Biology

Bachelor of Science

Degree Type

Major, Minor, Secondary Licensure

Department

Natural & Environmental Sciences (NES) Department

With a strong foundation in biology, you can discover breakthrough treatments for rare diseases in developing countries, help children as a pediatrician in your hometown or research endangered birds in the Amazon.

Program Overview

Study biological organization from molecules to ecosystems.

Understanding life forms—from molecules and cells, to organisms and ecosystems—has never been more critical or more sought after and biology is at the center of it all. In the Biology program at Western Colorado University, you can work closely with your advisers to choose a variety of courses to create a self-designed major in areas such as botany, zoology, molecular ecology and integrative biology. This allows you to integrate the study of structure and function at all levels of biological organization from molecules to ecosystems.

To get hands-on experience, you can collaborate with researchers at the world-renowned Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and conduct original research at the Thornton Biology Research Program. Our state-of-the-art lab facilities, immersive learning opportunities and customized curricula enables you to get a head start on your career in public health, veterinary medicine, wildlife preservation and pharmaceuticals.

Hands-on learning

Students gather samples from the river while participating in an outdoor lab in Professor Kevin Alexander’s environmental biology class.

Courses

Code Title Credits Description
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3 View
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory) 4 View
BIOL 301 General Ecology 3 View
BIOL 310 Cell Biology 3 View
BIOL 312 Genetics (with recitation) 4 View
BIOL 495 Senior Seminar 1 View
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (GT-SC2) 3 View
CHEM 112 General Chemistry Laboratory I (GT-SC1) 1 View
CHEM 113 General Chemistry II 3 View
CHEM 114 General Chemistry Laboratory II 1 View
CHEM 231 Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry 3 View
CHEM 234 Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory 1 View
MATH 151 Calculus I (GT-MA1) 4 View
MATH 213 Probability and Statistics 3 View
PHYS 140 Introductory Physics (with laboratory) (GT-SC1) 4 View
 Fall (even years)  Spring (odd years)
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology
BIOL 135  Environmental Biology Lab
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with Lab)
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with Lab)
BIOL 301 General Ecology
BIOL 302 Ecology Lab and Recitation
BIOL 310 Cell Biology
BIOL 312 Genetics (with Recitation)
BIOL 342 Microbiology (with Lab)
BIOL 353 Rocky Mountain Flora
BIOL 372 Human Anatomy & Physiology I – (with Lab)
BIOL 430 Wildlife Ecology & Management (with Lab)
BIOL 431 Wildlife Techniques Workshop
BIOL 476 Aquatic Ecology (with Lab)
BIOL 495 Senior Seminar
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Lab
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with Lab)
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with Lab)
BIOL 300 Basic Nutrition
BIOL 301 General Ecology
BIOL 310 Cell Biology
BIOL 312 Genetics (with Recitation)
BIOL 313 Cell and Genetics Lab
BIOL 320 Ornithology (with Recitation and Lab)
BIOL 352 Botany (with Lab)
BIOL 373 Human Anatomy & Physiology II (with Lab)
BIOL 420 Molecular Biology (with Lab)
BIOL 440 Conservation Biology
BIOL 495 Senior Seminar
Fall (odd years) Spring (even years)
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Lab
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with Lab)
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with Lab)
BIOL 301 General Ecology
BIOL 302 Ecology Lab and Recitation
BIOL 310 Cell Biology
BIOL 312 Genetics (with Recitation)
BIOL 327 Field Entomology
BIOL 342 Microbiology (with Lab)
BIOL 362 Evolutionary Biology Theory & Application
BIOL 372 Human Anatomy & Physiology I (with Lab)
BIOL 444 Colorado Ecoregions
BIOL 481 Forest Ecology (with Lab)
BIOL 495 Senior Seminar
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Lab
BIOL 150 Biological Principles (with Lab)
BIOL 151 Diversity and Patterns of Life (with Lab)
BIOL 300 Basic Nutrition
BIOL 301 General Ecology
BIOL 310 Cell Biology
BIOL 312 Genetics (with Recitation)
BIOL 313 Cell and Genetics Lab
BIOL 322 Mammalogy (with Lab)
BIOL 352 Botany (with Lab)
BIOL 373 Human Anatomy & Physiology II (with Lab)
BIOL 420 Molecular Biology (with Lab)
BIOL 474 Comparative Animal Physiology (with Lab)
BIOL 495 Senior Seminar
Some Biology courses are offered sporadically or only in the Summer.  Course examples include:

BIOL 120 – Studies in Biology
BIOL 353 – Rocky Mountain Flora
BIOL 355 – Spring Biology of the Rocky Mountains
BIOL 435 – Animal Behavior
BIOL 454 – Developmental Biology (with Lab)
BIOL 477 – Plant Ecology with Lab

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Eligibility

  • Applied or accepted Western student
  • Student is pursuing a major in Mathematics or related Natural Sciences
  • Applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance
  • Demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics
  • Preference should be given to entering freshmen, however all classes are eligible
  • Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income
  • No preference shall be given based on the sex of the applicant
  • Preference will be given to applicant from Delta County, CO. or the Western Slope of Colorado

Description

Established with the Western Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences. Award depends on funds available. Selected By: The chair of Mathematics and Computer Science and a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application:

Contact the Mathematics & Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. Mathematics & Computer Science Department: 970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: 970.943.2079 | Paul Wright Gym 201.

