Life and Natural Sciences

If you're fascinated by the sky above you, or the ground below you, the University of Iowa is the place for you. With state-of-the-art research facilities and nationally ranked programs in the life and natural sciences, Iowa will challenge you as a student and grow you as a scientist. Here, undergraduates have an essential, hands-on role in research. Working side-by-side with our world-renowned faculty from the day you step foot onto campus, you’ll be at the forefront of the newest innovations and discoveries made here every day.

Van Allen Telescope


This program is designed for students who wish to build considerable knowledge in astronomy but do not plan a research-oriented career in the field. It is appropriate for students planning careers in secondary school science teaching or science-related administration.

Student in chemistry lab


Biochemistry is the study of the basic biological and chemical processes that occur in all living systems. It is an area suited to students who enjoy science and math and who may be considering a career as a research scientist. A biochemistry degree is solid preparation for advanced degree science programs and for careers in medicine, biology, chemistry, or dentistry. In addition to offering a core of course work in biochemistry, this field is interdisciplinary and also involves the study of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science.

Margaret Mungai does research in PBDB


Biology is the study of life, and advances in the understanding of living systems impact almost every aspect of modern life. From food to biofuel to medicine, biological applications are integral to modern society and further advances will be necessary to address the challenges that the future holds. 

Student in chemistry lab


Chemistry has a leading role in the technological challenges that touch all aspects of our lives. Global climate change, increasing demands on limited energy resources, the detection and treatment of human disease, concerns about environmental health, and the continuing need for new materials and synthetic strategies all demand an innovative response from chemists.

Pentacrest Aerial

Environmental Sciences

Environmental sciences is an interdisciplinary major that focuses on scientific study of the environment and understanding of the earth as a complex network of interacting organic and inorganic systems.

Pentacrest Aerial


Did you search for fossils or collect rocks as a child? Did you enjoy earth sciences in school? Have these interests evolved into curiosity about the workings of earth’s natural systems and geological time?

If so, consider a major in geoscience. You’ll learn about Earth and prepare for a career working with the earth’s materials and the processes that shape them.

Pentacrest Aerial


Physics and astronomy students are driven to understand the nature of space, time, and matter from the quantum level to the outer reaches of the universe. They are intellectually curious, bright, and confident individuals preparing to make their mark in a wide range of careers.

Environmental engineering lab

Sustainability Science

The National Academy of Science defines sustainability sciences as "an emerging field dealing with the interactions between natural and social systems and how those interactions affect the challenge of sustainability: meeting the needs of present and future generations while substantially reducing poverty and conserving the planet's life support systems."