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Nicholas Boatwright

What’s a third-year biology major doing dressing wounds and teaching hygiene to homeless children in Senegal? In the case of Nicholas Boatwright, he’s gaining experience in public health and laying the groundwork for a rewarding career in that field.

Wait a minute. Africa? Working with homeless children? That doesn’t sound like biology. Welcome to the College of Charleston, where our students enjoy amazing flexibility in their academic options along with tremendous support from faculty. Want to go to medical school? We’ll prepare you for that. Want to work in environmental management, aquaculture or genetics? This major can set you up for all those areas – and more.

For Nicholas, majoring in biology has been an adventure. He started with an interest in pre-med, but over time, that changed completely. “In a freshman class we studied blood boosting in sports. We looked at different ways of increasing the oxygen content in a person’s blood to enhance athletic performance, which was cool because we learned about the physiological mechanisms behind the process. And that was shortly after the Tour de France in a year when blood boosting was in the news a lot.”

He earned a Rotary Scholarship that took him to northern Senegal for a full semester. “It was an amazing experience and I’d love to go back. I worked with kids in the street and lived with a wonderful family of 20 people and learned so much.”

He also spent a month studying mollusks on a beach in Costa Rica, a month touring rural South Carolina to learn about native plant species and a full summer as a lab assistant working in drug research. Of course Nicholas had to tackle the required courses as well: physics, organic chemistry and calculus. But ultimately, the broad range of academic experiences in the biology major led him to focus on botany and the pivotal relationship it has to public health in a number of cultures.

“That’s one of the great things about this major and this department. It’s a broad field that gives you so many choices, and at the College, you don’t have to specialize unless you want to.”

Program Information

Biology majors at the College of Charleston receive excellent preparation for advanced studies, as well as a strong background for rewarding careers in fields as diverse as forestry, land-use planning, medical research, pollution control and education. Our students benefit from working with talented and dedicated professors who make up one of the largest and most academically diverse biology departments in South Carolina.


  • Roughly 100 biology and marine biology students conduct hands-on research each year.
  • All biology majors can take courses at the College’s Grice Marine Laboratory.
  • A full-time advisor for health-related professions consults with students throughout the year.


  • Our courses offer hands-on experience in natural habitats throughout the Lowcountry and around the world.
  • You can add a minor in neuroscience or environmental studies.
  • You can concentrate in molecular biology or in teaching biology.
  • The department offers paid research internships during the summer.