Biology—Secondary Teaching Emphasis

The Biology with a Secondary Teaching Emphasis allows students to become secondary school teachers, while giving them the flexibility to pursue any other career in biology or continue to post-baccalaureate studies.

A broad Biology curriculum for this major prepares students for a teaching endorsement in biology. It provides students with a well-rounded liberal arts education by also including courses in math, physics, and chemistry. The requirements for this major include laboratory courses in genetics, molecular and organismal biology, as well as a course that examines the relationship between science and society.

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering

To receive a recommendation for a state of Washington certification, students must complete a professional preparation program in secondary education. A Biology endorsement with a teaching certification will require being admitted to Woodring College of Education.

 

 “It’s hard to say what I love most about the biology department. The classes are interesting, the professors are approachable, and it’s really easy to get involved with research.”  

–Julie Maurer, Student

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology Club, and develop their own extracurricular experience through an independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resembles research experiences.  

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

The Biology with a Secondary Teaching Emphasis program provides students with the skills to enter both the science and teaching fields. Many students go on to teach in secondary education programs, others graduate with goals of continued science or teaching education, and some find work within the scientific community. Western’s tandem department team (Biology and Woodring), prepares students with a foundation for success.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Biology Teacher

Biology—Molecular and Cell Emphasis

The Biology — Molecular and Cell Emphasis major is part of an interdisciplinary program between the Biology and Chemistry departments. Cell biology is the study of cells at the biochemical or molecular level. Molecular Biology investigates the interactions among DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis to understand how these interactions are regulated using the tools and principles of genetics and bioinformatics — it is among the most rapidly growing fields, and is making strides with recent accomplishments such as the sequencing of the entire human genome.

The B.S. degree in Molecular and Cell Biology places emphasis on the molecular biology and biochemistry that control cell functions. Students take courses in math, physics, and chemistry, along with the core biology curriculum. Once in 400-level biochemistry and molecular biology courses, students get to pursue their specific interests. 

The integrated conceptual foundation in biology, the critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership with team-building skills, and scientific research skills that students obtain from lecture and laboratory courses in Western’s Molecular and Cell Biology curriculum are ultimately critical for post-baccalaureate studies and for future job performance. 

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

Richie Jimenez, Student

“I chose to major in Molecular and Cellular Biology because I am fascinated with the molecular processes that control our very existence. My academic experience at Western has prepared me for my future by teaching me to think critically and has provided hands on experience and practical applications of the many theories involved with my major.”

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology Club, and have opportunities to develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resemble research experiences. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students in the Biology — Molecular and Cell Emphasis program often begin their post-baccalaureate jobs at medical centers such as MultiCare, PeaceHealth, or TOKU-E (manufacturer of antimicrobials for life science research) or continue their education with graduate studies. 

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Biomedical  Research 
  • Pharmaceutical  Research 
  • Bioinformatics
  • Cell Physiology 
  • Forensic Scientist 
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Geneticist
  • Medical Doctor
  • Educator

 

Biology—Marine Emphasis

Near the shores of the Salish Sea, Western is in an ideal location for undergraduates studying marine sciences. The Biology – Marine Emphasis major provides a thorough introduction to the basic areas of biology and supporting sciences while allowing specialization in marine biology. Students explore the structure and function of marine organisms and their relationship with the environment. 

A highlight for most students in this emphasis is the opportunity to enroll in courses taught at Western’s Shannon Point Marine Center, in Anacortes, WA (about an hour from Bellingham). These all-day courses give students the opportunity to delve deeply into marine ecology and algal diversity, and include boat-based research and trips to nearby islands.

The integrated conceptual foundation in biology, the critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership with team-building skills, and scientific research skills students obtain from lecture and laboratory courses in the B.S. Biology curriculum ultimately are critical for post-baccalaureate studies and future job performance. 

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resembles research experiences.   

