Explore the complex and interconnected nature of life from multiple lenses with a major or minor in biology. You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with research-focused professors in small classrooms. Then, you’ll apply that knowledge through hands-on laboratory and field-based coursework and research collaborations with department faculty. Your biology faculty advisers will work with you to best plan your educational path, which might include conducting summer research with faculty and studying biology abroad. You’ll leave HWS with a proficiency in biology, well-prepared for graduate school or the professional world.

Student SpotlightBuilding on a Passion

Jamachukwunma Atumonyogo ’26

Wanting to explore the field of mental health awareness and follow a passion of helping others, Jamachukwunma created mindfulness programs to support Geneva teenagers.

“I was able to work with a group of inspiring women who have made an impact in people’s lives in one way or another and are passionate about bridging connections among individuals in Geneva.” 

see our classrooms come alive during orinthology 



And Research

Biology students looking to engage more in their work can study and complete Honors and research projects in their chosen topic with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

Past examples of Honors projects include:

  • Erika Jean Sipos '23: A Phylogenetic and Biogeographical Study of Parsonsia (Apocynaceae) 
    Shannon Straub, Adviser 
  • Amelia Thornton Smith ’21: Investigating Lake Trout Diet in the Finger Lakes
    Susan Cushman, Adviser
  • Alessandra C. Bryan ’20: Effects of Urbanization on the Evolution of Coat Color in Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)
    Bradley Cosentino, Adviser
  • Katherine A. Foley ’20: Competition for Food Resources between the Native Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) and Invasive Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
    Susan Cushman, Adviser

Experiential EducationWorking in the Field

Perform water quality research on Seneca Lake with the Finger Lakes Institute, attend guest lectures on water access hosted by the Fisher Center for Gender and Justice or complete a medical internship with Finger Lakes Health.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.



No Borders:Global Education

Study aquatic life around the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or cell growth in the Netherlands.

Wherever you go, our nationally-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Belonging, Diversity and Equity

The Biology department is committed to fostering diversity, inclusion and belonging at all levels. Faculty are always available for extra help and some courses include collaborative components with Haudenosaunee and indigenous centers to explore Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Courses also include readings and perspectives from underrepresented minorities in the sciences, shaping discussion about contributions to scientific knowledge and historical biases.

The Colleges also support and recognize racially and ethnically underrepresented students in the sciences with the STEM Scholars awards.


Gain the basics and then go deeper into subfields in human, animal and plant biology.


Learn the fundamentals of studying biology, including distinguishing between the scientific inquiry and other modes of inquiry along with concepts of biology, the central role of DNA and RNA and the inheritance of genetic information.


Develop a working knowledge of the general biology and ecology of aquatic systems and of the organisms that make up aquatic communities.


Examine concepts and experimental models in cellular and systems neurobiology to gain a better understanding of how the nervous system is integrated to produce simple and complex behaviors.



FacilitiesA Wealth of Resources

At HWS, you’ll study biology with some of the best equipment available, and that’s not just our word. Rosenberg Hall, where the biology department is located, was called “among the best –if not the best-designed undergraduate science teaching-learning, research facilities we have ever seen” by The Council on Undergraduate Research.

This includes 15 instructional laboratories, 12 student-faculty research laboratories, 3 instrument rooms, a sterile culture room, chemical storage rooms, greenhouse, and computer labs that are light-filled and neatly appointed with soft woods, glass and polished steel.

Off-campus study can be completed in the Henry Hanley Biological Field Preserve, aboard The William Scandling research vessel on Seneca Lake or in cooperation with Cornell AgriTech. The Colleges also provide a perfect, central location to nearby natural resources for study including the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and the Finger Lakes National Forest.

Alum ImpactSupport to Prepare for the Future

matt mcnulty '22 

Current Position: 
Clinical Research Coordinator, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School 
Current Location:
Worcester, MA


"Close-knit, engaging classes at HWS brought new perspectives to my mind and gave me the confidence to pursue research in biology at HWS, where I found a great sense of community. I’m incredibly grateful for the mentorship I received from Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery and the guidance of Associate Director of Health Professions Counseling and Fellowship Advising Scott MacPhail in Career Services. The continued support I’ve received from HWS after graduating has been essential in preparing for my future."

Thinking about a career in healthcare? HWS offers a specialty advising program to guide you on the road to medical, dental, veterinary or professional school. Minoring in Public Health is also an option.


  • Bay Cove Human Services
  • Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Clean Harbors
  • Cleveland Clinic Foundation
  • Ginko Bioworks
  • House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources
  • Massachusetts General Hospital 
  • McLean Hospital 
  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
  • Partners in Pediatrics 
  • Peace Corps
  • The Carter Center 
  • The Whitehead Institute
  • Union College
  • University of Rochester


  • Baylor University 
  • Boston University
  • Bowman Gray School of Medicine
  • Brandeis University
  • Case Western University
  • Clarkson University 
  • Cornell University 
  • Dartmouth University 
  • Duke University 
  • Emory University 
  • George Washington University 
  • Georgetown University 
  • Harvard University 
  • Imperial College
  • Johns Hopkins University 
  • New York Medical College 
  • Northwestern University 
  • Penn State College of Medicine
  • Penn State University 
  • Thomas Jefferson Medical College 
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University 
  • University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
  • University of Wyoming 
  • Yale University