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.

Degree or Certificate Type

Associate of Science

Academic Certificate


$5,796 – 9,725

Additional cost may apply.

Time to Complete

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: Choose electives and engage in enrichment opportunities to align with your career goals including Bridges to Baccalaureate and the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Pathways Program.

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

  • Postsecondary Teachers


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

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

    Teach one or more subjects to students at the secondary school level.


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • 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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    Hourly Median Wage*


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Agricultural Technicians

    Work with agricultural scientists in plant, fiber, and animal research, or assist with animal breeding and nutrition. Set up or maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens or record data to assist scientists in biology or related life science experiments. Conduct tests and experiments to improve yield and quality of crops or to increase the resistance of plants and animals to disease or insects.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • 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.


    Annual Openings*


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    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Biological Scientists, All Other

    All biological scientists not listed separately.


    Annual Openings*


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    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Food Science Technicians

    Work with food scientists or technologists to perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products. Includes technicians who assist in research and development of production technology, quality control, packaging, processing, and use of foods.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Forensic Science Technicians

    Collect, identify, classify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, handwriting, or biochemistry.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

  • Life Scientists, All Other

    All life scientists not listed separately.


    Annual Openings*


    Hourly Median Wage*


    Annual Median Salary


    Growth (2021 – 2031)*

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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.

"Every professor I have had seems to truly care about the success of students, which is rare to find. My experience here at CWI is vastly greater than my prior college experience, and I will forever be grateful." Read more > about Biology Student Recognized with CWI Award
Sarrah Coral
Student, Biology
"I’ve always wanted to be a part of the medical field. At first, I wanted to become a medical doctor, but as I was introduced to forensics, it blew my mind. I want to make a difference, and the very thought of knowing I can make a difference while solving crimes and other situations is a blessing to me." Read more > about Scholarship Spotlight—Ricardo B.
2019 Graduate, Biology-Human Biology


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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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