Majoring in Biology

Biology Certificate


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.

Research opportunities

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:

  • Marine Biologist, Biscayne National Park
  • Molecular Biologist, Broad Institute
  • Pediatrician, Friendly Medical Group
  • Clinical Research Coordinator, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Environmental Planning Supervisor, City of Boulder
  • Director CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology, San Francisco State University
  • Fishery Biologist, Northeast Fishers Center
  • Engineer, Seagate Technologies
  • Veterinary Technician, Borash Veterinary Clinic
  • Research Assistant I Lab Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
  • Ecologist, Natural Resources Conservation
  • Environmental Scientist, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
  • Oceanographer, U.S. Dept. of the Interior
  • Biology Teacher, Hampshire Regional High School
  • Cardiac Registered Nurse, Cape Cod Hospital
  • Physician Assistant, Saint Francis Hospital
  • National Accounts Manager, Macmillan/ McGraw-Hill
  • Dentist
  • Instrument Specialist, Oceanographic Research
  • ER Resident, NYU/ Bellevue Hospital Center


Robert A. Askins, Katharine Blunt Professor of Biology Robert A. Askins, Katharine Blunt Professor of Biology

Robert A. Askins, Katharine Blunt Professor of Biology
Ecology, ornithology • Impact of forest fragmentation on natural communities • Ecology of early successional birds • Conservation biology

Phillip Barnes, Associate Professor of Biology Phillip Barnes, Associate Professor of Biology

Phillip Barnes, Associate Professor of Biology
Genetics • Evolution of complex quantitative traits • Insect flight

Anne Bernhard, Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Biology Department Anne Bernhard, Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Biology Department

Anne Bernhard, Associate Professor of Biology, Chair of the Biology Department
Microbial ecology of estuaries and salt marshes • Community ecology and population dynamics of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria

Deborah Eastman, Associate Professor of Biology Deborah Eastman, Associate Professor of Biology

Deborah Eastman, Associate Professor of Biology
Developmental biology • Molecular biology • Genetics • Microbiology

Martha J. Grossel, Professor of Biology Martha J. Grossel, Professor of Biology

Martha J. Grossel, Professor of Biology
Molecular biology • Cell biology • Cancer and the cell cycle • Cell cycle regulation

Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments

Kristine J. Hardeman, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Departments
Molecular biology • Genetics • Plant biotechnology

Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology

Stephen Loomis, Jean C. Tempel '65 Professor of Biology  (On sabbatical Spring 2015)
Comparative biochemistry and physiology • Invertebrate stress physiology • Marine biology • Tropical biology

Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany

Sardha Suriyapperuma, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Botany
Molecular biology • Plant and cell biology • Microarray • Genomics and linkage mapping • Plant-microbe interactions

Stephen Winters-Hilt, Visiting Associate Professor Stephen Winters-Hilt, Visiting Associate Professor

Stephen Winters-Hilt, Visiting Associate Professor
Bioinformatics • Machine learning • Genome analysis • Signal processing • Pattern recognition • Nanopore detector cheminformatics

Student profile

Mary Buchanan Mary Buchanan


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.

Selected courses

  • Cell Biology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Development
  • Marine Ecology
  • Freshwater Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • 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


Student research

Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Nitrogen-Cycling Microorganisms in Louisiana Salt Marshes
By: Khushbu Pandya '16
Advising Faculty: Anne Bernhard

Behavioral Genetic Analysis of Activity Level Differences Between Two Laboratory Populations of Drosophila melanogaster
By: Corinne Kraemer '15
Advising Faculty: Phillip Barnes

Morphometric Analysis of Wing Size and Shape in Two Sibling Species, Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans
By: Jocelyn Reaves '15
Advising Faculty: Phillip Barnes


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