Get an inside-out look at our natural world

About Biology at Keuka College

What is life? Biology is a lot more than dissecting frogs or looking at slides under a microscope. As a biology student, you’ll gain a practical knowledge of how living things work, from molecules to populations; the know-how to operate scientific equipment; and analytical and problem-solving skills that will stay with you for a lifetime.

A biology degree prepares you for the study of living organisms and offers a wide variety of options for graduates. You can focus your studies, research, and Field Period™ experiences on medicine, genetics, live cells, agriculture, ornithology, ecology, diseases, or microbiology.

Biology Program Highlights

Focus on Careers

With a biology degree, doors are wide-open for careers in veterinary medicine, health-related fields, ecology, microbiology, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and more.

Real-World Experience

Your Field Period™ experiences give you the chance to observe in medical and veterinary settings or work with professional scientists and researchers. These experiences allow you to explore different career paths and gain valuable expertise while you are still in school.

Location

Study the microscopic inhabitants of Keuka lake, battle an invasive species on the outlet trail, photograph Eastern Bluebirds on campus, or analyze wine grape pathogens. Whatever you decide to do, the Finger Lakes provides an ideal environment for students majoring in biology.

Explore Biology

Program Overview

Biology Major

If you choose to major in biology, you’ll choose between a concentration in organismal biology or biomedical studies. Your biology degree will prepare you, through study and hands-on research, for careers or graduate study in biology, biochemistry, ecology, education, medical technology, medicine, microbiology, pharmacology, physical therapy, physiology, plant sciences, public health, veterinary medicine, or scientific research. 

An impressive number of our biology graduates have gone on to to get advanced degrees from veterinary schools, pre-health programs, and research-related graduate programs. 

Biology Minor

No matter which major you choose, a minor in biology will provide you with the ability to analyze the surrounding world by generating and testing hypotheses, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions. The biology minor also provides a useful background in the sciences if you’re interested in pursuing a career in law, health care management, criminal justice, social work, or psychology. 

Faculty

At Keuka College, you’re able to work with published, world-class scientists every day. Here, your professors are eager to teach, work on research projects with you, and share their knowledge. All of Keuka College’s natural science professors hold doctoral degrees from top-tier institutions, including Yale, Cornell, and MIT. 

Faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Digital Learning

Biology might be the study of life, but digital tools, systematic thinking, and data analysis are core skills for success in any biology-related career in the 21st century. As a Keuka College biology student, you’ll not only learn how to use today’s leading digital tools and analyze complex data, but learn to understand the core of these tools and analysis methods. Thanks to your Keuka College education, you won’t fall behind or become obsolete in the field as technology evolves.

Digital tools used in biology classrooms will also help you collaborate with peers, understand how living organisms work at a deeper level, and carry out simulation experiments that model biological processes from the molecular to the population level. For example, biology students and faculty have used digital tools to project the growth of riverbed plants, plot the locations of invasive species on interactive maps, analyze differences in DNA sequences from their own cells, simulate ion flow during nerve impulses, analyze population growth in countries around the world, and analyze the bacterial metagenomics of Keuka Lake.

Global Education

Thanks to Keuka College’s Field Period™, biology students like you have had the chance to explore life across the world. While many students choose to work with scientists or in labs closer to home, some students and faculty have traveled to Africa, Australia, and South America to conduct research projects.

Whether your research interests are in sea turtles, schizophrenia, or anything in between, you’ll have the chance to work with the global scientific community while studying biology at Keuka College.

Research

Undergraduate research opportunities, both on-campus and off, have included development of surfboard polymers, the ecology of birds, studies within a cancer lab, and more.

For example, students and faculty can use PCR (the polymerase chain reaction) to make copies of DNA from a variety of plant, animal, and bacterial sources, then sequence the DNA isolated in the laboratory. This technique can help us understand plant pathogens, figure out what we are really eating, and more. Our students have presented their work at regional and national scientific meetings and have even traveled to Australia to help in one of the world’s leading schizophrenia research laboratories (which happens to be run by a KeukaCollege alumna!).

