Natural Sciences

Biology

Bachelor of Arts in Biology

Overview

Biologists study the living world and attempt to understand the nature of life itself in all of its complexity. At the Mount, we believe that developing the knowledge and understanding requires a liberal arts education with a broad exposure to science.

Biology is a dynamic area of study encompassing a variety of life science courses in the areas of microbiology, genetics, ecology, cell, molecular, and organismal biology. The life sciences require an understanding of concepts in mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

The biology major is interdisciplinary in nature. The curriculum meets recently defined competencies and prepares students for entry into health-related and other graduate programs.

A need for science educators
There is, currently, a great need for science teachers both in high school and at the elementary level as science specialists. Students interested in pursuing teaching as a career should consult the Division of Education for details about courses needed to obtain certification in New York State. A 5-year program leading to a bachelor of arts in biology and a master of science in adolescent education with certification to teach in New York State is also available to Mount students.

Biology at the Mount

There are many advantages to studying biology at Mount Saint Mary College:

Opportunities outside of the classroom. You could be a student rep at division meetings, an officer in the biology and chemistry honor societies, or participate with the American Chemical Society student affiliate chapter on campus. Students organize speakers, museum tours, hiking trips, campus activities like faculty vs. student quiz bowl, and science night for elementary school students. You’ll get involved in things you enjoy, meet new people, interact with the faculty, and develop your leadership skills.

A strong peer group. Biology majors quickly become a part of the science community at the Mount. Students who have majors within the Division of Natural Science take their math and science classes together and quickly form study groups. 

Peer tutoring. Science majors serve as peer tutors, and all students have the opportunity to get support for their learning efforts. Tutoring can provide you with income, but it will also help you to build your resume and strengthen your knowledge base. 

Research. All full time faculty members have PhD degrees in different fields and can offer you the opportunity to develop a research project. This will make an impression on graduate schools and future employers, giving you an edge when you move on from your studies at the Mount. 

Learning science as a process. Many of our laboratory courses use inquiry-based collaborative learning to introduce students to the process of science and research. 

Mentoring. All science students are assigned a full-time faculty advisor to help you explore career options, plan your course schedule and follow your academic progress. New freshmen are assigned a “science sibling” before coming to campus so that they have the opportunity to ask questions of an upperclassman student to student.

Program requirements 

A biology major must attain a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) in biology courses of 1.7 by the end of the freshman year, and 2.0 by the end of the sophomore year and each succeeding semester. A student who does not maintain the minimum GPA in biology will be asked to withdraw as a biology major.

Where Mount students have interned

  • Wadsworth Center, state health laboratory at Albany
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships
  • Gateway to Dentistry Program, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
  • The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Minority Student Summer Research Opportunity
  • The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Health Experience Learning Program in speech language pathology
  • Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom
  • SUNY College of Optometry Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program
  • University of Tennessee, Memphis Immunology Laboratory
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Microbiology Laboratory
  • Syracuse University Department of Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
  • West Point Forestry Technician

Career Options

Students pursuing a major in biology have many career paths available to them. In addition to the traditional careers in medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry, many allied health professions begin with a major in biology. Optometry, podiatry, chiropractic, medical technology, cytotechnology, physical therapy and careers as physicians’ assistants all have biology as their foundation.

Outside of the health professions there are many varied careers that include: zookeepers, museum curators, science writers, agricultural specialists, environmental consultants, genetics councilors, nutritionists, and forensic specialists to name just a few.

Students who wish to develop expertise in a sub-discipline of biology, such as physiology, microbiology, immunology, ecology, etc. attend graduate school, working toward either a master of science degree (MS) or a doctor of philosophy (PhD). Those trained as research scientists often build careers in academia or in industry.

Career Outlook

The New York State Department of Labor predicts the employment prospects for persons with a bachelor’s degree in biology to be “very favorable” through 2014. 

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