Pre-Nursing

The Biology program provides a comprehensive educational experience consistent with Western’s liberal arts philosophy. The Pre-Nursing emphasis is for students seeking careers in nursing and other health care-related areas.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

With a faculty focused on teaching, small classes and hands-on learning opportunities, you’ll delve deeply into your focus areas, as well as the supporting sciences of physics, chemistry and mathematics. You’ll know your professors as they enrich your understanding of the current social, political and economic milieu. You’ll learn by experience as you build knowledge for your career and/or graduate school.

Pre-Nursing majors receive broad training in the life sciences. The contemporary curriculum includes hands-on learning through laboratory and field experience. Our low student-to-faculty ratio allows meaningful interaction between biology majors and their professors, both in- and outside the classroom. Professors advise students on both their 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.

Beyond the Classroom

Students in Western’s Pre-Nursing program have unique opportunities to gain experience in scientific investigation through active participation with faculty in laboratory research.

Through funding from Thornton research grants, students can further hone the ancillary skills required to carry out research by writing funding proposals, giving on-campus presentations of their work and drafting final research reports.

Some students present their results at national meetings of scientific societies and publish their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Some also attend summer research programs, providing them with a more intensive research experience.

After Graduation

 The Pre-Nursing emphasis prepares students for entry into nursing school and dental hygienist school.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Pre-Nursing Biology Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

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  2. Get more information about the program.
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  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Profiles

Sean Markey
From truck driver to neurosurgeon thanks to Western and its nurturing professors. 
Shannon Shaw
Biology major with Pre-med/Cell Biology emphasis, minor in Chemistry, Thornton Undergraduate Research Committee grant recipient, Pre-Health Science Club president, supplemental instructor for BIOL 150, Chemistry Club Secretary, and much more!

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 BIOL 201 - Introduction to Microbiology (with laboratory) (4 credits)

A study of the basic aspects of microbiology for allied health students that includes an introduction to the identification, physiology, growth and control of microbes. Laboratory exercises will emphasize aseptic, pure culture, and identification techniques. This course can only be used to fulfill graduation requirement for students in the allied health biology emphasis. Additional course fee applies.

 BIOL 300 - Basic Nutrition (3 credits)

An introduction to the science of human nutrition. Consideration is given to the chemical nature and functions of the major groups of nutrients, the function of the digestive system, energy metabolism and balance, weight control, and nutrition for fitness. Human nutrition during the life span is also addressed. Prerequisites: BIOL 150; and CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 342 - Microbiology (with laboratory) (4 credits)

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 372 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I (with laboratory) (4 credits)

An introduction to regulatory mechanisms which maintain normal body function. Specific topics include cytology, histology, integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system. The course is designed for allied health and exercise and sport science students. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: BIOL 150; CHEM 105 or CHEM 111.

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

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 496 - Senior Thesis ( credits)

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 111 - General Chemistry I (3 credits)

An introductory course designed for science majors focusing on principles and applications of chemistry. Topics covered in this course are stoichiometry, bonding models, intermolecular forces, and periodic trends. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 140 or Accuplacer college-level mathematics test score of 85 or above, ACT math score of 24 or above, or instructor permission.

 CHEM 112 - General Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credits)

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

 CHEM 113 - General Chemistry II (3 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 111. Topics covered are thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 111 with a minimum grade of C-.

 CHEM 114 - General Chemistry Laboratory II (1 credits)

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 notebookkeeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Prerequisite: CHEM 112. Corequisite: CHEM 113.

 CHEM 231 - Introduction to Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (3 credits)

A descriptive survey course which introduces the essential topics and applications of organic chemistry and biochemistry. The course is designed for non-majors who need the second semester of a one-year chemistry core that includes general, organic, and biochemistry.This course may not be counted for credit toward the Chemistry Major or Minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or CHEM 113.

 CHEM 234 - Introductory Organic and Biochemistry Laboratory (1 credits)

An introductory laboratory to accompany CHEM 231. Experiments focus on reactions of organic functional groups, organic synthesis, and the chemistry of biological molecules.This course may not be counted for credit toward the Chemistry Major or Minor. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 231.

 MATH 213 - Probability and Statistics (3 credits)

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

 MATH 495 - Senior Seminar (3 credits)

A small group of graduating seniors pursue a practical project necessitating professional levels of problem solving, research, written and oral prowess, critical thinking, and familiarity with core curriculum. Final projects are of high quality, so they can be used by professionals and decision-makers in the field. Prerequisites: senior standing. Corequisite 490.

 PHYS 140 - Introductory Physics (with laboratory) (4 credits)

A semi-quantitative introduction to the fundamental concepts of physical science, particularly the laws of physics as they relate to the structure of matter. Laboratory experiences play an important role in the investigations. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 19 or above; SAT math score of 500 or above; MATH 099; Accuplacer Elementary Algebra test score of 85 or above.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Kevin Alexander headshot
Professor of Biology; Chair, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Robin A. Bingham headshot
Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Vermont; M.A., Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-3355
Office Location: Hurst Hall 222
Peter H. Gauss headshot
Professor of Biology
B.S., St. Joseph’s University; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University.
Phone: (970) 943-2094
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238B
Dr. Shan Hays headshot
Associate Professor of Biology
B.A., University of Colorado; B.A., University of Colorado; Ph.D., University of Oregon
Phone: (970) 943-2552
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238C
Amy Honan headshot
Biology Laboratory Coordinator
B.A., Western State Colorado University, M.S., San Francisco State University, Ph.D. candidate - University of Washington, Seattle. Current
Phone: (970) 943-2437
Office Location: Hurst Hall 128A
Patrick Magee headshot
Assistant Professor of Biology
B.S, Colorado State University. M.S., University of Missouri; Ph.D., University of Missouri.
Phone: (970) 943-7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Dr. Emily McMahill headshot
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
B.A., Western State College, PharmD, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
Phone: (970) 943-2311
Office Location: Hurst Hall 225
Cassandra L. Osborne headshot
Professor of Biology
B.S., Allegheny College; Ph.D., Dartmouth College.
Phone: (970) 943-3181
Office Location: Hurst Hall 238A
John Sowell headshot
Emeritus Professor of Biology
B.S., University of California-Davis; Ph.D., University of Idaho.
Phone: 970.943.2063
Office Location: