Biology (BIOL)

BIOLOGY (BIOL)

 

The Biology Program provides a comprehensive educational experience consistent with the liberal arts philosophy of the University. The contemporary curriculum includes hands-on learning through laboratory and field experience. Small classes and low student-to-faculty ratios allow meaningful interaction between biology students and faculty, both in and out of the classroom. Professors advise students’ academic scheduling and career options. Students are encouraged to conduct research projects with faculty and to participate in internships with private entities and local agencies.

 

Biology majors receive broad training in the life sciences leading to a variety of careers. Our graduates pursue entry-level careers in biological research, education, and applied sciences such as wildlife biology, fisheries, and forestry. The Biology Major prepares graduates to succeed in graduate school and professional schools in disciplines such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, ecology, and wildlife biology.

 

Seven different emphases are offered: Environmental Biology and Ecology, General Biology, Pre-Medicine/Cell and Molecular Biology, Pre-Nursing, Secondary Education Licensure, and Wildlife and Conservation Biology. All majors receive training in fundamental biological principles and in supporting sciences appropriate for each emphasis. The Program’s flexibility allows students to specialize in areas of their interest.

 

The Environmental Biology and Ecology Emphasis is recommended for students with career interests in environmental biology including ecology, environmental science, and natural resource management.  Students with this emphasis may continue in graduate programs in ecological research.

 

The Wildlife and Conservation Biology Emphasis is recommended for students interested in a career in wildlife ecology or management or conservation biology. Students graduating with this emphasis may continue their education in graduate programs, obtain entry level positions with state and federal natural resources agencies, work for non-profit conservation organizations, or obtain employment with environmental consulting firms.  Students may choose to take all the courses required to meet the educational component for certification through The Wildlife Society.

 

The Pre-Medicine/Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis is recommended for students pursuing careers in biotechnology, graduate programs in laboratory biology, and professional school in most health fields, including medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and physician assistantships.  Because the admission requirements of these different schools vary greatly, students must consult with their advisors to design a curriculum that meets their professional interests.

 

The Pre-Nursing Emphasis is designed for students planning to enter professional programs in nursing, medical technology, chiropractics, optometry, physical therapy, and public health. Because the admission requirements of these schools vary greatly, students must consult with their advisors to design a curriculum that meets their professional interests. 

 

The Secondary Licensure Emphasis qualifies students for the State of Colorado License in Secondary Science Education.

The General Biology Emphasis is our most flexible major. Students pursuing this emphasis work closely with their academic advisor to select from a variety of upper division elective courses and supporting science courses to create a self-designed major in areas such as botany, zoology, molecular ecology, and integrative biology. This emphasis allows students to integrate the study of structure and function at all levels of biological organization from molecules to ecosystems and across all branches of the tree of life.   

 

FACULTY

Professors Kevin D. Alexander, Robin A. Bingham, Peter H. Gauss, and Cassandra L. Osborne;

Associate Professor Shan M. Hays; Assistant Professor Patrick A. Magee; Lecturer Amy Honan.

 

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAMS

The courses listed for each of the following emphases  are  the  minimum requirements. Higher-level supporting courses may be appropriate for students pursuing certain careers. Students should consult with their advisors for proper course selections. All majors require a Capstone Course.

 

Biology Major: Comprehensive Programs

All Biology majors require the 18-credit Biology Nucleus.

Biology Nucleus

BIOL 150  Biological Principles (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 151  Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 301  General Ecology

3 cr

BIOL 310  Cell Biology

3 cr

BIOL 312  Genetics (with recitation)

4 cr

 

ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY EMPHASIS

The Environmental Biology and Ecology Emphasis requires a minimum of 58 credits, including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 17 additional credits in Biology and 23 credits of supporting courses.

Required Biology Courses:

BIOL 302  Ecology Laboratory and Recitation

2 cr

6 credits in two or more of the following systems and applications courses:

 

BIOL 362  Evolutionary Biology: Theory and Application

3 cr

BIOL 430  Wildlife Ecology and Management (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 431  Wildlife Techniques Workshop

1 cr

BIOL 440  Conservation Biology

3 cr

BIOL 444  Colorado Ecoregions

3 cr

BIOL 476  Aquatic Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 477  Plant Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 481 Forest Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

Two of the following organismal courses:

 

BIOL 320  Ornithology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 322  Mammalogy (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 327  Field Entomology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 352  Botany (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 353  Rocky Mountain Flora

3 cr

BIOL 467 Fisheries Biology

3 cr

At least two credits of Capstone Experience courses:

 

BIOL 495  Senior Seminar (may be repeated)

1 cr

BIOL 496  Senior Thesis

2-4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 231  Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

