As a child, you may have loved exploring gardens, forests, and beaches, intensely observing the living things you found. Many children are fascinated by the life that surrounds them—whether plants, trees, insects, animals, or people. Biologists never lose this natural curiosity. They are explorers, driven to understand how living things grow, reproduce, and function. Does this sound like you? If so, you may be the perfect candidate for Buffalo State College’s Biology Program.
Biology is the study of life. This simple sentence summarizes what is, in fact, an enormous umbrella of disciplines. Biology has numerous subfields, each of which contains even smaller subdivisions. As a biologist, you may find yourself focusing on plants, cells, evolution, genetics, molecules, animals, or a number of other living subjects. The number of organisms and species that fall under the category of “biology” is almost limitless.
“Amy (McMillan, associate professor of biology) was about the best mentor I could have hoped for and she has been that to so many students. We have discussed not just my own research, but also applying to grad school, being an early-career professor, and the tenure process. My work with Amy has offered me a really unique view of this career as a whole.”
—Robin Foster, ’04, 06, doctoral candidate at the University at Buffalo's evolution, ecology, and behavior program
In our program, undergraduate students have the choice of earning a bachelor of arts or a minor in biology. The former provides a broad, solid foundation in the discipline preparing them for various employment opportunities or graduate school. At the graduate level, the department offers a master of arts in biology.
What makes Buffalo State’s biology program a great choice? There are many reasons, but here are just a few:
Honors options: The Biology Honors Program enables undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential and an interest in a career in science to participate in biological research.
Excellent faculty: Biology faculty, many of whom worked for years in laboratories and other scientific backgrounds, provide instruction, guidance, and advisement to majors and have the professional connections to secure placement in fieldwork and internships.
Great Lakes Center Field Station: More than five acres of waterfront property owned by Buffalo State enables students to gain hands-on field experience. It contains a fleet of 15 vessels, a microscopy lab, and a fisheries lab.
Eckert Herbarium (ECK): This on-campus herbarium houses a large collection of vascular plants and flora for student observation and study.
Science and Mathematics Complex: An exciting revamped facility that biology majors use provides a world-class education with state-of-the-art labs and equipment.
Science Teachers Center: A connected suite of rooms where students can learn, study, use computers, and practice their skills.
Depending on their individual degree programs, biology majors are prepared for one of three main pursuits after graduation:
Performing laboratory, field, or quality-control work as a biologist
Teaching biology and general science in grades 7–12
Pursuing a graduate degree
Recent graduates have been hired as laboratory technicians, research assistants, and environmental scientists for companies and organizations including:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Here is a small sample of potential biology career paths:
Fish & Game Conservation
Biology is also an excellent undergraduate degree for those who would like to go on to work in the human medical professions. Doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and surgeons can all benefit from a strong foundation in biology.
Buffalo State College is committed to providing hands-on opportunities for students both in and outside of the classroom. The following clubs, internships, programs, and service learning programs are specifically aimed toward helping biology students grow their skills.
Biology Club: This student club aims to bring together future scientists and help them further their understanding of biology through events, seminars, and field trips.
WNY PRISM: The Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management works with local scientific organizations to restore and protect Western New York’s natural resources. WNY PRISM is a sponsored program through the Research Foundation of SUNY and is hosted by Buffalo State's Great Lakes Center.
Biology Honors Program: A unique research opportunity that enables undergraduate students with outstanding academic potential to participate in biological research. Successful participants will receive “Graduated with Departmental Honors” on their transcript upon graduation.
Summer Research Fellowships: A campus-wide Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Program (USRF) enables undergraduate students to complete eight weeks of full-time research and creative activities.
Undergraduate research is one of the most powerful ways for students to learn. Working with a faculty member who is a practicing scientist, Buffalo State students can gain experiences not offered by regular courses and can learn first-hand the demands of biological research. Faculty mentors can also provide career information in their area of expertise and write letters of recommendation when students apply to graduate schools or professional programs. Students also may apply for independent study research opportunities.
Biology students may explore internships in the medical or allied health fields, in research, in zoo or museum work, and in biotechnology firms. Recent internship opportunities have included:
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Buffalo State's Weigel Health Center
Various veterinary hospitals
Aquarium of Niagara
Hawk Creek Wildlife (Rehabilitation) Center
In addition to internships, students may pursue paid work opportunities. Work-study positions are available in office, stockroom, and greenhouse/animal room settings.
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