Jun 16, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences Department

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

Holly C. Pinkart, 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
Dechaine, PhD, plant biology
Blaise Dondji, PhD, human physiology, microbiology, parasitology, immunology
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

Associate Professors
Clay Arango, PhD, stream ecology and nitrogen biogeochemistry
April Binder, PhD, cell biology, developmental and reproductive biology
Alison Scoville, PhD, ecological and evolutionary genomics
Gabrielle Stryker, PhD, microbiology, immunology and parasitology

Assistant Professor
Sarah Oppelt, PhD, biochemistry and cell biology, metabolism, and inflammation

Lucy Bottcher, PhD, ecologist, herpetologist
Eric Fleming, PhD, microbiology
Eric Graham, PhD, plant ecology
Fabiola Serra-Fuertes, DVM, animal biology, physiology

Emil Babik, engineering technician
Stacey Ferris, secretary senior
Eric Foss, instructional classroom support technician
Mari Knirck, fiscal specialist I
Kariann Linnell, fiscal specialist supervisor
Elaina Martinez, instructional classroom support technician
Ormacinda White, engineering technician
Mark Young, instructional classroom support technician

Department Information
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. Biological Sciences offers major specializations in Ecology and Evolution, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Biomedical Sciences, or a General Biology option for those seeking a broader perspective of the discipline.  With a biology major, students often pursue careers in fields such as teaching, natural resource management, and biotechnology.  Many students pursue further study in graduate programs.  Several of the Biological Sciences degree options are ideal for students wanting to enter professional programs including medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Admission Requirements
To be admitted to a biology major or minor, all students must:

  1. Complete a Biology Major or Minor Application. We recommend declaring a major as early as freshman year and no later than sophomore year.
    • Application forms can be obtained from the advisor, the department office, or online at www.cwu.edu/biology/forms-and-information.
  2. Choose a Biology faculty advisor
    • We recommend choosing an advisor from the Biology Advising Team based on area of interest (Evolution and Ecology, Molecular and Cell, Biomedical Sciences or General Biology)
  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 submitted by the student to their advisor and must be approved by the Biology faculty advisor and Biology Department Chair at least two quarters prior to graduation. Students should meet with their Biology faculty advisor regularly to discuss their progress. Course of Study forms can be obtained from the advisor 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 programs: 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.

Student Organizations
All biology students are encouraged to join a student organization. These student-run groups meet regularly to discuss academic planning and career opportunities in biology. Student clubs perform service activities and plan recreational outings. See the Biology department website for a list of currently active organizations at www.cwu.edu/biology

Course fees are assessed for many of the department’s courses. These fees are used as partial support for purchasing lab materials or providing transportation costs.

General Consideration for Biology Majors and Minors

  • Completing the equivalent of MATH 153 or higher is required for most biology major courses. 
  • Students are urged to complete the introductory chemistry sequence (CHEM 181, 182, 183) and the introductory biology series (BIOL 181, 182, 183) in their freshman or sophomore year.
  • Most courses in the biology majors also require specific pre-requisite courses.  Please consult your biology faculty advisor to plan your course of study.
  • All Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology must include a minimum 100 credits of coursework. This includes all courses in the core curriculum, the specific coursework required for the chosen specialization, and elective courses. A maximum of 15 credits of elective coursework can include the following:
    • BIOL 490 - Cooperative education (1-12 credits)
    • BIOL 492 - 2-4 credits
    • BIOL 495 - 1-6 credits
    • BIOL 496 - 1-6 credits

All students must meet University requirements of a total of 180 credits, 60 of which must be upper division, to earn a Bachelor’s degree (Graduation Requirements ).

Graduation Requirements

  • Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.25 in their major to graduate.
  • 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.

Program Outcomes
For information on program outcomes, please go to: www.cwu.edu/mission/assessment-improvement/slo-assessment-plans

Course Offerings
Frequency of course offering information can be found at the department website: www.cwu.edu/biology or by contacting the department directly.


    Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)Bachelor of Science (B.S.)Minor


      Biological Sciences (BIOL)