Program Description

An Associate in Science (AS) in Biology will prepare students to transfer to a university and pursue a major in biological science, pre-med, medical technology, or pre-professional health sciences (which include dental, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary). Students should work closely with their academic advisor as they consider which sequence of courses are appropriate for their field of choice. Students may also be interested in the AS in Environmental Sciences with Biology Emphasis degree program that is also offered at Arizona Western College.

Graduates of these programs will successfully complete the following learning outcomes:

  • Apply the principles of scientific inquiry, methodology, research, and experimentation
  • Demonstrate competence in standard laboratory safety, instrumentation, technology, and techniques when used in biological sciences
  • Use the scientific method to define a problem, propose solutions through research, investigate the problem through experimentation, collect and analyze quantitative data, and present these findings
  • Apply fundamental concepts of biology including organization, chemistry of life, cellular functions, genetics, evolution, biological diversity, animal systems, plant systems, and ecology
  • Apply fundamental concepts of microbiology including diversity, cell structure, cell metabolism, viral interactions, pathogenicity, and the role of microorganisms in industry, agriculture, and medicine.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts of anatomy and physiology including terminology, organization, homeostatic regulation, interactions among body systems, and its application to human health
  • Demonstrate proficiency in critical thinking, scientific terminology, and communication (written and oral) in the biological sciences
  • Discuss the role of biology in greater economic, social, political, and historical context

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Degree(s) / Certificates(s)

Title Local Bachelor's
Biology - A.S. Transfer Degree

Career Outlook

Successful completion of this program may lead to a variety of employment opportunities, most of which require continued higher education at the university level. Below are examples of related occupations and annual mean wages in Arizona according to a May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers 
Apply theory and principles of environmental engineering to modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems, including waste treatment and site remediation, under the direction of engineering staff or scientists. May assist in the development of environmental remediation devices.
Medical Transcriptionists 
Transcribe medical reports recorded by physicians and other healthcare practitioners using various electronic devices, covering office visits, emergency room visits, diagnostic imaging studies, operations, chart reviews, and final summaries. Transcribe dictated reports and translate abbreviations into fully understandable form. Edit as necessary and return reports in either printed or electronic form for review and signature, or correction.
Pharmacy Technicians  
Prepare medications under the direction of a pharmacist. May measure, mix, count out, label, and record amounts and dosages of medications according to prescription orders.
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.
Dental Assistants 
Perform limited clinical duties under the direction of a dentist. Clinical duties may include equipment preparation and sterilization, preparing patients for treatment, assisting the dentist during treatment, and providing patients with instructions for oral healthcare procedures. May perform administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding information for insurance purposes.
Forest and Conservation Technicians 
Provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, forests, or related natural resources. May compile data pertaining to size, content, condition, and other characteristics of forest tracts under the direction of foresters, or train and lead forest workers in forest propagation and fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats. 
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.
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.
Investigate the growth, structure, development, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
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.
Postsecondary Biological Science Teachers
Teach courses in biological sciences. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.
Bioengineers and Biomedical Engineers
Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological, agricultural, and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems
Medical Scientists 
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. 
Dispense drugs prescribed by physicians and other health practitioners and provide information to patients about medications and their use. May advise physicians and other health practitioners on the selection, dosage, interactions, and side effects of medications.
General Internal Medicine Physicians
Diagnose and provide nonsurgical treatment for a wide range of diseases and injuries of internal organ systems. Provide care mainly for adults and adolescents, and are based primarily in an outpatient care setting. 
Successful completion of this program may lead to employment in a variety of different occupations and industries. Check the above for additional information.

Contact Information

Department Contact(s)


Hours of Operation
Faculty/Staff Contact(s)
Name Title Phone Email
Shawn Clavell Professor of Biology (928) 317-6474
Alison Bockoven Professor of Biology (Anatomy & Physiology) (928) 344-7548
Colton Kempton Professor of Biology (928) 317-6426
Marlie Meza Professor of Biology (928) 344-7653
Matthew Smith Professor of Biology (928) 317-7105
Jayme Post Professor of Biology (Anatomy & Physiology) (928) 317-6344