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Biology at Sewanee

We are delighted that you are interested in studying Biology at Sewanee. We offer one of the strongest biology programs in the country, with the following features:

  1. Flexibility. Our program allows you to tailor your studies to your own interests and goals. You have the choice to either specialize in one area of biology or to study a wide array of topics in the field. We offer the following majors, each of which provides a strong grounding in the subject matter, combined with opportunities for more specialized study:
    • Biology explores life at scales ranging from molecules and cells to populations and ecosystems.
    • Biochemistry (offered as an interdisciplinary major with the Chemistry Department) addresses the molecular basis of life, exploring the interface between biology and chemistry.
    • Ecology and Biodiversity (offered as an interdisciplinary major in the Environmental Studies Program) integrates biology with other disciplines, engaging students in both applied and theoretical aspects of environmental challenges.
  2. Hands-on/Minds-on learning. Science is an ever-moving process, not a collection of static facts. Therefore, our classes emphasize direct involvement in the scientific method, starting with our introductory classes. We strongly believe that the best way to learn is through experience and experimentation, so all our classes are built on the principles of active learning. This is an excellent way to prepare for graduate or professional schools: our graduates consistently tell us that their experience at Sewanee was an outstanding way to begin their careers.
  3. Close relationships with faculty. All our classes and labs are taught by Sewanee faculty, so you learn from experts in the field, many of whom you will come to know as mentors and friends. Sewanee is a small community, so faculty-student interactions continue outside the classroom, field site and lab, making life in Sewanee rich and supportive.
  4. Research opportunities for undergraduates. Many biology students choose to deepen their work in biology through research projects in collaboration with faculty. We have external grants and University funding to support these projects, and every year several students present their work at scientific meetings and have manuscripts published in scientific journals. Because we focus exclusively on undergraduate education, our research students enjoy high levels of interaction with faculty. Such close collaboration is not possible at research Universities where faculty focus on graduate students and post-docs. As a result, our students leave Sewanee with very high levels of biological training.
  5. Outstanding facilities. Our labs are equipped with the latest scientific tools and technology. In the fall of 2008 we moved into an all-new science building for Biology and Chemistry, Spencer Hall. This LEED-certified state-of-the-art green science facility features extensive lab spaces, hands-on classrooms, student study areas and computer labs. In addition, the University owns 13,000 acres of land, including old growth forest and rare wetlands, providing unmatched opportunities for field research.
  6. Enjoying the ride. The faculty in our program are here because we love what we do. This passion for the study of life enlivens not only our classes and research, but also spills out into the campus community. The Department sponsors many popular social events and field trips, making life as a biology student at Sewanee great fun as well as a great education.