Biology

Advisement

Biology | Urban Ecology | Pre-Medical Studies

Be a part of the Department of Biology at Hofstra! We have redesigned our entire curriculum to provide new opportunities for both majors (BA and BS programs) and minors. Our programs incorporate interactive learning strategies and are designed to provide a broad exposure to biology. We have rigorous and up-to-date courses to prepare you for the changing world that you will experience after graduation, regardless of whether you plan to go to medical school, graduate school, start working right away – or whatever. Our faculty care about students and about being good teachers. We offer a variety of “real research” opportunities for juniors and seniors in disciplines as diverse as terrapin conservation, bacterial differentiation, molecular biology, functional morphology, and plant cell physiology, to name a few. Interested? Come and talk to a biology faculty member; we will be glad to help you find out how a biology degree will benefit you.

Department of Biology

The Department of Biology currently has 15 full-time faculty members with teaching and research expertise in a broad range of biological sub-disciplines. Please visit our web page (hofstra.edu/biology) to learn more about each professor's specific interests. The website also has information on biology student clubs and honor societies, Long Island natural history, and other useful information. All biology offices and labs are in Gittleson Hall. We have programs for undergraduates and master's degree students. Undergraduates may choose between the BA degree (with a few more courses in the humanities and social sciences) or the BS degree (with a few more biology courses). All BS students complete an independent research project in one of the faculty member's laboratories. BA students can complete an independent research project as part of their biology elective credits. Competitive summer fellowships are available to allow qualified students to work all summer on their research projects and get paid! Past graduates from our programs have gone on to a variety of professional schools (medical, veterinary, dental, law), graduate schools in biology-related disciplines, education, and more, and entered the workforce directly by working in academic laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, not-for-profit agencies, government laboratories and field sites, etc.

A good way to meet students with similar interests is by joining Beta Beta Beta (the biology honor society), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), and/or the Pre-dental Student Association.

Advisement

Information regarding undergraduate programs and courses in biology can be found in the Hofstra Bulletin under "Biology." The Bulletin's information is available online by clicking on "Catalogue" from Hofstra's home page (hofstra.edu). Each student is governed by the Bulletin with the same date as the student's first semester at Hofstra.

All undergraduate majors in the Biology Department (whether biology, urban ecology, or pre-medical studies) must declare a major (whether they are in the BA or BS program) by filling out a form for the Office of Financial and Academic Records and by completing another form for the Department of Biology. Potential majors must speak with an advisor from the Biology Department about the available programs in the department. After the student and advisor discuss the program options, the advisor will sign the departmental “Change of Major” form. Students must bring both the departmental and the University forms to the biology chair's office (Room 130 Gittleson Hall). Biology majors must be properly assigned in the University's computer system so that the degree audit report (DAR) lists their degree requirements correctly. The departmental form may be obtained from the departmental secretary, Rochelle Williams, in Room 130 Gittleson Hall.

Sophomores who still do not have an advisor in the Department of Biology should see the departmental secretary immediately to be assigned an advisor. Students may request that a specific faculty member be their advisor. Faculty office hours are posted in the corridor of Room 130 Gittleson Hall and on the web. Please note that faculty office hours change each semester.

The University has an open registration format that allows students to register for courses without written approval by an advisor. However, we strongly recommend that all majors in the Biology Department visit regularly with their advisor to discuss appropriate course sequences and future career plans. If you are planning to minor in biology, see a biology advisor to determine what courses are most appropriate for your specific interests. Advisement should not be thought of as just a prelude to course registration. Advisors can help students with a wide array of issues.

Departmental Honors

The Department of Biology offers honors and high honors to qualified students who have a high GPA and have completed two semesters of research (BIO 093 and BIO 094). Please see your biology department advisor about undergraduate research. BIO 090 or BIO 093 must be started no later than the first semester of the student's senior year. We encourage students with a high GPA and an interest in research to attempt to graduate with departmental honors or high honors. Students that intend to be considered for honors must notify their research advisor prior to the beginning of their second semester of research.

Graduation with Honors in Biology, Urban Ecology, or Pre-Medical Studies has three requirements:

1) A minimum GPA of 3.5 in biology coursework, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4, and completion of no fewer than 60 credits in residence at Hofstra University, including at least 15 credits in biology;

2) Successful completion of an undergraduate research project or internship and thesis or essay (BIO 090 or 093 and either 091 or 092 or 094 or 095); and

3) Successful defense of the work in front of at least two members of the department (typically in the form of a poster presentation).

High honors requires excellence in all of the three requirements, including those for Honors plus a GPA of 3.7 in biology coursework, a recommendation by the research advisor, and by the team of faculty who evaluated the research project, internship and thesis, or essay and concurrence by the departmental chair.

Pre-Health Advisement (Office of University Advisement)

The Office of University Advisement provides academic support services for those students interested in the health professions (medical, dental, etc.) as well as the allied health professions. Such services include selecting an appropriate major, exploring career options, providing information on various schools, assisting in the preparation of applications, and conducting special seminars of particular interest to pre-health profession students. Students are encouraged to make use of these services early and regularly as they progress through their academic programs.

All students interested in pre-health advisement should open personal files in the University Advisement Office by completing the appropriate forms. The pre-health file will eventually include faculty recommendations (and personal recommendations if desired), health profession admission test scores (MCAT, DAT, OAT), and a resume. Students will be required to submit five letters of recommendation from faculty members – three from science faculty and two from non-science faculty. It is highly recommended that students build strong rapport with faculty, especially in the sciences. Students interested in health-related graduate professional degrees should maintain at least a 3.2 GPA.

As part of the application to schools in the health professions, student candidates meet with the Pre-Medical Advisory Committee, consisting of departmental representatives from the sciences and the pre-health advisor. The committee interviews each candidate, assesses the candidate's credentials, and makes an appropriate recommendation. This recommendation becomes the final component of the student's pre-health file, which is then submitted to the schools designated by the student.

For further information regarding the Pre-Health Advisement program, please see the pre-health advisor, Room 101 Memorial Hall, 516-463-4695. To set up an appointment, please call the department secretary, also in Room 101 Memorial Hall, at 516-463-6770.

What will you do after you graduate?

If you have questions, please feel free to talk to your professors or advisors about the options that are available to you. If you think that you would like to stay in school, but are not quite sure what to do or where to go, consider staying at Hofstra for a master's degree in the Department of Biology. We offer MA or MS programs, with degrees in biology (with concentrations in organismal/ecology/conservation and cell/genetics/molecular biology) or urban ecology.

If you would like more information on graduate programs, please see Dr. Maureen Krause, director of graduate programs for the Department of Biology or visit the graduate pages on our website (hofstra.edu/biology).