Biology majors investigate the interconnected processes that shape the living world. Since the life sciences are increasingly interdisciplinary, Biology majors choose a wide range of courses in cell and molecular biology; microbiology and virology; anatomy and physiology; neurobiology and developmental biology; and animal behavior and ecology.

Degree Requirements

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.

Course Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

For the Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

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.

See Course Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)/Pharm.D.

For the Bachelor of Science (B.S.)/Pharm.D.

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

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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Research Opportunities

Students working in a laboratory.Undergraduate research is integrated into the Biology curriculum, with opportunities for students to earn academic credit for doing research, to develop proposals and compete for small grants to fund their projects, and to present their findings at regional, national and international conferences. Current projects in the Biology department address questions of evolutionary biology, molecular biology of aging and the design of antimicrobial drugs.

RISE STEM Scholarship at RWU

Student doing research in a laboratory.RWU offers a scholarship opportunity for students interested in majoring in math, sciences, engineering, computer science or forensic science. Learn about the National Science Foundation RISE Scholars program, which recognizes, supports and empowers a group of academically talented students with financial need as they prepare to enter Research and Industry in Science and Engineering (RISE).

Learn About RISE Scholars

Learn About Health Professions Advising

Student interning as medical assistant.Are you interested in a career in the health professions and want more information on developing your studies toward professional preparation? Visit Health Professions Advising for resources on how you can explore your options for health professions pathways.

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