Hope College Biology

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Why Hope College?

Have those questions - We have answers

We're here to help and want to share with you a few things about Hope College and the Biology Department.

Hope College Biology Department

Hope is able to provide its students with up-to-the-minute biological information on ecology, and it gets its name thrown around in biological seminars and graduate schools. Our students receive a rich multicultural experience and firsthand knowledge of what it's like doing field work in the toughest conditions.

- Greg Murray - Biology Professor
Commenting on student field work in Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Biology Department, one of the largest on Hope's campus, has a renowned program for training students in the study of life on every level, from molecular to ecological.

Biology students apply their studies in lab work several hours a week. Some students plan to go on to advanced degrees in graduate, medical, or dental schools, while others plan on careers in education, conservation, industry, or allied health. Hope graduates have gone on to medical, dental, veterinary, and physical therapy schools, and to jobs in education, and law.

What's so special about the Biology Department?

The Biology Department has a superior national reputation. It's one of 190 colleges and universities in the nation named a "Top College for Science" in the Peterson's Guide. It was ranked 13th of 847 four-year, private undergraduate institutions for students who went on to receive doctorates. Hope also holds an outstanding record for students accepted to medical and other graduate schools, and it receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding each year. The Biology Department has been awarded more than two million dollars in grants from outside agencies for student-faculty research and equipment since 1994.

Three of Hope's biology professors have won national or state teaching awards. Others have established reputations as strong, active researchers and teachers. Hope is active in the Project Kaleidoscope program, from which it received a $700,000 grant to promote undergraduate teaching in the sciences. Most recently the Hope Division of Natural Sciences received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Award for the Integration of Research and Education (AIRE).

Unusual opportunities for undergraduate research abound in such a grant-rich environment. Students help faculty with their research, and in the process learn more about what it's like being a biologist as they garner impressive research credentials. That experience isn't limited to a chosen few students: about 50% of biology majors are involved in research with a faculty member, and about 25 students are granted stipends for summer research work.

The Biology Department's research program for undergraduates has been recognized with 14 continuous years of support from the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

What can students do?

  • Spend the summer doing lab research - for pay - and working with faculty on special projects.
  • Travel with faculty to Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Africa, or Wyoming for experience with biological study in unusual environments.
  • Take an internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, or a science-related internship through Hope's Chicago or Philadelphia internship programs. Local internships are also an option.
  • Help your professor present research at national conferences - research you helped conduct.
  • Combine your work in biology with work in Hope's other excellent science departments: Chemistry, Geology and Environmental Science, Physics, and Engineering.
  • Be a paid lab assistant.
  • Attend presentations by visiting speakers in the Biology Seminars.
  • Join the Biology club to engage in social, service, and research-related events with other biology students, faculty, and their families.

What one student did

Tom Akland, a biology major, spent a summer on an independent research project analyzing the mineral composition of ash from controlled burns of fields as part of a study on a prairie restoration.

The project crossed into both the biology and chemistry fields.

"I needed help from all sorts of people in both departments. I was able to get the help I needed easily. I appreciate that this group of professors is willing to go the extra distance to help."

What are the facilities like?

The Department has well-equipped labs and an unusual amount of distinctive equipment, including computer resources and major analytical equipment.

Facilities include a molecular biology/biochemistry teaching laboratory, a microcomputer laboratory, fourteen faculty/student research labs, a greenhouse, an aviary, animal rooms, six walk-in environmental chambers with temperature and light cycle controls, and a 55-acre field station near Lake Michigan.

A personal visit to the department is the best way to see and understand the significant collection of analytical equipment!

What are my options?

The Bachelor of Arts in Biology requires at least 28 hours of biology, one semester of mathematics and one year of chemistry. The Bachelor of Science in Biology requires a minimum of 67 hours in the natural sciences (at least 36 of the 67 must be in Biology and include the core courses).

A minor in biology requires at least 20 credit hours of biology including Biology 240, 260, and 280, plus 4 more credits selected from other courses in the department.

What can I do with a Biology Degree?
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