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

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


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 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 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.

 CHEM 334 - Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 cred.)

An accompanying laboratory course for CHEM 331, serving as an introduction to basic macro-and micro- scale organic techniques used to separate, isolate, and characterize organic compounds. Methods utilized include distillation, extraction, chromatography, Infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 114. Corequisite: CHEM 331.

 CHEM 335 - Organic Chemistry Lab II (1 cred.)

This lab is a continuation of CHEM 334, with an expansion in scope that allows incorporation of more complex synthetic problems. The lab will employ the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) to follow reaction progress along with NMR spectroscopy to determine reaction outcomes. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 334. Corequisite: CHEM 332.

 CHEM 471 - Biochemistry I (4 cred.)

A study of structural biochemistry and metabolism. The course begins with an overview of the aqueous environment and its effects on solutes, including biomolecules. Other subject matters include the chemistry of proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids; the mechanisms and kinetics of enzymes; and the stoichiometry and chemistry underlying the core metabolic processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Prerequisites: BIOL 150 and CHEM 332.

 MATH 151 - Calculus I (4 cred.)

A study of differential calculus, including limits, continuous functions, Intermediate Value Theorem, tangents, linear approximation, inverse functions, implicit differentiation, extreme values and the Mean Value Theorem. This course also introduces Integral calculus including anti-derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 27 or above; SAT math score of 630 or above; MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-; or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test with a score of 95 or above. GT-MA1

 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.

 PSY 100 - General Psychology (3 cred.)

An introduction to psychology including research methodology, biological bases of behavior, human development, sensation, perception, intelligence, cognition, language, states of consciousness, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, personality, abnormal behavior and stress and health.

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, Ph.D. 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
Chris Lee, Ph.D. headshot
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
Phone: 970.943.2256
Office Location: Hurst Hall 218
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


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 our scholarships page.

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

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 our scholarships page.

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 to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

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.

  • Pre-Health Club: These students collaborate to host medically-relevant events and volunteer services.
  • Research Assistantships: Many professors conduct externally-funded research and are always looking for student help.
  • Shadowing: Opportunities to shadow practicing clinicians exist both locally and throughout the United States.
  • Thornton Biology Research Program: Students can receive funding and work with faculty on original research.
  • Pre-Health Mentorship ProgramStudents are paired with a qualified health professional to help them gain hands-on experience and prepare for a career after graduation.

Many students interested in becoming a healthcare professional will wonder which major to choose. For many career fields, there's no one right answer. Given the liberal arts offerings at Western, students can gain the foundational science courses they need to apply to various professional programs while also exploring other areas of interest.

Over the last 10 years, 89 percent of Western students who have applied for a healthcare-related professional program have been accepted. These high acceptance rates into competitive schools can be credited to the hard work of our students, the support provided by our dedicated faculty and Western’s commitment to success. Western is focused on helping students reach their full potential. We help students maintain an edge by offering early exposure to healthcare fields, an abundance of research opportunities and a variety of high-quality courses.


Students also have access to the expertise and mentorship of our Healthcare Advisory Board. Board members advise students, guest lecture and connect undergraduates with opportunities in and outside the Gunnison Valley.


Click below to watch our collection of pre-health videos!

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

A woman with brown hair and a floral blouse smiles at the camera
Ferchau Lecturer in Biology
Office Location: 
Hurst Hall 225

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