Main Menu


SWCC Science & Math Department

The beauty of the biological science major is its flexibility!

Selecting a field of study is different from selecting a career.  The field of biology opens up the possibility of many exciting career opportunities.  It all can start at SWCC with an Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree in Science. After completion of the two year basic science degree, students transfer to a four year school.

Students declare a biology major their junior year which will be the first year at the four year school, where students will have a number of different biology courses to choose from to continue their studies in biology.  At the transfer institution students will be assigned an adviser who will guide them to the coursework in biology and other courses needed to successfully complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology.

Biology Professors and Advisors

Georgia Householder,, Science advisor pre-medical specialization which includes pre-pharmacy

Jason Osborne,, Science advisor

Kevin Stilwell,, Science advisor

Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program Provides Biomedical Research Experience

Three SWCC students are conducting scientific research at Virginia Tech this summer.  The students, Grace Carey of Tazewell, Sydney Charles of Grundy and Brandi Thomas of Jewell Ridge, were selected to the prestigious Bridges to the Baccalaureate paid summer research program.

bridges to baccalaureateThrough a partnership with Virginia Tech, SWCC students have a unique opportunity to acquire valuable lab skills and research experience as undergraduates in the Bridges to the Baccalaureate (B2B) Program.  After successfully navigating through a highly competitive selection process, Charles and Thomas were accepted to the B2B program and invited to conduct research at Virginia Tech for 10 weeks this summer.  The Bridges to the Baccalaureate program (B2B) at Virginia Tech provides participants the opportunity to participate in biomedical research with faculty mentors.  Charles is currently conducting research in the lab of Dr. Deborah Good and Thomas is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Ann Stevens.

Grace Carey was selected to the Multicultural Academic Opportunities program (MAOP) Summer Research Internship (SRI) and is conducting research in the lab of Dr. Mark Williams.  The MAOP-SRI is also a 10-week paid research position that enables students to work closely with a faculty mentor and to design, conduct and present scholarly research.

The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is funded by the National Institutes of Health and aims to increase the number of underrepresented students who successfully complete a baccalaureate degree in a variety of majors related to biomedical and behavioral sciences.  Virginia Tech’s B2B program partners with Southwest Virginia Community College and two other Virginia community colleges to reach underrepresented students who are interested in academic majors and careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences and who aspire to transfer to a 4-year institution. 

Applications for the upcoming 2018 B2B Summer Research Program will be available to SWCC students late in the fall semester.  For more information on the SWCC – Virginia Tech B2B program or a career in science contact Jason Osborne at  or Kevin Stilwell at



Course formats are varied – hybrid, in class and online.
See Biology Course Descriptions

 Why major in Biology?

Biology explores the structure, function and evolution of diverse living systems. It addresses some of the most important issues of today. Some of these biology issues are genetic engineering, stem cell research, obesity, cancer and effects of global warming. The biology major will allow you to pursue various exciting careers. Some of these careers include those in health care, education, research, pharmaceutical sales, law, genetic counseling, medical illustration, textbook development. As you review the list below you will see the possibilities with a biology degree are nearly endless and only limited by your imagination.

biology How to get started

To get started on your degree in science at SWCC you must be ready to enroll in MTH 163 or MTH 271. Another important class for science majors is general chemistry. To take general chemistry the student must take MTH 163 prior to enrolling in it or enroll in MTH 163 and CHM 111 together. To enroll in these classes math scores must be available to the college and your advisor.

Review additional information and practice tests for  the VPT Math placement test.

Make an appointment with your advisor and keep the appointment. Students can contact science advisors by email (see Biology Professors and Advisors ). Your advisor will make sure you are started on the right track. This is the most important step you can take in getting started.

biology Career options in biology and associated careers.

To find out the what, how and pay of careers listed below use the occupational Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook Handbook

*A teaching certificate with a BS degree is needed for teaching at the elementary school through high school levels.

  • Agricultural Microbiologist
  • Agronomist
  • Animal Care Salesperson
  • Animal Scientist
  • Aqua Culturist
  • Aquaculture Farmer
  • Aquarium & Museum Worker
  • Aquarium Technician
  • Aquatic Biologist
  • Association Staff Writer
  • Barrier Beach Manager
  • Biochemist
  • Bio-Engineer
  • Bioethicist
  • Biological Photographer
  • Biometrician
  • Bioreclamation
  • Bioremediation
  • Biostatistician
  • Bio-Technologist
  • Biotechnology Specialist
  • Botanist
  • Brewery Laboratory Assistant
  • Chemical Company Sales Representative
  • Chemical Oceanographer
  • Chiropractor
  • Clinical Microbiologist
  • Coastal Resources Worker
  • College Instructor
  • Commercial Fishing Engineer
  • Commercial Inland Water Transportation Worker
  • Coroner
  • Criminologist
  • Dentist
  • Dietitian
  • Doctor
  • Drug Inspector
  • Ecologist
  • Educational TV Producer
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental EngineerEnvironmental Health Specialist
  • Environmental Protection Worker
  • Ergonomist
  • Fish Hatchery Technician
  • Fish Processor
  • Fisheries Conservationist
  • Fishing Captain
  • Florist
  • Food Scientist/Technologist
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Forester
  • Game Warden
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic Engineering Research
  • Genetic Researcher
  • Geographer
  • Green House Technician
  • Health Officer
  • High-School Teacher
  • Horticulturist
  • Hospital Administrator
  • Human Genome Project
  • Hydrographic Survey Technician
  • Immunologist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Industrial Marine Economist
  • Insurance Claims Examiner
  • Lab Technician
  • Limnlogical Technician
  • Marine & Coastal Consultant
  • Marine Biologist
  • Marine Engineering Technician
  • Marine Fisheries/Worker
  • Marine Geologist/Geophysicist
  • Marine Salesperson
  • Marine Tourist Worker
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Medical Lab Technician
  • Medical Librarian
  • Medical or Environmental Lawyer
  • Medical Technologist
  • Medicare Claim Examiner
  • Merchant Marine
  • Meteorologist
  • Microbial Ecology
  • Microbial Genetics
  • Microbial Physiologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Mining & Petroleum Industry
  • Molecular Biologist
  • Mortician
  • Museum Worker
  • Museum/Aquarium Administrator
  • Mycologist
  • Neurobiologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Paramedic
  • Park Manager
  • Parasitologist
  • Peace Corps Volunteer
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Physical Therapist
  • Plant Buyer
  • Plant Physiologist
  • Plant Quarantine Officer Plant Specialist
  • Podiatrist
  • Pollution Control Specialist
  • Population Planner
  • Port & Harbor Facilities Director
  • Public Health Worker
  • Quality Control Specialist
  • Research Technician
  • Researcher
  • Salt Marsh Manager
  • Science Laboratory Technician
  • Science Librarian
  • Science Teacher
  • Science Writer/Illustrator
  • Seafood Processor/Researcher
  • Soil Conservationist
  • Soil Specialist
  • Sport Fisher
  • State Health Department Official
  • State Park & Recreation Director
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technical Writer
  • Test & Inspection Technician
  • Textbook Salesperson
  • Tissue Culture Specialist
  • Toxicologist
  • U.S. Forest Service Employee
  • Underwater Technician
  • Vaccine Developer
  • Veterinarian
  • Virologist
  • Water Quality Technician
  • Water Transport Worker
  • Wholesale Florist Purchaser
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Wildlife Refugee Manager
  • Wildlife Resources Worker
  • Zoo Keeper/Curator
  • Zoological Researcher
  • Zoologist