The Biology Department works with Career Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni. Students studying marine sciences can also gain invaluable research and internship experience at Western's coastal research center, the Shannon Point Marine Center.

Jamie Latham
Student

"I have had countless hours of lab-oriented experiences in the bio department. I know how to use a Scanning Electron Microscope, a variety of ecological probes, I do my own research that I design, and I help my professors with their research." 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Students who graduate with a B.S. or B.A. in Biology can apply their education to a variety of careers. Western’s Biology – Marine Emphasis graduates have taken on post-baccalaureate research jobs such as: data research clerk, algae researcher, and port/ocean sampler. 

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Marine Scientist 
  • Fisheries Biologist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Conservation Biologist 
  • Naturalist 
  • Laboratory Technician 
  • Educator

Biology—General Emphasis

Biology is the study of living things and encompasses areas ranging from molecular biology to ecosystem ecology. This breadth is reflected in Western's curriculum and in faculty and student research. The Biology with a General Emphasis program allows students to develop an upper-division curriculum tailored to meet their educational needs with the help of their faculty advisor.

Western’s biology department employs a high concentration of faculty who are actively engaged in both teaching and research. Students in the Biology Department receive quality instruction from experts in the field who are committed to the education of the next generation. Modest class sizes enable faculty to facilitate small group discussions and student-centered learning activities in class. All upper level labs are taught by the faculty themselves, not graduate students. 

Western’s Biology program stands on an integrated conceptual foundation in biology, critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership with team-building skills, and scientific research skills students obtain from lecture and laboratory courses. Students who graduate with a B.S. in Biology with a General Emphasis can apply their education to a variety of jobs across careers. 

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

“The experience at Western is special because of the opportunities for students to actively participate in hands-on, inquiry-based research under the close supervision of a faculty advisor.” –Lynn Pillitteri, Faculty

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resembles research experiences.   

The Biology Department works with Career Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni. If students want to make these types of internships even more meaningful, they may elect to earn credit under BIOL 496. Students enrolled in BIOL 496 while completing their internship will be encouraged to reflect on their learning through journaling and other assignments under the direction of their faculty advisor, and the credit they earn upon completion may be applied to their program requirements.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The foundational principles in the Biology (BS) curriculum are ultimately critical for post-baccalaureate studies and future job performance. Recent graduates have used their Biology education from Western as a foundation for more advanced studies. Some students pursue dental school, while others are involved in a variety of fields such as botanical studies and veterinary medicine.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Botanist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Biology Educator 
  • Marine Scientist 
  • Biotechnologist
  • Laboratory Technician 
  • Physician Assistant 
  • Pharmacist 
  • Dentist 
  • Medical Doctor

Biology—Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEO) Emphasis

The Biology—Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEO) Emphasis degree program focuses on the structure, function, ecology, and evolution of organisms, with an emphasis on plants and animals. A diploma granted under this major will indicate “Bachelor of Science”; official transcripts will indicate Biology — Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Emphasis.

Western’s Biology programs are based on an integrated conceptual foundation in biology, critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership with team-building skills, and scientific research skills students obtain from lecture and laboratory courses. The foundational principles in the Biology (BS) curriculum are ultimately critical for post-baccalaureate studies and future job performance.  

Because of the wide array of elective options for this major, the Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology emphasis is a terrific degree for students interested in careers in field research, in veterinary medicine, or in pursuing graduate education in ecology, evolutionary biology, or organismal biology.

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resemble research experiences.   

The Biology Department works with Career Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni. If students want to make these types of internships even more meaningful, they may elect to earn credit under BIOL 496. Students enrolled in BIOL 496 while completing their internship will be encouraged to reflect on their learning through journaling and other assignments under the direction of their faculty advisor, and the credit they earn upon completion may be applied to their program requirements.

Julie Maurer
Biology Student

 “It’s hard to say what I love most about the biology department. The classes are interesting, the professors are approachable, and it’s really easy to get involved with research.”