3 cr

CHEM 234  Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory

1 cr

GEOL 101  Physical Geology

3 cr

GEOL 105  Physical Geology Laboratory

1 cr

MATH 213  Probability and Statistics

3 cr

PHYS 140  Introductory Physics (with laboratory)

4 cr

 

GENERAL  BIOLOGY EMPHASIS

The General Biology Emphasis requires a minimum of 51 credits including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 14 credits of 300- and 400-level Biology electives, and 19 credits of additional courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 231  Intro to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

3 cr

CHEM 234  Intro to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory

1 cr

PHYS 140  Introductory Physics (with laboratory)

4 cr

One of the following:

 

MATH 151  Calculus I

4 cr

MATH 213   Probability and Statistics

3 cr

 

The following restrictions apply: Biology electives must include at least two credits of either BIOL 302 Ecology Laboratory and Recitation or BIOL 313 Cell and Genetics Laboratory; at least two credits of Capstone courses (BIOL 495 Senior Seminar, or BIOL 496 Senior Thesis); CHEM 471 Biochemistry I may be used to satisfy up to four credits; Biology faculty approval is required to apply more than three credits of BIOL 392 Independent Study or SCI 499 Internship in Science.

 

PRE-MEDICINE/CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY EMPHASIS

The Pre-Medicine/Cell and Molecular Biology Emphasis requires a minimum of 64 credits, including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 15 credits of required Biology elective courses, and 31 credits of minimum supporting courses.

Required Biology courses:

BIOL 313 Cell and Genetics Laboratory

2 cr

And three of the following:

 

BIOL 317 Genome Analysis

3 cr

BIOL 342  Microbiology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 362 Evolution

3 cr

BIOL 373 Human Anatomy and Physiology II (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 420 Molecular Biology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 454 Developmental Biology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 474 Comparative Animal Physiology (with laboratory)

4 cr

At least two credits of Capstone Experience Courses:

 

BIOL 495  Senior Seminar (may be repeated)

1 cr

BIOL 496  Senior Thesis

2-4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 471 Biochemistry I

4 cr

One of the following:

MATH 151 Calculus I

 

4 cr

MATH 213 Probability and Statistics

3 cr

And either both:

PHYS 170 Principles of Physics I

 

4 cr

PHYS 171 Principles of Physics II

4 cr

or both:

PHYS 200 General Physics I (with laboratory)

 

4 cr

PHYS 201 General Physics II (with laboratory)

4 cr

 

PRE-NURSING EMPHASIS

The Pre-Nursing Emphasis requires a minimum of 54 credits including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 17 additional biology credits, and 19 credits of supporting courses. Appropriate microbiology, chemistry and physics courses should be selected in consultation with an advisor.

Required Biology courses:

BIOL 300 Basic Nutrition

3 cr

BIOL 372 Human Anatomy & Physiology I (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 373 Human Anatomy & Physiology II (with laboratory)

4 cr

One of the following:

BIOL 201 Microbiology (with laboratory)

 

4 cr

BIOL 342 Microbiology

4 cr

At least two credits of Capstone Experience Courses:

BIOL 495 Senior Seminar (may be repeated)

 

1 cr

BIOL 496 Senior Thesis

2-4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 231 Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

3 cr

CHEM 234 Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory

1 cr

MATH 213 Probability and Statistics

3 cr

PHYS 140 Introductory Physics (with laboratory)

4 cr

 

SECONDARY LICENSURE EMPHASIS

The Secondary Licensure Emphasis requires a minimum of 59 credits including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, eight additional credits in Biology and/or ESS, and 33 credits in supporting courses. Students must fulfill the requirements for the Secondary Licensure Option (described under Education). Students interested in pursuing this comprehensive program should consult with the Teacher Education Program advisor in addition to the advisor in their major as soon as possible. EDUC 409 Secondary Student Teaching fulfills the Capstone Requirement for students completing this emphasis.

Required Biology and/or ESS courses:

Either:
 
BIOL 201 Introduction to Microbiology (with laboratory)
4 cr
or:
BIOL 342 Microbiology (with laboratory)
 
4 cr
And either:
ESS 201 Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology (with laboratory)
 
4 cr
or both of the following:
 
BIOL 372  Human Anatomy and Physiology I (with laboratory)
4 cr
BIOL 373  Human Anatomy and Physiology II (with laboratory)
4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I
3 cr
CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I
1 cr
CHEM 113  General Chemistry II
3 cr
CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II
1 cr
CHEM 231  Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
3 cr
CHEM 234  Introductory Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Laboratory
1 cr
GEOL 101  Physical Geology
3 cr
GEOL 105  Physical Geology Laboratory
1 cr
GEOL 201  Historical Geology (with laboratory)
4 cr
MATH 213  Probability and Statistics
3 cr
PHYS 110  Introductory Astronomy
3 cr
PHYS 120  Meteorology
3 cr
PHYS 140  Introductory Physics (with laboratory)
4 cr
 

WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION BIOLOGY EMPHASIS

The Wildlife and Conservation Biology Emphasis requires a minimum of 67 credits, including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 23 additional credits in Biology, and 26 credits of supporting courses.

