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The Inseparable Nature of Biology and Psychology

Oct 5, 2023 | Institution / General, News, University College

OTTERBURNE, MB – While students at Providence currently have the option to complete degrees in either General Biology or Psychology, a new program was launched in September that features a highly interdisciplinary approach. The four-year Bachelor of Science in Biology-Psychology strategically combines courses from both fields, which is the first of its kind at Christian universities across Canada.

Although people often tend to separate mind from body, the relationship between biological systems and mental processes is extremely complex and interconnected. Take, for instance, when an event is “psychosomatic” – in other words, when psychological stress may give rise to an actual physical illness. Or the experience of a “placebo effect,” where a subject might experience a beneficial biological effect because they simply believed a certain treatment to be effective. What takes place in the mind can directly affect the body, and visa versa. In this way, Biology and Psychology as areas of study are a natural pairing, and graduates from this program will be prepared for a host of careers and graduate pursuits in both science and the social sciences.

Paige Heide is currently pursuing a Health Sciences degree: “I have had the opportunity to take a variety of Biology and Psychology courses at Providence and have thoroughly enjoyed the content these provide. These courses have allowed me to grow academically and individually as they have expanded my knowledge regarding the world around me. A degree that combines these two fields of study will surely be a rewarding one.”

Dr. Rebecca Dielschneider and Dr. Morgan Mulenga.

The new program has been spearheaded by Providence’s Associate Professor of Psychology, Dr. Morgan Mulenga, and Associate Professor of Health Sciences, Dr. Rebecca Dielschneider. “From a psychological perspective, someone can try and explain what’s happening,” says Dr. Mulenga, “but you also want to understand a person’s behaviour based on their biological make-up.” Dr. Dielschneider concurs: “So much of psychology is scientific, and if students really want to dive in deeper at the organ and cellular level, then biology helps with that.”

Not unlike the observation that both nature and nurture are involved in human development, the Bio-Psych program at Providence seeks to deliver a comprehensive understanding of how physiology and psychology influence one another. With laboratory and lecture-based classes, formal and informal mentorship opportunities, and highly transferable skills and academic credits, the wholistic approach that the Biology-Psychology major provides is one that will be of great interest to current and prospective students. It also has direct, real-world applications to the experience of trauma, addiction, and various forms of physical and mental illness since health is a product of both genetic and environmental factors.

“Studying Psychology at Providence has provided me with the ability to see the world from a new perspective,” shares student Karly Wiebe. “I value the education I’ve received through the Psychology program and the addition of the Biology-Psychology program at Providence is a new and exciting approach to this field. Studying human behavior with biological reasoning will provide students with the knowledge to pursue a profession they are passionate about.”

Find out more information about a degree in Biology-Psychology on the Program Page.