Cell & Molecular Biology

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western. Visit Career Services in Library 120 and online at western.edu/career to discover your interests, define your goals and land your dream job.

Courses

For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 BIOL 313 - Cell and Genetics Laboratory (2 cred.)

An introduction to experimentation and laboratory techniques used in cell biology,physiology, and genetics, including experimental design, data analysis, and presentation of research results. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 312.

 BIOL 317 - Genome Analysis (with laboratory) (3 cred.)

This course introduces students to the appropriate mathematical techniques to answer questions about information contained in genetic sequences. These techniques may include dynamic programming, motif similarity, Bayesian models, hidden Markov models, principal component analysis, and clustering. Students use standard genome query tools to annotate genomic DNA. BIOL 317 and MATH 317 cannot both be taken for credit. Prerequisites: BIOL 312 and MATH 213.

 BIOL 342 - Microbiology (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

An introduction to microbial morphology, identification, physiology, genetics, and microbiology laboratory techniques. A brief consideration is given to fungi. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus

 BIOL 362 - Evolution (3 cred.)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of evolutionary processes, mechanisms, and analytical techniques. Topics include population genetics, conservation genetics, phylogenetic analysis, adaptation, behavioral evolution, sexual selection, and speciation. Evolutionary perspectives in human health and medicine, conservation biology, agriculture, natural resource management, biotechnology, global change, and emerging diseases are considered. Prerequisites: BIOL 312; or ENVS 350, ENVS 370, ENVS 390, and either BIOL 151 or Both BIOL 130 and BIOL 135; or instructor permission.

 BIOL 373 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A continuation of BIOL 372 Human Anatomy and Physiology I. Specific topics include immunology, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, digestive system, excretory system, reproductive system, and endocrine system. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: BIOL 372.

 BIOL 420 - Molecular Biology I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A study of the molecular mechanisms by which cellular processes are controlled in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Topics include the biochemistry of macromolecular processes, the structure of genes and chromosomes, the genetic and molecular techniques used to study gene expression, and the transcriptional and translational control of gene expression. The laboratory includes recombinant DNA techniques to manipulate the genome of a model organism. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: BIOL 312 and CHEM 471.

 BIOL 454 - Developmental Biology (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

An examination of the embryology of vertebrates, stressing mammalian embryonicdevelopment and comparisons with amphibians, reptiles, and birds. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: Biology 312.

 BIOL 495 - Senior Seminar (1 cred.)

An examination of biological subdisciplines through an investigation of the primary literature. The professional practices, procedures, and standards of the subdiscipline are discussed. This course may be repeated for credit and must be taken twice to fulfill the capstone course requirement. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus; and MATH 151 or MATH 213.

 BIOL 496 - Senior Thesis (1 cred.)

An advanced research experience resulting in a Senior Thesis, supervised by a thesis committee of three faculty members including at least one biologist. A proposal of the project must be approved by the thesis committee prior to project initiation. In addition to completing the written thesis, students must present the results of their work in a departmental seminar. This course satisfies the capstone course requirement. Prerequisites: Biology Nucleus; and MATH 151 or MATH 213.

 CHEM 112 - General Chemistry Laboratory I (1 cred.)

An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 111. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory note bookkeeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Additional course fee applies. Co-requisite: CHEM 111.

 CHEM 114 - General Chemistry Laboratory II (1 cred.)

A continuation of CHEM 112. An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 113. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory notebook keeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Prerequisite: CHEM 112. Corequisite: CHEM 113.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 cred.)

A course in the use of statistical techniques to draw knowledge from data. Topics include exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, t-procedures, ANOVA, chi squared procedures, regression, and non-parametric tests. Statistical software is used extensively to analyze real data sets. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-, or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission. GT-MA1

 PHYS 170 - Principles of Physics I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, and many-particle systems. A mathematical proficiency at the level of college algebra is recommended. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: Accuplacer College-Level Mathematics test score of 95 or above, or MATH 141. GT-SC1

 PHYS 171 - Principles of Physics II (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A continuation of PHYS 170 dealing with electromagnetism, light, thermodynamics,and the atomic structure of matter. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PHYS 170.

 PHYS 200 - General Physics I (with laboratory) (4 cred.)

A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics, using the concepts of calculus as a tool. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, many-particle systems, and thermodynamics. A student may not receive credit for both PHYS 170 and PHYS 200. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or Corequisite: MATH 151. GT-SC1

 PHYS 201 - General Physics II (with laboratory) (3 cred.)

A continuation of PHYS 200 dealing with electromagnetism, light, and the atomic structure of matter. A student cannot receive credit for both PHYS 171 and 201. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PHYS 200.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin Alexander, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Phone: 970.943.3405
Office Location: Taylor Hall 322
Peter H. Gauss headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Shan Hays, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Amy Honan headshot
Biology Lab Coordinator, Lecturer in Biology, Curator of Fungi
Phone: 970.943.2437
Office Location: Hurst Hall 128A
Patrick Magee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Wildlife & Conservation Biology
Phone: 970.943.7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. headshot
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Phone: 970.943.2311
Office Location: Hurst Hall 225
Cassandra Osborne, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Biology
Phone: 970.943.3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A

Scholarships

Institutional Scholarships

Common Scholarships

Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit western.edu/scholarships.

Early Action Credit

If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit western.edu/mars.

Neighboring States Program

Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Presidential Promise

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 western.edu/scholarships.

Tuition Discount Programs

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.

Western Merit Scholarship

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 western.edu/scholarships.

Get Involved

A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

  • Lab Assistantships: Students commonly land positions helping their professors with fieldwork and research. 
     
  • Pre-Health Club: Brings together students with a common interest in health fields to network and to provide career preparation, advice and peer support. 
     
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students work with faculty mentors on funded and original research. 
     
  • Tri-Beta: Honor society for biology student researchers. 

The Cell & Molecular Biology emphasis is 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.

Through an abundance of research opportunities, students are transformed into scientists as they learn to think critically, collaborate with scientists in other disciplines, and gather and analyze data quantitatively, all while carrying out the scientific process.

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Shan Hays
Professor of Biology
Phone: 
Office Location: 
Hurst Hall 238C

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