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Urban Ecology


More than half the world's population lives in cities and suburbs. Studying how plants and animals – including humans – coexist in these environments is the core of Hofstra's urban ecology program.

Urban ecology is one of the fastest growing subfields in ecology. How does this field impact the way we live? Think of a city's green spaces – like New York City's Central Park or Boston Common. Urban ecologists research vegetation, water flow, wildlife, and open spaces in cities, and they monitor the health of these resources and how they respond to pollution, development and other pressures.

In our program, you'll go behind the headlines about coyotes and black bears finding their way into quiet suburban neighborhoods, or spend a summer researching the turtles who nest in Jamaica Bay. Your professors are in the field as often as they are in the classroom, and they want you to do the same. You'll get the chance to participate in research as early as your first year, playing an integral role in projects that will inspire you, build your resume and have meaningful scientific and social impact.

As an urban ecologist, your career choices are as varied as the environments you study. You could end up working in government, for an environmental regulatory agency. You might work in private industry, designing buildings to make them more sustainable and appealing. You could teach, running nature and environmental education programs. Or you might become a public health official exploring the impact of green spaces on biodiversity and human well-being.

Hofstra University is the ideal campus to study urban ecology. We are uniquely situated at the junction of one of the most densely populated and culturally significant urban regions. We examine how Long Island's coastal areas are impacted by their proximity to New York City, and we conduct fieldwork at the many parks built on the grounds of nearby Gold Coast mansions.

You'll also benefit from collaborations with Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement, our National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®, and agencies on Long Island and in New York City.

You'll become adept working in Hofstra's sophisticated labs with technology that includes an imaging center with light and electron microscopes; 3D motion analysis systems; professional portable GPS units that are fully compatible with GIS; an advanced molecular techniques center; animal care facilities; and two automated greenhouses. In addition, we actively promote research across scientific disciplines, thanks to a new, multidisciplinary lab called the Collaboratorium.

Our students have found that their research experiences give them a significant edge in the job market, and when applying for competitive fellowships, medical and graduate school admission, orng careers in private industry.


Hofstra offers four Urban Ecology programs that emphasize robust classes, research experiences and internships.

The BA in Urban Ecology is appropriate for students whose interests in urban ecology are more focused on the social and political aspects of the field and less on the science. It is also a good on, geography, global studies, law, political science or engineering.  One internship is required.

The BS in Urban Ecology is appropriate for students whose interests in urban ecology are centered on the science and involved in restoring and maintaining healthy urban habitats and their associated green spaces. This program requires more science courses. This degree requires two internships.

The BA/MA Dual Degree in Urban Ecology and BS/MS Dual Degree in Urban Ecology allow students to complete both degrees in five years, including at least one summer session.

Students benefit from collaborations with Hofstra's Center for Civic Engagement, The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®, and agencies on Long Island and in New York City. The program includes an internship.

Examples of courses include:

  • Urban Habitats
  • Ornithology
  • Field Botany
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Urbanization in the Developing World
  • Technology and Human Values
  • Environmental Ethics and Ecophilosophy

Recent Alumni Outcomes

Our graduates work in conservation education, environmental consulting, state and national parks, NGOs, green roof projects, laboratories, government agencies and nonprofits, including:

  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories
  • The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
  • Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutic Solutions
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Montefiore Medical Center
  • Mount Sinai Health System
  • Northwell Health
  • NY Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • NYC Department of Education
  • South Nassau Communities Hospital

More than half of our urban ecology alumni are pursuing graduate and professional degrees at such institutions as:

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Columbia University
  • George Washington University
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Hofstra University
  • New York University
  • SUNY College of Optometry
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Southern California
  • Yale University
100% are employed, grad school or both
94% accept a position within six months
$45K median salary*
Get More Info on Program Outcomes
*Represents median salary for the first year following graduation

Internships and Experiential Learning

students, professor

Our professors are active researchers and journal authors who are experts in a variety of fields including applied and environmental microbiology; behavior and ecology of aquatic animals; molecular biology and evolution; plant and soil ecology; developmental genetics and tissue-specific gene regulation; among many other areas

Students are involved in many exciting ongoing research programs - from studying terrapin behavior in Jamaica Bay, microbiology in Long Island vineyards, and lead hazards in residential soils.

Students also have the opportunity to take a January session course that will take them either to the Galápagos Islands and Ecuador, retracing Darwin’s five-year voyage in order to better understand theories of evolution and ecology, or to Belize for field studies in marine biology. The programs alternate from year to year.  We also offer a 10-week, on-campus summer research fellowship with a $4,000 stipend.

Internships also are important to the education of our Urban Ecology students, and are required in both the BA and BS programs. Our average our students completed about 2.5 internships during their time at Hofstra. Among the places our students have recently completed internships are:

  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories
  • Columbia University Medical Center
  • Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Mount Sinai Health System
  • Nassau University Medical Center
  • Oyster Bay Fish Hatchery
  • St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center
  • The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

You can meet like-minded new people, share ideas and organize service-learning opportunities through organization such as TriBeta, the biology honors society; the Biology Club; and the American Medical Students Association.

The Hofstra Cultural Center's Science Night Live program and the Biology Seminar Series hosts scientists from Hofstra and other institutions for public lectures about their research. The university also presents a lively annual Earth Day event, as well as a Day of Dialogue that addresses both political and environmental issues.



Dr. Javier Izquierdo, PhD, an assistant professor of biology, is a microbiologist who talks about his work hunting for beneficial microbes on Long Island. He’s also a musician who plays several instruments and uses songs to communicate scientific theories and concepts to his students.

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