College of the Sciences
Science Bldg., room 338
Mail Stop 7537
See website for how this program may be used for educational and career purposes.
Faculty and Staff
James E. Johnson, PhD
Daniel D. Beck, PhD, physiological ecology and herpetology
Lucinda Carnell, PhD, molecular behavioral genetics
Tom R. Cottrell, PhD, plant ecology (emeritus)
David M. Darda, PhD, evolutionary vertebrate morphology, herpetology
Kristina A. Ernest, PhD, ecology and mammalogy
Jason T. Irwin, PhD, animal physiology
Paul W. James, PhD, ecology and fisheries biology
James E. Johnson, PhD, mycology, systematics
Sheldon R. Johnson, PhD, zoophysiology, mammalogy (emeritus)
Holly C. Pinkart, PhD, microbiology, microbial ecology, virology
Mary E. Poulson, PhD, plant physiology
Wayne S. Quirk, PhD, sensation and perception, neuroscience
Ian J. Quitadamo, PhD, STEM education, cell and molecular biology
Linda A. Raubeson, PhD, evolutionary biology and genetics
Stamford D. Smith, PhD, entomology (emeritus)
Lixing Sun, PhD, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and primatology
R. Steven Wagner, PhD, conservation genetics and herpetology
Clay Arango, PhD, stream ecology and nitrogen biogeochemistry
Jennifer Dechaine, PhD, plant biology
Blaise Dondji, PhD, human physiology, microbiology, parasitology, immunology
Alison Scoville, PhD, ecological and evolutionary genomics
Gabrielle Stryker, PhD, microbiology, immunology and parasitology
April Binder, PhD, cell biology, developmental and reproductive biology
Lucy Bottcher, PhD, ecologist, herpetologist
Eric Graham, PhD, plant ecology
Fabiola Serra-Fuertes, DVM, animal biology, physiology
Emil Babik, engineering technician
Jonathan Betz, instructional classroom support technician
Stacey Ferris, secretary
Eric Foss, instructional classroom support technician
Mari Knirck, fiscal specialist I
Kariann Linnell, fiscal specialist supervisor
Ormacinda White, engineering technician
Mark Young, instructional classroom support technician
The Department of Biological Sciences provides the biological component of the liberal arts education at the university. We promote student understanding of biological concepts relevant to the individual and society and foster an appreciation of scientific inquiry. Evolution is the unifying theme of our curriculum. Our students obtain a broad education, covering a wide variety of biological disciplines. We focus on the student. Classes are small, facilitating hands-on experience, interactions with faculty, and opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate research. We offer a full complement of competitive pre-professional programs, strong programs in regional field biology, and a quality program for secondary biology educators.
To be admitted to a biology major or minor, all students must:
1. Meet with an advisor
Advisors are normally assigned by the biology department upon admission to the major. However, it is highly recommended that a student talk with an advisor well before being admitted to the major. Any biology department faculty member may serve as an advisor but different faculty members advise in different areas. Please meet with your advisor as early in your academic career as possible to begin planning your program.
2. Complete and file an application to the major by the beginning of the junior year.
A formal application to the biology major must be submitted with your advisor’s approval. The entry-to-major qualifications must be met and application should be made by the beginning of the junior year. Application forms can be obtained from the advisor, the department office, or online at www.cwu.edu/biology/forms-and-information.
3. Complete and file a program of study by the end of the junior year.
To graduate, each student must have on file in the biology department and in the registrar’s office, an official Course of Study. The Course of Study documents a student’s individual degree program and lists the required and elective courses necessary for successful program completion. It is prepared by the student in conjunction with his or her advisor and should be approved by the student, advisor, and department chair at least one year prior to graduation. Students should meet with their advisor regularly to discuss their progress. Course of Study forms can be obtained from the advisor, the department office, or online at: www.cwu.edu/biology/forms-and-information.
Student Scholarly Activities
The department is student oriented and provides a diversity of laboratory and field experiences. Students are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities.
- Research activities: Students are encouraged to seek out a faculty member who is engaged in active research that complements the student’s career goals. Students who begin research early and continue it through their career in the department gain a better understanding of their profession and are more competitive in the job market or in graduate school admissions.
- Field program: The department believes in the importance of exposing students to biological field experiences. In addition to those provided by regular courses, the department offers summer field courses and trips to biologically interesting areas during breaks between quarters.
Biology Club: All biology students are encouraged to join the Biology Club. This student-run organization meets regularly to discuss academic planning and career opportunities in biology. The club performs service activities and plans recreational outings. See its website at www.cwu.edu/biology.
Beta Beta Beta: BBB is the undergraduate National Biological Sciences Honorary Society. Students maintaining a high grade point average (3.0 or higher) are encouraged to apply.
Various organizations for students interested in health professions (medicine, dentistry, etc.) are available to provide information, support, and opportunities for service.
Laboratory or field fees are assessed for many of the department’s lab courses. These fees are used as partial support for purchasing lab materials or providing transportation costs.
General Consideration for Biology Majors and Minors
- The biological sciences department must approve each student’s program at least one academic year preceding graduation
- CHEM 181 has a prerequisite of high school chemistry and qualification for MATH 153. PHYS 111 has a prerequisite of high school algebra and trigonometry. PHYS 181 has a prerequisite or corequisite of MATH 172, 173, and 272. BIOL 360 has a prerequisite of MATH 153.
- Credits earned in CHEM 181, 181LAB, and PHYS 111 will be allowed in partial fulfillment of the natural science breadth requirements as well as the requirements of the biology major or minor.
- A maximum of 15 credits in BIOL 295, BIOL 490, BIOL 295 and BIOL 496 may be included in the major (as electives in the BS degrees).
- A major in biological sciences incorporates classes from mathematics and other sciences. A full year of introductory biology and introductory chemistry is required for enrollment in upper-division biology classes. The introductory chemistry sequence (CHEM 181, 182, 183) is pre- or co-requisite to the introductory biology series (BIOL 181, 182, 183). Students are urged to complete these two introductory series in their first year or as early in their academic career as possible.
- You must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.25 in your major.
- End-of-major assessment must be completed, usually in conjunction with BIOL 499S. This requirement helps to assess whether the department has fulfilled its instructional objectives and provides us with information that will enable us to continuously improve our programs and courses.
- Application for the bachelor’s degree must be filed by the second Friday of the quarter preceding the quarter in which the degree is to be received. Complete instructions and deadlines are available in Registrar Services.
For information on program outcomes, please go to: www.cwu.edu/mission/assessment-improvement/slo-assessment-plans.
Frequency of course offering information can be found at the department website: www.cwu.edu/biology or by contacting the department directly.
ProgramsBachelor of Arts (B.A.)Bachelor of Science (B.S.)Minor
CoursesBiological Sciences (BIOL)