Jul 13, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
    
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Biology — General Emphasis, BS

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham


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Department of Biology, College of Science and Engineering

97 credits

Introduction

Biology is the study of living organisms. As scientists, biologists have three goals: (1) understanding the structure and function of organisms, (2) generating and disseminating reliable data pertaining to biological systems, and (3) developing a deep understanding of the natural world that can inform solutions for the serious environmental, medical, and social concerns facing humanity.

Our goal as educators is to maintain intensive academic programs designed to stimulate curiosity, creativity and life-long critical thinking in students who pursue a liberal arts education in Biology.  All of the B.S. programs in Biology are designed for students who plan to pursue post-graduate study or professional careers in biology or teaching. We have designed these programs to enable students to develop an integrated conceptual foundation in biology, as well as critical thinking skills, quantitative problem-solving abilities, leadership and team-building skills, and scientific research skills.

Each B.S. program features a core curriculum at the 200-level and 300-level, plus one 400-level course in evolution. The primary differences between the emphases lie in the choices of additional upper-division lab and lecture courses that a student takes to 1) gain a depth of knowledge in a focal area, 2) have opportunities to integrate and apply that knowledge in various settings including the lab, the field, and discussions with others, and 3) develop skills and abilities that are tailored to particular interests and career paths.

Why Consider a General Emphasis in the Biology Major?

This degree program provides students the flexibility to develop an individualized upper-division curriculum. This allows students, under advisement, to tailor plans of study that meet specific needs, or more integrative plans of study that span several disciplines in Biology. A diploma granted under this major will indicate “Bachelor of Science”; official transcripts will indicate Biology – General Emphasis.

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Lynn Pillitteri
Biology 407
360-650-6599
pillitl@wwu.edu

Program Coordinators for Advising
Maren Brinson and Alexis Donnelly
Biology 315
360-650-6165
biologyadvising@wwu.edu

 Sample Careers

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

 Major/Career Resources

careercenter.wwu.edu/connectmajorcareer

How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Admission to the Biology Major is selective and is based upon an application procedure that considers prior academic performance (specifically GPA in prerequisite courses) and student responses to focused prompts. 

Pre-major Declaration

Students who have begun the introductory biology (BIOL 204, BIOL 205, BIOL 206) series and/or the introductory chemistry series (CHEM 161/175, CHEM 162/176, and CHEM 163/225), but have not yet completed CHEM 163/225 and BIOL 206 are granted pre-major status. Students who have been formally admitted into Western may declare a biology pre-major by filling out the Student Academic Declaration and Change Form. Pre-majors are assigned biology faculty advisors and receive helpful announcements regarding registration and other information of use to pre-majors.

Application to the Major

Students may apply to Biology Major status when theyhave completed BIOL 204, BIOL 205, CHEM 161/175, and CHEM 162/176 with grades of C- or higher. Application involves submitting a completed application form, including responding to prompts about the applicant’s experience, motivation, and goals. See the Biology Department’s website at cse.wwu.edu/biology for more details, including information about application prompts, application deadlines and review timeline, and reapplication limits. The Biology Department’s website at cse.wwu.edu/biology also has information specific to transfer students interested in applying for admission to the Biology Major, such as application eligibility and transfer equivalencies.  

Students are strongly encouraged to apply to the major prior to having completed BIOL 206 and/or CHEM 163/225 to ensure timely progress towards graduation. Admission to the major following a successful application is contingent on completing both BIOL 206 and CHEM 163/225 with a grade of C- or higher.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major courses, and for supporting courses for majors.

Requirements


Depth Requirements:


Electives:


3-6 credits to make 97. No more than 3 credit hours combined in BIOL 395, BIOL 496 and BIOL 498 and no more than 4 credit hours combined in BIOL 494 and BIOL 495 can be applied to this category. Additional biology elective credits can be taken to fulfill University graduation requirements:

           ❑ Any 300 or 400-level biology course under advisement.

Note: BIOL 245 and BIOL 348 may not be counted toward this major.

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