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Washington and Lee University

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Biology

The biological sciences play a key role in human society from the conservation of biodiversity to medicine. The Department of Biology strives to cultivate an exciting academic environment to study, research, and contemplate the broad spectrum of the life sciences. Our teaching philosophy is founded on a belief in the value of a personal educational experience, achieved through small classes and laboratories, and opportunities for independent study and research. Faculty embrace the Teacher-Scholar model, and pursue varied research interests with student collaborators.

Our curriculum is designed to promote effective scientific communication, the understanding and use of the scientific method, the understanding of the major concepts in biology, the use of the tools and techniques of science, and an understanding of the scientific literature. An important aspect of science education at Washington & Lee is hands-on experience, including independent research experience. Many of our courses include laboratory and/or field work, often incorporating original research projects.

Our majors receive a broad education in the biosciences. Our graduates are competitive for entry to graduate programs, medical and other professional programs, and employment in all sectors of research, development and commerce.

We also provide opportunities for students in all academic programs to gain a greater appreciation for the nature of science and its impacts on society, in keeping with the liberal arts tradition of broadly educated individuals.

There are five vehicles for student research:

In addition to our in-house curriculum, students can take advantage of programs off campus. These include our popular fall semester program at St. Andrews University in Scotland, as well as the Marine Science Educational Consortium with the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC. All credits earned in these programs apply to the biology major at Washington and Lee University.

Department News

  • jog-winners1W&L Announces Winners of 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants
    Washington and Lee University has announced the first round of students selected to receive 2014 Johnson Opportunity Grants, and the second round of selections is underway.
  • Jane GoodallJane Goodall to Speak at Washington and Lee University
    Washington and Lee's Contact Committee will present Jane Goodall, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, who will speak on Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The title of Goodall's talk is "Sowing the Seeds of Hope."
  • Brianna Rakouska ’17WVTF Reports on Sleep Study
    WVTF radio reported on Fundamentals of Biology: Biological Clock and Rhythms, a fall-term class at Washington and Lee on the relatively new field of chronobiology.
  • W&L biology professor Gregg Whitworth (standing) with a class in the Stereo 3D labSky is the Limit in W&L's IQ Center
    New science facility features the latest technology for science and non-science majors at Washington and Lee.
  • W&L alumna Becca Bolton is conducting research on the free-ranging population of wild bison in Yellowstone National Park.At Home on the Range
    Washington and Lee alumna Becca Bolton '12 has been conducting research on bison grazing in Yellowstone National Park.
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