Biology

UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Biology is the science of life. The study of biology encompasses molecular, cellular, and physiological processes, evolutionary diversity, ecological relationships, and global systems. Biologists study life from prehistoric times to organisms alive today and model how life may change in the future.

You will take courses that cover a wide range of subjects in biology, including molecular and cell biology, physiology and development of animals and plants, conservation biology, disease biology, genetics and genomics, taxonomy and systematics, ecology, and evolutionary biology.

Small class sizes in advanced courses will provide opportunities for one-on-one research with biology faculty, including field and laboratory experiences.

RELATED FIELDS

  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Taxonomy
  • Zoology

MAKE A MAJOR DISCOVERY…

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PROGRAM OF STUDY

Biology Major Requirements

Gain skills in research design, data analysis, DNA and cell biological techniques, physiological diagnostics, ecological and environmental assessment, phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis, global complex systems analysis, computer modeling and simulations, scientific writing, and professional communications.

The biology degree will also prepare you to apply for graduate and professionals schools.

The WSU Tri-Cities Biology program offers two degree options

  • General Biology
  • Basic Medical Sciences

Check out the WSU Catalog for major requirements in Biology and Basic Medical Sciences.

Biology Minor Requirements

Minoring in a discipline outside your major field of study, allows you to focus elective credits, expand your perspective, and increase your skills. A minor will make you stand out to potential employers because it demonstrates an eagerness to learn and emphasizes your willingness to go above and beyond minimum expectations.

A minor in biology requires a minimum of 20 hours in BIOLOGY coursework including BIOLOGY 106, 107, 301 and 8 additional hours of BIOLOGY courses at the 300-level or above.

No more than 2 hours in BIOLOGY 490, 491, 494, 495, 496, 497 or 499 may be included in the 20 hours. 9 credit hours must be earned in residence at WSU or through WSU-approved education abroad or educational exchange courses. All coursework for the minor must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Students who major in biology cannot be granted a minor in biology.

See what other minors and certificates are available at WSU Tri-Cities.

Pre-Health Sciences

WSU Tri-Cities provides excellent preparation for medical school and other health care fields (such as optometry, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, or physical/occupational therapy).

Tracks in the pre-health sciences are not major in themselves. They are preparatory tracks that can be incorporated into any major. (Most other fields of professional health care are the same way.) As long as you complete the general core requirements for schools in your professional area, you can select any major you like.

Students from WSU Tri-Cities have gone on to enter the MD/PhD program at Baylor, pharmacy, dental and physician’s assistant schools. You can, too.

To learn more about your options, talk with you faculty advisor, Dr. Elly Sweet.

See what other minors and certificates are available at WSU Tri-Cities.

FRESHMAN

While the majority of students’ courses and credits are completed within the major, the UCORE curriculum provides courses that are the foundation basic skills that all WSU students must develop no matter their major.

The University Common Requirements (UCORE) is the center of the undergraduate curriculum and you will start taking these courses starting your first semester at WSU Tri-Cities. If you took AP, IB, or Running Start courses in high school, then you may already have met some of the requirements.

The UCORE curriculum is designed to be flexible enough to work for all majors. The program offers a wide variety of course choices and provides many individual pathways through the curriculum.

Not admitted yet? Talk with an Admissions Counselor to learn how easy it is to apply.

TRANSFER

Transfer students who have completed an approved Associate of Arts and Science (DTA) degree at a Washington or Oregon community college will have fulfilled most of the lower-division UCORE requirements. Because students have to also meet the College of Arts & Sciences requirements, some students must take additional courses in a foreign language in order to complete the degree. Otherwise, transfer students will have their transcripts evaluated for UCORE requirements.

Use the transfer credit equivalency guide to learn how your credits will transfer.

If you are currently enrolled at Columbia Basin College and intend to transfer to WSU Tri-Cities, then check out our Bridges Program that provides a direct academic path.

Students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, must complete a minimum of 30 credits of WSU coursework and fill the major requirements to earn a second degree. UCORE requirements are not required as they are met by coursework from the first bachelor’s degree.

Not admitted yet? Talk with an Admissions Counselor to learn how easy it is to apply.

STUDENT SUCCESS

Undergraduate advising is a partnership between you, your professional advisor, and your faculty mentor and it goes beyond course selection. Whether you plan to enter the workforce or continue on to earn an advanced degree, your academic advisors and professional mentors will guide you toward that goal. This holistic approach ensures that you are engaged in your academic plan, connected to the campus community and resources, and earn your degree as efficiently as possible.

Meet your advisor and get started on your academic path.

CAREERS

Biology majors develop critical thinking and empirical skills that are translatable to a number of careers. Your options are only limited by your interests.

Graduates of WSU Tri-Cities leave campus fully ready to enter the workforce. The Career Development Office offers workshops on how to develop a job search strategy, write a compelling résumé and cover letter, and sharpen interview skills – all of which will help students land a job in today’s competitive market.

The Career Development Office posts on- and off-campus positions for student employees and also work with students to identify internships, cooperative work experience, and post-graduation career opportunities.

See how you can become career-ready with a major in biology.

Rylan Hull

Biology Major
Lab Technician

I am a post-baccalaureate student working in Dr. Cheeke’s lab. I originally came to WSU Tri-Cities with the thought that I would just take a few classes that I needed to make myself more competitive for graduate school. But part way through my first semester I realized that I could have more experiences and become a well-rounded student of biology if I earned my degree. Since my decision to pursue a degree I learned what I really want to pursue for my career and gained hands on lab experience. I could not be more pleased with my decision to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology.  

Headshot of Tanya Cheeke

Tanya Cheeke

Assistant Professor 
Microbial Ecology, School of Biological Sciences 

Tanya Cheeke is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at WSU. Her lab studies plant-soil-microbe interactions, particularly within the context of changing environments (e.g., ecological disturbance, biological invasions). One of the central themes of her research program is to understand the role of soil microbes in promoting plant growth and resilience to environmental stressors. The lab’s work takes place in a variety of ecosystems, ranging from grasslands to forests, to agroecosystems. Recent projects in the lab have evaluated the role of plant-soil feedbacks in ecological restorations; investigated how variation in tree species composition affects soil microbial communities and nutrient cycling in soil; and tested whether microbial inoculations can improve plant growth and nutrient uptake in agroecosystems. Dr. Cheeke actively involves a diversity of undergraduate and graduate students in her research program, which provides valuable training opportunities for students interested in pursuing graduate school and/or a career in the biological sciences.