With a wealth of nearby natural resources and plenty of opportunities to travel far afield, biology at Hanover immerses students in the study of living things. Make your own discoveries in our advanced science labs. Explore the incredible diversity of habitats on our 650-acre campus overlooking the Ohio River. Gain valuable field experience in the remarkable forests, wildlife refuges and state parks located nearby. Travel with renowned faculty experts to destinations rich in biological interest.

Partners in learning

Because they focus on teaching, Hanover professors mentor students closely and engage them as colleagues. That means you will:

  • Conduct hands-on research in collaboration with professors at a level often reserved for graduate students at other colleges.
  • Research a subject you find personally exciting, such as the evolution of water snakes in Southeast Asia or how much land is needed to protect crawfish frogs.
  • Present your findings at local or national conferences.

Along the way, you'll learn to think critically, solve problems and use science to better understand the world around you.

What do biology majors study?

    • Heredity and evolution
    • Cells and systems
  • Genetics
  • Biodiversity
  • Other topics that interest you, from freshwater ecosystems to conservation to molecular biology

Although pre-med is not a major, many biology students consider careers in medicine. Those who take the exercise science course in human anatomy have the unique opportunity to work with a human cadaver as an undergraduate.

Previous graduates' careers and professional placements have included:

  • Research Analyst (Natural Environmental Policy Institute)
  • Secondary School Teacher (Memphis School District)
  • Medical Doctor (Indianapolis)
  • Professor of Law (Case-Western Reserve University)

Graduate and medical school placements have included:

  • Indiana University
  • University of Illinois
  • Ohio State (Veterinary School)
  • University of Chicago (Chicago Medical School)
  • Notre Dame (School of Optometry)

Research opportunities

Hanover College's biology program will provide you with opportunities for research through the college's facilities, as well as through relationships with other top universities, including Ohio State University, Indiana State University and Ohio University.

Some recent research projects include:

  • Ashley Linville's "Analysis of Water Quality in Southern Indiana Streams Through the Use of Macroinvertebrates." This project led Ashley to understand and present compelling analysis on the origins of contaminants.
  • Heather Andrew's "Phylogeography of Enhydris plumbea in Southeast Asia Using Mitochondrial DNA."
  • Kyle Walden's "Determining Fertility Rates and Population Models in White-Tailed Deer with Histories of Hunting."
  • Valeria Horobik's work in "Spatial and microhabitat variation in Lyme Disease risk in Southeastern New York."
  • Jessica Walker's work with the "Role of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase, protein kinase C, protein tyrosine kinases, and MAP kinase in the motility and chemotaxis of bovine neutrophils."


The range of specialties represented on Hanover’s biology faculty is unique for an institution of its size. Students have the opportunity to work side-by-side with an immunologist, forest ecologist, behavioral ecologist, systematic entomologist and developmental geneticist.


