Biological Sciences

Charles H. Janson, Associate Dean for the Biological Sciences

The Division of Biological Sciences has undergraduate and graduate programs representing the full range of the biological sciences. The Division offers Bachelor's degrees in Biology (with a broad array of formal options described in more detail below), Medical Laboratory Science, Microbiology including microbial ecology, Wildlife Biology (a cooperative program administered by the College of Forestry and Conservation), and Biochemistry (an interdepartmental degree administered by the Chemistry Department). The Division also advises students in pre-health sciences and offers a series of summer field courses at the University's Flathead Lake Biological Station ( a year-round academic center for the ecological sciences, located 85 miles north of Missoula near Kalispell and Glacier National Park. The Division is one of the leading research units in the University. Research programs in the Division provide abundant opportunities for students to enhance their educational experience by participating in mentored research. Several sources of funding are available to support undergraduate student research, and the Division participates in the University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research each spring.

Graduate degrees offered by the Division of Biological Sciences include Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology (CMMB), Organismal Biology and Ecology (OBE), and Systems Ecology (SE). The Division also participates in the graduate (M.S. and Ph.D.) program in Wildlife Biology, administered by the College of Forestry and Conservation and in the Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Biophysics, administered by the Chemistry Department. Information on graduate study and program requirements is available from the Graduate School or the Division of Biological Sciences.

The Division offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology that provides a solid foundation in core areas of the biological sciences and in supporting physical sciences and mathematics. Several concentrations are provided within the B.S. biology degree:

Cellular and molecular biology: For students interested in the cellular and molecular aspects of biology, and for students interested in health-related professions.

Ecology and organismal biology: For students interested in the biology of organisms (plants and animals), populations or communities, and for students interested in veterinary school.

Field ecology:  For students interested in field-based ecology.  Students with this option spend one or two summers taking field courses at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.

Genetics and evolution: For students interested in all aspects of genetics, as well as evolutionary biology, and for students interested in health-related professions.

Human biological sciences: Provides a strong background in the biological sciences for students interested in pursuing further study in a health sciences professional program.

The Division also offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology with the following concentrations:

Natural history: For students who would like to combine basic natural history and biological sciences with another field such as art, journalism, or creative writing.

Biological Education and General Sciences Broadfield: Two separate options designed for students interested in a career teaching biology or all sciences at the secondary (middle or high school) level.

The Division also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, molds, viruses, protozoa and other microscopic parasites. The Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology is offered as a general degree or with an option in microbial ecology. The general option emphasizes microbial structure, function, and interactions and relationships with humans. The microbial ecology option emphasizes microbial structure, function, and interactions and relationships with the environment and other organisms.

The Division also offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Laboratory Science (Michael Minnick, Professor of Microbiology, Advisor). Medical Laboratory Science or clinical laboratory science is a combined study of chemistry, physiology and microbiology ( A medical laboratory scientist performs chemical, microscopic, and microbiological procedures used in the diagnosis, study and treatment of human disease. Medical laboratory scientist are in high demand in hospital, clinical labs, research institutions and government health departments. Certification is required for clinical practice.

To become certified, a student, after satisfying the minimum course requirements, serves a clinical practicum of at least 12 consecutive months in a school of medical laboratory science accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). After completing a clinical practicum and passing the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Board of Certification examination, the student is certified as a Medical Laboratory Scientist [MLS(ASCP)].

The University of Montana has two coursework tracks for the Medical Laboratory Science B.S. degree. The 3+1 track includes the practicum at one of our affiliated programs as part of the degree, while the practicum is not included in the 4+1 track.

Degree requirements for all three majors and courses are described below (see the College of Forestry and Conservation for information about Wildlife Biology and the Biochemistry Program in the College of Humanities and Sciences for information about Biochemistry).

The Division of Biological Sciences is committed to providing coursework and experiences for non-science majors. The world faces many problems and opportunities that include significant biological components. Courses for non-science majors have the goal of fostering understanding of the process of science and enhancing biological knowledge as it relates to environmental, medical, social, and other issues. A number of introductory courses are open both to majors and non-majors. In addition, the Division offers courses designed specifically for non-majors: Microbiology for Health Sciences, Introductory Ecology, Survey of Montana Wildlife and Habitats, and others.

