Biology

Study the inner workings of living organisms as they interact with each other and with their environment in your living lab. Situated on the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake amidst forests, lakes, streams and wetlands, we’re at the heart of a 6-million-acre wilderness known as the Adirondack Park, a designated biosphere reserve that encompasses everything from boggy wetlands to alpine forests and contains large populations of plant and animal life in natural habitat.

Here, you’ll gain skills to study everything from the ecology of a natural population to analyzing DNA from a microbe. You may monitor local lakes and streams for invasive species, scour the landscape for tick-borne diseases, or study how mercury affects wildlife and human health. You may be the first to identify a new insect species or explore what lived in our lakes thousands of years ago.

Whether your focus is on ecosystems, organisms, cells or molecules, our faculty have widely diverse areas of expertise:

  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates
  • Plants
  • Invasive species
  • Ancient sediments
  • Infectious diseases
  • Toxicology

Faculty and students work as teams to conduct innovative scientific research, monitoring, and outreach aimed at preserving our rapidly-changing living world. Our students study within natural habitats and engage in environmental issues first-hand, often within walking distance of their residence halls.

Our biology program offers in-depth study of living organisms, from microbes to mammals. You will study their structure and function, their evolution, and their interactions with each other and with the environment within their natural habitats and often within walking distance of your residence hall.

If you are interested in human biology, you may wish to focus your study on human health. Within our biology program, you will learn about how the human body works, how toxins and microbes impact human health, why outbreaks of disease occur, and how we can best protect human health on this rapidly-changing planet.

Key Facts
  • B.S. degree
  • 120 credits (minimum) required
    • 40 credits must be in 300/400 level courses

Pairs well with the following minors:

Career Options
  • Science Education
  • Nature Interpretation
  • Biodiversity Researcher
  • Conservation Educator
  • Geneticist
  • Research Biologist
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Wetlands Ecologist
  • Plant Ecologist
Program Objectives

At the end of the program students will be able to:

  • Acquire a body of knowledge , including biodiversity, structure and function and ecology, and apply this knowledge to answer questions.
  • Develop an ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize scientific information.
  • Effectively collaborate with others and communicate scientific information.
  • Develop experimental and investigative scientific skills.
  • Acquire technology skills in the study of biology.
  • Consider ethical, social, economic and environmental implications of using science and technology.
Required Courses

Program Planning Guide »

Core Requirements

  • Animal Biology or Plant Biology
  • Biology I
  • Biology II
  • Capstone Project
  • Capstone Project Planning Seminar
  • Chemistry I
  • Chemistry II
  • College Algebra
  • Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Evolution
  • General Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physics I
  • Statistics

Science Electives (choose six)

  • Animal Behavior
  • Biochemistry
  • Biologic Effects of Toxins
  • Biotechnology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Entomology
  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Herpetology
  • Ichthyology
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Mammalogy
  • Ornithology
  • Paleoecology
  • Plant Physiology
  • Special Topics in Biology
  • Winter Ecology

PAUL SMITH'S LANDS ON FRONT PAGE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Profs. Curt Stager and Lee Ann Sporn are featured in the The Wall Street Journal for their DNA study on yellow perch, which questions whether the fish is native to the Adirondacks. Check it out!

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