(January 24, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

BA in Biology picks up steam; offers greater flexibility for students

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Sophomore Kendall Hughes has varied interests when it comes to her academic future. On one hand she loves biology. On the other, she feels a calling to Religious studies.

With the newest program at Centenary College, she can have the best of both worlds.

Biology major

At the beginning of this academic year, Hughes decided to change her major from the BS in biology to the BA, a program that since its creation this year has attracted more than a dozen students.

"I was interested in switching my major at one point before I found out that this program would be implemented," said Hughes. "It gives me the flexibility to explore other academic pursuits without compromising my passion for science.""

The College began offering the degree in the fall as an alternative for students going into a medical career that did require such an extensive background in physics and chemistry, such as physician assistants, physical therapists or those interested in environmental issues.

"This program really serves the students as far as what they want to do in their post-college career, especially if they are looking at going into the health care profession," said Dr. Cynthia Brame, associate professor of biology and Chair of the biology department. "We have a lot of students who are interested in science and biology, but just don't need the in-depth preparation that the BS in biology requires. The BA is perfect for these students because it gives them solid grounding in chemistry and strong training in biology. This program is really tailored to the needs of the students."

Typically, a student seeking a BS degree in biology can expect to take 16 hours of chemistry, eight hours of physics, eight hours of upper-level mathematics and 34 hours of biology. Students enrolled in the BA program will still have a strong grounding in biology, taking 32 hours, but won't have as many supportive requirements. This means that the student will only have to take eight hours of chemistry, no physics and the math requirements will be less stringent.

Julie Hughes, a sophomore from Allen, Texas, also likes the flexibility the program offers, especially since she is planning to apply to physical therapy school after graduation.

"This new degree program fits perfectly with all my goals," said Julie. "It fulfills all the requirements I need to be able to apply to PA school. This along with a great faculty drew me to the program."

Kendall Hughes agrees, saying that the new program fits her goals because of the exploration aspect, taking a more liberal approach to the sciences.

"I love that you can take certain tracks within the BA program," said Kendall. "I love it that it allows greater flexibility and that there are not many outside courses required. Because of that greater flexibility I get to explore how religion and biology intersect. The advantage of the BA for me is the opportunity to double major in both."

For those not sure which program is right for them, students can walk down the second floor of Mickle Hall and read the information boards that line the corridor. They will be able to read about research opportunities, preparing for health care professions, the BA and BS in biology degree program and requirements, and the BS in neuroscience.

"We want to make sure that our students have as much information as they need to make an informed decision about whatever program they decide to go into," added Dr. Brame. "Again, this is just another way for us to be responsive to the needs of our students."

For more information on the biology department and the programs offered, visit http://www.centenary.edu/biology.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.