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The biology major gives its students information about, experience with and insights into the fascinating topic of life. Functions of organisms and their parts, interactions of organisms with their environments, taxonomy of plants and animals and mechanisms for continued survival are all considered by biology courses.

Why should you choose SAU’s biology program?

The biology major at Spring Arbor University has many distinctions. Among them are the following:

  • Individualized attention from concerned faculty
  • Christian life perspective
  • Research or honors projects
  • Wide breadth of offerings
  • Hands-on laboratory and field work
  • Specialized pre-medical advising
  • Optional study of special topics

We partner with the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies to offer courses in field biology and conservation. Students may spend one or two summer sessions at the Institute in northern Michigan studying such subjects as aquatic biology, field botany, restoration ecology and watershed management. Cathy Weakland is SAU’s Campus Representative for Au Sable. You can read more about the Institute by visiting the Au Sable website at

In addition to offering a high-quality, diverse academic program, the department tries to develop an appreciation for life and the moral integrity to use knowledge wisely. This will enable the student to improve the quality of life for each individual, as well as to improve the quality of the earth’s environment.

Courses, Course Descriptions & Four-Year Plan

The courses for the 30-hour biology major include such subject areas as zoology, general botany, genes and speciation, principles of genetics, molecular genetics, biological chemistry, environmental science, plants and people, parasitology and organic chemistry.

View the course requirements, layout, course descriptions and a sample four-year plan, and learn more about the biology program at Spring Arbor University in the undergraduate catalog.

Notes for students certifying to teach

  • The biology major and minor is available for secondary certification only. The biology faculty are as concerned with non-academic qualities as about biology concepts. With this concern, the faculty will be monitoring and reporting on character, attitude, and behavioral qualities during a student’s education at Spring Arbor University. This information will have a direct impact on recommendation of a student for admission to the teacher education program and for admission to student teaching.
  • All biology education students are required to pass the State of Michigan Subject Area Test in Biology prior to being certified. In order to help Spring Arbor University students pass this requirement, the following requirement is added to the course requirements:
    • Every Spring Arbor University biology major or minor will be required to pass the Spring Arbor University biology comprehensive test prior to departmental approval for student teaching. Biology majors and minors certifying to teach at the secondary level should pass the departmental examination prior to taking the Michigan State Teacher Test in Biology.
    • The Spring Arbor University biology test may be taken at any time with one week notice to the biology department secretary. Results will be returned to the student within one week of taking the test. The Spring Arbor University biology test may be taken as many times as needed to pass.

Career Opportunities

Students with the biology major have several fulfilling options for future careers. Some students desire pre-professional training in preparation for advanced study in human medicine, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, veterinary medicine and other medical professions. Other biology majors who wish to teach in public, private, or charter schools desire a broad biology background. Some biology majors intend to continue their education in graduate school, possibly to find careers in research, wildlife management, resource management or as college professors. Another option chosen by majors has been to enter a biology-related career directly after receiving a degree. Examples of this option are careers in environmental fields and medical laboratories.To learn more about how Spring Arbor helps its graduates prepare for a career, visit our career development page.