Biology— General Emphasis

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 BS 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 major 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 in biology. 

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

This 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.

Western's 82,000-square-foot Biology Building, features teaching labs, research labs, environmental control rooms, a seawater lab, image analysis labs, and multimedia lecture halls. The Biology Department also maintains a greenhouse on campus that supports teaching and research activities.

Careers and Graduate Studies

The foundational principles in the B.S in Biology curriculum are ultimately critical for post-baccalaureate studies and future job performance. Recent graduates have used their 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. 

Careers in Biology

Careers in biology include biochemists, biomedical engineers, microbiologists, biological science teachers, zoologists and wildlife biologists.


Sample Jobs

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

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.