Department of Biology, Marine Biology and Environmental Science

Providing the hands-on knowledge and skills students need to launch scientific careers

The mission of the Department of Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science is to provide a high-quality education to our students, to advance and promote scholarly research, and to serve the greater academic and non-academic communities in support of our teaching and scholarship missions. We value an environment for learning that includes a broadly-based academic program; opportunities and support for undergraduate research; a collaborative and diverse faculty; an understanding of the process of science; and recognition of the importance of outreach to the greater Rhode Island community.

At RWU, students publish papers, present at conferences, and contribute to scientific advances. Lab-based courses ensure all majors are proficient in research skills, and many continue working 1:1 with faculty on research leading up to senior theses. Our graduates go on to succeed in medical professions, work on the forefront of climate change research, and make a difference through science in action. 

    • 100%
      Real-World Opportunities

      Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science students participate in community-engaged projects and internships during their undergraduate studies, giving them the skills and diverse experiences that are most desirable for employers and graduate school admission.

    • 92%
      Placement of 2021 Graduates

      Even with the challenges of the pandemic, our 2021 graduates found success in employment or graduate school within six months of graduation.

    • 100%
      Hands-On Research

      Every year, over 80 students conduct research with our faculty and/or care for organisms in our labs. Students are encouraged to participate in research opportunities starting in their first year.

    Professor in science class.

    Faculty and Staff

    Along with teaching courses, our faculty members maintain active research programs and are committed to providing opportunities for students to become involved in undergraduate research in Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science. 

    Meet The Faculty and Staff
    Student in wet lab.

    Degree Offerings

    The Department of Biology, Marine Biology and Environmental Science offers both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biology, Marine Biology, and Environmental Science. Bachelor of Science degrees can be obtained in Aquaculture and Aquarium Science and Biochemistry. Additionally, an undergraduate certificate is available for Biotechnology.

    Minors are also offered in Aquaculture and Aquarium ScienceBiology, Environmental Science, and Marine Biology.

    Research Opportunities

    Students earn academic credit for doing research, developing proposals, and competing for small grants to fund their projects. They present their findings at regional, national, and international conferences, where they network with experts and gain important connections for careers and graduate study opportunities. Our programs focus on how scientists' work positively impacts society. Students test new anti-amoebic drug candidates, explore animal microbiomes, study evolution of photosynthesis in plants, and identify genes involved in aging, among many others. 

    Learn More About Research Opportunities
    Student on learning platform.

    Facilities and Equipment

    The Department is housed in a large, new building offering modern teaching and research laboratories, a spacious wet-lab with running seawater, several greenhouses, and state-of-the-art instrumentation for cell and molecular biology. Also available is the Luther Blount Shellfish Hatchery and the Aquatic Diagnostic Laboratory. The facilities house advanced research instruments including including real-time PCR machines, fluorescence and confocal microscopes, cell culture facilities, and a flow cytometer. 

    Explore the Facilities and Equipment
    Student doing experiments.

    Career Information

    We offer our students opportunities, information, and guidance on potential careers and available positions. Students can search for job openings, internships, volunteer positions and graduate school opportunities.

    Explore Career Information
    Students discussing project in science lab.

    Health Professions Advising

    The Department of Biology, Marine Biology and Environmental Science offers pre-professional preparation for a wide variety of health science fields. Students develop skills and gain foundational knowledge for admission into professional programs.

    Learn More About Health Professions Advising

    ßßß Honor Society

    Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is an honor and professional society for students of the biological sciences and those interested in the biological sciences.

    Learn More About the TriBeta Honor Society

    Marine Biology Camp

    Summer Marine Program students learn about coastal ecosystems, food webs, productivity of the sea, plants and animals in the coast, current events in marine biology, and much more.

    Learn More About Marine Biology Camp

    Study Abroad

    Each January, RWU biology students and faculty take advantage of the Winter Intersession to leave the cold of New England and venture to the tropics for a course in Tropical Ecology.

    Learn More About Studying Abroad

    Recent News