Majoring in Biology
Coursework, facilities and research opportunities will prepare you for the most competitive graduate schools, professional schools and science-related jobs. Almost every course has a hands-on lab. Our location in coastal New England gives you access to estuaries and salt marshes and the ability to interact with industry scientists at nearby research facilities. Areas of faculty-student research include cell and molecular biology, genetics and evolution, developmental biology, ecology and physiology. Major supporters of this research include the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. You are encouraged to work with one of your professors on an independent research project, and many students publish papers with faculty in peer-reviewed journals and present research at conferences.
Many students have summer research internships with their professors; some take a semester to study at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Recent student projects have included mapping genes that affect flight in fruit flies, studying bacteria in a salt marsh, analyzing genes using bioinformatics, tracking the nesting of birds along power line corridors and creating an interactive database of lakes and ponds. Students in "Tropical Biology" travel with their professors to Belize over spring break for research. The "Frontiers in Molecular Biology" class visits the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.
We offer hands-on experience with electron and fluorescent microscopes, digital image analysis, cell culture and real-time polymerase chain reaction in our well-equipped labs. They are complemented by an equally impressive living laboratory — the College's 750-acre Arboretum — and the resources of our interdisciplinary Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment.
What can you do with a majorcertificate in Biology?
Here are some of the positions our graduates have gone on to hold:
Q: Why biology?
A: I have always been very interested in animals and the environment, so fields like conservation biology fascinate me.
Q: What is it like to study science at Connecticut College?
A: The faculty are wonderful – I've liked every single science professor I've had so far. I also really appreciate the chance to connect my academics to the local ecosystems by studying the botany of southeastern Connecticut and using the College's arboretum during labs.
Q: What types of independent or faculty-led research have you done?
A: Last summer, I worked with a professor and another student doing ornithology research in the Arboretum. We conducted bird surveys, continuing a study that has been in progress since the 1950s. We also monitored nests of Eastern Bluebirds and Chimney Swifts around campus. There were a lot of mornings when I was up before 5 a.m. It was a great introduction to real fieldwork.
Q: What has been your most rewarding class?
A: My most rewarding class has probably been "Conservation Biology." I loved the opportunity to learn about conservation issues in the modern world and the ecological concepts that lie beneath them.
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Development
- Marine Ecology
- Freshwater Ecology
- Molecular Biology
- Electron Microscopy
- Neurobiology of Disease
- Frontiers in Molecular Biology
- Molecular Basis of Cancer
- Conservation Biology and Genetics
- Biochemical and Molecular Evolution
- Stem Cells and Cell Signaling