Degree: Bachelor of Science
The hand-on laboratory experience, making discoveries through research and gaining a global perspective in a constantly evolving field are some of the hallmarks of the biological sciences at Union.
Compared to colleges of similar size, the range of courses offered at Union is exceptional – cell and molecular biology, neurobiology, bioengineering, plant and animal organismal biology, environmental biology, developmental biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology, to name a few. Consequently, our students are able to explore their interests and aptitudes in many different areas.
Our common curriculum courses range from "Understanding Cancer" to "Food and Health in the 21st Century" to a field course combining supervised observation and service learning experiences in various health care settings with on-campus seminars. Biology is central to numerous interdisciplinary programs: biochemistry, biomedical engineering, environmental science and policy, and neuroscience.
Union's equipment and research laboratories are first-rate. Many biology faculty research labs are housed in the Peter Irving Wold Center, Bioengineering Center or Center for Neuroscience. Our undergraduates have access to such advanced instruments as a laser confocal microscope, video-microscopy workstations with digital image processing and microinjection capabilities, PCR workstations and much more.
An NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant has enabled the College to acquire a continuous flow Delta V Plus isotope ratio mass spectrometer and supplemental components to support interdisciplinary research and undergraduate student research training.
Many students carry out independent research under direct faculty supervision, which leads also to participation in Union’s annual Steinmetz Research Symposium and national scientific meetings, as well as to publication as co-authors in scientific and professional journals.
Our accomplished faculty have received research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and other prestigious foundations.
In addition, Union's proximity to the Adirondacks, Albany Pine Bush, Mohawk and Hudson rivers, and many natural lakes offers innumerable field research opportunities.
As a biological sciences major, you will find that your classroom, laboratory and close working relationship with our faculty will provide a solid foundation for success in graduate and professional schools and in any number of careers, including medicine, biotechnology, veterinary science, dentistry, research science, environmental conservation and public policy.
Explores biodiversity through the lens of ecology, evolution and heredity. Topics include the history of life on earth, evolutionary change, Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, genetic recombination and human ecological impacts.
Comparative analysis of vertebrate structure with emphasis on evolution and function. One lab per week.
A cross-section of common themes found in fine arts and biology, using art as a way of exploring science. The course will culminate in an exhibition of artwork with corresponding texts by the student artists describing the connection between art and science.
Nancy Miorelli '11 did research in Albany’s Pine Bush Preserve. She went on to get a master’s degree in entomology and worked as a science communicator at the Maquipucuna Ecolodge and Reserve in Ecuador, where she led night walks and other programs for tourists and children that highlighted the role of insects in the ecosystem.
"Union has given me opportunities to grow intellectually and also the tools and confidence to prepare for anything that may pop up in life. This includes applying to medical school when I return from a fellowship to South Africa.”
- Randi Broadwell '18