Jul 14, 2024  
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 Rivier University Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Science in Biology (Day)

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The twenty-first century will become known as the “century of biology”.  The advances in biological knowledge will impact every corner of our lives.  The biology programs at Rivier University will prepare students to participate in this voyage of discovery as new developments and technologies push the envelope of what is known or possible in the study of life. There are three options for students pursuing a major in biology.

Combined Biology Track: This track will provide students with a broad background in biology and is appropriate for those who do not want to limit their studies to one particular area. It will prepare them for entry-level research positions in biotechnology and related industries as well as acceptance to graduate school. In addition, this program is flexible enough to allow students interested in obtaining a minor in another discipline the opportunity to do so.

Allied Health Track: This track is appropriate for students interested in pursuing a professional career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science or a career focused on laboratory-based medical research. This coursework focuses heavily on human and animal health and entails developing strong laboratory skills and creative approaches to problem solving.

Environmental Science Track: This track is appropriate for students interested in pursuing a career in the environmental sciences or conservation. It is also an appropriate concentration for a student considering graduate studies in animal behavior, ecology, or related fields. Students will take a variety of courses that expose them to relevant work in the field and develop the laboratory skills necessary for success at the graduate and professional level.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a degree in Biology should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a strong knowledge in biology and chemistry concepts;
  • Exhibit proficiency in written and oral communication as well as define and analyze the purpose of a research problem;
  • Demonstrate familiarity and proper use of instruments and methodologies that are used to collect data for answering biological questions;
  • Exhibit proficiency in analyzing, processing, and presenting data in tables and figures;
  • ​Develop an open-mindset and seek multiple perspectives about how human behavior impacts global resources to build a global community that practices sustainability, social and economic justice, and the art of being human.


Proficiency in subject knowledge is assessed in curriculum-embedded examinations which are designed to require analysis and synthesis in addition to recall of information learned in lecture and laboratory. A variety of assignments including written papers and reports are required in various courses. Students must demonstrate their ability to work safely and utilize proper laboratory technique. All biology majors are required to take the major field test in biology during their senior year.

Advanced Placement

Students who receive a score of 3 on Advanced Placement in biology will be exempt from taking BIO 103 - General Biology I.

Major Requirements (36-39 Biology/55-58 total credits)

Biology Core (27 credits)

Biology Electives (9-12 credits)

Students may choose one of the following: the combined biology track, the allied health track, or the environmental sciences track. Students must take three courses from their chosen area of interest.

Combined Biology Track

Students in the combined biology track may select three courses from either the allied health or environmental tracks listed below.

Two of the following

(One fulfilled in the general education area.)

General Education Requirements (42-45 credits)

Associated with General Core

Who is My Neighbor?  Students explore this question in their second and third years.(6 credits)

  • HUM200 Literature, Art, and the Human Credits: 3
    Students take one -200 level interdisciplinary course that addresses a basic human question from the perspectives of the literary, visual, and musical arts.
  • HIS203 Interactions: The West in the World I Credits: 3 or
  • HIS204 Interactions: The West in the World II Credits: 3

How Shall We Live? Students explore this question in their junior and senior years. (6 credits)

  • Religion: Faith, Religion, and Social Justice Credits: 3
    Students take one Religion course developed with this theme at its center.
  • Philosophy: Ethics, Values, and Moral Choices Credits: 3
    Students take one Philosophy course developed with this theme at its center.

What, then, Shall We Do?  Students explore this question in their junior or senior year. (3 credits)

  • Capstone: Justice and Global Responsibility Credits: 3
    Students take one of a number of offerings under Justice and Global Responsibility. This seminar serves as the culmination of the Common Core. Informed by problem-solving pedagogy, this seminar enhances the student’s connection with the Catholic vision of the University by focusing on justice and global responsibility.

Area Distribution Courses: The Core Complement
Humanities and Social Sciences (6 credits)

  • One course from: English, History, Modern Language, Philosophy, Religious Studies Credits: 3
  • One course from: Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology Credits: 3

Mathematics and Natural Sciences (6 credits)

  • One course in Mathematics:  MA112 College Algebra or above Credits: 3
  • One course from: Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, or Physical Science Credits: 3-4

Culture through Language (6 credits)
Students must demonstrate university-level introductory competency in a language other than English.

General Electives (minimum 33 credits)

Degree Requirements (minimum 130 credits)

Due to the number of four-credit courses offered in the sciences, many students earn more than the minimum 120 credits required to graduate.

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