Careers and Graduate Studies

After completing the Bachelor of Science in Biology — EEO, recent Western graduates have worked at the Seattle Aquarium and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, while others have continued their education at schools like Michigan State University and University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Botanist 
  • Conservation Biologist 
  • Educator 
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental Consultant 
  • Evolutionary Biologist
  • Field Biologist
  • Laboratory Technician

 

Biology/Mathematics

Biology is the study of living things and encompasses areas ranging from molecular biology to ecosystem ecology. Mathematics is the study of pattern, structure, and change. Biology/Mathematics is a combined major offered by the departments of Biology and Mathematics that enables students to develop a strong background in biology along with a broadly applicable understanding of quantitative and computational approaches to problem-solving, giving graduates from this program a unique and highly sought set of skills. 

Biology is an increasingly quantitative discipline, requiring mathematical models to understand complex biological phenomena, and computationally-intensive algorithms to analyze the massive datasets generated by genomics. More than ever, employers in fields such as bioengineering, theoretical biology, ecology, and molecular biology are seeking to hire people equipped to handle the quantitative rigors of modern biology.

Western’s Biology and Mathematics Departments are part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

Beyond the Classroom

Biology/Mathematics students have a variety of opportunities to apply knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants courses, join the Biology club, work in the Math Center (staffed by undergraduate Math Fellows), work on a research or independent study project with faculty, and participate in relevant internships. 

Careers and Graduate Studies

With proficiencies in both mathematics and biology, graduates have a variety of career options in the math and science fields. Some become biostatisticians or research analysts while others decide to continue their education. With dual department access, Biology/Mathematics students have the resources to take on the interdisciplinary challenge.

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Biology/Anthropology

Biological or Physical Anthropology is the study of both present and past human variation relative to local ecologies and cultures. Biological Anthropologists specialize in human or primate anatomy, disease ecology, growth and development, forensic anthropology and osteology, medical anthropology, primate behavior, and paleoanthropology. The Biology/Anthropology major concentrates on human biology and behavioral science. 

Students interested in health-related careers find this major to be particularly attractive, because it offers greater access to courses in Human Anatomy and Physiology. In addition, it offers elective options in Biology and Anthropology courses, giving students a wide array of courses

from which to choose.

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

“[Biology/Anthropology] allows me to integrate two fields that others see as loosely connected, but are important to each other. It’s integral to understand someone’s worldview and culture and how that affects their beliefs on health.”  –Kyra Langhelm

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resemble research experiences, and the Biology Department works with Career Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni.

Western’s Anthropology Club is a group of students and faculty who promote interest in the discipline of Anthropology. The club plans and promotes speakers, trips, and events which relate to all four of the subdivisions within Anthropology. The main annual event is the planning and hosting of the Anthropology Conference, which is held in conjunction with Scholar’s Week.

Careers and Graduate Studies

This major is most useful for those continuing on in applied health careers such as: Medicine, Osteopathy, Optometry, Dentistry, and others. It is also useful for Epidemiology, public health and graduate programs in Human Biology and Biological Anthropology.

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • Boston University: Public Health (MA) 
  • Washington State University: Entomology (PhD)
  • Midwestern University
  • Everett Community College

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Biology

Biology is the study of living things and encompasses areas ranging from molecular biology to ecosystem ecology. This breadth is reflected in Western's curriculum and in faculty and student research.

Western’s biology department employs a high concentration of faculty who are actively engaged in both teaching and research. Students in the Biology Department receive quality instruction from experts in the field who are committed to the education of the next generation. Modest class sizes enable faculty to facilitate small group discussions and student-centered learning activities in class. All upper level labs are taught by the faculty themselves, not graduate students. 

The B.A. in Biology is designed for students who want to make biology the focus of a liberal arts education and may not be directly interested in post-graduate study or professional careers in biology or teaching. The number of required courses in the B.A. Biology degree has been kept low to permit you to add other areas of study and courses suited to your needs and interests. Thus, it is relatively easy to pair this major with a second major or minor.

