Western Carolina University biology students are prepared for careers in the sciences and for graduate and professional programs that lead to careers in the biological sciences. Students thrive under the tutelage of a faculty dedicated to teaching and research, and they benefit from on-campus research facilities such as an herbarium of more than 25,000 specimens. The main campus is located amidst an extraordinary outdoor laboratory that includes Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Students and faculty alike enjoy the unique research and learning opportunities that these incredible environments provide.
The WCU Biology Program prepares students to succeed at the next level of their career. The program is designed around five foundational courses: Principles of Biology I and II, Introduction to Genetics, Introduction to Ecology and Evolution, and Senior Research. Students may select from four concentrations: Pre-health Professional, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, General Biology, and Molecular Biology. In tandem with an inclusive curriculum, smaller class sizes foster strong relationships and strengthen students’ learning processes. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to participate in faculty-directed independent research projects carrying academic credit, while all majors are encouraged to pursue cooperative education and internships. These popular programs provide job experience, income, and professional opportunities for post-graduation employment.
A biology degree from WCU prepares students for immediate employment or further graduate study. Jobs can be focused on biomedical, biotech, ecological and other areas of biology and science in general. Through the years, WCU graduates have gone on to become scientists, researchers, program directors and coordinators, and educators and practitioners. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biological technicians is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022. Continued growth in the areas of biotechnology and medical research is expected to increase demand for biological technicians.