Cell & Molecular Biology

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
    • Emphasis

    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. 


    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.

    Faculty & Staff


    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
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
    • Emphasis

    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.

    The Program

    All of the biology emphases are built upon a broad training in the core competencies of the life sciences including evolution, cell theory, genetics, metabolism and ecological components and systems. Students who choose the Cell & Molecular Biology emphasis will deepen their understanding of biological concepts at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels. 

    The specific courses that a student takes are determined with an advisor to best fit that student's post-graduation goals. Through these courses, students are transformed into scientists as they learn to think critically, to collaborate with each other and with scientists in other disciplines and to gather and analyze data quantitatively, all while carrying out the scientific process.

    By the time they graduate, these newly-minted scientists will also appreciate the relationship between science and society, and will be able to communicate their findings both orally and in written form to the appropriate audiences. 

    Careers & Opportunities

    Cell & Molecular Biology graduates find careers in the biotechnology industry, in hospitals, in higher education and in other related industries, where their training in rigorous analysis and critical thinking are valued and desired. 

    Graduates may continue their studies in professional and graduate schools, studying cellular biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, neurobiology, immunology, genetics, molecular genetics and related fields. 

    This emphasis within the Biology program is also one of the best options to prepare students for entry into medical, dental, physician assistant, veterinary and pharmacy school. 

    Learn More

    Reach out to Shan Hays, Ph.D. for more information.