2019 Departmental Newsletter

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We offer students an excellent foundation in biology as well as a broad education in the liberal arts. In addition to diverse course offerings for majors and non-majors alike, the Department of Biology at Ithaca College is distinguished by collaborative student-faculty research, extensive extramural activities, and challenging laboratory and fieldwork experiences.

Cooperation in Learning

There is a strong sense of community in our department. Once students finish their freshman year, classes in biology tend to be small; some upper-level courses have fewer than 10 students. Laboratory sections in all courses are limited to 20 students and are taught by biology faculty. Students also work together on class projects; the overall attitude is one of cooperation. Regular meetings with instructors and faculty advisers help students understand challenging course material as well as allow for open discussion of courses prior to registration, and consideration of academic options leading to clear career goals.

Collaborative Research

All biology students carry out at least one semester of research under the supervision of a faculty member. Research efforts often result in publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presentations at professional scientific meetings, including the highly competitive National Conference on Undergraduate Research. During the summer biology students can do research in the department or at field sites in central New York, Alaska, and Canada.

Student Involvement

Student involvement in the department is strongly encouraged. The department offers engaging, weekly seminars by distinguished scientists, including alumni. Afterwards students may meet with the speaker to discuss professional and graduate school opportunities. In addition, student research is featured, culminating each term in a junior research symposium. Biology club members are responsible for a range of activities, and students have the option to join the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society (Tri-Beta). Involvement = achievements.


In our state-of-the-art science building we have the facilities to support sophisticated experiments in teaching labs. Faculty in the biology department have competed successfully for federal funding that has allowed for the purchase of equipment normally available only to graduate students and faculty at large research institutions. See "Facilities" for more information.

Success of our Students

Graduates of the biology program at Ithaca College have a distinguished record of success. Seventy-five percent of them complete graduate school or post-baccalaureate training in health science fields. Our biology students have been accepted into programs at Princeton, Harvard, Cornell, Scripps, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, and institutions of similar stature. Recent graduates have received fellowship awards to attend graduate school.

Many of our graduates also go on to medical school, dental school, veterinary school, optometry school, and other health degree programs.  In recent years, for example, students have entered programs at Duke University Medical School, Upstate Medical School, University of Rochester Medical School, University of Wisconsin Medical School, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Jefferson Medical School, Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, and Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Interdisciplinary Programs

The department supports a host of interdisciplinary programs and initiatives geared toward the academic and professional development of students. These include a biochemistry program offered in conjunction with the chemistry department, environmental studies and sciences, teacher education (grades 7-12), a neuroscience minor, and advising for premedical science. We also encourage our students to take advantage of study-abroad programs administered through the Office of International Programs. For students interested in marine biology, we have affiliations with the Duke University marine lab and the Sea Education Association.

Sustainability Initiative

The department has also taken a lead in the College's sustainability initiative, studying how human and natural ecosystems interact and how the impact of a swelling population on the planet's resources can be managed in a sound ecological and economic fashion. Members of the biology faculty are active on the College's Natural Areas Stewardship Committee.

For More Information

Do you have questions about a major in biology or biochemistry? Please feel free to contact us. If you are making a visit to campus please ask about the Person-to-Person program (Office of Admissions 800-429-4274). They can arrange for you to have a personalized tour of our facilities with a biology faculty member.