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Biology Major

School of Science and Engineering

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Department of Biology and Geology

(440) 826-2262



Imagine being the lead scientist among a group of peers as you study the intricacies of living systems. Or going into the field to work alongside a biology professor doing real-world research you'll later present at a national conference.

Biology is a career-versatile major focused on the study of life processes and living organisms (human, plant, animal and aquatic).

It is ideal preparation for medical and pre-professional programs, as well as teacher education and graduate school.

Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's biology program. You'll learn by doing. Starting freshman year, you'll have access to labs where you can gain valuable research experience.

Specialty laboratories include: anatomy, botany, ecology and field biology, physiology, invertebrate, molecular ecology, genetics, microbiology, neuroscience and development. Also available are labs dedicated to student-faculty research.

Convenient access to bench space and equipment provide you with intense, impressive research experience at the undergraduate level.

Independent research studies, field experiences and internships bridge both theoretical and practical applications. Opportunities to work on research projects can lead to presentations at scholarly conferences and publication.

Students and faculty frequently apply for grants to support ongoing research projects. Students gain grant writing experience while supporting their research projects.

  • Greenhouse

    BW's modern biology laboratories include a greenhouse, insect room, zebrafish aquaria, plant growth chambers, and outdoor native plant and rain gardens.

  • Biology Professor and Student

    Extensive laboratory experience helped Biagio Niro '16 prepare for a career as a physician assistant. Biagio is conducting genetic research on zebrafish with Dr. Jacqueline Morris, neuroscience program director and faculty mentor.

  • Biology Fieldwork in Forest

    In the classroom and in the field, BW students learn by doing. Field studies are popular and integrate textbook learning with real-world investigation. BW's proximity to the Cleveland Metroparks offers outstanding access to diverse learning opportunities.

  • Biology Squirrel Research

    Exceptional research opportunities make BW a standout among students interested in biology. Integrative research of squirrels and their environment is one of the many hands-on learning experiences offered to BW students.

Impressive Facility, Dynamic Learning

BW's modern biology laboratories are equipped with specialized instruments available to students. Research opportunities include pollination ecology, molecular control of animal development, human cadaver dissection, cultured neurons and population genetics. Among its amenities are an insect room, greenhouse, zebrafish aquaria, plant growth chambers, and outdoor native plant and rain gardens. BW also has fluorescent microscopes, thermocyclers, microinjectors and electrophoresis equipment to support a variety of research approaches.

Graduate-Level Research Opportunities

At BW, biology students can gain graduate school experiences at the undergraduate level. In the gross anatomy lab, students can examine a cadaver while their professor looks on. Midway into the lesson, they can view magnified images of an abdominal cavity being displayed on multiple large projection screens positioned within the room. Ceiling-mounted cameras capture every move. An overhead surgical light illuminates the subject, adding to the feeling of being in an operating room of a teaching hospital.

Hands-on opportunities like these give BW students an advantage because at many schools students perform cadaver dissection only at the post-graduate level.


A bachelor's degree in biology can be a stepping stone to post-graduate education or can lead directly to a career, including:

  • Aquatic biologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Dentist
  • Teacher
  • Ecologist
  • Veterinarian
  • Forensic scientist
  • Nurse
  • Medical technologist
  • Geneticist
  • Wildlife biologist
  • Naturalist
  • Pharmaceutical sales
Students and an instructor in the Anatomy Lab

Medical School Pipeline

BW offers outstanding preparation for students interested in medical careers. Among program options, BW has a pre-med track for aspiring primary care physicians. The primary healthcare advancement program is a rigorous program that can lead to early acceptance to medical school. The academically selective program blends the coursework of BW's public health major with a comprehensive foundation of medical science and healthcare. Its distinctive approach is linked to the first-year curriculum of primary care-focused medical schools.

Become a Teacher

Interested in Becoming a Science Teacher?

If you would like to become a science teacher, BW has an outstanding teacher education program.


A comprehensive, rigorous program, biology is offered as a major and minor.

Through coursework, research, field studies and more, you'll gain a strong, broad- based foundation in the principles of biology.

The biology major prepares students to:

  • Think critically and evaluate the merit of scientific information.
  • Assemble information and communicate it effectively, both orally and in writing
  • Understand the molecular composition, structure, and physiological processes of cells
  • Understand the mechanism of inheritance and its role in maintaining organismal integrity and variability
  • Use quantitative skills in the design, implementation, and interpretation of experiments

For aspiring physicians, BW offers the primary healthcare advancement program.

Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions, requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Experiential learning bridges classroom study with real-world opportunities. From the nearby Metroparks and Cleveland Zoo to opportunities outside of the United States, you can participate in extensive field experiences.

Student success is a top priority. As a BW student, you'll be encouraged to present at conferences, submit your research paper for publication and apply for coveted national summer research positions.

