As a biology major or minor at RMC, you’ll study living organisms in a program uniquely structured to get you up-close to modern research techniques, state-of-the-art equipment, and hands-on opportunities that will ensure you’re ready for your career. Under the tutelage of celebrated faculty mentors, you’ll learn techniques like tissue culture of cancerous cells and creating plant DNA mutations using CRISPR, and partner with classmates in small classes rich with active learning. You’ll graduate ready to successfully pursue medicine, climate science, research, health sciences, and other related fields.
Instead of memorizing a general biology textbook, your first semester is spent in a small, studio-format classroom, developing the values, habits, and practices of a scientist. You’ll learn about a topic and then design and run your experiment to answer a question related to that topic. And that’s just the beginning of hands-on experiences in class.
In our field-based courses, you will go into the woods, on lakes, and in streams to collect biological data. In microbiology, you’ll perform qPCR experiments on simulated COVID specimens and learn how to analyze raw data to come up with a diagnostic result.
But what makes biology at RMC even better is the chance to contribute to research in the field. Recent biology undergraduate research projects, guided by faculty mentors, have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society and RMC’s Shapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).
Our science labs are repeatedly ranked by Princeton Review as among the best in the nation.
- Eight teaching labs, 12 research labs
- Molecular biology equipment including thermal cyclers, gel photo documentation equipment, quantitative PCR instrument
- Cellular biology equipment including, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, flow cytometer, tissue culture facilities
- Confocal microscope
- High-end digital camera system to track fish behavior
- Mouse facility and anesthesia chamber
- Environmental chambers, autoclave
- Dedicated forested field site for ecological research
- Preserved plant and animal specimens
- Botanical facilities including a greenhouse and native plant garden
RMC faculty and staff often go the extra mile to connect students to real-world opportunities to explore their path. RMC internships include a variety of options that reflect the many career opportunities in the field of biology. RMC students have interned at:
- Chickahominy Department of Health
- Bon Secours Memorial Regional Hospital
- Pivot Physical Therapy
- Shalom Farms
- Dr. Louis Korpics Dental Office
- VA Department of Wildlife Resources
Biology happens everywhere. As part of our Tropical Biodiversity course, you’ll embark on an international journey with fellow students and biology faculty to explore jungle ecosystems, dive through coastal reefs, and encounter native flora and fauna. Most recently, the course took place in Costa Rica where students hiked a volcano, toured a rainforest, and observed a jungle-based scientific research station up close.
advising and mentorship
RMC biology faculty truly care about your success and devote enormous time and attention to advising and mentoring you with independent research projects, exciting internships, and extensive advising to help you create a path to your future career.
Are you considering medical school or another career in healthcare? Connect with Josh Quinn, Director of Health Careers and Professional Development, to develop a customized pre-med or pre-health pathway and make the most of your time at RMC!
66acre forested field station, just a short drive from campus
#15“Best Science Facilities” (Princeton Review 2023)
Using CRISPR-Cas9, the groundbreaking new gene editing tool that allows scientists to modify DNA in living systems, you complete a CRISPR-Cas9-based research project where you apply the technology to better understand gene functions.
Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology
Study the molecular and cellular underpinnings of the nervous system and learn about intracellular transport, synaptic mechanisms, and growth factor influences on development and regeneration, neuronal stem cells, and sensory signal transduction.
Explore the complexity and mystery of ecological systems through hands-on computer simulation, a new and critical tool for modern biologists for studying the interactions between variables in complex systems.
A student-run group that brings together students and alums to learn more about medical career options, the application process for professional schools, and opportunities to gain medical experience.
beta beta beta national biological fraternity
Top students are inducted into this national honor society for biology studies.
Foster/Gowan Scholarship in Biology
Given annually to a student demonstrating excellence in biology research
watts scholarship in biology
Given annually to a student in biology
william neal cunningham memorial scholarship
Awarded annually to a student pursuing non-medical biology
Kethelyne BeauvaiS ’15
“…I am forever grateful for the foundation I developed at RMC. I could have done my undergraduate pre-med studies anywhere, but I am glad I did it at an institution that emphasized graduating genuine, well-rounded critical thinkers who are equipped with the tools to adapt in whatever career path they choose.”
Erica Horseman Tharrington ’11
Clinical Research Coordinator
University of Virginia Cystic Fibrosis Center
Melissa Evans ’14
Physician Assistant specializing in ENT
Richmond Breathe Free Sinus and Allergy Centers
Colin Brooker ’22
Student, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
University of Lynchburg
Nana Dadzie ’21
Cell Therapy Specialist
Elise KnoblocH ’21
Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS)
RMC Students Research Freshwater Biodiversity During NSF-Funded Trip to Kenya
This summer, three RMC students took part in an NSF-funded project to index species of fishes and macroinvertebrates in Kenyan rivers.
Pathways to Science Camp Opens Doors to STEM for Latina Students
In her third year as a counselor, the Pathways to Science experience has come full circle for Tanya Sancen ‘24, who was one of the program’s original participants.
Unexpected Passion: Tyl Taylor ’02 Finds Path As Leader in IVF
Tyl Taylor ‘02 stood in front of Copley 101, addressing Randolph-Macon biology students in Dr. Chas Gowan’s biology capstone class. “You have…