Biology in 10...

1. Where some of our graduates are working today:

Genetics and Molecular Biology

Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Trudeau Institute, Jackson Laboratories, Alkermes Biotech Company

Biological or Chemical Research Labs

Harvard Medical School, Brandeis University, MIT, Eltron Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Children’s Hospital

Environmental Consulting and Conservation

Severn Trent Laboratories, Aquatec Biological Services, Endyne, Wildlife Conservation Society, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

Pharmaceutical Labs

Amgen, Mylan, Pfizer, Bertex

2. Acceptance rates to professional schools and post-graduate programs:

Medical, dental, veterinary schools - 92% acceptance rate

Schools include Dartmouth Medical School, Laval University, University of Vermont, SUNY Buffalo, Tufts University, University of Pennsylvania, New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Dublin.

Master's and Ph.D. programs - 91% acceptance rate

Schools include Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, McGill University, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Massachusetts-Medical Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University and Colorado State University.

3. Internship Opportunities

Internships can be a great way to help build valuable experience for potential jobs and education. There are several internship sites available, including positions related to human health (Vermont Health Department, the Vermont State Medical Examiner’s Office); natural resources (the local office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service); environmental education (Shelburne Farms, ECHO); and medical research (University of Vermont College of Medicine).

4. Research Opportunities

Our biology faculty have a broad range of research interests, including aquatic biology, animal behavior, ecology, genetics, molecular biology, evolution, developmental biology, and biology education. Our faculty are active researchers who have received major (National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health) competitive grant awards.

There are many opportunities for students to do research with faculty during the academic year or in the summers. Student researchers have been co-authors on professional publications and have presented their work at conferences locally, nationally and internationally:

  • Lake Champlain Research Consortium
  • Vermont Genetics Network
  • Posters on the Hill (Washington, DC)
  • American Society of Microbiologists (Boston), and the North American Benthological Society (New Orleans)
  • International Maize Conference (Mexico City)
  • American Fisheries Society (Quebec City)
  • International Society of Limnology (Montreal)
  • Benthic Ecology Meeting (Corpus Christi)
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

5. All of the biology courses we offer:

Please refer to the course listings section of the online college catalog.

6. Our courses can take you around the world

Tropical Ecology will take you to Costa Rica, where you'll study the rainforests. There, one preserve alone contains over 300 species of trees, over 300 species of birds, 120 mammals, 48 amphibians, and 89 reptiles.

7. Typical class sizes

Upper-level biology lab classes have a maximum of 20 students per section, and seminar style classes will be smaller. A few upper-level courses may have two sections, so there may be up to 40 students in the class, but no more than 20 in each lab section. Our General Biology courses for first-year majors are capped at 48 students in each lecture section, with 16 or fewer in each lab section.

8. The structure of General Biology

The fall semester of General Biology addresses topics in ecology and evolution, through the study of local biological diversity. It is very much a project-focused course, with students designing and executing a semester-long research project focusing on the conservation of a local threatened ecosystem, the sandplain forest.

The spring semester addresses topics in cellular biology and genetics through the use of case studies which focus on human health issues.

9. Courses to take as a first-year student

  • Fall and spring semesters General Biology
  • Fall and spring semesters of General Chemistry
  • One semester of a first-year seminar course
  • Additional courses should be selected that address the college's Liberal Studies requirements
  • Students may also wish to take a math course (calculus or statistics) and address the college's foreign language requirement

Applying AP Biology credit

The credits received from scoring a 4 or 5 on the Biology AP test are applied as elective credits toward the overall 124 credits needed to graduate, but students majoring in biology are required to take both semesters of our General Biology course. The reason is that the project-driven nature of the course is very important in preparing students for the upper-level biology classes.

10. How can study abroad opportunities can fit into the biology major

We encourage students to study abroad. In recent years, 35% of Saint Michael's biology majors have engaged in a study abroad experience.

However, it does require planning – so speak to your academic advisor during your first year so that you can get a plan in place that will allow you to study abroad.

Some study abroad programs offer courses that can be applied to the biology major, and may allow you to take courses not offered at Saint Michael's.

Saint Michael's College is also an affiliate member of the School for Field Studies, which provides semester-long and summer programs in natural resource ecology and management at its field stations in Costa Rica, Mexico, the Turks & Caicos Islands (in the eastern Caribbean), Australia, and Kenya.


Additional information is provided on our department fact sheet, which also lists the professor contacts for the different biology tracks.

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