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Biology, Department of

Course Designators: BIO, MAR

For information, contact the chair, 989-774-1865, Biosciences 2100;

Why Study Biology?

Biology is the science of life. Humans share life on Earth with up to 30 million other living forms, all of which belong to one complex and fragile ecosystem. The study of biology prepares students to understand this complex ecosystem and our interactions with it. Biology is for those who are curious about living things and wish to learn scientific methods for observing and evaluating life processes. The students may eventually be involved in social and political decisions requiring biological understanding, as well as furthering scientific knowledge through occupations dealing with biological research, natural resource management, agriculture, human health, education and other endeavors. Undergraduate training in biology is good preparation for advanced study in subdisciplines of biology such as medicine, environmental science, physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, aquatic biology, conservation biology, ecology, animal behavior, and other areas of zoology and botany.

Biology at CMU

The Department of Biology at CMU offers programs that provide a core of instruction, followed by an opportunity to study in a more specialized area of biology. The department offers service courses in introductory and human biology, nature study, and conservation of natural resources for non-science students. The major and minor in biology can be applied to a variety of programs designed to serve career interests of students in elementary and secondary teaching, data analytics, natural resources, medical technology, pre-medicine, pre-osteopathy, and pre-veterinary, as well as a program to prepare students for graduate studies in the biological sciences. Graduate programs include Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees emphasizing thesis research, as well as a non-thesis Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Requirements for the graduate programs are detailed in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. In addition to state-of-the-art laboratories, the Department of Biology operates excellent field and laboratory facilities at Neithercut Woodland in Farwell, Michigan and at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. Several core biology courses as well as electives are offered during summer sessions at the CMU Biological Station on Beaver Island. Students participate in research and field experiences in a variety of natural habitats while residing in modern facilities along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Visit for more information.


It is essential that students interested in biology contact a member of the Department of Biology during the first year at CMU. Courses must be selected in consultation with and approved by a departmental advisor. Students may make individual arrangements with instructors for honors work. Generally, the biology programs require extensive laboratory experiences in which the students use specialized equipment (including microscopes), chemicals and glassware. Students are also required to work with cultures of microorganisms and to maintain aseptic conditions. The required field experiences will introduce students to a variety of habitats, including woodlots, fields, streams, lakes and marshes. Courses requiring field trips will have expenses prorated among class members.

The Integrated Science major (secondary) and the Neuroscience majors are found in the Bulletin section on Interdisciplinary Majors and Minors.

Biology credit earned on a Credit/No Credit basis does not apply on majors and minors authorized by the Department of Biology.

The Faculty

Elizabeth Alm, David Alm, Hunter Carrick, Gregory Colores, Cynthia Damer, Joanne Dannenhoffer, Peter Dijkstra, Tracy Galarowicz, Thomas Gehring, Steven Gorsich (Chair), Philip Hertzler, Stephen Juris, Xantha Karp, Jon Kelty, Peter Kourtev, Deric Learman, Debra Linton, Eric Linton, Andrew Mahon, A. Scott McNaught, Anna Monfils, Kirsten Nicholson, Kevin Pangle, Wiline Pangle, Lori Reyna, Shasta Sabo, Jennifer Schisa, Nancy Seefelt, Michelle Steinhilb, Bradley Swanson, Don Uzarski, Rebecca Uzarski, Daelyn Woolnough, David Zanatta

The Programs

Biology Major: Biomedical, Cellular, and Molecular Concentration

Biology Major: Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Concentration

Biology Major: Microscopy Concentration

Biology Minor

Biological Analytics Minor

Science Minor

Neuroscience Major: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Concentration (Interdisciplinary)

Neuroscience Major: Clinical Health Neuroscience Concentration (Interdisciplinary)


Integrated Science Major (Secondary - Interdisciplinary)