Biology

Major

Minor

Faculty Contact

Additional Program Information

Sweet Briar offers a broad program for students interested in careers in biological and environmental research, teaching and consulting, as well as health and veterinary professions. Students may add secondary teaching licensure in biology to their degree.

What is distinctive about studying biology at Sweet Briar?

  • The best way to learn science is to do science. At Sweet Briar, our small classes are perfect for giving students ample opportunities to engage in hands-on learning both in and outside the classroom and laboratory. You will gain skills and confidence as you progress to more complex investigations in intermediate and advanced courses.
  • Faculty-mentored research is a culminating experience for the degree. Students not only conduct research or complete internships, but they can also present their research to the College community in a symposium. Whether you’re planning on graduate school or a job, you’ll be prepared to advocate for your research and communicate clearly with scientists and nonscientists.
  • Because Sweet Briar’s 3,250-acre campus serves as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom, a powerful tradition of field work marks our program. Forays through meadows, streams, nature sanctuaries, mountaintops and forests are integral to the program. For example, you might deploy sensors to measure the microclimate across an environmental gradient, collect soil to culture bacteria from fields with different landuse histories, or sample macroinvertebrates to assess the water quality of campus streams.
  • Our programs are known for close collaboration between professors and students. Your professors know you well, and you’ll likely stay in touch with them for years to come. Sweet Briar professors connect current students with alumnae for internships and career guidance and write strong letters of reference years after they graduate.

What can you do with a degree in biology?

A biology degree from Sweet Briar prepares you for a wide variety of jobs and further study. Our alumnae have gone on to become veterinarians; wildlife biologists; physicians; GIS specialists; nurses; physical therapists; teachers; environmental engineers; public health officials; and research technicians in pharmaceutical, industrial, biomedical, government and environmental laboratories.

Many students enter M.S. or Ph.D. programs. Their fields of study in recent years have included biomathematics, marine science, cell biology, geography, earth and atmospheric science and forensics.

At 85-100 percent, our students’ acceptance rates to veterinary and medical schools are far higher than the national average.