BIO 161
Ecology and Evolution
An introduction to the scientific study of life with an emphasis on evolution, ecology and classical genetics. The nature and practice of science will be examined throughout the course. For prospective pre-health-profession students and natural science majors. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR. Satisfies the QL ACE. This class is open only to first-year students.
BIO 165
Concepts of Biology
An historical approach to explore the development of primary topics in modern biology such as mechanisms of inheritance and diversification of life on Earth via the process of evolution. The nature and practice of science will be examined throughout the course. Does not require college-level chemistry. Satisfies the SL CCR and partially satisfies the SM CCR. Not open to students with prior credit in Bio 161 or equivalent.
BIO 185
Cell and Molecular Biology
An introduction to the scientific study of life with emphasis on the chemistry of life, cells, and physiology. For prospective natural science majors and pre-health-profession students. Prerequisite: Bio 161. Satisfies the QL ACE and partially satisfies SM/SL CCR.
BIO 221
A survey of molecular, organismal, and population genetics. Laboratory work illustrates basic genetic principles and modern laboratory techniques. Prerequisites: 185. Prerequisite/co-requisite: Che 161 or equivalent.
BIO 225
The study and identification of insects with an emphasis on field work, life cycles, classification, curation, ecology, and economic impacts of insects. Prerequisite: Bio 161 or Bio 165.
BIO 227
A study of the biology of amphibians and reptiles. Topics covered include classification, evolution, ecology, physiology, behavior and conservation. Emphasis on the amphibians and reptiles of southeastern Indiana and field research methods. Prerequisite: 161.
BIO 231
An introduction to the biological diversity of earth. Topics covered include analysis of the form and function of the major taxonomic groups: protists, fungi, plants, and animals, the origin of life, the evolutionary history of life on earth, and principles of biological classification. Prerequisite: 185.
BIO 234
Plant Taxonomy
Identification of higher plants with emphasis on the native flora; emphasis on the use of keys, principles of classification, field work, and herbarium methods. Prerequisite: 161.
BIO 308
Directed Research
Field or laboratory research performed under the direction of a professor. Prerequisite: permission of directing professor. Graded Pass/Fail. .25 unit.
BIO 309
Directed Research
Field or laboratory research performed under the direction of a professor. Prerequisite: permission of directing professor. Graded Pass/Fail. 0.5 unit.
BIO 312
Conservation Biology
Study of the conservation of genetic, species, and ecosystem diversity. Synthesis of perspectives from population and community ecology, population genetics, biogeography, economics, and sociology. Prerequisite: 231.
BIO 313
Plant Anatomy and Physiology
Study of vascular plant structure and function as adaptations to the terrestrial environment. Lectures, discussions, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: 231.
BIO 314
Molecular Biology
A detailed survey of gene structure, function, regulation, and replication as well as the experimental techniques used to understand these phenomena. Prerequisite: 221. Satisfies the W2 ACE.
BIO 315
Study of interactions of organisms and their environments; emphasis on energy flow, nutrient cycling, and equilibrium processes in ecosystems. Lectures, field projects, preparation of scientific reports, and laboratories. Prerequisite: 231.
BIO 316
Animal Behavior
A study of the behavior of animals, with emphasis on the ecology and evolution of behavior and the applicability of the principles of animal behavior to humans. Prerequisite: 231. Satisfies the W2 ACE.
BIO 317
Vertebrate Biology
A study of the biology of the vertebrates, including the evolutionary history, ecology, behavior, and structure and function of the major vertebrate groups. Lab includes dissection of representative vertebrates and field studies with local vertebrate species. Prerequisite: Bio 231. Offered alternate years.
BIO 326
Developmental Biology
Development of organisms with an emphasis on vertebrates. Laboratories will combine modern molecular analyses and classical descriptions of organismal development. Prerequisite: 221.
BIO 328
Introduction of both theories and techniques in the field of immunology. Prerequisite: 221.
BIO 332
An analysis of the process of evolution. Topics cover the history of evolutionary thought, evidence for the evolution of life, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and the history of life on earth. Special emphasis will be placed on current research and developing an experimental evolutionary approach. Lectures, discussions, field and laboratory experiments. Prerequisite: 231.
BIO 333
A study of the structure and function of bacteria and related organisms. Prerequisite: 221.
BIO 335
Principles of Systematics
An introduction to the theory and practice of biological classification, taxonomy, and systematics. Topics covered include the description, naming, and identity of species, construction and analysis of phylogenetic trees, and exploration of the evolution of molecular and morphological characters. Prerequisites: Bio 221 or Bio 231.
BIO 336
Cell Biology
A study of the evolution, structure, and functioning of cells. Topics include membranes, bioenergetics, intracellular sorting, the cytoskeleton, cell communication, and cellular mechanisms of development. Laboratory emphasis on the methodology of cell biology. Prerequisite: 221.
BIO 380
Directed Research
Field or laboratory research performed under the direction of a professor. Prerequisite: Permission of directing professor. Graded Pass/Fail.
BIO 462
Research Methods in Biology
Integration and application of techniques nevessary for conducting investigations in the biological sciences. Includes experimental design, data analysis, and oral and written presentation skills. Also includes discussion of skills necessary for post-graduate preparation. Prerequsite: Biology Major. Senior standing. Satisfies QL ACE