Integrative Biology

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


What is Integrative Biology?

Integrative Biology (IB) is the study of living organisms through an integrative lens. It pulls concepts and skills from many disciplines to answer questions about how life works, from the level of the gene to the global ecosystem.

As an IB student, you’ll delve into the study of life and research the interactions of (and in) biological systems. This major emphasizes a strong foundation in experimental design, communication skills, and critical thinking. Your coursework will include a great deal of experiential training. Many classes have a lab component. You’ll study topics like genetics, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, and evolution.

The IB curriculum provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for a wide variety of careers. This includes healthcare, research, conservation, and more. You can visit IB's "alumni mentoring program profiles" page to see what our graduates are doing with their degrees.

If you're interested in this major, apply to our Biology program. You may choose IB as your major before your sophomore year. There is also an option for an IB Honors concentration. IB offers a Secondary Education option for the teaching of Biology in high schools.

Career Options

  • Biotechnology & pharmaceuticals
  • Ecology, evolution, & conservation biology
  • Education
  • Entomology
  • Forensic science
  • Genetic counseling
  • Government (NIH, EPA, FBI, CDC, DOD)
  • Healthcare (dentist, doctor, nurse, optometrist, physician assistant, public health)
  • Plant biology
  • Pharmacy
  • Research
  • Science journalism
  • Science policy
  • Sustainability
  • Teaching
  • Veterinary medicine

Post-Graduation Success1

73% employed or continuing education

40% employed after graduation

32% attending graduate school

1% volunteering

$35,471 average starting annual income

Sample employer destinations: AbbVie, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Shedd Aquarium View All

Sample grad school destinations: Harvard University, Emory University, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine View All

Review Criteria

First-Year Major-Specific Criteria

  • Demonstrated understanding of and interest in the major

View All Review Criteria

Transfer Criteria

Transfer Guide

Graduation & Retention2

3.9 years to degree

95% first-year retention rate

94% four-year graduation rate

94% six-year graduation rate

Annual Program Costs3

Illinois Resident

  • Tuition: $17,866
  • Fees: $4,928
  • Expenses: $18,222
  • Total: $41,016


  • Tuition: $36,986
  • Fees: $4,928
  • Expenses:$18,562
  • Total: $60,476


  • Tuition: $39,434
  • Fees: $4,928
  • Expenses: $18,562
  • Total: $62,924