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Biology: The UDC Edge

Biology students at the University of the District of Columbia are fully engaged in the research life of the university. Through the STEM Center for Research and Development and other research initiatives offered by UDC and the Biology Program, students can gain research experience as an undergraduate, putting their classroom knowledge to work and providing unique preparation for graduate study or employment in the field.

In addition, the Biology Program is one of a few institutions in the United States that offers a Master of Science Degree in Cancer Biology, Prevention, and Control. Biology masters students have the unique opportunity to work in partnership with expert faculty researchers at the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center to better understand this debilitating disease.

Bachelor’s Degree (BS) in Biology

The Biology Program is located in the Division of Sciences and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Program offers two academic degrees: Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Science in Cancer Biology, Prevention, and Control.  These degrees are designed to enhance scientific knowledge and career potential for individuals preparing to become biologists, biomedical/cancer researchers or health care professionals. The Biology Program places a special emphasis on inquiry-based learning, giving students the opportunity to engage in grant-funded research as-well-as educational experiences in the metropolitan D.C. area. These real-world experiences—including opportunities to attend seminars and conferences, serve as science fair advisors, visit with the leading health care professionals and researchers in the field, and conduct research in a laboratory setting—complement intensive classroom learning.  The Program has the philosophy of providing undergraduate research experiences to all biology majors, enabling them to enroll in competitive advance degree programs and/or pursue specialized career pathways. Additionally, the Biology Program provides opportunities for non-biology majors to take courses in the biological sciences providing them with a broad undergraduate experience.

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Curriculum and Requirements in the UDC Biology Program

The biology program at UDC offers a bachelor of science degree that requires a minimum of 120 credits to graduate. The program is organized around specific knowledge competencies of biology phenomena; tangible skills in research and technology; operation of state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation; ability to collect, analyze, and present scientific information effectively; and apply this information to solving real-world problems. 

Program of Study

Students are also exposed to a variety of different facets of biology, including:

  • Microbiology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Cancer Biology

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Biology Program

The biology program at UDC is one of the most active and engaged on campus. Students have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities, including:

  • The NSF/HBCU-UP funded STEM Center for Research and Development is a valuable resource for biology students and other students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The center offers courses, research experiences, and enrichment activities designed to strengthen students’ academic skills and engagement, and to increase graduation rates.
  • The UDC-CPDR Undergraduate Research Program is funded by the Department of Defense (DOD). This collaborative Program between UDC and the Center for Prostate Disease Research (CPDR) at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences provides summer research opportunities in prostate cancer research and year-long mentoring for UDC students. Additionally, the Program includes didactic training and exposes students to cutting-edge prostate cancer research both at the basic and translational level and prepares students to pursue biomedical careers.
  • The NIH/NIGMS funded Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program’s goal is to increase the number of underrepresented (UR) biomedical and behavioral scientists by providing students with extensive mentoring, concentrated learning activities, intensive research experiences, and adaptive programs to heighten students’ skills beyond their current academic level.
  • Student Organizations:
    • Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society
    • Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society
    • Biology Club
    • National Institute of Science

Faculty Spotlight: UDC Biology Program

Carolyn Cousin, Ph.D., professor and program coordinator for the Masters Degree in Cancer Biology, Prevention, and Control is an experienced cell biologist and parasitologist with a longstanding research interest in the area of schistosomiasis. She has received more than $5 million in grants from the NIH and the Agency for International Development to fund this research. Dr. Cousin has served as the principal investigator of a USDA-funded grant to examine the current perception of African Americans on cancer in the District of Columbia. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her teaching and research, both from within the University and from organizations such as the National Institute of Science, the Washington Post, Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

Career Pathways and Prospects

With a biology degree from UDC, you are prepared to pursue an employment or advanced graduate study in a wide array of rapidly expanding, high-demand fields:

  • Medicine
  • Academics
  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy
  • Veterinary sciences
  • Biomedical researcher
  • Cancer biologist
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Microbiology
  • Health policy
  • Health care administration
  • Teaching
  • Laboratory research

You may also consider UDC’s master’s degree program in Cancer Biology, Prevention and Control, offered in partnership with Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Contact info:

Rosie Sneed, Associate Professor, Program Coordinator

E: rsneed@udc.edu | T: 202.274.6022 | F: 202.274.5776