Degrees & Programs

Ecology students using equipment outside

Our department offers several programs of study — each specific to the post-graduate plans of our students. We invite you to explore each major and minor program we offer to see which one best fits you. Complete degree requirements for all academic programs can be found in the course catalog.

Majors

Biology (B.A. or B.S.)

u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program allows students sufficient flexibility to explore a breadth of interests and still acquire an in-depth of knowledge of the sciences.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program is designed to meet the needs of students primarily interested in science and who intend to pursue graduate study and research in the biological sciences, careers in the health professions, or careers in other science related fields.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnIn addition to the College’s general degree requirements, all majors must complete:rnrnu003c!u002du002d wp:list u002du002du003ernu003culu003eu003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Biologyu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Chemistryu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eCalculusu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eOrganic Chemistryu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Physicsu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eIntroduction to Cell and Molecular Geneticsu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eAnd some combination of and upper level science courses with/without labs (e.g., Physiology, Microbiology, Ecology)u003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003eu003c/ulu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list u002du002du003ernrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e

Environmental Biology (B.S.)

u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe B.S. program is designed to prepare students for graduate studies and careers in research or applied environmental fields (e.g., environmental consulting). The foundations for the Environmental Biology major are ecology, environmental science, evolution, and conservation.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnIn addition to the College’s general degree requirements, all majors must complete:rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnu003c!u002du002d wp:list u002du002du003ernu003culu003eu003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Biologyu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Chemistryu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eCalculusu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eFoundations of Environmental Biologyu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eBiogeochemistry: Nutrients, Cycles and Global Changeu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eBiostatisticsu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eEnvironmental Methods u0026amp; Statistical Analysisu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eAnd some combination of field-based (e.g., Tropical Biology, Marine Biology, Pollination Ecology) and lab-based upper level science coursesu003c/liu003ernu003c/ulu003e

Biology/Secondary Education (B.A. or B.S.)

u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe u003ca href=u0022https://secondary-education.providence.edu/u0022 target=u0022_blanku0022 rel=u0022noreferrer noopeneru0022u003eSecondary Educationu003c/au003e program, accredited by the Rhode Island Department of Education, has trained students with a passion for teaching to lead science, foreign language, language arts, and math classrooms in high schools throughout the country.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe B.A. program provides certification in Biology and General Science. The B.S. program provides the same however, more biology electives/lab courses are covered.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnIn addition to the college’s general degree requirements, all majors must complete:rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnu003c!u002du002d wp:list u002du002du003ernu003culu003eu003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Biologyu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Chemistryu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eOrganic Chemistryu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eGeneral Physicsu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eCalculusu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eIntroduction to Cell and Molecular Geneticsu003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eVarious Education courses (e.g., Education Psychology, Educational Measurement, Teaching Science in Secondary Schools)u003c/liu003ernu003c!u002du002d /wp:list-item u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:list-item u002du002du003ern tu003cliu003eAnd some combination of Biology electives with labs, and science electives (e.g., Physiology, Microbiology, Ecology)u003c/liu003ernu003c/ulu003e

Double Major or Creating an Individualized Major

u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnu003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnStudents are offered the opportunity to initiate and develop combined curricular programs that they feel may better meet their needs than a single concentration. The double major requires that the student complete all degree requirements in the two departments elected. Several biology students each year elect a double major, most often in biology/chemistry.rnrnu003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e u003c!u002du002d wp:paragraph u002du002du003ernrnThe individualized program is designed for students whose needs transcend specific disciplines and that require a special curricular format. For example, a student with an interest in medical illustration may design a program incorporating courses in both biology and art but need not necessarily complete a major in both.u003c!u002du002d /wp:paragraph u002du002du003e

Minor

Evolutionary Biology and Ecology

The minor provides a strong foundation in organismal and population biology and related disciplines. It features a strong hands-on component involving course work, laboratory experiences, and field studies. Six courses, totaling 22-23 credits, are required.

students on computer with microscope image

Certificate

Neuroscience

​​​​​​​​​​​​​The Certificate in Neuroscience Program offers Biology and Psychology majors the opportunity to participate in an integrated course of study—from the molecular level to gross brain anatomy—that focuses on nervous system structures, functions, and behavior. Learn more about the program here.

Graduate & Beyond

3 + 4 Optometry

We offer a combined degree program with the New England College of Optometry. This program is designed for the highly motivated student with a professional goal in optometry. It allows for completion of the B.A. or B.S. degree in biology and the O.D. degree (doctor of optometry) in seven years, rather than the usual eight. The first three years at PC offer a blend of liberal arts, basic, and biological sciences, which will prepare students for professional study. The next four years at New England College of Optometry (NECO) provide the coursework required to complete the PC baccalaureate degree, as well as the professional training required for the doctoral degree in optometry.

Pre-graduate Preparation in Biology

Both the B.A. and B.S. degree programs are acceptable for admission to graduate schools specializing in the biological sciences. Most graduate programs look more favorably on students who have a B.S. due to the more rigorous requirements of the degree. Students who are planning to pursue post-graduate education should consult with our pre-graduate school advisor, Dr. Laura Williams, as early as possible in their second year.

Premed Preparation in Biology

Both the B.A. and B.S. degree programs meet the science requirements demanded for admission to professional schools specializing in the health sciences such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, and veterinary medicine. Most students interested in the health professions major in biology. However, some students whose interests lie in other areas may elect to major in non-science department, while still successfully completing the prerequisites for medical, dental, veterinary, or optometry school admission. Students who are planning for a career in the medical sciences should consult with the Advisor for Health Professions early in their freshman year. Learn more about the Premed program.

Recommendations for Undeclared Students

Students interested in the biology major or pre-medical preparation should consider the following recommendations:

  • Before undertaking serious exploration of a major in biology, students are asked to consult with the chairperson of the department or the advisor for the health professions.
  • Freshman biology majors normally are required to take four specific courses including General Biology, General Chemistry, Calculus, and DWC. This is NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THE UNDECLARED STUDENT. Instead they should take General Biology (with lab), Calculus, DWC, and one elective/general degree requirement each semester in their freshman year:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any student considering these courses should first consult with BOTH the appropriate undeclared advisor and the biology department chairperson. This recommendation is made with the intention of preventing serious academic difficulties that might otherwise be encountered.

These courses, with the exception of the electives, are two-semester sequential courses required of freshman biology and pre-medical students. An undeclared student who decides NOT to pursue the biology or pre-medical course of study, but who has completed this freshman year schedule, will have completed the general degree requirement in science and mathematics.