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    Hope College
    Aug 16, 2022  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog


The field of Biology represents a number of different approaches to the study of life, from the molecular to organismal to ecological levels.

About The Program

The Department of Biology offers all Hope College students an opportunity to participate in biology, either in courses listed here or in some of the GEMS and Environmental Science courses. Several members of the Department of Biology faculty have been recognized as outstanding educators at the state and national levels. Biology majors leave Hope College well prepared to pursue a number of different careers. Many of our majors go on to earn advanced degrees in graduate, medical, dental or other professional schools. Our success at placing students in graduate and professional schools is outstanding. Other students go on to careers in the allied health professions, industrial research and laboratory positions, conservation and natural resources management, secondary education and environmental/outdoor education.

We give students the chance to learn biology in well-taught courses in a diverse curriculum. Courses emphasize active participation by the students in lecture, discussion and laboratory settings. A hallmark of the department’s approach is the belief that students best learn biology by doing biology. Thus, almost all of our courses include investigative laboratories. In addition, we provide students with the opportunity to be biologists by participating in research projects with our faculty. Student/faculty research occurs both in the summer, when stipends are available to give selected students the experience of full-time research, and during the academic year. More than 100 research papers co-authored by students have been presented or published in the last five years. The variety of research projects reflects the diversity of interests of the biology faculty:

  • Ecologists are studying seed banks and tropical forest regeneration, effects of endophytic fungi on insects, behavioral ecology of birds and the ecology of invasive plants
  • Botanists are investigating molecular plant systematics
  • Physiologists are studying the role of vasopressin receptors, the regulation of body mass and reproduction in vertebrates and the electrophysiology of the hippocampus
  • Geneticists, cell biologists and molecular biologists are studying receptor function and molecular biology of lipid metabolism
  • Zoologists are investigating interactions between insects, fungi, and grasses; and competition for nesting sites among bird species

The department has many well-equipped laboratories and a 55-acre nature preserve for both teaching and research and a well-supplied library of books and current journals. More recent additions to our capabilities include a computer laboratory for bioinformatics studies, statistical analyses and simulation studies, an apotome/fluorescence microscope, diode array spectrophotometers, an automated next generation DNA sequencer, a real-time PCR thermal cycler, scintillation counters, a video image analysis system, a confocal microscope, a portable photosynthesis system, equipment for electrophysiological studies, seven computerized polygraphs for physiological measurements, five walk-in and numerous reach-in environmental chambers, new field equipment, two molecular biology laboratories and facilities for plant and animal tissue culture and gene cloning and amplification.

Qualified students can spend a semester at a university abroad or in an internship while pursuing their other studies at Hope College or during participation in one of the college’s domestic off-campus programs.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is offered jointly by the departments of Biology and Chemistry and is available for those students who seek a degree at the interface of these two disciplines. You may find complete description of the requirements for this degree here .


A Hope College biology major must be prepared to meet a variety of future challenges. For that reason, the basic requirements are distributed among the diversity of approaches to the study of biology. Students should discuss their individual needs with a member of the Department of Biology as early as possible so that those needs can be met.