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“Undergraduate research, across a range of disciplines, is a distinctive strength of our campus, and it is the dedicated mentorship of our faculty that is a key component of providing these opportunities for UWRF students.” -UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen


UWRF Biology

The Department of Biology prides itself on the diversity of training, research experiences, and interests of its faculty members, as well as a commitment to individualized student attention. At UW-River Falls, students are encouraged to be independent thinkers, challenge traditional wisdom, and to behave ethically and socially. They are encouraged to follow an environmentally sound life-style that will produce responsible global citizens.

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Biology Department offers several degree options that prepare students for various careers. All of the programs place heavy emphasis on undergraduate research as well as provide numerous opportunities for internships and international experiences. For more information visit our Degrees page.

Our department is located on the fourth floor of the Agricultural Science building. Please make arrangements to stop in and see us if you are visiting campus!



Study Abroad Opportunity

UW-Milwaukee is offering a new spring student research and study abroad opportunity in the Yucatán Peninsula. Actual transportation and lodging costs are covered. Students are responsible for most meals, excursions, health and trip insurance related expenses, and tuition.

Laguna Bacalar is on the cusp of becoming one of the most threatened lakes in the world. An international research experience through UW-Milwaukee and NSF provides an undergraduate and graduate student 7-week field experience in the Southern Yucatán Peninsula.


Participants will

  • Conduct research focused on surficial and subterranean hydrologic system dynamics, ecological complexity of Stromatolites, mangroves, and land-water sustainability.
  • Gauge human environmental use associated with the human built environment and examine resource impacts such as tourism encroachment increases in the area.
  • Work under the shared mentorship of SFS program leaders, Mexican scientists, and educators.
  • Collaborate with and receive guidance from Mexican scientists, SFS program leaders, and other U.S. mentor scientists.
  • Interact with students and faculty at the Superior Javier Rojo Gómez Normal College and the local high school
  • Participate in other opportunities such as trips to the Maya ruins, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world, and cultural events.
  • Experience living and working in a tropical environment!

For more information visit The UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Science


Volunteer Opportunity

THe DNR's Minnesota Biological Survey team (MBS) is creating maps of forests and wetlands in northern MN. They are looking for one volunteer to delineate map polygons of complex natural vegetation patterns. using recent versions of Geographic Information System (GIS) software.

Volunteers will be able to work from home; internet connection is needed (preferably 10mbps or better)

The DNR will provide:

  • Laptop and monitor (to be returned upon completion of project)
  • Aerial photograph and other digital layers
  • Training on air photo interpretation to delineate native plant community polygons and oversight by staff
  • Your name listed as contributor in data
  • Letter of appreciation and formal documentation of volunteer services for use in resumes and job applications

Desired Experience and Abilities

  • Practical experience with Microsoft Windows work environments
  • Educational or practical experience with ArcGIS 10.x software
  • Ability to interpret vegetation types, natural habitats, and/or other native landscape patterns through review of aerial photography and other remotely sensed data to guide the delineation/management of polygon layers
  • General understanding of geographic and ecological terminology and concepts, coordinate systems, map projections, and principles of cartography
  • Educational background in geography, ecology, zoology, botany, forestry, wildlife, geology, soils, environmental education, or related fields
  • Field experience with native plant communities, forests, wetlands, or wildlife habitats
  • Self-motivated, able to maintain attention to detail during prolonged digitizing sessions, and capable of working independently
  • Able to commit to a minimum of 25 hours per month over at least 6 months

For more information, contact Ethan Perry, Minnesota Biological Survey, Duluth at 218-514-4467 or email at


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Dr. Cheng-Chen Huang to receive Keith Wurtz Award

The Wurtz Award supports up to two faculty per year to recognize outstanding and innovative teaching. The award is designed to support innovators and those who demonstrate "trailblazing" characteristics.

“Since coming to the Biology department, Dr. Huang has developed several classes, each centered around involving undergraduate students in genuine research opportunities. In the Study Abroad Course in Taiwan, students participate in research in heart failure drugs in several laboratories. They also attend lectures and learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine. The students travel to several different areas of the island, so they learn about the island as well. Students come back with a new perspective on Western Medicine in addition to an appreciation for the research it takes to develop remedies. Students talk about this class as the highlight of their UWRF experience, and as something that solidifies their desire to become a physician”.




UWRF Biology Graduate on the Front Lines in the Fight Against Coronavirus


Due to fear of infection, nurses like UWRF Biology graduate Tiffany Wolfberger are typically the only ones who can be in a patient's room as someone dies from coronavirus. Read her story of treating one such patient.

"I know that we are no substitute for a family member, a wife, a sister... I want people to know that we’re struggling with this just as much as they are. And we are all working to make sure no one will die alone. We all stand together. We just want them to know that we’re going to be there for them."





Jase Baker


“From day one, the faculty and staff that I studied with at UW-River Falls dedicated themselves to me and my success.  My advisor made me feel like I always had someone in my corner, and my resident assistant Rylee worked his butt off to forge friendships among residents that still exist today.  I have made friends with biology and chemistry majors and formed study groups that meet weekly to help us learn together.  I would say the most important step that I took to be successful at UWRF was to create a supportive network of faculty and of successful peers and to actively engage with them.” -Jase Baker, Pre-Med / Biology, Center City, MN









Biology Graduate Olivia Yue

“I Instantly fell in love with the UW-River Falls campus. I think what spoke to me the most was how personable the staff was. It felt so genuine and authentic. I felt like I was truly being cared for, truly being seen on this campus and that was just my first visit.” - Olivia Yue, 2019 Biology Graduate

Biology Graduate Sarah Slinger

“UW-River Falls was the first school I toured and I loved it,” she says. “My hometown of Northfield, Minnesota, is a town similar in size to River Falls and also a college town. I just felt like I was in a new Northfield with different people when I was in River Falls. I also couldn’t get over how nice everyone was.” - Sarah Slinger, 2019 Biology Graduate


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Items of note:


UW-River Falls voted 8th in nation in value for expense in Wall Street Journal survey

Biology major Sophie Ackerman selected as a WySis Ambassador for 2019-2020

Learn about the proposed UWRF Science and Technology Innovation Center:

Read about Biology students Hired Before Graduation:

UW-River Falls Biology Department awarded the 2014 Regents Teaching Excellence Program Award


Contact Us


Biology Department
414 Agricultural Science
611 South 3rd Street

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