The Department of Biological Sciences offers a wide variety of academic options that will prepare you for the workforce or professional school. You will have opportunities to explore the coastal waterways and swamps of Louisiana in a pirogue (a traditional Louisiana watercraft similar to a canoe) while learning how to use modern scientific equipment to explore the molecular mechanisms of cell biology! It does not matter what your career aspirations are, you will find a challenging but comfortable home in our department within one of our 11 concentration areas!
Nicholls biology program is amazing, and where we’re different is that we’re here on the coast. Our professors throw us into the environment, we meet with stakeholders and we’re teaching freshmen who are probably first-generation college students from those communities”
The Department of Biological Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science in Biology with 11 program concentration options. Students can also earn an Associate of Interdisciplinary Studies degree with two program concentration options. Although each biology student enrolls in the same core courses, students in each concentration enroll in elective courses specific to their concentration area.
CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
PRE-CLINICAL LABORATORY SCIENCE
PRE-MEDICINE / PRE-DENTISTRY
A minor in Biology requires the completion of 24 hours in the biological sciences with a minimum grade of C in all courses to include BIOL 155, 156, 203, 204, and 12 hours of 300-level or above Biology courses approved by the Department Head.
Whether you are conducting hands-on learning in one of our well-equipped laboratories or exploring the bayous and wetlands of coastal Louisiana in one of our four boats, you will develop a sound foundation in the Biological Sciences. Our strong academic program will give you the experience and knowledge to be successful in your career!
Are you interested in conducting research? You should be! Our Department has a rich history of supporting a wide range of undergraduate research projects. Undergraduate researchers in our department have presented their research at local, national, and international conferences, published their research in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and have been invited to present their research in Washington, D.C., on Capital Hill!
You will also have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and experience from your biology courses to projects that directly impact the surrounding community and ecosystem through the many service learning activities available to biology students. You can combine volunteerism and biology to work on projects from teaching children about the exciting world of biology to efforts to help preserve and restore Louisiana’s wetlands!
As you advance in your scientific career, it will be important to build your academic network. You will meet new people in your classes and get to know them better during class field trips. However, there are four student organizations based in the Department of Biological Sciences that will introduce you to many people that are at Nicholls for the same reason as you! Participation in one of our student organizations will provide you with a network of friends that can help guide you through your program!
Nicholls biology and chemistry students spend their spare time digging through the dirt looking for new viruses as part of the national Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science program.
Nicholls biology students get hands-on field opportunities in Louisiana’s diverse ecosystems through their undergraduate courses.
“One of the amazing things about being at Nicholls is that our biology students get hands on experience working in our local ecosystems through their courses and research. Students get to learn and work in Louisiana’s swamps, wetlands, bayous, estuaries and coastal ecosystems. Through research collaborations, Nicholls biology students have conducted research in the Atchafalaya Basin to examine how poor water quality is affecting wild crawfish populations. This student-led research will impact our local ecosystems and region as projects to improve water quality and ecosystem health in the Atchafalaya Basin move forward.”
Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
M.S. – Marine and Environmental Biology, Nicholls State University
B.S. – Biology, Environmental Biology concentration, Nicholls State University
NEWS & EVENTS
Nicholls Biology Students Take Home Awards from Louisiana Academy of Sciences Meeting
The Louisiana Academy of Sciences recognized multiple Nicholls State University students and faculty during their 96th annual meeting held on March 12.
Held virtually due to lingering concerns about COVID-19, the organizers invited scientists from across the state to attend and present their research.
Nicholls award winners include:
- Bincy Biju, a junior biology major from Houma, and Collin Toups, a senior biology major from Thibodaux, tied for first place undergraduate poster. Biju’s research was titled, “Water Quality and the Presence of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in the Bayou Terrebonne Watershed” and Toups’ research was titled, “Presence of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and Antibiotic-Resistant Genes in the Migratory Birds of Louisiana.”
- Taylor Andrzejak, a marine and environmental grad student from Thibodaux, and Derek Sallmann, a marine and environmental grad student from Waukesha, Wisconsin, tied for first place graduate oral presentation. Andrzejak’s research was titled, “A Comparison of Water Quality, Microbial Ecology, and Antibiotic Resistance of Public Boat Launches in Southeastern, Louisiana” and Sallmann’s research was titled, “Toothy Filter Feeder? Evidence of Alligator Gar Feeding on Zooplankton.”
Faculty within the Department of Biological Sciences pride ourselves on fostering undergraduate research initiatives. Students have the opportunity to work with any biology faculty member on a wide range of research topics from the cell and molecular level, to the organismal level, to ecosystem level processes. Students get the opportunity to work one on one with a faculty member who will guide them through the scientific method of formulating a hypothesis, designing a research project to test the hypothesis, collecting and interpreting data, and reporting and discussing results. Students can even earn credit towards their degree while conducting research by enrolling in Undergraduate Research (BIOL 475). Undergraduate research is a great way to gain hands-on experience and looks great on job and professional and graduate school résumés.
There are ample opportunities for our students to experience service learning as they progress towards their degree. Nicholls and the Department of Biological Sciences work closely with local and state resource agencies, industries, and non-profit organizations to provide a multitude of service learning activities that students can participate in through their biology courses, Biology student organizations, or just volunteering. Students get to apply their knowledge gained in biology courses to service projects that directly impact the surrounding community and ecosystem. Our students are involved in science communication and participation events (Biology booth at Family Day and campus events, tou lou lou races and specimen information for children), participate in projects to clean up and beautify local waterways and beaches (Bayou Lafourche Clean-up, beach sweeps), and work to enhance, restore and preserve south Louisiana’s wetlands, barrier islands, and organisms (wetland plant cultivation, barrier island and Port Fourchon plantings, oyster reef restoration, derelict crab trap removal).
The Biology Society hosts events that promote biological activities outside the classroom including LUMCON Open House, Chauvin Folk Art Festival, Rougarou Festival, BTNEP Bayou Lafourche Cleanup, BTNEP Bayou Lafourche Paddle Trip, Grand Isle Bird Migration Festival, and the St. Mary Parish Eagle Expo.
Students of any classification may join by contacting Dr. Tim Clay, advisor.
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Pre-Professional Medical Association
The Pre-Professional Medical Association at Nicholls State University is a student organization dedicated to informing and empowering future medical professionals. This mission is accomplished by offering students opportunities to volunteer in the community, providing information about scholarship and graduate school applications, and building a support network between members. Throughout each semester, several successful medical professionals from various disciplines attend PMA meetings to give guest lectures and provide insight into their role in the medical field.
Students of any classification may join by contacting Dr. Michele Robichaux, advisor.
Pre-Veterinary Medical Club
The Pre-Veterinary Medical Club educates and advises students who have an interest in the field of veterinary medicine through service learning projects, field trips, and advice from practicing veterinarians. The goals of the Pre-Vet Club are to give students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom, provide students with the necessary tools to make a difference in the lives of animals, and to educate the community about the importance of animal care and safe human-animal interactions.
Students of any classification may join by contacting Dr. Katherine Galloway, advisor.
Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is a nationally recognized honor society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. The Nicholls Chapter of TriBeta (Mu Kappa Alpha) was formed in fall of 2015.
During the fall semester of the junior year or as graduate students, high achieving students in Biological Sciences are invited to join TriBeta. Contact Dr. Allyse Ferrara, advisor, for information.