Department of Biology

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

What majors and minors are offered? The Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology prepare graduates for entry-level work in the life sciences industry or entry into graduate school.

Why should I major in Biochemistry & Molecular 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. It 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 the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology program at Missouri Western? The Biology Department boasts a biological chemistry lab that contains $.5 million worth of equipment, including a DNA Sequencer and synthesizer. Students in the program gain extensive hands-on experience in all labs through class work and independent research, as each year, the department is awarded thousands of dollars in grants to support student and faculty research. Professors work very closely with students on research projects, and a high percentage of students present their findings at professional meetings.

The professors are dedicated to the students, and are outstanding teachers and researchers. They have professional ties with industry and agencies that provide numerous career-networking opportunities for students.

What type of graduate schools and programs are your graduates attending? A growing number of our graduates from the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology program go on to graduate and advanced professional schools after earning their bachelor’s degree. Numerous Biology Department graduates are enrolled in, or have completed, masters 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.

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

As a high school student, how should I prepare for a Biochemistry & Molecular 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. Students that are highly motivated in biology and have a problem-solving orientation are most likely to succeed.

What 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 one-on-one 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?

Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society

The Wildlife Society

Pre-Professional Club

What type of awards have your faculty and students received? Students and faculty in several biology department program have received awards recently:

  • 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.

What types of grants has your department received recently? The Biology Department has received several grants in the past three years for several of their programs:

  • 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.

An agreement with the Kirksville (Mo.) College of Osteopathic Medicine allows two sophomores per year a guaranteed seat upon graduation from Missouri Western. 

In an agreement with the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, up to two sophomores each year may be selected to matriculate there following their junior year at Missouri Western. Students simultaneously complete their first year of medical school and earn a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Western. See more information here.

In an agreement with the University of Missouri School of Medicine the Lester R. Bryant Pre-Admissions Program attracts students who have both a rural background and an interest in practicing rural medicine for pre-admission to the MU School of Medicine. See more information here.

An agreement with the UMKC School of Medicine offers a Medical Scholars program that would offer early and guaranteed admission to Missouri Western State University students interested in applying to medical school.  This program offers early admission into the School of Medicine’s M.D. Program for students currently in their sophomore or junior year of college. See more information here.