Biology

New technologies and new ideas have contributed to making the biological sciences one of the most explosive areas of modern intellectual pursuit.

At Wesleyan, students are challenged to use the study of biology as a means to develop their full cognitive potential. The program embraces the philosophy that to understand science, a student must participate actively in the scientific process. Wesleyan offers majors in biology, neuroscience, and environmental studies; minors are offered in biology, neuroscience, environmental studies, and environmental science. Also available are a premedical preparatory program and pre-professional school advising for medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary, and allied health programs. Wesleyan offers instruction in a wide range of biological specialties including molecular and cell biology, developmental biology, ecology, forensic biology, neurophysiology, animal behavior, field biology, reproductive biology, genetics, and genomics. Today, one third of all physicians and surgeons and almost half of all medical students are women.

The prestigious Munroe Scholars Program provides two full-tuition scholarships annually to academically superior first-year applicants for admission with interests in the sciences, mathematics, or dual-degree engineering. Preference is given to students who demonstrate particular promise in scientific inquiry or research. Eligible candidates must be invited to compete at Scholarship Day, possess strong academic credentials, and demonstrate an interest and ability to engage in research. Recipients also are eligible for research stipends of up to $1,000 during their junior and senior years.

Major: Biology
Minor: Biology
Related Majors: Environmental Studies, Neuroscience
Related Minors: Neuroscience, Environmental Studies
Academic Catalogue

 

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS

Choose between 3 different degree programs: bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, or bachelor of science in nursing.

Majors and Minors
 
Minors Only

 

  • Accounting     
  • Art History     
  • Art, Studio      
  • Asian Studies 
  • Biology
  • Business         
  • Chemistry       
  • Communication         
  • Economics      
  • Educational Studies   
  • English (Concentration in writing or literature)
  • Environmental Science          
  • Equine-Assisted Therapy       
  • Finance          
  • Forensic Science        
  • History
  • Mathematics 
  • Music 
  • Neuroscience 
  • Organizational Behavior        
  • Philosophy      
  • Political Science         
  • Pre-Law          
  • Psychology     
  • Reading          
  • Religious Studies       
  • Spanish          
  • Sport Management   
  • Theatre          
  • Women's Studies
Pre-Professional Programs

Find out more about our Pre-Professional programs here.

  • Allied Health
  • Dental
  • Engineering (dual-degree)
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Seminary
  • Veterinary
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Career Development

Career Development

A liberal arts education prepares you for your first job and your last. Wesleyan has a four-year plan to prepare students to make the connection between a liberal arts education and success in the workplace.

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Majors

Majors

Wesleyan offers 23 majors and 30 minors, as well as eight pre-professional programs. Students also have the opportunity to self-design their own major, combining two or more interdisciplinary major programs.

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Start Your Research Early

All members of the biology faculty maintain active student-faculty research programs and almost seventy percent of biology majors conduct undergraduate independent research during their time at Wesleyan. Most of these student researchers present their results at regional or national scientific meetings. Much of this research is conducted in our Munroe Science Center, a state-of-the-art facility that includes modern teaching laboratories, fully equipped research laboratories, multiple ancillary support spaces including a greenhouse, multi-species animal colony, cell culture facility, neurophysiology lab, and microscopy room. One hundred wooded acres of the Wesleyan Arboretum and Foster Lake provide an additional wealth of field study sites. Wesleyan students can engage in community service through The Center for Women in Science and Technology.

Biology student sitting with microscope

Outside The Classroom

Local internship opportunities are available in the areas of pediatrics, gerontology, general dentistry and orthodontics, optometry, public health, and large and small animal veterinary medicine. Biology majors often engage in summer undergraduate research at universities and pharmaceutical companies across the country. Because we value helping our students experience other cultures, ecosystems, and habitats, biology faculty members have recently guided student trips to Belize, England, and Italy.

 

 

Student Kristen Kelley in the lab

Meet Kristen Kelley ’20, a biology major and neuroscience minor.

Kristen Kelley spent her summer as a research intern at the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy in the Promoting Academic Excellence with Community Engagement and Reach Multicultural Scholars (PAECER) program. Kristin worked in the Department of Medicine within the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine in a laboratory that focuses on studying inflammation as an intermediate mechanism of most chronic and acute diseases. “Through my program, I participate in a lab that addresses an aspect of cardiovascular disease, receive training in critical thinking and gain exposure to the complexities underlying health disparities. The program has enabled me to learn new techniques, receive training in critical thinking, be exposed to the complexities that underline health disparities, and network with professors, graduate school directors, and students in the physician scientist program.” 

Wesleyan Women In Biology Careers

 

APPROXIMATELY 70% OF OUR BIOLOGY MAJORS CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION AT GRADUATE SCHOOLS SUCH AS:

Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, Northwestern University, Washington University, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, Penn State University, Scripps Research Institute, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Texas, Georgia Health Sciences University Medical School, University of Minnesota, Auburn University Veterinary School, University of Pennsylvania Dental School, Baylor College

 

Graduates have also found employment at the following organizations:

Virginia Tech, Georgia Industrial Children's Home, Novartis Institute, Brandeis University, The National Park Service, Beckman Coulter

 

Alumnae in lab coat.
Rochelle Fletcher ’13
Biology Major

Although Wesleyan is a small college, students have access to research experience working with faculty. The professors strongly encouraged the students to participate in these summer research programs which gave me the experience of working in a big research-oriented institution and learning so much about graduate school. Wesleyan has prepared students for top class graduate programs and the workforce. I encourage students to take the opportunity to dedicate themselves to making the next era of their lives even better and build on their strengths to forge ahead while upholding their values and principles.

CAREER CHOICES OF WESLEYAN BIOLOGY MAJORS:

RESEARCH

A research scientist plans and carries out experiments and investigations to broaden scientific knowledge in a range of areas, from life sciences to industrial processes.

MEDICAL DOCTOR

A person who has been educated, trained, and licensed to practice the art and science of medicine.

PA

A physician's assistant (PA) is a person certified to provide basic medical services usually under the supervision of a licensed physician.

PUBLIC HEALTH

Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention, and detection and control of infectious diseases.

ADVANCED Nursing

A registered nurse has education beyond the basic nursing degree and is certified by a nationally recognized professional organization in a nursing specialty, or meets other criteria established by a Board of Nursing.

CONSERVATIONIST

A person who advocates or promotes conservation, especially of natural resources.

DENTIST

A person qualified to treat the diseases and conditions that affect the teeth and gums.

VETERINARIAN

The medical science concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases in animals.

James B. Ferrari
Professor of Biology (478) 757-5227 Profile
Barry K. Rhoades
Professor of Biology (478) 757-5238 Profile
Wanda T. Schroeder
Professor of Biology (478) 757-4026 Profile

90%

The approximate percentage of Wesleyan biology graduates who enter graduate programs or who are employed in an area related to their major.

23

Number of majors we offer including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees

90%

Of full-time faculty members hold the highest degree in their fields.

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