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FAQs

Q: What can I do with a degree in biology?
A:
The Wall Street Journal rates “biologist” as the No. 1 job in America.For this reason, your career opportunities are great not just locally but also in the rest of the country and the world.Through the biology curriculum that Nicholls has developed for you, we empower students with knowledge, skills and experiences necessary not only to enter a work field but also to excel in a career.Even though biology might sound like a limited field in the big world of career choices, in reality its an incredibly diverse field, with zoology, botany, microbiology, marine biology, genetics, bioremediation, environmental biology, toxicology, dentistry, medicine and physical therapy, just to name a few fields.

In the process of earning an undergraduate degree in biology at Nicholls, you develop a number of mental skills like problem solving and critical thinking that help you perform better not only in classes but also in the rest of your life. The three most important skills that today’s employers are searching for are technical writing aptitude, computer competency and an understanding of statistics, and we have incorporated required courses in all three of these areas into your curriculum.But these skills will prepare you not only for careers in biology or the sciences, these are skills that all employers are seeking in their college recruits.Our graduates enter a diversity of career fields, and, because of their diverse preparation in our curriculum, some of these fields are outside of the sciences.

So your career opportunities are very good and quite broad.Our motto says it all:In the biology department at Nicholls, you “don’t just study life, you prepare for it.”

Q: As a biology major, do I have to minor in anything?
A:
No, but a minor in a science, such as chemistry or computer science, may benefit you if you’re pursuing a science career. Some employers and professional schools appreciate more well-rounded applicants who show aptitude in the sciences and the arts or humanities, so a minor in a diverse subject may also prove beneficial to your career.

Q: Is the biology department accredited?
A:
Although we would embrace the challenge of earning accreditation, there is no accrediting agency for biology departments in the United States. The biology department at Nicholls is comprised of a faculty of hard-working professionals renowned for their teaching and research accomplishments, as well as their service to the region, state and nation.As validation of our good work for and with students, we would certainly seek accreditation if it were possible.Despite the fact that there is no accreditation agency specifically for us, you should realize that the entire university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters and specialist degree levels.

Q: What are the chances that I’ll be accepted to medical school if I come to Nicholls to major in biology?
A:
Your chances of being accepted to medical school are really good. The biology department at Nicholls has helped produce hundreds of doctors now practicing around the state.If you’ve ever been a patient in any of the parishes surrounding Nicholls, then chances are high that one or more of your physicians was a biology major at Nicholls.Our pre-medicine professors have a long standing relationship with all three medical schools in Louisiana and have over 40 years of experience preparing students to enter medical school. The Nicholls biology department is also the only department among state colleges and universities with two medical center graduates on its faculty.

Our biology pre-medicine curriculum provides you with 100 percent of all courses required and recommended by medical schools.In addition, there is a push in the medical schools to train doctors from rural areas who may be interested in returning to their homes to practice, and Nicholls is recognized as one of those rural institutions that produces promising medical school candidates.A Nicholls education in biology, together with your good grades, good MCAT scores and some extracurricular experience in a health care setting, will get you where you want to go.

Q: Does the biology department at Nicholls offer research opportunities for its students?
A:
Absolutely! Our faculty members conduct a variety of research projects and very often recruit students to undertake integral parts of those projects. In fact, you can enroll in our student research course (BIOL 475), which serves as a biology elective for any biology major, and receive two hours of course credit for conducting research.

Q: What if I’m pre-med and I’m not accepted to medical school?
A:
Don’t despair. Every freshman class at medical school has about 25 percent of its members who have had to reapply at least once, regardless of what their undergraduate degree is in or where they earned it.You’ll always have another chance. Besides medical school, however, there are some attractive alternatives of which you may not be aware.There are a multitude of biomedical graduate schools and careers that you’re qualified to enter with your Nicholls background in biology, and these can either earn for you additional credentials for medical school or provide you with an alternative career choice.And, if you eventually decide not to continue pursuing medical school, a biology degree from Nicholls empowers you with attractive skills and experience that potential employers will be happy to consider.Such employers will see that you earned a degree from a highly respected department and university, regardless of which biology concentration area you chose to pursue.

Q: Do I have to have an undergraduate biology degree from Nicholls to apply for the Master of Science graduate program in your department?
A:
No, and, in fact, the diversity of the students we accept improves the breadth of our program.We can accept students with good recommendations, good GRE scores and good undergraduate grade-point averages from any science curriculum anywhere in the world.Visit our M.S. degree program page for more details.

Q: If I’m going to medical school, why do I have to take things that I’m never going to use again, like art and humanities and even calculus?
A:
There are several ways to answer your question, and I hope you read though all the ways below.

  • First, you should understand that there are no guarantees regarding acceptance to professional schools like medical school.It is a competitive process that depends on many variables.Although we join you in hoping that you’re going to medical school, our job is to prepare you for the “bigger picture” to prepare you for life beyond college in the pursuit of a career contributing to a greater understanding of biology and to make that preparation good enough for any career you may choose.
  • Second, the function of universities is to prepare you universally to provide you with knowledge and means to understand a multitude of things.As a biology major, you have to take calculus not only to become highly competent in mathematics but also to develop your intellect with critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In addition, all majors at Nicholls have to take course from the arts or humanities because these are historical renderings of the human condition created by thinkers who have studied before you.Just imagine the wealth of knowledge you can develop if you build upon their work instead of starting from scratch!
  • Third, “learning some things that I’m never going to use again” is an impossibility because humans inherently use everything that they’ve learned, whether they realize it or not. You may think you never use the sounds you learned in phonics in the second grade, but without that learning you couldn’t read this sentence 10-15 years later. You may think you’ll never again use the distributive property of multiplication after you learned it in sixth grade, but it’s there every time you pay your bills and every time you distribute food to your multiple backyard cats. The brain is wired to create new synapses that store new information based on older information and experiences. So, even at the very basic anatomical and physiological level, you have no choice in the matter of using those things again. You are programmed to do so, and that cannot be changed. So, you should embrace learning everything you can because it all adds up.
  • And finally, if a medical school has to choose between an applicant who has studied only science for the past four years or an applicant who has a broad education that includes science, they are more likely to choose the latter applicant, whom they will infer is more well-rounded, has read and understood ideas from a diversity of fields and who is more likely to be interested in and able to learn more about the “whole human” the social, the behavioral and the humane, in addition to the biological and the chemical.

Therefore, the biology professors at Nicholls accept the very serious job of preparing you properly to serve the medical field and its patients, thereby increasing your chances of being accepted to a medical school and enjoying a successful medical career.Embrace it.

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