• Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Advising Program

    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.


    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

    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

    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

    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

    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
    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
  • Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Advising Program

    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.


    Professor Shan Hays with 2 students during lab. Click image to see Pre-Medicine videosProfessor Shan Hays with 2 students during lab. Click image to see Pre-Medicine videos


    Careers & Opportunities

    A wide variety of career options awaits any student interested in becoming a healthcare professional. Each profession serves a unique purpose in improving the well-being of others. Course offerings at Western help students learn about these various fields. Ultimately, we encourage students to gain experience in their field of interest before committing to a specific career path.

    • Dentist
    • Mental Health Clinician
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Nutritionist
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Optometrist
    • Paramedic
    • Pharmacist
    • Physical Therapist
    • Physician
    • Physician Assistant
    • Podiatrist
    • Registered Dietician
    • Registered Nurse
    • Veterinarian

    Learn More

    Reach out to Emily McMahill, Pharm.D. for more information.