Required Biology courses:

BIOL 302 Ecology Laboratory and Recitation

2 cr

BIOL 430 Wildlife Ecology and Management

4 cr

BIOL 431 Wildlife Techniques Workshop

1 cr

BIOL 353 Rocky Mountain Flora

3 cr

One of the following:

BIOL 362 Evolution

 

3 cr

BIOL 440 Conservation Biology

3 cr

Two of the following:

BIOL 320 Ornithology

 

4 cr

BIOL 322 Mammalogy

4 cr

BIOL 327 Field Entomology

4 cr

BIOL 352 Botany

4 cr

BIOL 467 Fisheries Biology

3 cr

BIOL 476 Aquatic Ecology

4 cr

BIOL 481 Forest Ecology

4 cr

At least two credits of Capstone Experience Courses:

BIOL 495 Senior Seminar (may be repeated)

 

1 cr

BIOL 496 Senior Thesis

2-4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 231 Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

3 cr

CHEM 234 Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory

1 cr

MATH 213 Probability and Statistics

3 cr

GEOG 340 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

3 cr

PHYS 140 Introductory Physics (with laboratory)

4 cr

GEOL 101 Introduction to Geology

3 cr

GEOL 105 Introduction to Geology Laboratory

1 cr

 

Ecology and Environmental Management Emphasis (with a 3+2 Master in Environmental Management)

The Environmental Management emphasis allows students to complete the B.S. in Biology (BIOL) and the Master in Environmental Management (MEM) at Western in five years. To remain qualified for the 3+2, after 67 credits each student must have:

  • maintained a 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.25 GPA within the major;
  • earned a B or above in two social science, two natural science (one with lab), and one statistics course;
  • fulfilled the 3-credit Internship requirement with a B or above and positive letter from the project sponsor;
  • provided three letters of recommendation, at least one of which is to be a professional reference and at least one of which is to be an academic reference from the student’s major at Western;
  • written a Statement of Purpose to the MEM program, detailing early career ambitions and ideas and connections for the eventual master’s Project.
At this point, if any aspect of a student’s performance is found to be insufficient, the MEM Director may reject a 3+2 student from the MEM program, in which case the student will need to find a new emphasis or minor in order to complete the undergraduate degree. In addition to meeting the requirements above, and after Junior Year (holding to the same GPA standards as outlined above) and completion of BIOL nucleus plus one systems and application course and one organismal course in the requirements (100 credits in this plan—see “MAJOR MAP” at western.edu/3_2), the School of Graduate Studies will designate students as “MEM candidates with provisional acceptance.” Upon completion of the final 26 credits of the Western B.S. after Year Four of this plan, the School of Graduate Studies will designate students as “MEM degree seeking students.” Students who have completed all other requirements of the 3+2 program and all Western undergraduate requirements, yet choose to leave the MEM program before Year 5, will still have completed the BIOL undergraduate emphasis in Environmental Management and have earned the 120 credits necessary for a Western undergraduate degree.
 

Biology Major: Comprehensive Programs

All Biology majors require the 18-credit Biology Nucleus.

Biology Nucleus

BIOL 150  Biological Principles (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 151  Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 301  General Ecology

3 cr

BIOL 310  Cell Biology

3 cr

BIOL 312  Genetics (with recitation)

4 cr

 

ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT EMPHASIS (with a 3+2 MEM)

The Ecology and Environmental Management Emphasis requires a minimum of 83 credits, including the 18-credit Biology Nucleus, 19 additional credits in Biology, 23 credits of supporting courses, and 23 credits of MEM coursework. In the fifth year, an additional 23 credits of MEM coursework results in the MEM degree.

