Discover how life works

The study of life is an exciting and growing challenge. We want to share with you our passion for biology as together we widen our understanding of the natural world.

With emphasized biological studies, scientific research, and hands-on experience at our own marine laboratory, you will graduate from Walla Walla University equipped to succeed in further academics and with a greater understanding of the complexity of life among us.

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When you pursue a degree through Walla Walla University’s Department of Biological Sciences, you’ll enjoy undergraduate classes such as general ecology, cell biology, genetics, and philosophy of origins and speciation. And you’ll be up to your elbows in hands-on learning opportunities, whether it’s in one of our research laboratories or at our nationally-known Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory. As a biology student at Walla Walla University, you’ll benefit from:

  • Faculty with advanced degrees. Many of our distinguished faculty have received special recognition for their research, teaching, and academic advisement. 
  • Individualized academic support. A low student-to-faculty ratio means you’ll have frequent contact with your professors in the classroom and beyond. Plus free tutoring is available through the Student Development Center.
  • Unparalleled research opportunities. Whether it’s study at our Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory, field research in the Philippine Islands or the Pacific Northwest, or participation in laboratory projects like examining immune system responses to cancer, you’ll work with your professors on original research. In fact, WWU students routinely present their findings at professional conferences.
  • A supportive Christian environment. Complement your rigorous academic program with a supportive network of Christian colleagues focused on helping you realize your full potential and affirm your belief in God.
  • Graduate studies options. Interested in teaching or conducting research? Continue to enjoy our spiritually and social rich campus environment while you earn your Masters of Science degree in biology (a two-year program).
  • A great track record. The biology program prepares students to think like a scientist, a foundational skill for being successful on the MCAT. During the last ten years, over 80 percent of all WWU students who applied to medical school received an acceptance. During six of those years, an average of more than 90 percent were accepted.

A biology degree can open the door to a myriad of career opportunities. Our program mixes field and laboratory experience while giving flexibility to choose courses in the area you prefer. The biology faculty are committed to teaching more than the history of biology or a list of facts; they want to inspire you with the skills and appreciation to study life. Specific careers that students enter are:

  • Medicine
  • University professor
  • Veterinary science
  • Dental science
  • Lab technician
  • Teacher
  • Field biologist
  • Research
  • Work for specific companies, including the U.S. Forest Service, the Tri-State Steelheaders, and The Nature Conservancy. 

The Biological Sciences Department offers four bachelor degrees—three of which are interdisciplinary—and one biology minor. If you have questions about what degree fits your goals, contact Academic Advisement at (509) 517-2132.

Bachelor Degrees


Graduate Degree

As a biology student at WWU, you have an exceptionally unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience at our Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory.

The Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory, owned and operated by Walla Walla University, exists primarily for the training of undergraduate and graduate students in marine, field, and experimental sciences in a Christian setting.

During the summer academic session (mid-June through mid-August), upper-division and graduate students can choose from a variety of marine and other biological sciences courses, or can conduct faculty-sponsored or independent research projects. Lower-division undergraduates can get a full academic year's worth of General Biology in just one summer. 

Learn more about the program, rates, and applying.

Biology and biochemistry students have a variety of opportunities to participate in internships. Some past internships include:

  • Animal care intern at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendalia, Texas
  • Working with sharks at Oceans Research in South Africa
  • Studying protein expression in human tissue at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • Conducting Sea Turtle research with ProTECTOR in Honduras through LLU
  • Considering the role of microRNAs in fibrosis at Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany
  • Researching with PATH, a non-profit health research organization in Seattle, Washington

Learn how the Student Development Center can help you find and land your dream internship.

Graduates from the biological sciences department go on to do many things including:

  • Studying epilepsy at Mayo Clinic 
  • Becoming a veterinarian eye specialist
  • Completing a Ph.D. program studying Antarctic organisms
  • Earning graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins, Texas A&M, UC Davis, Loma Linda University, University of Washington, Washington State University
  • Working in international medicine and international care
  • Working with Washington Association of Marine Laboratories to sequence and catalogue the marine invertebrates of the Salish Sea

"Remember that the journey to your ultimate goal is just as fun as the achievement. I can't express enough how well my degree in Biology at Walla Walla University prepared me for veterinary school. I also thank my advisor; make sure you find someone at WWU that supports you every step of the way. Walla Walla University prepared me to not only be a great veterinarian, but my Biology degree also gave me the critical thinking skills and experience to be a contributing part of the scientific community. Everything from my cell biology course (which to this day is handy), biostatistics (yes, although painful, it was extremely important), to my experience at Rosario (priceless and ultimately essential when I pursued research with penguins) has been crucial to my education. Now I am a board-certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist, working every day with animals and their eyes. It's hard calling it work when I love it so much. Think big, because you are the only limiting step in the equation of your career."

"Walla Walla University was a great place for me. The Biology Department was home for more than three years. It was there that many of my most valuable life skills were learned and nurtured. I was taught to think, to observe, to question with respect, and to understand. Memorization tends to fail under pressure, but comprehension and understanding will clarify difficult situations. I was taught by the best instructors I have ever had, and developed friendships that have lasted over 20 years."

"My career choice changed multiple times during my years at Walla Walla but my status as a Biology major held through each change. I stayed a Biology major partly because of my anticipation of what was to come in the next set of classes and how concepts I was curious about would be explored more deeply, partly because of the flexibility that the degree holds, and partly because of the excellent faculty that make up the department. Now, after graduating, I'm leaving with knowledge that is both factual and conceptual. What I learned at Walla Walla gives me the ability to understand the mechanisms of life and it also informs the perspectives with which I see the world."

"During my time at WWU, I had the privilege of studying under some of the best professors I have ever had, then or since. The level of course work we were expected to master exceeded that of some of my medical school classes. By the time I reached medical school, I had already seen much of the basic science material, which made adding to that knowledge and building on that WWU foundation a fun experience. My master’s degree in biology proved vital to my current position as a neurosurgery resident because of the topic and quality of the experience. While I was at WWU, it was easy to look at other schools and wonder if I was getting the best education. What I have discovered after leaving WWU is that the education I received was first rate in preparing me for all that has come after, and is superior to many other big name institutions."