Transform from a student into a scientist.

As a Biology major at Westfield State University, you’ll be guided in your exploration of scientific curiosity and ambition with hands-on education in state-of-the-art labs and workspaces. From your first semester, you’ll jump right into taking relevant courses and labs, led by faculty who are experts in various biology disciplines. Our low student-to-faculty ratio ensures that you’ll receive personalized feedback as you progress. 

Opportunities to publish and present at conferences and participate in undergraduate research will give you a distinct advantage as you proceed into graduate school or a career. The biology club and professional development events on campus allow you to explore your interests further and network with fellow students and biology alumni.  

Gain the fundamentals you need with a Biology B.S. from Westfield State University and succeed in a variety of disciplines including medicine, veterinary, biotechnology, ecology, teaching, and more.  

Available concentrations: 

Biotechnology  
In addition to your Biology major, study the technologies that can provide solutions for combating disease, reducing environmental footprints, feeding the hungry, creating clean energy, and addressing more of society’s most pressing challenges. An internship is required for the Biotechnology concentration. 

Pre-Medical
Develop a deeper understanding of biology and how it relates to the robust field of medicine. This concentration will prepare you to enter a graduate program in medicine.

Biology Education 
With a Biology degree and a concentration in education, you’ll be able to translate your knowledge into educating the next generation of scientists. Learn to break down complex concepts into exciting, easy-to-understand lessons that will ignite your students’ curiosity. The Biology Education program can lead to licensure by the Massachusetts Department of Education as a Teacher of Secondary School Biology. Our Biology Teacher Education Program has been recognized by the National Science Teachers Association. 

Program Highlights

  • On campus
  • Participate in research and conference opportunities
  • 24-hour access to labs for independent researchers
  • Professional development night for networking and exploring careers

Explore, learn, understand, and make a difference in the world through the power of biology.

Are you ready to start earning your Bachelor of Science in Biology?

A bachelor's degree in biology that prepares you for graduate school or to start a career.

  • Multiple students conduct observations in a forested area.

    Research-based coursework

    The Westfield State University biology degree creates a foundation of research-based education which culminates in your senior year when you’ll take at least two research-based courses. These courses will allow you to apply the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills you’ve developed throughout the program to deepen your understanding of scientific processes and prepare for the next step in your education or career.

  •  A student wearing a mask uses a microscope in a laboratory setting.

    Hands-on learning

    From day one, you’ll be exposed to the tenets of biology, increasing your knowledge and skills in the field with each course you take. Our state-of-the-art labs and workspaces enable a hands-on experience. Additionally, independent researchers will have 24-hour access to the labs. The low student-to-faculty ratio of our classes also means you’ll get the individualized attention you deserve.

  • A crowd listens to a presenter in a conference-like setting.

    Preparation for a variety of fields in biology

    You will have the opportunity to publish and present at conferences, where you can be recognized for your work and network with professionals in the industry. You will also be involved in undergraduate research, making the transition into graduate school or a career more seamless. The three available concentrations for the biology major can help you hone your skills to proceed into more specific fields.

Program Details

Program Mission

The Biology Department at Westfield State University fosters the development of the scientific skills students need to address the challenges facing society in the 21st century, including climate change, emerging diseases, and social justice.

We aim to provide our students with a broad foundation in the fundamental areas of biology, while also assisting them in their pursuit of advanced knowledge and skills in one or more sub-disciplines via courses, internships, and research opportunities. Our faculty strive to create an inclusive and active learning environment by applying a variety of pedagogical approaches that focus on student-centered learning.

Program Vision

The vision of the Biology Department at Westfield State University is to prepare students of all backgrounds for a career in STEM fields by creating an inclusive, equitable learning environment that fosters student self-efficacy through exposure to content and research.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge 
Students will demonstrate a comprehension of the following core concepts from the molecular to the ecosystem level: 

  • Evolution: Change over time and mechanisms involved 
  • Structure and function: How the shape of something affects performance 
  • Energy transformation: Energy capture, use, and transference 
  • Information flow: Transmission and interpretation of biological information 
  • Systems: Interaction and organization of components 

Skills 
Students will be able to:

  • Apply the process of science. 
  • Apply quantitative reasoning to biological questions. 
  • Work effectively as a team. 
  • Properly use laboratory and field equipment and techniques in an accurate, safe manner. 