On campus, biology students are regularly recognized for their achievements. Recognitions include:

  • The Ruegsegger Prize in Biology (in honor of James M. Ruegsegger '22, whose research on polio, pneumonia, diphtheria, meningitis and tetanus and service to country earned him recognition).
  • John W. Miller Zoology prize (in honor of John W. Miller for service as a dedicated teacher and faculty advisor from 1963-2001).
  • The Edward C. & Diane White Scholarship (an endowed fund that supports two separate awards, one of which is offered to outstanding students who will be attending medical school).
  • Calvin A. Smith Botany Prize (in honor of Calvin A. Smith for his service as a dedicated teacher and faculty advisor from 1963-1998).


Bridging classroom study with co-curricular involvement is ideal for professional networking, peer interaction and gaining valuable leadership experiences. The department's Fauna and Pre-Medical Society offer outstanding opportunities.


This organization offers students interested in zoology-related career fields opportunities to gain valuable knowledge, experience and professional networking contacts that can assist them in preparing for graduate and veterinary school as well as for employment upon graduation.

Pre-Medical Society

Delta Omega Chi, the Pre-Medical Society, sponsors medically related volunteer activities, guest speakers, tours to institutions with professional programs, and mentoring with pre-medical upperclassmen and the faculty advisor. This organization is ideal for students interested in healthcare professionals such as physicians, physician assistants and dentists

Choose Ohio First STEM Scholars Program

The BW Choose Ohio First STEM Scholars Program is open to Ohio residents who are entering Baldwin Wallace in the fall as a first-year student or transfer student and are interested in biology. Students are eligible to apply to the program which also offers the Choose Ohio First scholarship, awarding annual, renewable scholarships of up to $5,000.


At Baldwin Wallace, you'll experience personal and professional growth in a supportive community that challenges and inspires you to succeed. Recent BW biology majors are finding their success in professional schools, graduate schools and industry.

Professional and Graduate Schools

  • Case Western Reserve University
    • School of Dentistry
    • School of Medicine
    • Department of Molecular Biology
    • Department of Pharmacology
    • Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
  • Cleveland State University
  • George Washington University
    • School of Public Health
  • Lake Erie College of Medicine Medical
  • University of Ohio (Medical College of Ohio) Miami University of Ohio
  • New York Chiropractic College
  • Northwestern University
  • Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
  • The Ohio State University School of Dentistry
  • The Ohio State University
    • School of Pharmacy
    • School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Ohio University
    • Department of Environmental Studies
    • School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Oklahoma State University
    • College of Podiatric Medicine
  • University of Cincinnati School of Medicine
  • University of Michigan
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Xavier University


Aqua Tech Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
Aultman Hospital
Boston Scientific
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Copernicus Therapeutics
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Dermik Laboratories, Inc.
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center
Southwest General Health Center - University Hospitals
Trillium Creek Dermatology
University of Cincinnati Department of Toxicology
WIL Research

Alumni Spotlight

Kara GawelekKara Gawelek '14 is pursuing an M.D./M.S. from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. A first-generation college student from Brunswick, Ohio, Kara's work alongside BW faculty in the research laboratory bolstered her successful medical school applications.

Tyler AlbanTyler Alban '13 is Ph.D. candidate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. At BW, he conducted research on the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and presented his findings at multiple conferences around the country. He also worked as teaching assistant and studied abroad in Ecuador. Tyler is from Massillon, Ohio.

Kelsey AmidonKelsey Lynn Amidon '13 is water quality and industrial surveillance investigator for Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio, where she interned as an undergraduate. The Ashtabula, Ohio, native is currently pursuing an M.S. in environmental science at Cleveland State University.


Carrie Davis Todd

Environmental Science Program Coordinator
Ph.D., Purdue University

Carrie Davis Todd

Reed Davis

Assistant Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Integrated Bioscience, The University of Akron

Reed Davis

Michael E. Kovach

Ph.D., Louisiana State University Medical Center–Shreveport

Michael E. Kovach

Andrew Merwin

Assistant Professor of Zoology
Ph.D., Biological Science, Florida State University

Andrew Merwin

Karen Munroe

Chair, Biology & Geology Department
Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Arizona

Karen Munroe

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Colleen Nye

Annette Trierweiler

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science
Ph.D., Ecology, Princeton University

Annette Trierweiler

Full-Time Faculty

Carrie Davis Todd
Chair, Biology & Geology Department
Environmental Science Program Coordinator

Ph.D., Purdue University

Natalie M. Barratt
Ph.D., Cornell University

Michael Bumbulis
Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Reed Davis
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., The University of Akron

Kathryn M. Flinn
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Cornell University

Waymon Holloway
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Ohio University

Michael E. Kovach
Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Louisiana State University Medical Center

Andrew Merwin
Assistant Professor
Florida State University

Karen E. Munroe
Ph.D., University of Arizona

Colleen K. Nye
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Blake Petersen
Assistant Professor

Adjunct Faculty

Helen Smith
Lecturer of Biology
M.S., Miami University,
M.Ed., Cleveland State University


Jessica Rutt
Laboratory Support Specialist
M.S., The College of William and Mary

Barbara A. Rethas
Administrative Specialist
B.A., Baldwin Wallace University