May 20, 2024  
Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017 
Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs

John Spitsbergen, Chair
Main Office: 3425 Wood Hall
Telephone: (269) 387-5600
Fax: (269) 387-5609

Todd Barkman
Wendy Scott Beane
Bruce Bejcek
Christine Byrd-Jacobs
William Cobern
Kathryn Docherty
Karim Essani
Robert Eversole
John Geiser
Sharon Gill
Pamela Hoppe
Charles Ide
John Jellies
Donald Kane
David Karowe
Steve Kohler
Cindy Linn
Yan Lu
Stephen Malcolm
Silvia Rossbach
David Rudge
Maria Scott
Brian Tripp
Maarten Vonhof
Jian Yao

An understanding of the biological sciences is essential, if we are to solve the pressing social, environmental, and economic problems of our times. The Department of Biological Sciences offers major and minor programs designed to provide today’s student with effective and up-to-date knowledge and training in various areas of the life sciences, including medical aspects of human biology.

The Biology Major explores the broad spectrum of the life sciences with opportunities to study botany, zoology, ecology, and physiology. Students completing this major should be prepared for one or more of the following goals: (1) graduate study toward an advanced degree in the Biological Sciences, i.e. M.S., or Ph.D.; (2) employment in state or federal government service, industry, laboratory or technical work; (3) advanced study at the professional level.

The Biomedical Sciences Major is designed to explore the human, molecular, and cellular aspects of the life sciences, with the opportunity to study cell biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, neurobiology, and physiology. The specific objectives of the Biomedical Sciences major include: (1) providing basic training for employment in basic research laboratories, industrial laboratories, as well as state and federal agencies; (2) producing highly qualified students for advanced training at the graduate-professional levels, i.e., M.S., Ph.D., M.D., D.D.S., D.O.M., D.P.M., or D.V.M.; and (3) pre-professional training for such clinical areas as physician assistant, pharmacy, and physical therapy. For additional career options, see the undergraduate advisor.

The Biology Major-Secondary Education Curriculum is designed to prepare students for certification and teaching in secondary education. Students interested in pursuing a teaching career in the biological sciences should follow the special guidelines for this program in the section below.

A Minor in Biological Sciences is also available, as well as in the Secondary Education Curriculum.

All major and minor programs are to be pursued under the direction of and with the approval of the Undergraduate Advisor. Students interested in a major or minor should contact the undergraduate advisor in Room 3447 Wood Hall, ( or 269-387-5617) during freshman or transfer orientation and regularly thereafter. Courses taken without the approval of the undergraduate advisor may not be acceptable for major or minor credit.

In addition to planning your program with the undergraduate advisor, we also urge you to consult with the Pre-Health Advisor (in the College of Arts and Sciences at 269-387-4366 or, at an early stage, to determine any special requirements or variations that may pertain to particular medical, dental, veterinary or other professional schools to which you are planning to apply for admission.

Students must satisfy prerequisites before enrolling in a course. Those who fail to earn a “C” or better grade in a departmental prerequisite course will be denied admission to enroll in the next class. Enrollment will not be honored if it is found that proper prerequisites have not been met.

Only departmental courses in which a grade of “C” or better is obtained may be counted towards a major or minor in Biological Sciences.

Transfer Students

A minimum of 15 hours of course work in the Biology Major, the Secondary Education Biology Major, and the Biomedical Sciences Major must be earned at Western Michigan University. At least 12 hours in the Biological Sciences Minor must be earned at Western Michigan University. Transfer students should consult with the undergraduate advisor in Room 3447 Wood Hall ( or 269-387-5617), before registering for classes.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Departments and Programs