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Morgan Wilson, chair
(540) 362-6549

Hollins University
P.O. Box 9615
Roanoke, VA 24020


Biology live.

Biology is the study of life, so students at Hollins go live with their learning, through field study, research, and internships. From the first course, study of biology at Hollins is more engaging, more real. Rather than starting with a perfunctory yearlong survey course, biology majors take four courses in different disciplines. This gives students a chance to practice biology by applying theory and using scientific techniques, rather than just memorizing a litany of facts.


Small classes

  • Lecture courses usually have fewer than 20 students.
  • Laboratories seldom have more than 14 students.


Access to equipment

  • High-quality microscopes and physiological equipment
  • Digital computer imaging
  • DNA fingerprinting
  • Global Positioning Systems and GIS software


Extensive field labs

Field studies range from the ecodiverse Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia to the estuaries and basins of the Virginia coast.


Study abroad

Many biology students spend a semester or summer abroad.

  • Kenya/Tanzania
  • Cambodia/Vietnam
  • Costa Rica
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Rain forests of Australia
  • Exchange program with the University of Limerick, which offers a diverse program in equine studies.


Research opportunities

Biology majors work side by side with faculty members on research projects. As a result of such research opportunities, a Hollins alumna, who finished her M.S. at North Carolina State University in just a year and a half, says she felt much more prepared than fellow students who came from larger universities, where the laboratories are often taught by recipe with little room for individual research. Recent research includes:

  • Investigating breeding physiology of bird, reptiles, and amphibians
  • Effects of environmental toxins on animal development and gene activity
  • Anti-predator behavior and communication in various vertebrate species
  • Interactions between plants and human-induced changes to ecosystem
  • Forest management and conservation
  • Investigating traditional uses of medicinal plants and testing their efficacy
  • Applying spatial analysis in conservation biology and other fields using GIS (Geographic Information Systems)


Hollins Science Seminar

Each year, the Hollins Science Seminar highlights the many research projects Hollins students have carried out during the academic year. Students in psychology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and environmental studies present posters that summarize their independent research initiatives, from field projects in the Caribbean to modeling interesting mathematical phenomena.