Degree Offered

  • Associate of Arts

Nature of Program

The associates program in biology is intended to provide students with a core foundation in biology, chemistry and math so they can be successful in a bachelor degree program. While there is only one associate degree program in biology, students planning to enter a bachelor degree program may choose to receive either a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts in biology. The bachelor programs vary predominately in their foreign language and math requirements. If pursuing a bachelor of arts degree, six credit-hours of a foreign language at the intermediate level are required. If pursuing a bachelor of science degree, foreign language is not required. Students should discuss the differences with their academic advisor. 

The associate degree program provides the initial four-semester core sequence in the biological sciences required to complete a bachelor program in biology at West Virginia University. Students planning to enter a bachelor program at another institution should determine the transfer equivalencies for the courses offered at Potomac State College of WVU and the institution they plan to attend following completion of the associate degree program.

Career Opportunities

An associate degree followed by a bachelor degree in biology provides excellent preparation for students planning to apply to graduate programs in the biological sciences or to professional schools/programs, such as medical, osteopathic, dental, physical or occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, and chiropractic.  In addition, a bachelor degree in biology prepares students for a variety of careers including medicine, biotechnology, genetics, forensics, ecology, environmental biology, and other biologically-related technical fields in government and private industry.  Furthermore, with the appropriate electives, a student with a bachelor degree in biology may also choose to enter the fields of law, journalism, education, business, health care administration, pharmaceutical sales, or work for a variety of federal agencies. Due to the variety of careers and opportunities available with a degree in biology, students should discuss their interests with their academic advisor, who can help advise them in selecting appropriate elective courses.

General Education FOUNDATIONS

Please use this link to view a list of courses that meet each GEF requirement.

NOTE: Some major requirements will fulfill specific GEF requirements. Please see the curriculum requirements listed below for details on which GEFs you will need to select.

General Education Foundations
F1 - Composition & Rhetoric3-6
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research
Accelerated Academic Writing
F2A/F2B - Science & Technology4-6
F3 - Math & Quantitative Skills3-4
F4 - Society & Connections3
F5 - Human Inquiry & the Past3
F6 - The Arts & Creativity3
F7 - Global Studies & Diversity3
F8 - Focus (may be satisfied by completion of a minor, double major, or dual degree)9
Total Hours31-37

Please note that not all of the GEF courses are offered at all campuses. Students should consult with their advisor or academic department regarding the GEF course offerings available at their campus.

A GPA of 2.0 in Biology course work is required for graduation.
GEF Requirements (4, 5, or 6)6
ENGL 101
ENGL 102
Introduction to Composition and Rhetoric
and Composition, Rhetoric, and Research (GEF 1)
BIOL 115Principles of Biology (GEF 2 - Minimum grade of C-)4
BIOL 117Introductory Physiology (GEF 8 - Minimum grade of C-)4
BIOL 219The Living Cell4
BIOL 221Ecology and Evolution3
CHEM 115Fundamentals of Chemistry (GEF 8)4
CHEM 116Fundamentals of Chemistry (GEF 8)4
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 234
CHEM 236
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
WVUE 191First Year Seminar1
Tracks (Select one of the following):15
BA Track
Applied Calculus (GEF 3)
Foreign Language (12 credit hours required)
BS Track
Calculus 1 (GEF 3)
Elementary Statistical Inference
Introductory Physics
Introductory Physics
Total Hours60

Suggested Plan of Study (BA Track)

First Year
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)4BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
MATH 150 (GEF 3)3CHEM 116 (GEF 8)4
WVUE 1911Foreign Language3
Foreign Language3Elective1
 15 15
Second Year
ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3BIOL 2213
BIOL 2194CHEM 234
CHEM 236
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4GEF Elective (4, 5, or 6)3
Foreign Language or Elective3GEF Elective (4, 5, or 6)3
 Foreign Language or Elective3
 14 16
Total credit hours: 60

Suggested Plan of Study (BS Track)

First Year
ENGL 101 (GEF 1)3ENGL 102 (GEF 1)3
BIOL 115 (GEF 2)4BIOL 117 (GEF 8)4
CHEM 115 (GEF 8)4CHEM 116 (GEF 8)4
MATH 155 (GEF 3)4STAT 2113
WVUE 1911WVUE 293 (Exploring Health Careers or General Elective)1
 16 15
Second Year
BIOL 2194BIOL 2213
CHEM 233
CHEM 235
4CHEM 234
CHEM 236
PHYS 1014PHYS 1024
GEF Elective (4, 5, 6)3GEF Elective (4, 5, 6)3
 15 14
Total credit hours: 60

Major Learning Goals


Upon completion of the associates in biology program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how information is stored, processed and used within cells and organisms.
  2. Analyze how organisms obtain and process energy and matter.
  3. Explain the primary forces of evolution, including how these forces lead to genetic differentiation and speciation.
  4. Describe how biological structures dictate their function.
  5. Explain how organisms, populations, communities and ecosystems are structured and function. 
  6. Transfer into a bachelor degree program in biology.



  • Vicki Huffman - Ph.D. Biomedical Science

Assistant professors

  • Erin Cunningham - M.S. Biology
  • Sheri Chisholm - Ph.D. Institutional Leadership and Biology Education


  • Gerald Wilcox - Ph.D. Biology