• student uses microscope

    Graduate student Mohamed Abohahar works in the laboratory of Dr. Pamela Hoppe, studying muscle development in C. elegans

  • Syed Daniyal

    Undergraduate student Syed Daniyal studies host-pathogen interactions in the laboratory of Dr. Ben Koestler

  • Many students and faculty attend conferences. The Neurosciences 2019 was a venue for neuroscientists to present emerging science, learn from experts, forge collaborations with peers, explore new tools and technologies, and advance careers.

  • Biology Club gets hands on experience maintaining the Bee Hives on the Parkview Campus

  • Research continued in 2020

    The COVID pandemic did not slow down Dr Tiffany Schriever, as she continued her work tracking biodiversity in interdunal wetlands.


Experiential Learning opportunities

In the Department of Biological Sciences we offer students hands-on experiences in life science research in a broad range of biological and biomedical sciences areas, including:

  • cell and tissue engineering
  • cell and tissue regeneration
  • consequences of human activity on ecosystems
  • developmental biology
  • ecology and ecosystem services
  • environmental biology
  • evolutionary biology
  • impacts of climate change on living organisms
  • immunology and virology
  • Neuroscience
  • microbiology and microbial ecology
  • restoration ecology and management of native plants

These experiential learning opportunities allow students to hone their skills in effective teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving and communication using oral, written and digital formats. Our students have the opportunity to present at National Conferences as part of their studies.

Faculty and students discuss the value of working in a research lab as part of their educational experience. 

We also have a focus on Women in STEM.

Dr. Kathryn Docherty discusses her research.

 Dr. Tiffany Schriever takes students into the field.

Get a glimpse of the biological sciences program

Harrison Bach, undergraduate, talks about research in the Linn Lab

Biology careers can lead you to study living organisms to help develop biological knowledge and understanding of living processes for a number of different purposes, including treatment of disease and sustaining the natural environment. We are convinced that the skills learned at WMU prepare you for different careers such as:

  • Pre-dental and Dental School
  • Environmental scientist
  • Ecologist
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Medicine
  • Lab Research Scientist
  • Biotechnologist

and others. You will be a valued member of the workforce and an outstanding contributor to our society.

Our department

Western Michigan University embraces collaboration and leverages resources to offer academic programs that are responsive to the needs of all students and society. In the Department of Biological Sciences undergraduates, graduate students and faculty collaborate on real-world applications through laboratory research, publications and fieldwork. Here is the Biological Sciences information from the 2020-21 Post-Graduate Activity Report. The full report can be found here.

Biological Sciences accepts rolling applications for the M.A. program

Office hours

The Office hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Contact your professor or Dr. Spitsbergen, biological sciences chair, to schedule an appointment.


2023 Newsletter for Biological Sciences

2022 Newsletter for Biological Sciences

2021 Newsletter for Biological Sciences

2020 Newsletter for Biological Sciences

2019 Newsletter for Biological Sciences 

Channel 17 News feature on agave in the Finch Greenhouse

Dr. Bruce Bejcek passes away

Dr. Kathryn Docherty presents at Farm Field Day

WMU Alumna named Distinguished Educator of the Year

MSTA Honors Dr. Rudge

Biological Sciences graduate students receive funding to develop talks for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Chris Jackson, Greenhouse Manager, in the news, saving native seeds.

Drs. Beane and Spitsbergen in a video about inquiry-based learning.

Dr. Kathryn Docherty describes her field site.

Student job opportunities.

Dr. Sharon Gill and doctoral student Joanna Sblendorio in the news.

Department donates PPE to the community during virus crisis.

Alberto Cintrón-Colón selected as a Yale Ciencia Academy Fellow.

Three students present posters at ARO Conference.

Dr. Joseph Engemann passes away.

Seminar Series button

Seminar Series

Explore the world of biology through our seminar series each semester. The seminars are presentations of current biological research by current WMU faculty or faculty from other universities.


Undergraduate research opportunities

Set on 661 acres in Southwest Michigan, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute provides visitors with an exposure to a blend of diverse habitats including wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes and prairies, and more than seven miles of nature trails. The institute is open to the public year-round, free of charge.


Presentation opportunities for students

Students have the opportunity to attend conferences and present their research.

2022 AOS

2022 MISFN Annual Meeting

2022 JASM

2020 ARFO Conference

Past presentations by faculty and students


Academic support

Student Success Services in the College of Arts and Sciences at Western Michigan University provides academic support programs and connects you to resources you may need to achieve your academic and personal goals.

Request assistance