Facilities

Keuka College is on the shore of Keuka Lake—arguably the prettiest of the Finger Lakes. The College’s Sunset Woods and the nearby Penn Yan Outlet Trail are home to thousands of species of plants and animals, providing an ideal environment for biology students. Ornithology students are able to work in the field, identifying birds native to the area.

You’ll get to study in the Jephson Science Center, where students hang out in the Chiral Center or at the Math Table in between classes and labs. A highlight of the building is that the laboratories weren’t simply designed in collaboration with architects, but by the professors who use and teach in them.

Our students have access to a wide range of instruments, including:

  • Ultraviolet - visible spectrophotometers
  • Sorvall high capacityCentrifuge
  • Opti-sciences Chlorophyll Fluorometer
  • Kodak Gel Imaging and Documentation Systems
  • Bioradgelelectrophoresis and Western-blotting apparatus  
  • High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph
  • Gas Chromatograph - Mass Spectrometer
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer
  • Environmental Chamber and incubators
  • Biosafetycabinet
  • Nikon Compound and Stereo Microscopes with Digital Camera
  • Nikon Inverted Microscope
  • End-point Thermal Cycler
  • Real-time Thermal Cycler

Extracurriculars

Chi Beta Phi, the natural science, math, and psychology honor society, offers students the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and have their scholarly accomplishments recognized.

Biology students have also enhanced their education by participating in a number of projects throughout the campus and the community, including:

  • Kelsey Morgan '15 co-wrote a research study with Dr. William Brown, assistant professor of environmental science and biology, published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.
  • Indigo De Jong '15 was the primary author of a study regarding the effects of DDT on eggshell thickness in Red-shouldered Hawks, published in the Kingbird.
  • Nikki Wilkins '15 was the primary author of a study assessing the accuracy of Eastern Bluebird nestling age estimates, published in the North American Bird Bander.
  • Janelle Davidson '12 was the co-author of a study that examined factors related to the length of stay of dogs in animal shelters, published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Work-Study Jobs and On-Campus Field Period™ Experiences: Many biology students find incredible opportunities on campus. Students have helped to create step-by-step instruction manuals for the latest lab instrumentation technology and have performed detailed testing on new equipment.

In the division’s work study program, students learn the “behind the scenes” for preparing a course lab activity and are given a chance to apply what they learn in the classroom. This can include learning microbiological media preparation and sterile techniques, preparing solutions, maintaining live organisms, learning the operation and maintenance of lab equipment, safe chemical handling, ordering supplies, and providing general assistance in the daily operations of a functioning science division.

You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to experiment and discover as a member of clubs and organizations, including Chemistry Club.

Award Opportunities

James E. White Freshman Biology Award

This award is given to a freshman for outstanding academic performance in the biological sciences.

Hazel Ellis Loomis Award

Awarded to a junior for exceptional academic performance in the biological sciences.

What can you do with this degree?

Thinking about your future career? Here are some sample job titles that people with similar degrees have at organizations around the country.

• Agricultural Research Director
• Geochemical Manager
• Geophysical Manager
• Ocean Program Administrator
• Communication Manager
• Biologist
• Bryologist
• Embryologist
• Osteologist
• Paleobotanist
• Phytopathologist
• Plant Etiologist
• Life Science Taxonomist
• Anatomy Professor
• Bacteriology Professor
• Biochemistry Professor
• Botany Professor
• Embryology Professor
• Microbiology Professor
• Zoology Professor

Demand & Salary Data

Career Group Career Summary Median Annual Wage in 2015sort ascending Predicted Openings Between 2014 and 2024 Change in Demand for These Jobs, 2024 vs. 2014 Education Typically Needed
Natural Sciences Managers

Plan, direct, or coordinate activities in such fields as life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and research and development in these fields.

$120,160 13,300 1,800 Bachelor's degree
Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses in biological sciences. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

$75,320 21,800 10,400 Doctoral or professional degree
Biological Scientists, All Other

All biological scientists not listed separately.

$75,150 9,700 -200 Bachelor's degree
Life Scientists, All Other

All life scientists not listed separately.

$70,550 4,000 800 Bachelor's degree

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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