Biology Unlocks the Secrets of Life and is Your Foundation for a Wide-Range of Careers

CWI student in safety glasses holding a small substance bottle in a lab

Program Overview

Embark on an enlightening journey into the world of biology at College of Western Idaho (CWI), where your educational ambitions are nurtured and supported. Our Biology program offers a comprehensive exploration of life, covering all areas of biology from molecular to community levels, with an emphasis on evolutionary principles. This program is your gateway to understanding the intricate mechanisms of life and preparing for a successful transition to higher studies.

At CWI, small class sizes and dedicated instructors ensure you receive personalized attention, fostering an environment conducive to learning and exploration. Our curriculum, aligned with the standards developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, includes core concepts and competencies vital for your academic and professional growth. You can choose from emphases in Human Biology; Natural Resources; or Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences, tailoring your education to your specific interests and career aspirations. Whether you aim for advanced studies or diverse careers in biology, starting your journey at CWI places you on a path to success.

Enrichment Opportunities

CWI students can take advantage of the following opportunities as part of the Biology program:

Degree or Certificate Type

Associate of Science

Academic Certificate

Time to Complete

0.5 – 2 years

Learning Opportunities

  • Wide-Ranging Biological Studies: Engage in studies across various biological fields.
  • Emphasis Areas: Specialize in Human Biology, Natural Resources, or Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences.
  • Practical Laboratory Experience: Develop hands-on skills in modern laboratory settings.
  • Foundation for Further Education: Prepare for advanced degrees in various biological science disciplines.
  • Personalized Academic Path: Benefit from guidance in choosing electives that align with your career goals.

Area of Study

Customize your Biology degree at CWI with an area of emphasis as you prepare to transfer on to a four-year college or university.

Biology General

  • Learn fundamental skills in critical thinking and analysis, data collection and management, and supporting laboratory and field technologies.
  • Tailor classes to your particular interests within the field of biology.

Human Biology

  • Prepare to enter professional programs in medicine, research, and biomedical engineering.
  • Develop your abilities to think and reason like a scientist.
  • Be amazed by you and the incredible processes happening with you.

Microbiological, Molecular, and Biomedical Sciences

  • Get your hands dirty! In the first semester, you will begin designing your own experiments.
  • Develop the ability to think and reason as a scientist.
  • Learn about the scientific method and critical analysis in the class and laboratory.

Natural Resources

  • Learn to think and reason like a scientist.
  • Network with professionals working for state and federal agencies in Idaho.
  • Chase butterflies.
  • Spend time outdoors — our natural environment becomes your classroom.

Degrees & Certificates

Biology – Associate of Science Degree

Biotechnology Laboratory Assistant – Academic Certificate

Two pharmasists in a lab and one is looking at the camera

Career Opportunities

  • Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education

    Teach one or more subjects to students at the secondary school level. Excludes “Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School” (25-2032), “Special Education Teachers” (25-2050), and “Substitute Teachers, Short-Term” (25-3031).


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  • Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians


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  • Biological Technicians

    Assist biological and medical scientists. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, collect data and samples, make observations, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.


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  • Soil and Plant Scientists

    Conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.


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  • Natural Sciences Managers

    Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields. Excludes “Computer and Information Systems Managers” (11-3021) and “Architecture and Engineering Managers” (11-9041).


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  • Biological Scientists, All Other

    All biological scientists not listed separately.


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  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

    Study the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management. May collect and analyze biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water habitats.


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  • Biochemists and Biophysicists

    Study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.


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  • Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health

    Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or other specialist. May collect samples of gases, soil, water, and other materials for testing.


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  • Medical Scientists, Except Epidemiologists

    Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation, research and development, or other related activities. Includes physicians, dentists, pharmacologists, and medical pathologists who primarily conduct research. Practitioners who primarily provide medical or dental care or dispense drugs are included in “Healthcare Diagnosing or Treating Practitioners” (29-1000).


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  • Statisticians

    Develop or apply mathematical or statistical theory and methods to collect, organize, interpret, and summarize numerical data to provide usable information. May specialize in fields such as biostatistics, agricultural statistics, business statistics, or economic statistics. Includes mathematical and survey statisticians. Excludes “Survey Researchers” (19-3022).


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*Data sourced from Lightcast™ (2023), a global leader in labor market analytics, and limited to the state of Idaho. Contact CWI Institutional Research for questions regarding this data.


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Biology Club

College of Western Idaho's Biology Club promotes awareness of the various disciplines in biological and health sciences with focus on developing strategies to help students succeed. The Biology Club additionally collaborates with various institutions and individual educators interested in working with and providing opportunities to our students.


Biology students contributed to the Boise ReWild Project, gaining hands-on experience in habitat restoration and learning more about career opportunities in this field.

Read more about Biology Students Make a Difference with Boise ReWild Project

Biology Club recently explored the world of raptors at the World Center for Birds of Prey's popular Fall Flight event to witness awe-inspiring birds of prey in action and gain insights into vital...

Read more about CWI's Biology Club Takes Flight at World Center for Birds of Prey's Fall Event

College of Western Idaho's eight INBRE Scholars are making waves with their research project on test anxiety.

Read more about Idaho INBRE: The Scientific Research Experience of a Lifetime

Biology Instructor, Gary Heller, is using resources outside of campus to show his students what sustainability looks like in the real world.

Read more about Environmental Science Lab Steps Outside Classroom for Lesson on Sustainability

The Pathways Program will provide appointed CWI students the opportunity to work with local and regional biologists on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s environmental review process.

Read more about Pathways Program Offering Real World Experience for Biology Students

Professor of Biology, Dr. Steve Lysne, breaks down the different research opportunities and programs biology and science students can take advantage of while earning their degree.

Read more about Get Involved in REUs at CWI

The Southwestern Idaho Bridges to Baccalaureate program (SWID B2B) program is NOW accepting applications for the 2023 and 2024 cohorts of Bridges Undergraduate Student Researchers. 

Read more about Southwestern Idaho Bridges to Baccalaureate Program Applications Open for CWI Students

Join University of Idaho professor, Jason Barnes, April 13 to learn more about the Dragonfly space mission, a project to explore Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

Read more about Visiting Scientist Series Welcomes Jason Barnes

CWI is excited to offer paid summer research opportunities for students through the Idaho INBRE Research Program. Apply by March 18.

Read more about INBRE Summer Research Opportunity

Resources, training, and contests during CTL's Accessibility Week for faculty highlight how small changes can help students access and engage in courses. 

Read more about Faculty Increase Course Accessibility for Students

CWI's science legacy was on spectacular display at the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research hosted by Boise State.

Read more about CWI Students Move Forward Boldly During Conference

Congratulations to CWI instructors, Liza Long, Anna Gamboa, Cathy Carson, Hollie Leavitt, Joel Gladd, and Charles Dickinson!

Read more about CWI Innovative Educator of the Year Nominees for 2021
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