Western’s Biology Department is part of the College of Science and Engineering.

 

Beyond the Classroom

The Biology program provides a wide variety of opportunities for applied practice of knowledge and skills gained in lectures and labs. Undergraduates are encouraged to engage in research alongside faculty, serve as teaching assistants for biology courses, join the Biology club, and/or develop their own extracurricular experience through the independent study option. Additionally, some upper level labs follow a project-based curriculum that resemble research experiences.   

The Biology Department works with Career Services to promote internships for external organizations to students and alumni. If students want to make these types of internships even more meaningful, they may elect to earn credit under BIOL 496. Students enrolled in BIOL 496 while completing their internship will be encouraged to reflect on their learning through journaling and other assignments under the direction of their faculty advisor, and the credit they earn upon completion may be applied to their program requirements.

 

Julie Maurer
Biology Student

“It’s hard to say what I love most about the biology department. The classes are interesting, the professors are approachable, and it’s really easy to get involved with research.”

Careers and Graduate Studies

Notable Alumni: 

Dr. E. Peter Greenberg: Professor of Microbiology, University of Washington 

Dr. Laurie Vitt: Professor of Zoology, University of Oklahoma

George Lynn Cross: Research Professor & Curator of Reptiles, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, and Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Lobbyist 
  • Scientific  Illustrator 
  • Science Writer 
  • Public Outreach 
  • Nursing 
  • Physician Assistant 
  • Dental Assistant 
  • Regulatory Affairs 
  • Pathology Assistant 
  • Biological Photographer 
  • Laboratory Technician

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary program established by Western's Biology and Chemistry departments. The program is specifically designed for students who seek graduate study or employment in biochemistry or molecular biology. Western's Biochemistry major provides significant lab training, and is designed to meet diverse career goals. There is close student-faculty contact, upper division class sizes are relatively small, and students have direct access to state of the art laboratory equipment and instrumentation.

The B.S. degree in biochemistry (with greater emphasis on the physical chemical theory behind biological chemistry) is offered through Western's Chemistry Department, whereas a B.S. degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology (with a different emphasis) is offered through the Biology Department.

Anne d'Aquino
Biochemistry Student (NSF GRFP Fellowship awardee)

“I decided that I wanted to conduct undergraduate research, and the professors in the Chemistry Department were encouraging and supportive. Several professors spoke to me, showed me around their lab, and even suggested that I speak with their colleagues to investigate other research that I might be interested in.” 

Beyond the Classroom

Research

Undergraduate students are encouraged to pursue faculty mentored research projects and to present the results of their research at national conferences or during Western’s annual Scholars Week. Many undergraduate students coauthor papers published in scientific literature. 

Campus Groups

The WEsTeRn Chem Club is a Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS), which has garnered seven consecutive "Outstanding Chapter" awards from the ACS. The chapter gives students at Western an opportunity to gain information on educational and professional opportunities and activities. Most importantly, the chapter provides Western students with opportunities to have fun by participating in social and community service activities that help to strengthen bonds among students, faculty, and the Bellingham community.

 

Careers and Graduate Studies

Graduates have gone on to careers in medicine, aerospace, microelectronics, biotechnology, community college teaching, the energy sector, and many other fields. 

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Seattle Genetics: Research Associate
  • Center for Infectious Disease Research: Research Associate
  • University of Washington: Research Associate

Western graduates who pursue graduate studies are doing so at such schools as: 

  • Boston College: MD
  • Colorado State University: Chemistry PhD
  • Meharry Medical College: MD
  • New York Medical College: MD
  • St. Louis University School of Medicine: MD
  • University of California, Berkeley: Chemistry PhD
  • University of California, Riverside: Chemistry PhD
  • University of California, Santa Cruz: Chemistry PhD
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: (Bio)Chemistry PhD
  • University of Washington: (Bio)Chemistry PhD University of Washington: MD
  • Western University of Health Sciences: MD
  • Western Washington University: Chemistry MS

