists treat patients to relieve their pain and increase their strength and mobility. Physical therapists care for patients with disabilities, injuries, or pain. Doctors refer patients for conditions such as lower back pain, arthritis, and broken bones. They also refer patients recovering from accidents, strokes, and heart disease. Physical therapists help patients decrease pain and improve strength. They also try to prevent permanent disabilities or stop conditions from worsening.

Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of animals (especially domestic animals). Doctors of Veterinary Medicine are medical professionals whose primary responsibility is protecting the health and welfare of animals and people.

Alumni Outcomes

Wartburg graduates find satisfying jobs and are admitted into top graduate and professional schools. Wartburg alumni can be found in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 foreign countries. Below is only a sample of the types of positions Wartburg graduates from the Biology Department have had in the past.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past Five Years:

  • Registered Nurse – Oncology, University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora, Colo.
  • Quality Regulation Lab Technician, General Mills, Cedar Rapids
  • Graduate Student-Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Biological Science Technician, National Park Service, Yellowstone, Wy.
  • Graduate Research Assistant/Assistant Researcher, Texas A&M, Temple, Tx.
  • Outreach Associate, National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.
  • Science Teacher, Davenport Community School District, Davenport

Sample Stand-out Alumni Positions:

  • Associate and Vice Chair, Professor of Urology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Cardiovascular Research Technician, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • Chief Technical Officer and Founder, Tower Care Technologies, Wexford, Penn.

Sample of Alumni Positions from the Past 10 Years:

  • Registered Nurse, Stanford Cancer Center, Palo Alto, Calif.
  • Optometrist, St. Paul Eye Clinic, St. Paul, Minn.
  • Resident Physician, University of Missouri, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Vascular Sonographer, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City
  • Associate Director, Contact Creation, Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., Fairfield
  • Assistant Scientist, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Biology Teacher, Council Bluffs Schools, Council Bluffs
  • Chiropractor, Four Points Family Chiropractic, Austin, Texas


The Science Center is designed to encourage student interaction with faculty members and other students.

Conduct research with a faculty mentor. Experience more.



The professors in the Wartburg Biology Department have earned the highest academic degree in their field, the doctorate. They have experience and expertise in genetics, human physiology, anatomy, developmental biology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology, marine biology, learning theory, gender and science issues, science curricula, earth science, field biology, and environmental microbiology.At Wartburg, student/faculty interaction is encouraged. Every faculty member is dedicated to the success of each student. Most biology majors conduct independent research under the guidance of a faculty member. 

Michael Bechtel

Associate Professor of Science Education

Sean Coleman

Associate Professor of Biology

Cole Davidson

Assistant Professor of Biology

Shanta Karki

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Samantha Larimer Bousquet

Professor of Biology

David McCullough

Professor of Biology

Brett Mommer

Assistant Professor of Biology

Stephanie Toering Peters

Professor of Biology

Jeremy Whitaker

Visiting Associate Professor of Public Health