The Department of Environmental and Forest Biology (EFB) offers seven undergraduate majors. Environmental biology is the broadest major and the degree program to which most students apply. The other six majors are specialized and are recommended only for students with strongly focused educational goals. They are aquatic and fisheries science, biotechnology, conservation biology, forest health, natural history and interpretation, and wildlife science. For the first year or two the requirements of these programs are similar to those of environmental biology and internal transfer among them is simple.
Degrees in environmental biology or biotechnology prepare students for a variety of professional schools in health-related areas, including human and veterinary medicine. For complete information about this opportunity, go to:
A variety of internships are available, either in the summer or academic year. These are arranged in cooperation with the student’s advisor and may carry course credits under EFB 420 Internship in Environmental and Forest Biology. Agencies actively involved with the internship program include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Upstate Freshwater Institute, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. Internships also are commonly associated with a local zoo. Field-based internships can, with approval, count toward the three-credit field experience elective required by most EFB degree programs.
Faculty and graduate students also frequently employ undergraduate students on hourly wage to help with research projects. Students who are inclined toward graduate school should talk to professors in their area of interest about opportunities for undergraduate research (EFB 498).
Field experience is a vital component of the programs in environmental and forest biology.
Each student, except those in biotechnology, is required to attend a three-credit hour integrated course in field biology (EFB 202) at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the Adirondack Mountains, normally taken between the freshman and sophomore years. The program extends from early June through mid-August, divided into two sessions. Courses typically involve daily field trips into the surrounding forest, wetland, and aquatic ecosystems. For more information about the program, visit:
An additional three credits in a field experience elective are required, and this elective can be obtained at Cranberry Lake or through another approved field experience, either that same summer or subsequently. Students are encouraged to participate in as many field and internship experiences as possible during their college career. Additional field station courses beyond the six-credit requirement are counted as elective credits. The College runs field programs in areas that recently have included Africa, Australia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Russia, and the Caribbean (Dominica). Additional opportunities exist in the School for Field Studies courses, which are offered around the world, as well as in many excellent programs throughout the United States. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain current information on the various field stations and to work with an advisor to select courses that meet EFB program requirements and educational needs.