Department of Biology

About Us

What majors and minors are offered?About us filmstrip
The Department of Biology offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Health Science for preparation for medical school, dental school, and veterinary school. The Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Biotechnology prepare graduates for entry-level work in the life sciences industry or entry into graduate school. For certification in secondary science teaching, Missouri Western offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Science/Biology Teaching. For entry-level work in wildlife and environmental sciences or graduate school in these areas, students can pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management. The Bachelor of Science in Biology–General and the Bachelor of Science in Natural Science–Biology degrees are general purpose liberal arts degrees that can be used for a variety of career paths.

Why should I major in biology?
Expectations are high for new discoveries and new industries in the life science field. Just as the 20th century was the “Century of Chemistry and Physics,” the 21st is predicted to be “The Century of Biology.” Creative people with a strong foundation in the life sciences will be needed in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medicine, environmental science and conservation. The department has excellent programs for entry-level positions in all of these fields. The department also provides an outstanding foundation for entry into graduate and advanced professional schools. Students are encouraged to critically evaluate information from a diversity of fields and in this way students become “critical thinkers,” capable of succeeding in a variety of jobs.

Why should I choose this biology program?

  • The professors are dedicated to the students, and are outstanding teachers and researchers. They work very closely with students on research projects, and a high percentage of students present their findings at professional meetings.
  • The department provides a variety of internships, service, research and travel abroad opportunities.
  • Professors are dedicated to advising students through the formal advisement program and through informal meetings. Expectations regarding student performance are high.
  • Grants to support student/faculty research are available within the department and from the university.
  • Faculty members have professional ties with industry and agencies that provide numerous career opportunities for students.

Are your programs accredited?

  • The Bachelor of Science in Natural Science/Biology Teaching is fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education .
  • The Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management degree is one of only two programs in the state of Missouri to offer all of the required courses for certification as a Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society.

Why is it important that the program is accredited?
National accreditation is one way to ensure the quality of the program you choose. The organizations providing accreditations ensure the program meets certain standards of quality.

What are the admission requirements for the undergraduate program?
The entrance requirements are the same as those required by the institution.

What type of graduate schools and programs are your graduates attending?
A growing number of our graduates go on to graduate and advanced professional schools after earning their bachelor’s degree. Numerous Biology Department graduates are enrolled in, or have completed, master’s or doctorate programs and many others have completed or are working on medical-oriented professional degrees to become medical doctors, veterinarians or dentists. The MAS in Industrial Life Sciences degree is offered through the Department of Biology.

As a high school student, how should I prepare for a biology degree?

High school students who have completed the college-preparatory curriculum including at least three years of high school science, and mathematics through advanced algebra, are best prepared for the field of biology.

What type of student succeeds in the field of biology?
Besides completing the college prep high school curriculum, students that are highly motivated in biology and have a problem-solving orientation are most likely to succeed. 

Biology photoWhat is the typical class size?
Although first-semester freshman biology class lectures are large (60 to 100 students), lab sections typically have less than 24 students. Upper division classes often have 10 to 20 students. 

How do students work together with faculty?
Students and faculty work closely on a one-on-one basis during faculty-sponsored internships and student research projects. Faculty members also make every effort to meet with students as they work on projects, study for exams, and plan their schedules during advisement sessions.

What student organizations are available?

What type of awards have your faculty and students received?

  • Four biology students from Missouri Western won awards for their research presentations at the district meeting of the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society.
  • One faculty member was awarded the Jesse Lee Meyers Excellence in Teaching Award for 2004.
  • Our Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society won the Best Chapter Award in the central states for 2004.

Has your department received any special recognition?

  • The department’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society was awarded the International Chapter of the Year Award in 2011 and 2013.
  • Our Beta Beta Beta National Honors Society Chapter was awarded the SGA Organization of the Year Award in 2014.

What types of grants have your department received recently?

  • Grants from the Missouri Department of Conservation totaling $7,500.
  • Grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service totaling $10,000.
  • Grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling $136,000.
  • Grants from the National Science Foundation totaling $61,000.
  • Grants from the Environmental Systems Research Institute totaling $160,000.
  • One biology professor helped to write, and two biology faculty members were instructors, on an $117,000 Coordinating Board of Higher Education No Child Left Behind Grant involving area secondary science teachers.

Does your department have any partnerships with medical schools?
The department has formed partnerships with four medical schools in Missouri to offer admission to qualified Missouri Western Biology majors.

Does the department have any direct interaction with the community?
The department’s student organizations are involved in numerous service projects such as street and trail clean-up, Girl Scout Merit Badge workshops, stream teamwork, quail surveys and volunteer as naturalists for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Faculty members serve on various community boards and volunteer for community projects throughout the year. They also work with students on their projects and host many community and school groups that tour the department.