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Biology

The Study of Biology

Modern biology is the study of life at all levels of organization, from ecosystems down to molecules. Biology majors at Susquehanna gain an understanding of the basic principles that unify all living organisms and learn to appreciate the diversity of life in its many forms. They are also exposed to active biological research through a variety of electives and opportunities for collaborative work with faculty.

Honors in Biology. The departmental honors program encourages and recognizes superior academic performance in biology.

To graduate with departmental honors, biology majors must request entry to the program, or be nominated for entry to the program by a member of the biology faculty, by the beginning of the senior year.

Candidates for Academic Honors must:

  • maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and a GPA of 3.5 in major courses to qualify for Academic Honors, and
  • successfully complete Student Research I and II (BIOL:510 and BIOL:511) and earn a grade of B- or better in these courses.
Candidates for Research Honors must:
  • be nominated by a member of the biology faculty by midterm of the Student Research II (BIOL:511)
  • submit an acceptable research thesis based upon two semesters of Student Research (BIOL:510 and BIOL:511), and
  • pass an oral comprehensive examination of their thesis in their final semester.
Secondary Teaching Certification is available to biology majors who also fulfill additional Department of Education requirements. These include student teaching during the senior year. Please note that the completion of a biology degree with secondary education within four years requires immediate attention to the courses required. For further information on requirements, see the Department of Education section of the catalog.

Internships. The department strongly recommends internships for biology majors. Opportunities are typically in the junior or senior years. They include laboratory and/or field research at various locations. Another option is internships with professionals in the health or allied health fields. Some majors work with and observe specialists in the diverse medical fields through internships with a local hospital.

Off-Campus Study. The department encourages students to study abroad. Typically, study abroad occurs during the student’s junior year but he/she should begin planning during the freshman year for an optimum experience. Majors may choose to take college science courses in foreign countries. There are also special opportunities for courses or research at colleges, universities or research institutions in the United States. Opportunities for short-term overseas study may also be available.

Ecology Research Facilities. The Department of Biology operates the George A. Hepner Ecology Laboratory at Camp Karoondinha. It provides a modern research laboratory and a variety of habitats offering students experience through short- and long-term experiments. The property features more than 600 acres from 600 to 1,800 feet above sea level. It includes both deciduous and mixed coniferous forests, an eight-acre lake, Penn’s Creek, and small streams. In addition, a 20-acre site close to the campus is available for ecological research. Further information on these facilities and opportunities are available from the department head.



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