Baccalaureate Degrees in Biology
Because of recent advances in technology related to the biological sciences, students interested in biology are presented with an ever-increasing array of educational opportunities. The Department of Biology is dedicated to producing well-informed, scientifically literate graduates capable of applying the knowledge and skills acquired to ensure professional success and lifelong learning.The faculty take pride in the success of undergraduate student engagement in research. By applying what students have learned in the classroom to research projects, students can more smoothly make the transition to professional and graduate programs and the work force.
Biology, Bachelor of Science
WKU offers two tracks for those seeking a B.S. in Biology. The major in biology (525) does not require a second major or minor. Students complete a range of biology courses and are able to participate in research projects to ease the transition into the workplace.
The major in biology (617) gives students an opportunity to take basic biology courses and couple the major with a second major or minor. In addition to coursework, students may work with faculty on research projects to gain experience for the workforce.
Biochemistry, Bachelor of Science
Biochemistry is the study of the chemical basis of living organisms. The subject includes the investigation of the various classes of biomolecules (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates) and their metabolic interactions.
Training in biochemistry offers many exciting opportunities in teaching, research, and public service. It provides excellent preparation for students intending to enter professional programs such as Dentistry and Medicine as well as graduate study in Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Biology. The Biochemistry program is the only stand-alone Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry at a public institution in the Commonwealth. It is administered jointly through the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. Students may enroll for biochemistry courses through either the Department of Biology or the Department of Chemistry, depending upon their major emphasis.
Medical Laboratory Science, Bachelor of Science
With the aging of our population, it is estimated that health care will be a major service industry in our country. An important part of health care is Medical Laboratory Science, formally known as Medical Technology, a profession that includes well-trained, highly educated individuals who are the fact-finders of the medical world. Medical Laboratory Scientists typically analyze body fluids, examine tissues, and identify specific microorganisms to find evidence for and the cause of specific diseases such as AIDS, Diabetes, and Cancer. Some of the exciting new demands of the profession include tissue typing for organ transplantation, chromosomal studies as a basis for genetic counseling, identification of environmental pollutants, and screening tests for accidental poisoning and drug abuse. The demand for Medical Technologists is very high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to project a need for new Medical Laboratory Scientists to meet medical demands of an aging population.
Although two-thirds of Medical Laboratory Scientists work in hospital laboratories, new sources of employment include laboratories in physician’s offices, research facilities in universities and industries, public health centers, and veterinary clinics.
The program is affiliated with the following schools of medical technology: Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY; Owensboro Medical Health System, Owensboro, KY; Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN; and St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Covington, KY.
Molecular Biotechnology, Bachelor of Science
Molecular biotechnology uses molecular and genetic tools to improve the human condition either directly through medical improvements or indirectly through improvements of the environment and agriculture. It does so through modification of nucleic acids and proteins.
The molecular biotechnology major allows students to be part of some exciting new developments like genomics, personalized medicine, cloning, organoid research, and genome editing. The skills acquired may be applied to the development of new pharmaceutical drugs or other medical products, industrial chemicals, food products, energy sources, pollution-control products, or agricultural products. Employment can be found in industry, but graduates of this program will also have the broad science training necessary to enter graduate programs.
The minor in biology requires a minimum of 24 semester hours in biology with 12 hours at the 300 or higher level. The required courses are BIOL 120-121 and BIOL 122-123. Students, with the aid of their advisor, select additional biology courses to complete the minor. Students may count up to 3 credit hours of a combination of BIOL 369 and 399 and up to 4 credit hours of BIOL 485 toward this minor.
Food Science Certificate
The certificate in Food Science is designed for a student seeking a career in the food industry. The certificate requires 12 semester hours with 6 hours required as BIOL 336 and CHEM 307 and 6 hours of elective courses from the following list of courses: AGEC 360, 468, AGRI 101, 315, 493, AGRO 110, 311, 320, AMS 301, 303, 352, 395, ANSC 140, 141, 340, BIOL 470, HMD 151, 152, 211, 251, or a course approved by an advisor.
Secondary Teaching Certification in Biology
Students who wish to be certified to teach high school biology must complete both the major in Biology (reference number 525 or 617) and the major in Science and Mathematics Education (reference number 774), offered in the School of Teacher Education. Interested students should contact the SKyTeach Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Middle Grades Science Certification
Students who wish to teach middle school science must complete both the major in Middle School Science Education (reference number 734), offered by Ogden College and SKyTeach, and the major in Science and Mathematics Education (reference number 774), offered in the School of Teacher Education. Interested students should contact the SKyTeach Office via email at email@example.com.