 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Chemical/Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Physician
  • Crime Lab Analyst
  • High School Teacher
  • Industrial Chemist
  • Technical Writing
  • Dentist
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Quality Assurance Specialist
  • Research Scientist
  • Occupational Safety Specialist
  • Veterinarian
  • Science Lab Technician
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnology Scientist
  • College Professor
  • Environmental Scientist/Consultant

Behavioral Neuroscience

The BS in Behavioral Neuroscience integrates across elements of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics and psychology, to study how nervous system structure and function produces normal and abnormal behavior. For example, Behavioral Neuroscience majors study the biological basis of normal learning and memory as well as psychiatric illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and drug abuse. 

Western's Behavioral Neuroscience program, offered through the Department of Psychology, provides students with the specialized preparation, research opportunities and technological sophistication critical for success in entry-level research and healthcare positions and postgraduate training in neuroscience, medicine, dentistry and related disciplines.

 

Lauren Alfiler
Behavioral Neuroscience Student

“It’s thrilling to conduct real research and then present it to the public, who are always amazed at what undergraduate students are doing at Western. I love that Behavioral Neuroscience emphasizes our duty as researchers to teach the public about science.”

Beyond the Classroom

Behavioral Neuroscience is more than an academic major at Western, it is a family of dedicated faculty, staff, and students who collaborate in behavioral neuroscience research and outreach. Behavioral Neuroscience majors are actively involved in original research with faculty and staff, frequently coauthoring national and international conference presentations and journal articles. Students may also be involved in the Neuroscience Research Driven Students (NeRDS) Club, hosting activities that range from purely social gatherings to increasing brain awareness through outreach to K-12 public school classrooms and community laboratory tours.  

Kristin Maris
Behavioral Neuroscience Student

"Being involved in Behavioral Neuroscience research has given me valuable hands-on laboratory experience that is difficult to come by as an undergraduate. I feel a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am contributing in some small way to furthering our understanding of the neurobiology of addiction, in hopes that this research will help to identify better strategies to effectively treat addiction and facilitate rehabilitation."

Careers and Graduate Studies

Behavioral Neuroscience students at Western receive the specialized preparation critical for success in such graduate-training programs as neuroscience, psychology, pharmacology, mental health, neurobiology, medicine, and dentistry. Western students have continued their studies at the following schools, among many others:  

  • Arizona State University: Neuroscience (PhD)  

  • University of Washington: Medical School (MD and PA), Dental School    

  • University of Tennessee Health Science Center: Neuroscience (PhD) 

  • Johns Hopkins University: Medical School (MD) and Neuroscience (PhD) 

  • Washington State University: Neuroscience (PhD) and Pharmacy (Pharm D)

  • University of Texas Southwestern: Immunology (PhD) 

  • Oregon Health Sciences University: Medical School (MD) and Neuroscience (PhD) 

  • University of British Columbia: Neuroscience (PhD)

For students who do not anticipate pursuing post-graduate education, the degree provides an excellent platform for entry-level positions in academia and industry. Western students have been employed by the following academic institutions and companies, among others: 

  • Seattle Neuropsychiatric Treatment Center 

  • Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories 

  • University of Washington 

  • Western Washington University 

  • Gilead Sciences 

  • Allen Institute for Brain Science

  • Fred Hutch

“Western is one of the few public institutions in the country offering an undergraduate Behavioral Neuroscience major. The success of our graduates is testimony to the strength of this new program!”

– Janet Finlay, Faculty

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.

 

Sample Careers

  • Neuroscientist  

  • Biomedical Researcher  

  • Psychiatrist  

  • Medical Doctor  

  • Dentist  

  • Pharmacist  

  • Veterinarian  

  • Physician Assistant  

  • Pharmaceutical Sales

Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

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