Eligibility

  • Full-time student
  • 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher
  • At least sophomore status
  • Must demonstrate an interest and capability to pursue studies and/or research in the area of botany and native plant research (Biology)
  • Preference will be given to those with financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by the family and friends to honor Dr. Ferchau for the never-ending assistance he gave to students at Western.

Award depends on funds available (anticipated award $2400).

Selected by: Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time students who are majoring in Geology, Environment & Sustainability, Environmental Biology or a related field.
  • Must be a junior level (60+ credits)
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Preference given to students with financial need who are residents of the Western Slope of Colorado and have expressed interest in a career in park operations/park management or a career in the earth sciences

Description

This scholarship is provided by Barbara Kastellic and gifts from others to honor Joseph, who was the first Superintendent of the Black Canyon National Monument from 1975-1984.

Award depends on funds available.

Application:

Complete and submit The Joseph A. Kastellic Scholarship application which is available in the Financial Aid Office.

A recommendation and a one-page essay will be needed to complete the application.

Eligibility

  • Students majoring in Biology or Chemistry

Description

This scholarship is provided by the family and friends of Aubrey W. Lawrence who served as Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Science Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Recipient must be a full-time junior or senior
  • 3.0 GPA or higher
  • must be engaged in pre-medical studies

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. Mason Light, who served the college community for over forty years while he was a practicing physician in Gunnison. He and his wife established this scholarship.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Donor Scholarship Committee (Family of Mason Light) in cooperation with Western Colorado University Foundation and the Director of Financial Aid.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time juniors or seniors (qualified juniors shall be given preference over seniors)
  • Must be declared major in the Natural and Environmental Sciences Department
  • Must maintain at least 3.2 GPA
  • Recipients must follow Casey's example of academic promise, love for the outdoors and service to fellow students demonstrated by volunteering in the community and involvement in campus activities and service.

Description

this scholarship is provided by the gifts by Bill and Monica McKenny, Casey's parents, as well as other family members and friends.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Natural & Environmental Sciences faculty in consultation with the Dean of Students and Bill and Monica McKenny.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time Colorado residents who have a major in a field within the Natural & Environmental Science Department
  • Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 minimum
  • Demonstrate financial need

Description

This scholarship is provided by Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by: Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Eligibility

  • Full-time students who have declared a major in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics

Description

This scholarship is provided by the gifts from members of the Walker family to perpetuate the memory and to commemorate the service and devotion of C. Ralph and Florence Walker, who both served Western and the Gunnison community in an exemplary manner for many years. Professor Walker was Chairman of Western's then Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Award depends on funds available.

Selected by:Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application:

Contact the Natural & Environmental Sciences Department for application and deadline information.

970.943.2015 | Hurst Hall 128

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant. For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

News & Research

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Western receives 0K to fund Open Educational Resources

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Western students travel to Pueblo for annual Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society Conference

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Former Biology professor passes away at 85

Former Biology professor passes away at 85

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Western professors, students publish report on environmental effects of wildfire mitigation

Western professors, students publish report on environmental effects of wildfire mitigation

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Get Involved

Make your education a life changing experience.

A college education is so much more than just taking classes. At Western, you can expand your community, gain job experience as an intern, and conduct field research in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Pre-Health Club: Brings together students with a common interest in health fields to network and to provide career preparation, advice and peer support.
  • Research Assistantships: Many professors conduct externally-funded research and are always looking for student help.
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Western biologists and students collaborate with the world-renowned research station seven miles north of Crested Butte.
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students can receive funding and work with faculty on original research.
  • Tri Beta and The Wildlife Society: Student-run club that helps provide internships such as lynx tracking and watching wildlife.

Focused on Results

Wildlife Biology undergrad students and Ecology graduate students look out at big horn sheep during a wildlife techniques class studying the management of big horn sheep populations.

Additional Resources

Thornton Biology Research Program

Thornton Biology Research Program The Thornton Biology Research Program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to work with faculty on funded, original research. The program also delivers …

Learn More

Department Chairperson

Robin A. Bingham, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Administrative Assistant

Samantha Siegfried

Administrative Assistant for NES and MCS

Contact Information

970.943.2015

rbingham@western.edu

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Hurst Hall 128
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231