Biology

Biology Program

Download the Program Guide

The Biology Department engages students in an exciting and challenging environment where they master biological concepts and develop scientific competencies necessary to be critical thinkers, successful professionals, and responsible citizens. Faculty give students firsthand experience with research throughout our curriculum, starting with introductory courses. This focus makes our students better candidates for funding from external organizations when they become juniors and seniors and successfully prepares them for careers in fields like medicine and research science.

Through hands-on experiences in our laboratories, field work at Abernathy Field Station and in the W&J Campus Arboretum, and independent research with faculty, biology students can gain expertise in pre-health professionsneurosciencebiochemistryenvironmental scienceforensic science, and biological physics. See the Biology Majors' Handbook for additional information.

Beyond the Classroom

With ample funding and an extensive network of alumni, we open doors to research and internship opportunities for our students to help them build the careers they want. Our students have been recognized as Fulbright Scholars, with support from the National Science Foundation, and by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – like Alondra Martinez Osorno ’21, who was one of only 15 students in the nation to win a prestigious NIH scholarship.

Our students’ research, in classrooms and in off-campus internships, has delved into areas as varied as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, urban ecology, fish populations, prosthetics bioengineering, and jellyfish bacteria. More information is available on the Science Research Internships Wiki. Biology students also work with local schools, parks, civic organizations, medical facilities and more as part of the major’s Community Engagement Requirement.

Our Alumni

You’ll find W&J Biology alumni in a variety of fields, including health and biomedical professions, working as certified veterinarians, epidemiologists, ecological and wildlife researchers, and as teachers, lawyers, and science communicators.

Our alumni go on to have successful careers after W&J and are able to better their communities and the world. One example is Donté Stevens ’16, who was selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the recipient of a graduate research fellowship, and also received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study to support diversity and inclusion in science. Alumni like Kory Imbrescia ’12 called on skills they learned at W&J to assist in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

Biology Faculty

Thomas Contreras portrait

Biology Department Chair

Thomas A. Contreras, Ph.D.

Thomas A. Contreras, Ph.D. is an associate Professor of Biology and is Chair of the Biology Department at Washington & Jefferson College.

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Biology Program Downloads

Biology Major Handbook

Version: 2017

Biology Program Sheet

Version: 2019

Lucy Elkin Phytoremediation Poster

Version: 2018

Mechin Flowers

Version: Mechin Flowers Senior SendOff

Pre-Health Handbook

Version: 2020-2021