Biology majors study living organisms and vital processes of all life forms. As a biology major, you will investigate the structure, function, heredity and evolution of microorganisms, fungi, plants and animals. Your studies will take place in labs and in the field. You will learn much more than biology. You will develop skills in scientific communication and grow as a leader. You also may attend a national scientific conference where you will learn from experts in fields in which you are interested. In addition, many students conduct research in Cottey labs with help from a professor.

Cottey offers a bachelor of science in biology, a degree that prepares you for many careers. This includes healthcare, research, conservation, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and a host of other fields. With a bachelor of science in biology, you also will be well-prepared for graduate school. Biology majors go on to receive doctorates in biology, microbiology, ecology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology and many other subfields. Others become physicians, physical therapists, genetic counselors, occupational therapists or epidemiologists.

Meet Biology Major Ceirra Carlson

Ceirra CarlsonCottey College set Ceirra Carlson up for success! The biology major from Wyoming was accepted into the physical therapy program at Creighton University, a program that accepts about 20 percent of applicants. Ceirra prepared by majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and psychology. She also played basketball for the Cottey Comets.

“I had a very good support system with the small classes,” Ceirra says. “My basketball coaches and teammates helped me, too, because we studied together.”

Her preparation included 200 hours of job shadowing. She says Cottey made it possible for her to intern at the Hanoi Hospital in Vietnam.

Ceirra enjoyed caring for patients in Vietnam and she also enjoyed her classwork at Cottey. One of her favorite Cottey classes was Molecular Mechanisms of Disease.

“I like trying to find the gaps in research,” she says. “The class inspired me to think critically and it also helped me with scientific writing.”

Ceirra became interested in physical therapy in eighth grade, when she fractured her pelvis and her back in a sledding accident.

“I was in a wheelchair and on crutches a long time,” she says. “My physical therapist pushed me and I was able to start playing volleyball and basketball.”

She chose Cottey because her mom is a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, the organization that owns and supports Cottey College.

“The financial support from the P.E.O. solidified my decision,” Ceirra says.

Cottey offers Bachelor of Science degrees in both biology and health sciences.

Nancy Kohn, Ph.d.

Assistant Professor of Biology
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Ph.D.
Read more.


  • Weaving the Future of Animal Behavior Early Career Symposium, May 2019
  • Missouri Herpetological Association Annual Meeting, August 2017
  • Animal Behavior Society Annual Conference, June 2017


Jaeger, R. and Kohn, N. (2016) Behavioral Ecology of the Eastern Red-Backed Salamander: 50 Years of Research, 2016, Oxford University Press


We’d Love to Hear From You