Biology is the study of life—plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and protists. Biologists ask questions, make observations, perform experiments and offer interpretations of the living world.

Overview

With a lesser emphasis on research, Calvin's bachelor of arts in biology allows you to combine your bio degree with other majors like psychology, business, international development studies or education. 

As a biology student at Calvin, you will:

  • explore what it means to be a Christian scientist
  • take a wide variety of courses, ranging from immunology to anatomy to cellular biology
  • learn how to think about the world from a biological perspective

“It’s one thing to know untold numbers of biology factoids. It is another to know what they mean and how they can be applied to new situations. At Calvin, biology majors learn the responsibility of studying the living world personally, socially, and environmentally.  It’s not simply about the biology--it’s about how biology relates to and connects with all the disciplines of a liberal arts education.”

~David Dornbos, Biology Professor

Interested in a more intensive program? See the bachelor of science in biology.

Careers in Biology (B.A.)

  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Technical Writer
  • Teacher
  • Psychologist
  • More

See job placement rates for Calvin grads.

Student involvement

Become a lab assistant; assist a professor with summer research; participate in the Environmental Stewardship Coalition; work at the Bunker Interpretive Center (Calvin's on-campus ecosystem preserve).

Keep Exploring

Visit the department's website

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By the numbers

57%
Biology students who participate in undergraduate research with a professor.
$6 million+
Research and technology grants awarded to the biology department since 2005
100%
Biology professors who have a PhD in their fields

Scholarships

Dollar amounts reflect awards given for the 2014-15 academic year.

AJV Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; strong Christian character, desire to model Christ in their work as a nurse and medical professional; interest in mentoring relationship with the donor
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Stephen P. Beals Family Scholarship
  • amount of award: $2,600
  • junior or senior pursuing a pre-medicine program
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Henry Bengelink Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need considered; intend to become a teacher at the high school or college level
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Robert J. Blok Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered; pursuing a career in medicine
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. and Mrs. Harvey J. Bratt Medical and Missions Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,300
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need considered; interest in service to the poor and needy
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Florence M. and Thomas F. Caldon, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • first-year
  • HS GPA 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • automatic consideration
Calvin College/University of Michigan Medical School Partnership Scholarship
  • award amount: 100% of tuition
  • first-year
  • HS GPA of 3.9+ and ACT of 31+ or SAT of 1340+
  • US citizen or lawful permanent resident; demonstrate a passion to serve God's world through the field of medicine; preference given to underrepresented North American students
  • complete the Medical School Partnership application
Calvin Dental Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • financial need is not required, but may be considered; demonstrate involvement in research, extracurricular college activities, or in the dental community here or abroad
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Karen A. Cooper and Dr. Clifford S. Cho Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.5+
  • financial need considered; demonstrate leadership and involvement in the community through volunteer activities
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Bruce and Joanne Deckinga/Compassion International Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,900
  • sophomore, junior, or senior pursuing elementary education or a pre-med program
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; preference to students who worked on a garbage truck or play the organ
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Debra Deur Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,800
  • sophomore, junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Kathryn De Weerd Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,600
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered; planning to pursue a career in chiropractic or osteopathic medicine or physical therapy
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Paul and Mrs. Doris Dirkse Health Care Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,200
  • junior or senior
  • good academic record
  • financial need considered; Christian character; motivation; potential for service
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Arnold and Mary Dood Medical Services Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • sophomore, junior, or senior
  • GPA 3.30+
  • financial need considered; serving spirit
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Alan and Genevieve Gebben Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,800
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; demonstrate interest/desire to preserve and protect Earth's creatures
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
God Has No Border Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,500
  • first-year
  • HS GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; interest in service; preference to applicants from underserved area (national or missionary kid)
  • prospective students submit a letter to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid describing your qualifications by February 1
Carl and Sandra Gronsman Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,800
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.75+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William and Winifred Haeck Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William and Winifred Haeck Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
James and Beatrice Harkema Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; pursuing biomedical science
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dewey and Marilyn Heetderks Family Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,700
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need considered; consideration given to Christian commitment and interest in medical missions
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William John Heule Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 2.3+
  • financial need not required; demonstrate a passion for fishing (preference for bass fishing)
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Roger A. and Bradley J. Hoekstra Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • financial need considered; Christian character; motivation; potential for service
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Hazel Holtrop Natural Resources Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 2.5+
  • financial need required; have an interest in a natural resource career
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship
Ann, Myrtle, Eunice, Faith and Marie Huizenga Scholarship for Women
  • award amount: $2,600
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.2+
  • financial need required; interested in missions
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. and Mrs. Lee S. Huizenga Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,600
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.2+
  • financial need required; interest in missions or service work
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
R. and J. Iwema Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 2.5+
  • financial need required; intending to teach math or science in grades 6-12
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Martin and Frances Karsten Biology Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,900
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need considered
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
William J. and Glenda Masselink Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; pursuing pre-dentistry, pre-medicine or physics
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
McNamara Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,200
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.5+
  • financial need required; preference may be given to a student in the honors program or who has been adopted
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. and Mrs. Bernard Meeuwsen Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,800
  • sophomore, junior, or senior
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
NSF Scientific Computing Scholarship
  • award amount: $4,000 to $8,000
  • any class level
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; US citizen; full-time student; demonstrate an interest in scientific computation and modeling
  • apply through the Integrated Science Research Institute
Mike and Bette Oostendorp Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; participation in volunteer activities
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Jack and Kris Ponstine Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • sophomore, junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need considered; must participate in one or more Calvin College music groups; preference given to graduates of Calvin Christian HS (Grandville, MI) or Grand Rapids Christian HS (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Pool Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,400
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.5+
  • financial need required; strong Christian character
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Paul and Thelma Schutt Family Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,600
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need required; Christian character and caring personality
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Secondary Science Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,400
  • sophomore, junior or senior
  • financial need required; major in secondary science education
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Drs. Richard James and Susan Beving Strikwerda Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.5+
  • financial need not required; preference to graduates of Holland Christian HS, David Glasgow Farragut HS, or Montgomery County Public HS
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
James and Dolly (Hofman) Strikwerda Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • evidence that the scholarship is needed to help meet educational expenses
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Bernard J. Ten Broek Biology Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.3+
  • financial need required; demonstrate interest in the area of animal biology
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Peter V. Tigchelaar Pre-Medical/Dental Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.5+
  • financial need required; involvement in community or extracurricular college activities
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Arnold and Janice VanderBok Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,400
  • first-year
  • financial need required; speak Spanish fluently; preference to Hispanic students
  • prospective students submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office (finaid@calvin.edu) describing your qualifications by February 1; returning students apply through the Calvin Portal
Joseph and Ralph Gelmer Vander Laan Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,300
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • good academic record
  • financial need required; interest in medical missions
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Corwin G. and Ina June VanderVeer Family Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.3+
  • financial need not required; christian character and caring personality
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
VanDerWoude Science Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.3+
  • financial need not required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Glenn VanDommelen Family Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,200
  • senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
John and Lillian Van Oosten Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,900
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Veltkamp Secondary Science Education Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.2+
  • financial need considered; declared major in the secondary science education program
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Victor VerMeulen Medical Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
John and Louise Wagner/Vander Wagen Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,250
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 3.0+
  • financial need considered; intending to pursue a career in optometry or ophthalmology
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Watts Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,800
  • first-year
  • GPA 3.2+
  • financial need required; ethnic minority; preference given to students from Southern California
  • automatic consideration
West Michigan Optometric Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need required; intending to pursue a career in optometry
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Dr. Morris Wilderom Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,400
  • junior or senior
  • GPA 2.5+
  • financial need required; motivation, Christian character, ability to contribute to the profession
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Steven M. Zifferblatt Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $4,100
  • senior
  • GPA of 3.0+
  • financial need not required; pursuing a career in a health care profession
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
View all scholarship opportunities

