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Overview of the Program

Hood's faculty are committed teachers and mentors who actively work with students to study the living world, develop critical thinking skills and integrate concepts from our broad-based curriculum to solve biological problems. From investigating cells to studying ecosystems, the emphasis is on a strong foundation in biology that includes practical classroom, laboratory and field experiences.

The classrooms offer excellent environments that foster student-faculty interactions and hands-on learning. In addition, faculty actively engage students in a rich variety of undergraduate research projects, a true hallmark of our commitment to a high quality undergraduate experience in biology.

The Department of Biology offers two programs leading to a bachelor of arts degree. Both programs benefit from Hood's graduate programs in biomedical science and environmental biology; seniors have opportunities to take advanced elective courses that are generally not offered at small liberal arts colleges. Graduates have expressed that this provides a real head start for graduate school, medical school and the job market.

Biology Major

The course offerings are well balanced and faculty advisers work with students to choose a combination of courses to match their goals for further study and for employment in biology and health-related fields. These curricular directions include, but are not limited to, ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, pre-medicine, integrative biology and secondary education.

Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam are exempt from the 110-level offerings and are awarded four credits in biology.

Environmental Science and Policy Major (Biology Concentration)

The bachelor's degree in environmental science and policy is administered by the Department of Biology. The hands-on program is truly interdisciplinary and students are encouraged to look at environmental issues through the eyes of ecologists, economists, political scientists and sociologists.


The Department of Biology is housed on the first floor of the Hodson Science and Technology Center, a $20-million complex that opened in 2002. Classrooms and labs are designed to engage students in a variety of learning activities. All are equipped with multimedia teaching tools, including access to web-based technologies. Specially designed and equipped labs for ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, cell culture and physiology are available for course work and student-faculty research collaborations.

Students can conduct analyses using high pressure liquid chromatography and other analytical instruments. A greenhouse and environmental chambers are available to grow and study plants. A suite of labs is dedicated to the growth and maintenance of aquatic organisms. Computer-assisted analysis of data is used extensively in the curriculum, including environmental, general biology and molecular biology labs. Fluorescent micro- scopes, PCR thermal cyclers, cell culture facilities, GIS mapping, satellite and imaging analysis are also available.

Student Organizations

Students actively participate in clubs relating to their personal and professional interests, including the Hood Environmental Action Team and Tri-Beta honor society.

Coastal Semester Studies

This 16-week, travel-based program enables students to explore the science, technology and history of coastal ecosystems by living and studying at marine field stations and environmental centers in the mid-Atlantic region. The curriculum (16 credits) emphasizes hands-on environmental studies and interaction with experts. For more details, visit

Research Opportunities and Internships

Hood students work side by side with experienced faculty for senior-level honors projects and independent study. Students also participate in the Summer Research Institute, which provides funding for student-faculty collaborations. Biology students have a strong tradition of presenting their research at scientific meetings, including:

  • American Phytopathological Society
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • Atlantic Estuarine Research Society
  • Benthic Ecology Meetings
  • UMBC Research Symposium

Internships offer additional opportunities to learn with some of the world's leading scientists. Just five blocks from the Hood campus are the National Cancer Institute's Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other internship opportunities include the Smithsonian National Zoo, Baltimore Zoo, DynaPort Vaccine Company and Frederick Memorial Hospital.

Alumni Success Stories

Many graduates enter the job market as biology educators or research assistants in the fields of environmental biology, conservation biology, cell biology, molecular genetics and microbiology. Graduates have been employed by the Virginia Department of Natural Resources, the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. Students have attended graduate school at institutions such as Cornell University, The John Hopkins University, Tulane University, University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Wisconsin. Students pursuing studies in medicine and dentistry have attended Drexel University, University of Maryland, University of Texas and West Virginia University. Others have attended the Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary College of Medicine and Cornell University to pursue degrees in veterinary medicine.

Learn more about the major and the department.