Undergraduate Degrees Available

Subject Type Option Track
Biology Bachelor of Arts Teaching General Science Broadfield
Biology Bachelor of Arts Biological Education
Biology Bachelor of Arts Natural History
Biology Bachelor of Science Cellular & Molecular Biology
Biology Bachelor of Science Ecology and Organismal Biology
Biology Bachelor of Science Field Ecology
Biology Bachelor of Science Genetics and Evolution
Biology Bachelor of Science Human Biological Sciences
Biology Minor
Biology Minor Teaching Biology
Medical Laboratory Science Bachelor of Science 3 + 1
Medical Laboratory Science Bachelor of Science 4+1
Microbiology Bachelor of Science
Microbiology Bachelor of Science Microbial Ecology
Microbiology Minor

Department Faculty


  • Creagh Breuner, Professor
  • Jedediah Brodie, Assistant Professor; John Craighead Endowed Chair of Conservation
  • Ragan Callaway, Professor
  • Matthew Church, Associate Professor
  • Chris Comer, Dean / Professor
  • James Elser, Bierman Professor, Director of the Flathead Lake Biological Station
  • Douglas Emlen, Professor
  • Willard Granath Jr., Professor
  • Erick Greene, Professor
  • F. Richard Hauer, UM Director-Institute on Ecosystems
  • Jesse Hay, Professor, DBS
  • William Holben, Professor
  • Charles Janson, Associate Dean / Professor
  • J. Stephen Lodmell, Professor
  • Gordon Luikart, Professor of Conservation Ecology and Genetics
  • John Maron, Professor
  • Michael Minnick, Professor
  • Jack Nunberg, Professor and Director of MBC
  • Frank Rosenzweig, Professor
  • Anna Sala, Professor
  • D. Scott Samuels, Professor
  • Stephen Sprang, Professor, DBS & Director, CBSD
  • H. Maurice Valett, Professor of Systems Ecology

Associate Professor

  • Sarah Certel, Assistant Professor, DBS
  • Lila Fishman, Associate Professor
  • Jeffrey Good, Assistant Professor
  • Mark Grimes, Associate Professor, DBS
  • Winsor Lowe, Associate Professor
  • John McCutcheon, Associate Professor
  • Scott Miller, Associate Professor
  • Brent Ryckman, Associate Professor
  • Bret Tobalske, Associate Professor, Director Field Research Station
  • Scott Wetzel, Associate Professor
  • Art Woods, Associate Professor

Assistant Professor

  • Zachary Cheviron, Assistant Professor
  • Brandon S. Cooper, Assistant Professor
  • Ekaterina Voronina, Assistant Professor


  • Heather Labbe, Lecturer
  • Laurie A. Minns, Lecturer, Division of Biological Sciences
  • Kevin Murray, Lecturer

Research Faculty

  • Jim Battisti
  • Shawn Devlin, Assistant Research Professor
  • Dan Drecktrah, Assistant Research Professor
  • Bonnie Ellis, Assistant Research Professor
  • Jay Evans, Research Professor, Director of CTM
  • Matthew Herron, Research Assistant Professor
  • John S. Kimball, Professor - Systems Ecology
  • Eugene Kroll, Research Associate Professor
  • Penelope Kukuk, Retired Research Professor
  • Jean-Marc Lanchy, Research Assistant Professor
  • Erin Landguth, Assistant Research Professor
  • Tung-Chung Mou, Assistant Research Professor
  • Daniel Mummey
  • Dean Pearson, Research Ecologist - USFS
  • Alyson Smith, Assistant Research Professor
  • Barbara Wright, Retired Research Professor


  • Ashley Ballantyne, Assistant Professor of Bioclimatology
  • Len Broberg, Professor, EVST Program Director
  • Barry Brown, Head of Access and Collection Services; Science Librarian
  • James Burchfield, Professor of Forest Social Sciences
  • Cory Cleveland, Professor, Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology; Chair, Department of Ecosystems & Conservation Sciences
  • Robert Crabtree, Research Associate Professor
  • Solomon Dobrowski, Associate Professor of Forest Landscape Ecology
  • Lisa Eby, Associate Professor of Aquatic Vertebrate Ecology; Undergraduate Program Director, Ecosystem Science & Restoration
  • Kelsey Jencso, Assistant Professor, Watershed Hydrologist
  • Ulrich Kamp, Professor
  • Anna Klene, Professor
  • Henriette Lowisch, Associate Professor
  • Thomas E Martin, DBS Associated Faculty
  • Alexander L. Metcalf, Research Assistant Professor
  • Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf, Associate Professor of Recreation Management & Human Dimensions of Natural Resources; Undergraduate Program Director, PTRM
  • Jakki Mohr, Professor
  • Clint Muhlfeld, Research Assistant Professor
  • Helen Naughton, Associate Professor
  • Cara Nelson, Associate Professor of Restoration Ecology
  • Alison Perkins, Adjunct Professor
  • Douglas Raiford, Research Professor
  • Jeff Renz, Clinical Professor (Retired)
  • Steve Running, Regents Professor of Ecology; Director, Numerical Terradynamics Simulation Group
  • David Shepherd, Professor
  • Diana Six, Professor of Forest Entomology/Pathology
  • Linda Vance, Senior Ecologist/Spatial Analysis Lab Director
  • Vicki Watson, Professor
  • Travis Wheeler, Assistant Professor, Assistant Chair of Computer Science


  • Fred Allendorf, Regents Professor Emeritus
  • Kenneth Dial, Professor Emeritus
  • Kerry Foresman, Professor Emeritus
  • James Gannon, Professor Emeritus
  • Walter Hill, Professor Emeritus
  • Richard Hutto, Professor Emeritus