Biology

A degree in Biology is the key to fulfilling and in-demand careers in health and medicine, scientific research, education and more. At RWU, you’ll study topics like evolutionary biology, environmental toxicology and antimicrobial drug design in our state-of-the-art Marine and Natural Sciences Building. Through lectures, labs, fieldwork and independent research, you’ll discover the interconnected processes that shape the living world.

Degree Requirements

The Biology Major

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Students who declare biology and marine biology must achieve a minimum average grade of C- for BIO 103 and BIO 104 in order to advance in these majors. This minimum average grade is a prerequisite for all biology and marine biology courses at the 200-level or above. In order to be considered a candidate for a B.A. or B.S. in biology or marine biology, students must achieve a minimum grade point average of 2.00 (C) averaged over all required courses in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Biology majors can receive either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. Biology majors must satisfy all University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. A Critical Writing course at the 200-level or above is a prerequisite to advanced courses and should be completed prior to the junior year. In addition, biology majors must successfully complete the following courses and sufficient electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major. Biology majors may apply a maximum of two (2) courses from the major requirements towards a minor in Environmental Science, or a maximum of two (2) upper-level Biology electives towards the elective requirements for the major in Environmental Science.

SubjectNumberTitle
BIO103Biology I and Lab
BIO104Biology II and Lab
BIO200Genetics and Lab
CHEM191, 192Principles of Chemistry I and II and Labs
CHEM301Organic Chemistry I and Lab
MATH250Biostatistics
or
MATH315Probability and Statistics

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology must also complete the following courses:

SubjectNumberTitle
One additional course from the following list:
CHEM302Organic Chemistry II and Lab
CHEM201Environmental Chemistry I and Lab
CHEM202Environmental Chemistry II and Lab
CHEM311Analytical Chemistry and Lab
BIO333Biochemistry for the Life Sciences (Students who complete BIO 333 may use the course to satisfy the above requirement or they may count the course as a BIO elective, but the course may not count for both.)
and
MATH213Calculus I and Lab
and either
MATH214Calculus II and Lab
or
MATH218Applied Calculus for Life Sciences
and
PHYS201, 202Principles of Physics I and II and Labs
and
Five (5) upper-level (200 or above) courses in Biology, of which at least four (4) must be laboratory courses. BIO 204 (Introduction to Marine Biology), BIO 231 (Bioethics), BIO 235 (Biological Illustration), BIO 250 (Introduction to Biostatistics), BIO 450 (Research in the Life Sciences) and BIO 451 (Senior Thesis) may not be counted towards these upper-level courses.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Biology must also complete the following courses:

SubjectNumberTitle
MATH136Precalculus
PHYS109, 110Physics I and II and Labs
and
Six (6) upper-level (200 or above) courses in Biology, of which four (4) must be laboratory courses. MATH 124 (Basic Statistics) is an acceptable alternative for BIO 250 (Introduction to Biostatistics) for the BA degree. BIO 231 (Bioethics), BIO 204 (Introduction to Marine Biology), BIO 235 (Biological Illustration), BIO 250 (Introduction to Biostatistics), BIO 450 (Research in the Life Sciences) and BIO 451 (Senior Thesis) may not be counted towards these upper-level course requirements.

The Biology Minor

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SubjectNumberTitle
BIO103Biology I and Lab
BIO104Biology II and Lab
Three Biology courses, of which one must be a lab at the 200 level or above and one must be at the 300 level or above.

The Dual Degree in Biology and Pharmacy

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Biology majors completing the 3+4 Dual Degree Program receive either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from RWU in addition to the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from The Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS) Vermont campus. Students matriculate in the Biology program for three years at RWU and, if accepted, attend 4 years of Professional Pharmacy training at ACPHS leading to the Pharm.D. Participating students receive the Bachelor’s in Biology after the first year at ACPHS.

Biology majors interested in the Dual Degree program must satisfy all University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. All RWU courses listed below must be completed by the end of the junior year. Completion of at least 60 credits at RWU with an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 is required; only grades of C or better count towards the 60 credits. In addition, biology majors must successfully complete the fourth year courses at ACPHS to total 120 credits for the Bachelor’s degree in Biology.

Formal application to the program occurs in the fall of junior year and requires approval of the Departmental Pharmacy Advisor, completion of the PCAT exam including a writing assessment, and a successful interview at ACPHS. The ACPHS Doctor of Pharmacy Program is a full-time, professional four-year program. For more information about the Dual Degree in Biology and Pharmacy please contact the chair of the Biology Department.

All Dual Degree (Biology/Pharm.D.) candidates must complete the following courses at RWU:

SubjectNumberTitle
BIO103, 104Biology I and II and Labs
BIO200Genetics and Lab
BIO230Microbiology and Lab
BIO/CHEM390Biochemistry and Lab
One Advanced Biology Course (200 level or above) with lab
CHEM191, 192Principles of Chemistry I and II and Labs
CHEM301, 302Organic Chemistry I and II and Labs
One of the following Mathematics courses
MATH250Introduction to Biostatistics
MATH315Probability and Statistics
Other requirements
PSYCH100Introduction to Psychology
and
Three (3) courses from Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Music, Languages, Political Science, Economics, English Literature. (These courses may be used to satisfy Core Concentration requirements.)

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science dual degree in Biology/Pharm.D. must also complete the following courses at RWU:

SubjectNumberTitle
MATH213Calculus I and Lab
and either
MATH214Calculus II and Lab
or
MATH218Applied Calculus for Life Sciences
PHYS201, 202Physics I and II with Calculus and Labs

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Arts dual degree in Biology/Pharm.D. must also complete the following courses at RWU:

SubjectNumberTitle
MATH136Precalculus
MATH213Calculus I and Lab
PHYS109, 110Physics I and II – Algebra based and Labs

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time a student has completed a major in Biology or Marine Biology, s/he is expected to be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. formulate a scientific question or problem
  2. design a properly controlled experiment or field study that tests a clearly-stated hypothesis
  3. evaluate evidence critically and quantitatively, and apply this knowledge to novel situations.
  4. effectively communicate scientific knowledge orally, graphically, and in writing
  5. conduct a search of peer-reviewed print and electronic resources relevant to a research project in the life sciences
  6. understand the role of macromolecules in cellular processes
  7. understand the relationship between the structure and function of cellular components
  8. understand the relationship between the structure and function of major organ systems
  9. understand the mechanisms of physiological homeostasis
  10. describe cellular and physiological adaptations that have evolved in a variety of phyla
  11. understand the key discoveries of modern biology (including molecular biology and bioinformatics)
  12. understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of inheritance
  13. understand the species concept and the factors affecting biodiversity
  14. describe the patterns and mechanisms of evolution
  15. understand how phylogenetic relationships among taxa are determined
  16. describe the patterns and mechanisms of population distribution, growth and regulation
  17. understand the flow of matter and energy through natural systems from the molecular to the ecosystem level
  18. describe interactions among biotic and abiotic factors in natural systems
  19. understand the life history strategies of organisms
  20. describe the major global biological communities and biomes
  21. understand significant interactions and dependencies between human and natural systems
A headshot of Mary Yurkevicius

Meaningful Research

Mary Yurkevicius, RWU Class of 2017
Biology

At RWU, students are given opportunities to translate their education into meaningful research that can benefit the community. Mary Yurkevicius has been researching health benefits of various fish species in the Narragansett Bay for the past four years.

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