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Biology Department

Biology students researching a stream


Interested in studying genetics, physiology, and ecology? Want a career in medicine, molecular biology, or conservation? Western Carolina University's Department of Biology provides the ideal environment to train you for these and other careers in biology.

Teaching and research drive the Department of Biology. Our interactive undergraduate and graduate programs are founded on our faculty’s rich tradition of teaching and will prepare you for a successful and fulfilling career.

Undergraduate Program

Pursuing an undergraduate biology degree at Western Carolina University includes a program of discovery in genetics, physiology, and ecology. If you enjoy the field of biology, our core curriculum is designed for you with research opportunities ranging from regenerative medicine and protein dynamics to animal behavior and ecological conservation.

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Graduate Program

Our inclusive curriculum prepares you to succeed at the next level of your career, whether that's working in an environmental testing lab, a biomedical research lab, the US Fish and Wildlife, or as a teacher. Discover which program fits your skills and interests.

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Faculty and students are able to take advantage of our advanced research facilities and equipment, including the department’s mammalian cell culture facility, microscopy imaging facility, aquatic research facility, and Biological Collections as well as the university's Forensic Science Lab. We’re 45 minutes from Highlands Biological Station and even less from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and four national forests (Pisgah, Cherokee, Chattahoochee, Sumter). Moreover, we're nestled within Nantahala National Forest.

Explore our Facilities

Departmental facilities available to undergraduate and graduate students include:

  • Mammalian cell culture facility
  • EVOS FL Auto Widefield microscope
  • Nikon confocal microscope
  • Leica Stellaris 5 confocal microscope
  • Nikon widefield fluorescence microscope
  • Instrumentation for research in biochemistry
  • Applied Biosystems 7500 RT-PCR machine
  • 3130 Applied Biosystems Genetic Analyzer Capillary Sequencer
  • Herbarium of more than 25,000 specimens
  • LiCor 6400 Portable Photosynthesis System
  • LiCor 8100 Soil CO2 Flux System
  • Scholander xylem pressure chamber
  • Aquatic research facility equipped for live animal studies
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