Undergraduate Catalog 2023-2024

Biology, Bachelor of Science (525)

Department website: http://www.wku.edu/biology

Program Coordinator

Michael E. Smith, michael.smith1@wku.edu, (270) 745-2405

The major in biology (525) does not require a second major or minor. Students complete a range of biology courses and are able to participate in research projects to ease the transition into the workplace.

Students who wish to be certified to teach high school biology must complete both the major in Biology (reference number 617) with a Teacher Education concentration (TCHR) and the major in Science and Mathematics Education (reference number 774), offered in the School of Teacher Education. Interested students should contact the SKyTeach Office, Kelly Thompson Hall 1011A, 270-745-3900.

Program Requirements (48 hours)

This option for a major in biology requires a minimum of 48 hours in biology with 24 hours at the 300 or higher level. No minor is required. A range of upper level courses are available in ecology and evolutionary biology, molecular and cellular biology, plant biology, animal biology, and microbiology.

A baccalaureate degree requires a minimum of 120 unduplicated semester hours. More information can be found at www.wku.edu/registrar/degree_certification.php.

Students who began WKU in the Fall 2014 and thereafter should review the Colonnade requirements located at: https://www.wku.edu/colonnade/colonnaderequirements.php.

Required Courses
BIOL 120
BIOL 121
Biological Concepts: Cells Metabolism and Genetics
and Biological Concepts: Cells, Metabolism, and Genetics Lab 1
BIOL 122
BIOL 123
Biological Concepts: Evolution, Diversity, and Ecology
and Biological Concepts: Evolution, Diversity, and Ecology Lab 1
BIOL 489Professional Aspects of Biology1
Restricted Electives *4
Select one of the following:4
Plant Biology and Diversity
and Plant Biology and Diversity Lab
Animal Biology and Diversity
and Animal Biology and Diversity Lab
Microbial Biology and Diversity
and Microbial Biology and Diversity Lab
Select one of the following:4
Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology
and Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory
and Genetics Laboratory
Select one of the following: 3
Evolution: Theory and Process
Laboratory Experience Courses *
Select five of the following:
Genome Discovery Exploration
Comparative Anatomy
Introduction to Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory
Insect Biodiversity
Animal Physiology Laboratory
Genetics Laboratory
Plant Taxonomy
Introduction to Recombinant Genetics
Ecology Lab
Ornithology Lab
Plant Physiology
Techniques and Theory of Electron Microscopy
Aquatic Insect Diversity
Cell Biology Laboratory
Biochemistry Laboratory
Recombinant Gene Technology
Fisheries Management
Pathogenic Microbiology
Field Biology
Plant Biotechnology
Aquatic Field Ecology
Science Process Courses *
Select one of the following:
Genome Discovery Exploration
Animal Physiology Laboratory
Introduction to Recombinant Genetics
Ecology Lab
Scientific Process
Techniques and Theory of Electron Microscopy
Cell Biology Laboratory
Pathogenic Microbiology
Molecular Genetics
Plant Biotechnology
Aquatic Field Ecology
Honors Thesis / Project II
Elective Course Work 2*

Must complete with a grade of “C” or better.


 Elective Coursework:

  • In consultation with their advisor, students select majors-level coursework to obtain a minimum of 48 credits total, provided that at least 24 hours total are upper division courses.
  • Students may count up to 6 credit hours of a combination of BIOL 369 and/or BIOL 399, and up to 4 credits of BIOL 485 toward this major.

The following BIOL courses will not count towards the BIOL electives nor the Biology major requirements: BIOL 113, BIOL 114, BIOL 131, BIOL 231, BIOL 207, BIOL 208BIOL 295BIOL 303, BIOL 318, BIOL 390

Supporting Courses

Because an understanding of the principles of subjects outside of biology, in particular agriculture, chemistry, geography and geology, mathematics, physics and sociology is essential to the study of biology; majors are required to complete support courses.

MATH 116College Algebra3
MATH 117Trigonometry3
or MATH 136 Calculus I
CHEM 120
CHEM 121
College Chemistry I
and College Chemistry I Laboratory
Select one of the following:3
Select one of the following:4
Introduction to Physics and Biophysics I
and Laboratory for Physics and Biophysics I
University Physics I
and University Physics I Lab
Select two of the following:6
Introductory Biostatistics
College Chemistry II
and College Chemistry II Laboratory
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
Principles of MIS with Spreadsheets
Introduction to Programming
Geographic Information Systems I
Geographic Information Systems II
Calculus I
Calculus II
Social Research Methods
Total Hours24

Finish in Four Plan

First Year
BIOL 120
BIOL 121
4BIOL 122
BIOL 123
MATH 116 (or higher)3MATH 117 (or higher)3
ENG 1003CHEM 120
CHEM 121
Colonnade - Explorations 3Colonnade - Explorations3
 13 15
Second Year
BIOL 222
BIOL 223 (or BIOL 224/225 or BIOL 226/227)
4BIOL 319
BIOL 322 (or BIOL 327/337)
BIOL Science Supporting Course4ENG 2003
HIST 101 or HIST 1023BIOL Science Supporting Course4
BIOL upper-division Elective with lab4BIOL upper-division Elective with lab4
 15 15
Third Year
BIOL 315 or BIOL 3163BIOL upper-division Elective with lab4
COMM 1453BIOL upper-division Elective with lab4
Colonnade - Explorations3BIOL upper-division Elective3
Colonnade - Explorations3Colonnade - Writing in the Disciplines3
BIOL upper-division Elective with lab4Colonnade - Explorations3
 16 17
Fourth Year
BIOL 4891BIOL upper-division Elective4
BIOL upper-division Elective4BIOL upper-division Elective4
Colonnade - Connections3BIOL upper-division Elective 4
World Language or Elective3Colonnade - Connections3
BIOL Process Elective (see Biology advisor)3 
 14 15
Total Hours 120