Communication 
Students will be able to: 

  • Contextualize scientific topics as they relate to society using scientific literature.  
  • Communicate and listen to those who have differing viewpoints and perspectives in a collegial and respectful manner. 
  • Communicate ideas effectively, both orally and in writing.  

These Learning Outcomes and additional useful information are also available in the Student Handbook.

What can you do with a biology degree?

Graduates of the biology program at Westfield State University have gone on to work with employers such as: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Eli Lilly, Baystate Health Systems, Moderna, Pace Analytical, MacDuffie High School, Chicopee High School, Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and more.

Learn more about biology career opportunities

With a bachelor’s in biology, you’ll have the foundational skills you need to be successful in a graduate program or starting a career in a variety of fields in biology, including:

  • Lab scientist in biotech 
  • Environmental planner
  • Health care professional
  • High school biology teacher
  • Forensic scientist
  • Environmental analyst
  • Environmental lab director
  • Biological illustrator
  • Cytologist
  • Medical lab scientist
 A student wearing protective clothing and gloves conducts an experiment in a laboratory setting.

Ready to learn more?

Course Requirements

Common Core Courses

Courses in the Laboratory Science section of the Common Core are BIOL 0102 - Environmental Biology, BIOL 0104 - Human Biology, BIOL 0106 - Biology Today, and BIOL 0237 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I. The 100-level courses (BIOL 0102, BIOL 0104, and BIOL 0106) do not satisfy requirements for the Biology Major and should not be taken by students majoring in Biology.  MATH 0105  and MATH 0108 each satisfy the traditional mathematics area of the Common Core.  BIOL 0278 satisfies the applied analytical reasoning area of the Common Core.  Both math courses should be selected with guidance from faculty advisor.

Requirements for the Biology Major - 64 Credits

To earn a major in Biology, students must successfully complete all Introductory Courses, Biology Seminars, Required Chemistry Courses, Upper Division Courses, and Elective Courses as described below.

Introductory Biology/Math Courses

Note:

BIOL 0128 and BIOL 0129 DO NOT have to be taken in sequence, but should be taken in the first year.  MATH 0105  and MATH 0108 each satisfy the traditional mathematics area of the Common Core and BIOL 0278 satisfies the applied analytical reasoning area of the Common Core.  Both math courses should be selected with guidance from faculty advisor.

Biology Seminars

Three 1-credit seminars as follows:

Note:

The first-year seminar serves as an introduction to the field of biology, research methods, and career opportunities; assists students in integrating the knowledge gained in individual biology and cognate courses; and helps documents the student's progress toward meeting the departmental learning goals. A topical seminar (BIOL 0280-0289) is typically taken during the junior or senior year and focuses on specific topics, while the Senior Seminar requires the presentation of a portfolio documenting the student's progress toward meeting the departmental learning goals.

Required Chemistry Courses

Two semesters of chemistry may be used to satisfy the Science requirement of the Common Core.

Upper Division Biology Courses
Elective Courses

A minimum of 19 additional credits in Biology above the 100-level (excluding internships), selected with guidance from the faculty advisor.  These 19 credits must include the following:

Recommended Courses

If students are interested in graduate or professional school, a year of calculus and a year of physics is strongly recommended. Students should discuss their academic and career goals with their faculty advisor to identify appropriate coursework.

Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • 15:1

    student-faculty ratio

  • 300+

    service projects

  • Study abroad

    in 35+ countries

  • 24-hour access to labs

    for independent researchers

Learn from experienced faculty in small classes

Westfield State University’s Biology B.S. program is led by a group of highly experienced faculty who come from a variety of biology disciplines. Our diverse faculty provide exposure to different ways of thinking and problem-solving. Additionally, small class sizes allow students to build strong relationships within their classes and receive individualized feedback. 

Faculty directory

A professor displays a box of preserved insect specimens in a classroom setting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Westfield State University accredited? 

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Our educator preparation programs are also approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).     

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university.   

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

What scholarships are available?

S-STEM scholarship is available to Incoming full-time first-year​​​​ Westfield State University students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Biology, ChemistryComputer ScienceEnvironmental Science, and Mathematics, with low-income status defined as Pell Grant eligible by the Financial Aid Office and an average GPA equal to or higher than 2.8, are eligible to apply.

Learn more

STEM-ACT is a program that provides scholarship support for Westfield State University STEM (Biology, ChemistryGeneral Science, or Mathematics) secondary education students that are passionate about social justice and advancing STEM education. Students are encouraged to apply in their sophomore year to be admitted to the program for their junior and senior years. 

Learn more

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