Biology Department

The Biology Department at Siena College prepares students to be researchers, educators or health professionals. The student experience is intense, personal and rewarding.

​We seek to develop our students' appreciation of biology at all levels -- from molecules to populations -- integrated within the context of Darwinian evolution. We accomplish this through a rigorous, broadly based, laboratory-intensive curriculum taught by faculty who are dedicated, first and foremost, to enriching the learning experience of their students. We offer a uniquely personal and immersive program that emphasizes learning by doing.

Our approach is extraordinarily successful -- over 90% of Siena students who apply for medical programs are accepted, more than double the national average. In fact, The Princeton Review has ranked Siena as one of the best programs nationwide for Biology majors. Our unique combination of academic rigor and close student-faculty relationships give our graduates the strong foundation they need for successful careers in all fields of Biology.

Highlights of Our Approach

  • Small lecture and laboratory classes taught by faculty (no TAs!). 
  • A laboratory intensive curriculum, where students work directly with full time faculty who are experts in their discipline. 
  • Broadly-trained faculty who also possess expertise in a particular biological discipline. Faculty members are encouraged to establish and maintain active research programs in order to remain current in their disciplines, enthusiastic about their courses, and to provide independent study opportunities for students.
  • In addition to a biology core curriculum, all students take courses in the areas of cell/molecular biology, physiology, morphology, and organismic/population biology.
  • An emphasis on critical thinking and active engagement in the biological sciences.  
  • Independent research opportunities that allow students to creatively build on fundamental concepts and techniques to address interesting biological questions. This includes on campus independent research courses mentored by department faculty. 
  • Off-campus science internships in Biology are offered for credit. 

Graduate School and Career Preparation

After four years, Siena's biology faculty know you not just as a student, but as a person.  This helps us match your strengths to the many career choices available to a science major.  Regardless of your specific career path, the critical thinking and hands-on laboratory skills that you develop while a biology major will give you a significant advantage over the competition upon entering graduate programs and successful careers. Our Biology alumni are:

  • Curious and creative
  • Excellent writers and communicators
  • Effective team members
  • Quantitative, analytical, and critical thinkers
  • Proficient with a variety of laboratory skills

These skills are highly valued by employers, and prepare our graduates to excel in any career path.

This goal of placing students in competitive post-graduate programs and careers requires that we offer an intense and rigorous program. All biology majors, including “average” students, benefit from high expectations. Siena biology majors work hard, but along the way they form life-long bonds and have a lot of fun, too.  The high standards of our program ensure that those students who excel as biology majors are routinely accepted into high quality medical and other professional schools.  Equally important, our students report back that their Siena education prepared them well for life after Siena. 



Department Chair

James Angstadt

James D. Angstadt

Professor of Biology

132 Morrell Science Center

(518) 783‑4245