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

Calvin's bachelor of science in biology combines foundational learning with a strong emphasis on biological research. If you're interested in pursuing an advanced degree in biology, medicine or research, this is the ideal program for you. Calvin's connections with the local, national and global scientific community open up tremendous experiential learning opportunities for its students. Research facilities and equipment, funded in part by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, offer you the tools you need to excel in this field.

At Calvin, you'll be invited to:

  • take both introductory and upper level courses.
  • explore what it means to be a Christian and a scientist
  • work closely with experienced faculty members on research 
  • study a wide array of subjects, from immunology to anatomy and paleontology
"Calvin College's 90-acre Ecosystem Preserve offers a variety of hands-on opportunities for students interested in ecology and environmental science. Students help manage this preserve, assist with research projects and lead local school groups in environmental education programs for local schools. Additionally, Calvin is home to three greenhouses, a native tree nursery and a student-run organic community garden."
- Dave Warners, Biology professor

Careers in Biology (B.S.)

  • Park ranger
  • biology professor
  • research biologist
  • ecologist
  • More

See job placement rates for Calvin grads.

Student involvement

Become a lab assistant; assist a professor with summer research; join Calvin's Environmental Stewardship Coalition; work at the Bunker Interpretive Center (Calvin's on-campus ecosystem preserve) or on ecosystem restoration projects; lead a science camp during the summer.

Keep Exploring

Visit the department's website

Related News

A Whale of a Tale
from The Spark

By the numbers

85%
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

Course Requirements 2013-14

Biology major(BS)

(35-39 semester hours)

  • BIOL-123 The Living World: Concepts & Connections
  • BIOL-224 Cellular & Genetic Systems
  • BIOL-225 Ecological & Evolutionary Systems
  • BIOL-250 Research Design & Methodology
  • BIOL-295 (taken twice, one concurrently with BIOL-250)
  • Four from:
    • BIOL-311 Field Botany
    • BIOL-313 Paleontology
    • BIOL-321 Genetics and Development
    • BIOL-323 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
    • BIOL-325 Biotechnology
    • BIOL-331 Comparative Animal Physiology
    • BIOL-332 Plant Physiology
    • BIOL-333 Immunology and Hematology
    • BIOL-334 Cell and Tissue Culture
    • BIOL-335 Cell Physiology
    • BIOL-336 General Microbiology
    • BIOL-338 Animal Behavior
    • BIOL-341 Entomology
    • BIOL-344 Vertebrate Biology
    • BIOL-345 Ecosystem Ecology and Management
    • BIOL-346 Plant Taxonomy
    • BIOL-364 Global Health, Environment, & Sustainability
    • CHEM-324 Biochemistry II
    • An approved interim, three of which must have a laboratory component, (Chemistry 383 fulfills the laboratory component for Chemistry 324)
  • One from:
    • BIOL-354 Investigations in a Specific Topic
    • BIOL-385 Internship in Biology
    • BIOL-399 Undergraduate Research
    • An advanced research contract in an advanced course (see department website for contract details)
  • One from:
  • Completion of the biology major field test

Cognates (25-29 semester hours)

  • CHEM-103 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM-104 General Chemistry II
  • One from:
  • MATH-145 Biostatistics
  • Two from:
  • One from:
    • CS-106 Intro Scientific Computation & Modeling (if not taken as quantitative cognate above)
    • CHEM-262 Organic Chemistry II
    • CHEM-271 Environmental Chemistry
    • CHEM-303 Fundamentals of Biochemistry
    • CHEM-304 Phys Chem for Biol Sciences
    • CHEM-323 Biochemistry I
    • CHEM-329 Instrumental Meth for Chem/Bio Sciences
    • GEOL-151 Introductory Geology
    • GEOL-311 Geomorphology
    • PHYS-223 Physics for Health Sciences
    • PSYC-333 Brain & Behavior
    • A biophysics interim
  • IS-141 Information Systems is recommended for students intent on graduate study in biology or a professional school and who do not take CS-106 Intro Scientific Computation & Modeling.

Biology minor

(19-20 semester hours)

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Calvin College Course CatalogCurrent students please download your course catalog for complete degree requirements.

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
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
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
  • 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

Ryan Bebej

Ryan Bebej
Assistant Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
DH 211
bebej@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7564

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

David Koetje

David Koetje
Professor
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
DH 213
jubels@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6219

Randall Van Dragt

Randall Van Dragt
Professor
Department of Biology
DH 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
DH 131
jwertz59@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7621

Amy Wilstermann

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

Talk to us

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

Admissions

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

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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.S.) 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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