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 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. 

This program 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 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.

This program is part of the College of Science and Engineering.


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 department also maintains a greenhouse on campus that supports teaching and research activities.

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, 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.

Portrait of Julie Maurer

“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
Biology Student

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



Sample Jobs

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

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.