Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science | College of Arts and Science

What is Zoology?

Zoology is the study of animal life. It includes areas such as animal behavior, aquatic ecology, development, ecology, environmental toxicology, genetics, and physiology. However, Zoology is chosen by many students seeking a career in one of many healthcare profession, the environmental sciences, or academia.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Recently, the Department of Botany and the Department of Zoology have merged to create the new Department of Biology, one of the largest programs at the university. The Department of Biology offers the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees in Biology, Botany as well as Zoology.

Strong faculty-student collaborations

Faculty concentrate on quality and effectiveness in teaching as well as research. Even introductory classes are taught by senior faculty. Students have many opportunities for internships through faculty connections with organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Argonne National Laboratory. Undergraduates have the opportunity to do extensive research projects, to publish their work in scientific journals, and present their research at national and international conferences.

A broad range of courses

One of the program's many strengths is its diversity in curriculum and research, with areas of study ranging from animal behavior to physiology to molecular biology to ecology. This breadth gives students hands-on experience in research, publication, and presentation. Miami emphasizes a full range of systematics courses in entomology (the study of insects), ichthyology (fishes), herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), ornithology (birds), and mammalogy (mammals). With the awareness of biodiversity and ecological concerns today, a sound knowledge of the taxonomy of different species is crucial to understanding these concerns. Many colleges and universities have reduced or eliminated these courses from their curriculums.

Excellent career and professional preparation

The department is extremely successful in placing its graduates in appropriate employment and in preparing them for career-long accomplishments. In addition to working on campus, many of our students participate in summer internships off-campus at places such as the Cincinnati Zoo, the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and the Argonne National Lab.

Work experience

The Department of Biology employs numerous students during the academic year and the summer. Responsibilities range from performing routine office duties, conducting laboratory experiments, providing assistance in laboratory classes, caring for animals, and maintaining museum specimens. We encourage you to submit your application for employment in the spring for the upcoming academic year.

Outdoor wildlife reserve

Adjacent to campus, the reserve and its adjoining areas contain more than 1,000 acres of diverse habitats, including streams, flood plains, farm ponds, forests, a pine plantation, and grasslands

Ecology Research Center

Located two miles from campus, this is a 178-acre area of diverse habitats, including a 1,000-square-foot building which contains a bioenergetics laboratory, a controlled environmental chamber, animal room facilities, and basic ecological equipment. There are also outdoor areas for research, several newly constructed experimental ponds, experimental vegetation plots, replicate aviaries, prairie research plots, and a modern precipitation chemistry and weather station.

Top-notch facilities

The Department of Biology is located in Pearson Hall, a state-of-the-art biological sciences building boasting excellent research and animal care facilities and equipment. The electron microscope facility, one of the best in the nation, includes both transmission and scanning electron microscopes in two labs. Computers are used in all of the biological science first-year course labs, and many divisions of the department, such as neuroanatomy and endocrinology, have their own computer labs. In the genetics laboratory, computers are tied into national data bases enabling students to study the work of top researchers. The laboratories accommodate research in behavioral studies, aquatic and animal studies, biochemistry, and physiology.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

It is important that you obtain a solid foundation, not only in the basic core of zoology courses, but also in basic chemistry, physics, and mathematics in your study of zoology. This foundation will enable you to pursue a range of different career opportunities later.

In general, the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) degree allows more breadth outside of the natural sciences. All Global Miami Plan Foundation and College of Arts and Science requirements apply to this degree. Departmental requirements are more flexible for the A.B. than for the B.S. degree and leave more room for electives. This degree is usually more appropriate for students planning to enter healthcare professions.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program embraces a more intensive scientific approach, with more science courses than the A.B. Required courses are specified, and several of the CAS requirements are waived.

What can I do with this major?

Nearly 100 percent of our zoology majors find employment in areas relevant to their training. About two-thirds of Miami's zoology graduates continue their education.

Zoology is the major of choice for students attending medical school, accounting for about two-thirds of the total premedical graduates from Miami. Others choose dental school, veterinary medicine, physical therapy programs, or graduate school in medical technology, pharmacy, optometry, education, or, of course, zoology. Our graduates usually score in the upper third in the nation on the advanced biology section of the Graduate Record Exam required for graduate study. A small number attend business or law school.

Those who seek employment immediately after graduation find positions in a variety of fields. Our graduates report job titles of naturalist, park technician, assistant pathologist, lab technician, technical sales representative, research technician, museum curator, fisheries manager, environmental planner, municipal zookeeper, environmental impact analyst, and high school biology teacher.

The acceptance rate for Miami students who apply to medical school is much higher than the national average, about 68 percent. The combination of an excellent curriculum, hands-on laboratory and research experience, involvement in pre-professional clubs, and internships and other practical work experience aid our graduates in competing successfully for admission into pre-med programs.

Likewise, 90–100 percent of our students are accepted into dental school, and our Zoology majors are equally successful in gaining acceptance into veterinarian school or pre-physical therapy programs. Advisers in all of these areas, as well as advisers for students interested in graduate school, are available in the department to guide students through the required curricula and application processes.

Other career or further educational options after graduate school include positions in applied ecology, pharmacology, and research work extending to the Ph.D. level, marine biology, medical technology, health care administration, engineering, and medical or environmental law. Especially important now are positions involving environmental science, such as environmental toxicology.

Careers for A.B. or B.S. majors who do not go on to higher degrees include such diverse positions as naturalist; pharmaceutical, chemical, or equipment sales; research assistant; lab technician; environmental planner; high school biology teacher; working with government agencies such as the EPA, Natural Resources or Wildlife Management; or working in zoos or animal museums.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Biology
212 Pearson Hall
Oxford, OH 45056