Biology at Eckerd College
"Study nature, not books" was the axiom spoken over a hundred years ago by Alexander Agassiz, a major figure in biological studies in America. The accumulated knowledge deposited in books is, of course, now very important, but the excitement of personal discovery is still indispensable to the learning process. Eckerd College has built its biology program on this premise. Our unique curriculum aims at developing the skills needed for creative investigation of living organisms, their life processes and their interactions with the environment.
The Eckerd College biology program offers an ideal location, excellent facilities, close faculty relationships and post graduate success. The faculty includes 10 members with diverse interests and expertise. Our small size has allowed us to maintain close ties between the different subdisciplines of biology. Unlike larger schools that may have separate departments of cell and molecular biology and organismic biology, at Eckerd these are all areas of a single, integrated biology curriculum that produces broadly trained biologists.
Features of the Biology Program
Along with a subtropical, waterfront campus near the Gulf of Mexico, Eckerd College is situated in a metropolitan area that is fast becoming one of the country's premier scientific research centers. Resources include hospitals and biomedical laboratories, the Florida Department of Natural Resources Marine Research Institute, the National Marine Fisheries Service Regional Center, the Florida Institute for Oceanography, the University of South Florida and numerous research libraries. For students, this provides a great opportunity for internships, technical assistance and employment. Furthermore, this part of Florida offers opportunity to work in the field, in terrestrial and marine locations, all year long. Marine systems, a series of ponds of varying salinity, and two natural areas are available on or adjacent to campus.
The emphasis is on "hands-on" experience with modern research equipment normally only available at the graduate level. Laboratory facilities include the new Galbraith Marine Science Laboratory along with other modern science buildings and laboratories. Students have the opportunity to work with advanced instrumentation and equipment such as:
- a fully equipped tissue culture laboratory
- PCR/DNA thermal cycler for amplifying DNA
- electrophoresis equipment and digital documentation cameras
- U.V. visible spectrophotometer
- ultralow-temperature freezers
- electronic osmometers, salinometers, and oxygen probe
- and much more
Additional, laboratories on campus are equipped with Windows and Macintosh computing which is linked both to the Eckerd College intranet and to the internet by fiber optic cable.
Students are trained in laboratory procedures by faculty who are experienced, distinguished scientists who consider students as their apprentice colleagues. Beyond course work, students often work with faculty on independent studies, sponsored research projects, off-campus expeditions, scientific conferences and other activities.
Eckerd College has been extraordinarily successful in preparing students for medical and graduate schools as well as other careers. Graduates find themselves well prepared as "problem solvers," and readily adaptable to the many new opportunities that characterize the modern era. Approximately two-thirds of Eckerd biology graduates have continued with postgraduate study at many of the most prestigious medical and graduate schools in the nation. Eckerd College has been ranked near the top of all U.S. colleges and universities in terms of the percentage of its alumni who have gone on to earn Ph.D. degrees. Additionally, Eckerd students have scored in the highest percentiles of the GRE and MCAT exams.