Faculty

Eric Arnoys

Eric Arnoys
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
DeVries Hall 233
earnoys@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6051

Curtis Blankespoor

Curtis Blankespoor
Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
DH 123
cblankes@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6498

Hessel Bouma

Hessel Bouma
Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
DH 221
boum@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6401

Randall DeJong

Randall DeJong
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
DH 109
rdejong@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7625

David Dornbos

David Dornbos
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
DH 205
dld9@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8578

Keith Grasman

Keith Grasman
Professor
Department of Biology
DH 103
kag4@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6024

Arlene Hoogewerf

Arlene Hoogewerf
Professor of Biology
department chair
Department of Biology
DH 105
ahoogewe@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8668

David Koetje

David Koetje
Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
DH 105
dkoetje@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7047

Rich Nyhof

Rich Nyhof
Professor
Department of Biology
DH 111
nyhr@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6347

Darren Proppe

Darren Proppe
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
DH 207
dsp5@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6662

Anding Shen

Anding Shen
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
DH 209
as28@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6025

Ralph Stearley

Ralph Stearley
Professor
NH 071
rstearle@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6370

Peter Tigchelaar

Peter Tigchelaar
Professor
Department of Biology
DH 107
ptigch@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6346

John Ubels

John Ubels
Professor
Department of Biology
DeVries Hall 213
jubels@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6219

Randall Van Dragt

Randall Van Dragt
Professor
Department of Biology
DeVries Hall 113
vdra@calvin.edu
(616)526-6497

Dave Warners

Dave Warners
Professor
Department of Biology
DH 125
dwarners@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6820

John Wertz

John Wertz
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
DeVries Hall 131
jwertz59@calvin.edu
(616)526-7621

Amy Wilstermann

Amy Wilstermann
Associate Professor
Department of Biology
DeVries Hall 129
amw26@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7620

Talk to us

Jeannette Henderson Jeannette Henderson
Department Co-Chair
Department of Biology
Bunker Center 108B
jmh46@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7601

Lori Keen Lori Keen
Department Co-Chair
Department of Biology
DH 203
keel@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6080

Pat Buist Pat Buist
Department Co-Chair
Department of Biology
DH 100
pbuist@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6608

Admissions

Connect with your counselor via email, phone, or in person. They'd love to hear from you and answer your questions!

Or, ask us your questions on Facebook.

In the fall and spring our counselors travel throughout the world to meet with students—see if they'll be in your area!

Teach This

Interested in teaching? You can gain certification in Biology (B.A.) as a:

Calvin's teacher education program also contains education-specific course requirements that you must complete prior to certification. See course requirements for:

Professor Robert Keeley talks about the education program.

Learn More

Explore Calvin's teacher education program.

Contact Curtis Blankespoor for more information about teacher certification in Biology

Read the teacher education guidebook for more detailed information about certification.

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