Required Biology Courses:

BIOL 302  Ecology Laboratory and Recitation

2 cr

6 credits in two or more of the following systems and applications courses:

 

BIOL 362  Evolutionary Biology: Theory and Application

3 cr

BIOL 430  Wildlife Ecology and Management (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 431  Wildlife Techniques Workshop

1 cr

BIOL 440  Conservation Biology

3 cr

BIOL 444  Colorado Ecoregions

3 cr

BIOL 476  Aquatic Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 477  Plant Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 481 Forest Ecology (with laboratory)

4 cr

Two of the following organismal courses:

 

BIOL 320  Ornithology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 322  Mammalogy (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 327  Field Entomology (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 352  Botany (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 353  Rocky Mountain Flora

3 cr

BIOL 467 Fisheries Biology

3 cr

At least two credits of Capstone Experience courses:

 

BIOL 495  Senior Seminar (may be repeated)

1 cr

BIOL 496  Senior Thesis

2-4 cr

Minimum supporting courses:

CHEM 111  General Chemistry I

3 cr

CHEM 112  General Chemistry Laboratory I

1 cr

CHEM 113  General Chemistry II

3 cr

CHEM 114  General Chemistry Laboratory II

1 cr

CHEM 231  Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry

3 cr

CHEM 234  Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory

1 cr

GEOL 101  Physical Geology

3 cr

GEOL 105  Physical Geology Laboratory

1 cr

MATH 213  Probability and Statistics

3 cr

PHYS 140  Introductory Physics (with laboratory)

4 cr

Core MEM Courses

 

ENVS 601  Introduction to Environmental Management

5 cr

ENVS 605  Science of Environmental Management

3 cr

ENVS 608  Environmental Politics and Policy

3 cr

ENVS 611  Integrative Skills for Environmental Management

3 cr

ENVS 612  Quantitative Skills for Environmental Management

3 cr

ENVS 615  Science of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

3 cr

One of the following from the MEM Emphases:

 

Sustainable and Resilient Communities Emphasis:

 

ENVS 616  Environmental Organizational Development and Management

3 cr

Global Sustainability Emphasis:

 

ENVS 617  Global Sustainability

3 cr

Integrative and Public Land Management Emphasis:

 

ENVS 618  Public Lands Management

3 cr

 

Upon successful completion of the prescribed courses listed above, University defined General Education, and elective requirements totaling 120 credits (with 40 at the 300-level or higher), students are eligible for their B.S. conferral. Students electing to complete MEM must follow the balance of their declared emphasis curriculum:

MEM Sustainable and Resilient Communities Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

Nine Credits of:

ENVS 623  Studies in Environmental Management

1-6 cr

and/or

 

ENVS 620  Studies in Sustainable and Resilient Communities

3 cr

Masters Project Requirement:

 

ENVS 690  Master’s Project Development

5 cr

ENVS 694  Master’s Project and Portfolio

9 cr

            *Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Fall Year 5 and 6 credits of ENVS 694 Spring Year 5.

MEM Integrative and Public Land Management Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

Nine Credits of:                      

ENVS 623  Studies in Environmental Management

1-6 cr

and/or

 

ENVS 625  Studies in Integrative and Public Land Management

3 cr

Masters Project Requirement:

 

ENVS 690  Master’s Project Development

5 cr

ENVS 694  Master’s Project and Portfolio

9 cr

*Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Fall Year 5 and 6 credits of ENVS 694 Spring Year 5.

MEM Global Sustainability Emphasis (beyond required Core courses)

Nine credits of (choose any combination with a global theme):

ENVS 620  Studies in Sustainable and Resilient Communities

3 cr

ENVS 623  Studies in Environmental Management

1-6 cr

ENVS 625  Studies in Integrative and Public Land Management

3 cr

Masters Project Requirement:

 

ENVS 690  Master’s Project Development

5 cr

ENVS 694  Master’s Project and Portfolio

9 cr

*Students must take 3 cr of ENVS 694 Fall Year 5 and 6 credits of ENVS 694 Spring Year 5.

 
Biology Minor

A minimum of 18 credits is required, including:

BIOL 150  Biological Principles (with laboratory)

4 cr

BIOL 151  Diversity and Patterns of Life (with laboratory)

4 cr

Biology electives

10 cr

 

Substitutions. The following substitutions may be used to satisfy biology degree requirements: CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I (3 credits), CHEM 332 Organic Chemistry II (3 credits), CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 credit), and CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry Lab II (1 credit) may be substituted for CHEM 231 Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (3 credits) and CHEM 234 Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Lab (1 credit); CHEM 472 Biochemistry II (with laboratory) (4 credits) may be substituted for BIOL 420 Molecular Biology (with laboratory) (4 credits); PHYS 170 Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) (4 credits) and PHYS 171 Principles of Physics II (with laboratory) (4 credits) may be substituted for PHYS 140 Introductory Physics (with laboratory) (4 credits); PHYS 200 General Physics I (with laboratory) (4 credits) and PHYS 201 General Physics II (with laboratory) (4 credits) may be substituted for PHYS 170 Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) (4 credits) and PHYS 171 Principles of Physics II (4 credits).

 

Capstone Course Requirement. The following courses in the Biology Major fulfill the capstone course requirement: BIOL 495 Senior Seminar, BIOL 496 Senior Thesis, or EDUC 409 Secondary Student Teaching (Secondary Licensure Emphasis).