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Department of Environmental Biology
Undergraduate Programs

EB offers six undergraduate majors. Environmental Biology is the broadest major and the degree program to which most students apply. The other six are specialized and are recommended for students with more focused educational goals. They are Aquatic and Fisheries Science, Biotechnology, Conservation Biology, Forest Health, 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 straightforward.

Undergraduate Majors in Environmental Biology

Field Study and Training

A hallmark of the EB curriculum is its emphasis on field study and training. All majors offered by the Department of Environmental Biology are intended to be hands-on programs that emphasize laboratory and field experience in addition to classroom studies. To this end, every student in each major except Biotechnology is required to complete at least six credit-hours of approved field-based instruction in biology. Three of these six credits are associated with a required core course, EFB 202 (Ecological Monitoring and Biodiversity Assessment), which is offered twice each summer at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station (CLBS) in the Adirondack Mountains. We recommend students enroll in EFB 202 during the summer between freshman and sophomore years, or as early as possible if you are a transfer student.

The remaining credit hours of Field Experience are elective, and can be obtained in one of the following ways. The following lists identify recent course offerings that satisfy the EFB field elective requirement. Be aware that some of these courses may not be offered every year.

Courses offered at CLBS during summer session:

  • Field Ethnobotany (EFB337)
  • Fungal Diversity and Ecology (EFB342)
  • Forest Health (EFB345)
  • Field Herpetology (EFB384)
  • Adirondack Fishes (EFB388)
  • Fisheries Science Practicum (EFB488, 1-cr)
  • Wildlife Techniques (EFB496)
  • Ecology of Adirondack Aquatic Ecosystems (EFB496)
  • Wetland Plants and Communities of the Adirondacks (EFB496)
  • Ecology of Adirondack Insects (EFB496)

Please note that, although Philosophy and Environmental Writing (EFB496) is frequently offered at CLBS, this course does not fulfill the field elective requirement.

Courses offered at the Adirondack Ecological Center and Ranger School:

  • Mammalian Winter Ecology (EFB484)
  • FTC204/210/236 (3 cr), and FTC221 (3 cr)

Courses offered during Maymester at the Syracuse or regional campuses:

  • Forest Health Monitoring (EFB439)
  • Field Ornithology (EFB496)
  • Flora of Central New York (EFB496)
  • Interpreting Field Biology (EFB500)

Other courses offered by ESF faculty:

  • Ecosystem Restoration Design (EFB434, 4-cr)
  • Periodic field trips courses (EFB500) to locations such as Costa Rica, Ireland, Russia, New Zealand, Australia
  • Tropical Ecology (EFB 523)
  • Limnology Practicum (EFB525 - 2 cr)
  • Ecological Engineering in the Tropics (ERE311)

Field courses, approved by petition, from another accredited university, including but not limited to the following affiliated programs:

  • Sea Education Association SEA (through Boston University)
    Note: 'Semester at Sea' is different than 'SEA Semester.' EFB WILL NOT ACCEPT any 'Semester at Sea' courses for upper-division biology or field credits.
  • The School for Field Studies (through University of Minnesota)

Acceptable courses will have at least 50% of instruction conducted in the field (out-of-classroom, out-of-laboratory, out-of-clinic, out-of-captivity); and include content focusing on organismal biology, ecology theory, and/or training in field methods for studying populations, ecological communities or ecosystem processes.

An independent research project (EFB 498) or internship (EFB 420) that has received prior departmental approval via petition, and that meets the following departmental criteria.

  • At least 50% of student effort (including contact time with instructor and self-directed study) must be conducted in the field (out-of-classroom, out-of-laboratory, out-of-clinic, out-of-captivity).
  • Student must demonstrate learning gains in organismal biology, ecological theory, and/or application of field methodologies to study populations, ecological communities or ecosystem processes.
  • Students must complete a research or professional product for evaluation.
  • 40 hours of effort will garner 1 academic credit-hour.