Organismal Concentration

Organismal biology is the study of whole organisms across the tree of life. It examines physiology, behavior, morphology, development, reproduction, and immune defense within an evolutionary framework. Here at WPU, we focus the organismal biology curriculum on animals and plants, the two largest groups of multicellular organisms.

What careers are related to studying organismal biology?

Here are some examples (not a complete list):

  • Wildlife management (e.g. Fish & Game, National Parks)
  • Forestry management (e.g. Natural Resources, National Parks)
  • Agricultural scientist (e.g. USDA)
  • Museum technician/ collections specialist
  • Zoo technician/collections specialist
  • Veterinary technician
  • Public science education (e.g. K-12, non-profits)
  • Science journalism
  • Academic research: principle investigator (e.g. Universities, Government Agencies)
  • Academic research: research technician (e.g. Universities, Government Agencies)
  • Toxicologist (e.g. EPA)
  • Entomologist (e.g. State/Municipal government)
  • Integrated Pest Management (e.g. State/Municipal government)
  • Pollination Ecologist/Safety (e.g. USDA, non-profit)

For links to career information and job search tools, click Bio Careers.

What biology elective courses should I take if I am in the Organismal Biology Concentration?

Here are the requirements for upper-level coursework for the concentration:

  • Animal Physiology (4) or Plant Physiology (4)
  • Zoology (4) or General Botany (4)
  • Animal Behavior (3)
  • Comparative Animal Physiology (4) or Evolutionary Physiology (4)
  • Biology Electives: Must complete 2 biology courses at 3000-level or above
  • Capstone or Independent Study

View Specific Requirements and Course Descriptions: Organismal Concentration

What should I be doing outside of the classroom before graduation if I am interested in a career in organismal biology?

It is a good idea to get hands-on experience in professional settings related to your career interests starting as early as possible. You may need to volunteer for a while before you are competitive for paid positions. Summers are an excellent opportunity for internship and research experience programs, and will help make your resume attractive even if they are not exactly the same job as the ones for which you end up applying. If possible, work or shadow part-time in a professional setting during the academic year. Also get to know your WPU Biology faculty, who may be serve as research mentors, peer-mentoring supervisors, academic advisors, and letter-of-recommendation writers.

For links to internship and research experience programs, click here.