Biology Major

Biology student in the fieldThe biology major in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University will train you in the broad spectrum of the life sciences. After completing the required foundation courses, you may choose electives to suit your specific areas of interest. You will have the opportunity to study botany, cell biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, microbiology, neuroscience, pathology, physiology, virology and zoology.

You might choose the biology major if you:

  • Are considering going on to graduate level studies in the life sciences.
  • Are interested in biological sciences, but are not sure of your specific goals.
  • Are interested in plants, animals and the environment.
  • Are skilled in science, especially the life sciences.
  • Have a wide spectrum of interests in the biological sciences.


Employment options for holders of a bachelor of science in biology are broad. Graduates seek employment with the Department of Natural Resources and other state and federal government agencies, hospitals, universities, pharmaceutical companies, animal rescue centers, museums, zoos, food processing companies and biotechnology firms. People with formal biology training are also needed in industries as varied as sales, marketing and publishing. Some specific careers available to those with bachelor's degrees include:

  • Biological technician
  • Conservation scientist and forester
  • Entry level microbiologist
  • Entry level zoologist and wildlife biologist
  • Environmental technician, scientist and specialist
  • Research assistant
  • Occupational health and safety specialist

For more career information, contact the undergraduate advisor and see the career guidance page.

Graduate study

You may want to continue your studies through graduate programs in one of the following areas:

  • Biology
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Community medicine
  • Forensic science
  • Public health


Biology majors take required coursework in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. Preparation for future challenges outside of the University will be gained through:

  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Inquiry and analysis
  • Quantitative literacy
  • Teamwork and problem solving
  • Written and oral communication

Catalog description


Advisors facilitate student success by creating an on-going partnership with students and providing knowledge regarding degree requirements and WMU student success resources.

Transfer students

A minimum of 15 hours of BIOS coursework must be earned at Western Michigan University for a major. Transfer students must consult with both the Biological Sciences undergraduate advisor and a College of Arts and Sciences advisor before registering for classes. Additional transfer information is available on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

Student organizations

You may choose to participate in a student organization to enhance your academic experience and prepare for your professional career.