2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog/Student Handbook 
    Feb 02, 2023  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog/Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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The mission of the Biology Department of Westfield State University is to foster in all students an understanding of and curiosity about the living world and biological processes, an appreciation of how scientific knowledge is acquired, and the ability to apply their knowledge and skills to generate and address new questions. As Biology Majors, students will develop an understanding of the diversity, classification, form, function, and behavior of living organisms. Students will also learn to design experiments and collect and analyze data while working closely with dedicated faculty in coursework and optional independent research projects. The Biology Major prepares students for careers or advanced study in a variety of biological and environmental fields, teaching, and professional fields such as medicine.

We provide our majors with a broad education in all of the fundamental areas of modern biology, while also assisting them in their pursuit of advanced knowledge and skills in various sub-disciplines. The Department also offers a program to prepare students for Massachusetts Secondary Education Licensure for Teacher of Biology. Included in all of these options are opportunities for study in the areas of cellular, ecological, environmental, molecular, organismal, and physiological biology. Westfield State University’s international programs provide opportunities for Biology Students to study biology abroad during J-term courses. Independent studies and internship programs, both on and off campus, are available for Biology Majors wishing to pursue areas of special interest.

Facilities include nine teaching laboratories, one molecular research lab, a computer lab, greenhouses, an aquarium room, and teaching collections of plants and animals.  The rural setting of the University offers ample opportunities for study in local forests, mountains, and rivers.

Interdisciplinary Major in Environmental Science

The Department of Biology, in conjunction with other departments within the University, supports courses that are included within the interdisciplinary major in Environmental Science. For more information about this major, see the listing in the Environmental Science  section of this Bulletin.


Biology faculty members welcome the opportunity to talk with incoming students about the Program. Students who decide to major in Biology will be assigned a faculty advisor in the Department who can provide guidance concerning the Major and related work in mathematics, chemistry, physics, secondary education, and other areas of interest. Consultation at an early date is encouraged to assist with course selections that lead toward a variety of career options.

Transfer Students

In addition to satisfying all major requirements, all transfer students must complete a minimum of 20 Biology credits at Westfield State.




     Waiver of prerequisites: A student with a strong background may consult with the instructor to request the waiver of any prerequisite for a specific course.

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