Biomedical Sciences

This is a versatile major that will prepare students fully for any health-related field. The program is fundamentally focused on the health sciences as a whole but leaves ample room for development of outside interests that enhance an application for professional schools.

Practicing medicine

As the only private college in Iowa offering this major, BVU ensures students are completing research with faculty that have research training and education at Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, Cornell University in New York, and Mayo Clinic. All students are required to complete a multi-semester research project and pursue research in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, or computer science. These research projects are often in collaboration with scientists at Mayo Clinic, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Taiwan University, the University of Nebraska Lincoln, and Tufts University in Boston. These research experiences are valuable in helping BVU students stand out from others when applying for admission to graduate and professional programs.

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According to, physicians hold the number one highest paying in-demand job in America with a base salary of $212,000 in 2016.

The median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations was $62,610 in May 2015, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.

The health sciences are always in demand and listed as growth industries in the future. Jobs in healthcare are often listed as jobs with the most future increases in employment.

State of the Art

What Students Access at BVU

To facilitate research projects, students have early access to state-of-the-art equipment. Currently students are generating 3-D images of cells to find changes with the confocal microscope or analyses of changes in human or animal gene expression using a Real Time PCR machine. In addition, collaborative student experiments with Dr. Steve Russell’s at his lab at the Mayo Clinic are underway in the tissue culture hood.

The Estelle Siebens Science Center is a 70,000 square-foot building with 18 laboratories and three research areas holding:

  • Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscope (NMR)
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometer (GC-MS)
  • Human anatomy laboratory
  • Confocal Microscope
  • Human Cadaver Lab
  • Sterile hoods
  • UV and chemiluminescent imaging equipment
  • Greenhouse with three environmental growth chambers

BVU's Internship in Healthcare

Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education

Each January, up to three pre-med students participate in an intensive internship at Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake and three other area hospitals as part of BVU’s unique Undergraduate Rural Medicine Education and Development (URMED) program. Students participating in URMED also receive a $3,000 stipend to help defray expenses associated with applying to medical school.

Pre-professional opportunities are also available for students interested in physical therapy, radiology, optometry, and pharmacy careers in rural settings.


  • Mayo Clinic Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Mayo Clinic Virology and Gene Therapy
  • Sanford Health Biomedical Sciences


  • Medical doctors
  • Nurse practitioner and physician assistant
  • Optometry
  • Dentistry
  • Chiropractic
  • Physical therapy
  • Radiology
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Biomedical research
  • Biotechnology research
  • Mortuary Science
  • Forensics
  • Genetic Counselor

Graduate School

  • University of Iowa
  • Illinois College of Optometry
  • Mayo Clinic (Ph.D.)

Major in Biomedical Sciences (54 credit hours)

  • BCHM 401 Biochemistry
  • BIOL 163 Biological Principles I
  • BIOL 164 Biological Principles II
  • BIOL 305 Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 380 Human Physiology
  • CHEM 151 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 152 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 261 Organic Chemistry I

Many professional and graduate programs require a full year of organic chemistry, so students are strongly encouraged to take CHEM 262 (Organic Chemistry II) as an elective.

One course from

  • PHYS 201 General Physics I: Trigonometry-Based
  • PHYS 211 General Physics I

One course from

  • PHYS 202 General Physics II: Trigonometry-Based
  • PHYS 212 General Physics II: Calculus-Based

Two courses from

At least 6 credits, generally taken in the 2nd year of study.

  • BIOL 210 Zoology
  • BIOL 222 Botany
  • BIOL 240 Microbiology
  • BIOL 260 Genetics
  • BIOL 270 Evolution
  • BIOL 311 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 325 Endocrinology
  • BIOL 333 Island Ecology
  • BIOL 360 Ecology
  • BIOL 365 Freshwater Ecology
  • BIOL 385 Neuroscience
  • BIOL 420 Immunology
  • BIOL 422 Virology
  • BIOL 424 Parasitology
  • BIOL 426 Ornithology
  • BIOL 427 Herpetology
  • BIOL 428 Mammalogy
  • BIOL 450 Special Topics in Biology

Research requirements (4 credit hours)

  • BIOL 206 Introduction to Basic and Translational Research
  • BIOL 207 Introduction to Clinical Research
  • BIOL 405 Biomedical Journal Club
  • BIOL 495 Biology Internship
  • Students must earn a grade of "C" or better when taking BCHM 401, BIOL 163, BIOL 164, CHEM 151, CHEM 152, CHEM 261, PHYS 201, PHYS 211, PHYS 202, and PHYS 212.
  • Students must maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA in their BVU courses to graduate with this major.


Dr.   Thomas  Bonagura

Thomas Bonagura

Associate Professor of Biology

Meet the professor
Dr.   Brian  Lenzmeier

Brian Lenzmeier

Professor of Biology

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Dr.   Kristy  McClellan

Kristy McClellan

Associate Professor of Biology

Meet the professor

BVU Hosts 2018 Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting

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BVU Hosts 2018 Iowa Academy of Science Annual Meeting

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Dr. Kyle Glienke, who was one of the earliest BVU students to complete an internship that became the model for the URMED program, is set to practice internal and family medicine at BVRMC.

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