My Favorite Classes as a Biology Major

Being a biology major, you have tons of options with classes you can take. Since those who are majoring in it can range from pre-med to pre-vet to environmental sciences, there is no shortage of diversity in classes. I am a biology major with a pre-med track, so I take electives that are based more on human medicine. However, I am not limited to them! Here are my favorite classes I have taken so far as a biology major. (Please note, some of these classes require prerequisites which I have not included here. See the class listing to view prerequisites.)



Animal Science 114: Survey of the Animal Industry
Even though this is an animal science class and I’m going for human medicine, I loved this class! I grew up on a farm and we raised some animals while I was little, so it was fun to revisit those memories. This class covers animal industries such as cattle, swine, poultry, and companion animals (puppies!). The professor is amazing and is very clear about what she expects of you. I always found myself learning a fun new fact and feeling the need to share it with everyone.



Biology 335 (with lab): Principles of Human and Animal Physiology
This class has recently been re-vamped, meaning the professors I currently have, have started from scratch. And, so far, so good. The lectures are engaging and actually peak your interest. In the lab, you do lots of hands on projects so that you can further understand the material. For example, when we were learning about the heart, we hooked up an ECG monitor to ourselves to measure our heart waves and then interpret them.



Microbiology 310: Medical Microbiology
Medical microbiology has a main focus on the bacterial and viral infections and diseases in humans and how our immune systems respond to these. We completed a lot of case histories, meaning we were presented with a patient and their symptoms, blood work, health and travel histories, etc., and then attempted to diagnose them by discovering what agent could be causing it and why. It gives you a new appreciation for microbiology and you learn how your body reacts to certain infections as well!



Biology 255 Lab: Fundamental Human Anatomy Lab
Now, I know that dissection isn’t for everyone, but I personally love it. In anatomy lab, we dissect mainly cats, but have looked at specimens from pigs, cattle, sheep, and humans. Even though Iowa State does not have a cadaver lab, there are plenty of models and the cats are a perfectly fine substitution! I find that the hands on portions really help you grasp the concepts that you need to learn. It’s one thing to learn about it from a book or in lecture, but to actually find it and see it is a totally new way to understand it. Plus, some of the cats have trauma or illness, so when you dissect them, you find these things. For example, when we were looking at the urinary system in our cats, one of them only had one kidney. However, the other kidney (and spleen, for that matter) were HUGE! Sometimes, you find the strangest (but coolest!) of things.

What have been your favorite classes so far (in any major) or what classes do you look forward to taking? Remember, you are not limited to taking classes that are only in you major. Take some classes that interest you!

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