Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
What Is the Study of Biology/Mathematics?
Biology is the study of living things, an academic endeavor with a basic research focus on seeking answers to questions rather than on applying biological knowledge to solve problems. As scientists, biologists have two prime motivations: (1) intellectual curiosity about biological systems, and (2) the philosophy that creating and disseminating reliable knowledge has intrinsic worth. Thus, we intend for our intensive academic program to stimulate our students’ curiosity and appetite for life-long learning about biology.
The biology curriculum provides an effective combination of knowledge in areas that students can apply to many careers. The supporting courses for the Biology major in math, physics, and chemistry, along with the biology core curriculum at the 200-level and 300-level, plus one 400-level course in evolution, fulfill the goals of a liberal arts education. In 400-level courses students not only pursue interests more specifically, but begin to integrate and apply knowledge, and develop the skills and abilities to pursue careers of their choosing.
Mathematics reveals hidden patterns that help us understand the world around us. Now much more than arithmetic and geometry, mathematics today is a diverse discipline that deals with data, measurements, and observations from science; with inference, deduction, and proof; and with mathematical models of natural phenomena, of human behavior, and of social systems.
As a practical matter, Mathematics is a science of pattern and order. Its domain is not molecules or cells, but numbers, chance, form, algorithms, and change. As a science of abstract objects, Mathematics relies on logic rather than on observation as its standard of truth, yet employs observation, simulation, and even experimentation as means of discovering truth.
-From Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education (c) 1989 National Academy of Sciences.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
Do you want to know all about the life that you see, hear, touch, taste and smell and how this affects us? Do you want to work outside in the field or in a laboratory? Are you enthusiastic, intelligent, open-minded, and precise? Are you willing to work hard and challenge yourself intellectually? Consider a biology/mathematics major!
How to Declare:
Declare your Biology/Mathematics major as soon as you discover you are interested. Contact the Mathematics department and Maren Brinson in the Biology Department Office, BI 315 for details. Freshmen, your first quarter is not too soon!
The Biology Department has a two-step process for admission into our degree programs:
Phase I: Students declare their intent to major in biology, and are in the process of completing the introductory biology (BIOL 204, 205, 206) and general chemistry (CHEM 121, 122, 123) series.
Phase II: Admissions is based on academic performance in the Phase I introductory courses. Students must have achieved an average grade of 2.9 or higher in their introductory biology and general chemistry courses before they can advance to Phase II and begin taking upper-division coursework. Students may repeat only one course in Phase I in order to remain eligible for Phase II.
- BIOL 204 - Introduction to Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity
- BIOL 205 - Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
- BIOL 206 - Introduction to Organismal Biology
- BIOL 321 - Genetics
- BIOL 323 - Cell and Molecular Biology
- BIOL 325 - Ecology
- BIOL 432 - Evolutionary Biology
- CHEM 251 - Elementary Organic Chemistry
- MATH 204 - Elementary Linear Algebra
- MATH 224 - Multivariable Calculus and Geometry I
- MATH 331 - Ordinary Differential Equations
- MATH 341 - Probability and Statistical Inference
- MATH 342 - Statistical Methods
- NOTE: The pair MATH 203 and 303 may be substituted for MATH 204 and 331.
- MATH 415 - Mathematical Biology
- NOTE: MATH 432 can substitute for MATH 415
- PHYS 161 - Physics with Calculus I
- PHYS 162 - Physics with Calculus II
- PHYS 163 - Physics with Calculus III
- Choose either:
- MATH 124 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry I
- MATH 125 - Calculus and Analytic Geometry II
- MATH 134 - Calculus I Honors
- MATH 135 - Calculus II Honors
- MATH 138 - Accelerated Calculus
- One course from:
- CSCI 139 - Programming Fundamentals in Python
- CSCI 140 - Programming Fundamentals in C++
- CSCI 141 - Computer Programming I
- MATH 307 - Mathematical Computing
- 8 credits of approved upper-division electives from biology, math, or math/computer science
- Choose one of the following series:
- CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I
- CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II
- CHEM 123 - General Chemistry III
- CHEM 125 - General Chemistry I, Honors
- CHEM 126 - General Chemistry II, Honors
- CHEM 225 - General Chemistry III, Honors
These courses are offered within this major and may be used to satisfy GUR or Writing Proficiency Requirements.
- QSR: MATH 124, 134, 138; CSCI 139, 140, 141
- LSCI: BIOL 204, 205, 206; CHEM 121, 122, 123,125, 126, 225; PHYS 161, 162, 163
- Populations Researcher
- Research Analyst
- Bioinformatics Scientist
Biology Department Chair:
Dr. Joann Otto
Mathematics Department Chair:
Bond Hall 202A