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Biology Program

The B.A. Program in Biology provides a foundation in the traditional disciplines in biology and chemistry within the context of a liberal arts education. Our goal is for students to achieve a basic understanding of the principles that govern living systems and the methods used to study them. Our program is appropriate for students who wish to pursue a career in basic sciences and health care.

Learning Outcomes of the Biology Program

The program has established specific leaning objectives and all our courses focus on them. They are:

  • To master the course content.
  • To demonstrate critical thinking
  • To demonstrate the ability to write in the language of science
  • To understand scientific methodology; to access research materials and assess the validity of these materials to critically read scientific literature
  • To demonstrate the ability to think and reason quantitatively.

Biology Grade Gate

Students in the biology major must earn a grade of C or better in targeted prerequisite courses in order to continue as a student in the major. The proposed courses are BI 101 Principles of Biology (general biology gateway), BI205 Anatomy and Physiology I (upper level course gateway) and CH 110 Principles of Chemistry I (chemistry gateway).

1. If a student earns a grade lower than a C (2.0) and s/he wishes the course to be considered in the bio major, then s/he would be allowed to retake the course to earn a higher grade and credit.

2. On her/his second attempt if the student then earns a C or higher, the original course grade is changed to NCR – the student receives no grade and no credit. The second grade is recorded, the second course is accepted for credit and s/he moves ahead in the biology major. In other words, when retaking a class and getting a grade of C or higher, both the credit and the previous grade are removed. Thus a student who takes BI 101 and earns a C- on the first try, but a B+ on the retry would earn only 5 credits and the B+ grade.

3. On her/his second attempt, if s/he again earns less than a C, then her first grade remains on the transcript, and the course could be accepted as a General Education course towards the PMC degree. NCR is recorded for the second attempt – s/he receives no grade and no credit. Thus, if s/he does no better or worse, the first grade stands and the grade/credits are not counted on the second attempt.

4. If a student initially earns a grade lower than a C and s/he decides not to have the course be considered in the bio major, then the course and grade would be accepted as a General Education/Group Distribution course towards the PMC degree.

5. A student can take a course a maximum of two times.

6. A student will not receive credit for the same course more than once.

Careers in Basic Research and Biotechnology

The Boston area is a major center of biotechnology and offers the possibility of exciting and productive careers. The Program has partnered with the Metropolitan College of Boston University to offer the Met’s Biotechnology Certificate as part of our major. Our students can graduate with a BA in Biology from Pine Manor and the Biotechnology Certificate from BU. The foundational knowledge in the biology program, coupled with the certificate prepares students for direct entry into research or biotechnology labs as research technicians. Students interested in pursuing an advanced research degree are competitive for entry into MS/MA or PhD programs upon completion of the BA in biology. Partnerships with the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Science of Tufts University provide research lab internship opportunities, and research faculty partners to teach upper level courses (see Pathways to Science and TEACRS tabs in upper right hand corner). Biology program faculty have been awarded research sabbaticals at Sackler.

Our students take advantage of the numerous summer research internship programs in the Boston area. These are competitive programs and interested students are urged to speak with their advisor at the end of the fall semester.

Careers in Clinical Medicine

The biology curriculum provides an education that allows students to pursue numerous careers in health care delivery. Students who earn a BA in Biology are strong candidates for direct entry into accelerated programs at nursing schools. Courses in our biology major provide all the prerequisites for those programs. The biology program has a 100% acceptance rate for graduates who apply to accelerated nursing programs for a BSN or MSN/Nurse Practitioner. Students wishing to apply to clinical schools such as medical, dental, or veterinary should declare this intent early and work closely with their advisor. Preparation for these clinical careers requires course work in disciplines other than biology (such as calculus and physics). However, most college graduates obtain employment in a research or health-related field, and apply to these programs after a few years. Finally, Biology graduates are well positioned to pursue numerous career paths within health care that do not involve specific clinical skills. These include such options as health care administration, community health delivery, public health care policy, and patient relations.

NSF BioScholars

The Program is the recipient of a second NSF S-STEM grant. The $600,000 award spans four years and provides scholarships and campus enrichment activities for biology majors identified as young women of promise in science.

Marine Studies Consortium Program

Pine Manor is a partner, along with other colleges and universities, in the Marine Studies Consortium. Courses are available to Pine Manor College students with sophomore status or higher and are taught at the member institutions; see the Consortium website for times and location. Enrollment in these courses is limited to four students each semester. Students interested in the Consortium should consult with Professor Elizabeth Gardner for permission to register for these courses.

Allysn Austin ‘09

Research Assistant III, Infectious Disease Department, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Pine Manor College, Biology Major
University of Cincinnati, MS in Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry, and Immunology


“At Pine Manor, all of the professors and administrators were passionate about the college and its students. My experience opened my eyes to all the opportunities that were available, and I was able to explore many of the options in the broad field of science.”

To learn more about Allysn’s story and her career at Pine Manor and beyond,


Daniela Ramirez ‘13

Patient Care Associate (PCA), Neuroscience Unit,
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

Enrolled in the Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, at Northeastern University
Pine Manor College, Biology Major


“PMC challenged me and provided a strong foundation in the sciences, which is important for a career in health care. It led me to have a strong education and good qualifications to be a strong candidate for Physician Assistant programs, which are highly competitive and present a rigorous curriculum.”

To learn more about Daniela’s story and her career at Pine Manor and beyond,

For current information on College policies, organization, curriculum and academic courses, please see the Academic Catalog.