Virginia Western Community College. Courtesy of the school.

Virginia Western Community College and Radford University are teaming up to support community college students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology.

On May 1, the schools will sign an articulation agreement to offer some VWCC students guaranteed admission to Radford. To be eligible, a VWCC student must complete an associate of science degree with a specialization in biotechnology. They must major in biology at Radford and complete at least half of their requirements for the major there.

“This agreement with Radford is a true two-plus-two agreement that will help our students reach the goal of completing a bachelor’s degree in four years,” said Amy White, dean of Virginia Western’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, in a statement. “By having a clear path of coursework to follow, students can graduate and enter the biotechnology field as it gains momentum in the region.”

The agreement draws attention to both schools as they seek to attract students amid a widespread decline in college enrollment.

Fall 2023 will be the first semester for VWCC’s associate of science degree in science with a specialization in biotechnology. The program is part of VWCC’s push into biotechnology in anticipation of growing regional hiring needs in the region, including for an upcoming biotech incubator in Roanoke. That incubator is part of a collaboration that’s also funding the creation of the two-year degree, which expands on VWCC’s current biotechnology career studies certificate. That one-year certificate has been available since 2015 to prepare students for entry-level jobs in biotechnology, health sciences or scientific research.

Radford’s new president, Bret Danilowicz, said last summer that he wants to increase enrollment by at least 500 on its main campus, about a 45-minute drive from VWCC. He indicated that the articulation agreement may be the first of several between at Radford. 

“This successful articulation agreement is the signal for us to start running together,” he said in a statement. “We plan to add many additional accessible pathways for Virginia Western students and for the entire Virginia Community College System.”

Lisa Rowan.

Lisa Rowan

Lisa Rowan is education reporter for Cardinal News. She can be reached at