Why Biological Sciences at Rensselaer?


Students can major in Biology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Bioinformatics & Molecular Biology, or apply for enrollment in our combined B.S./M.D. program. Undergraduates play an active role in university research and can earn funding or class credit to do so.

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Graduate Students

While earning a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, students work alongside award-winning faculty. They conduct research to tackle real-world problems from biomedical initiatives to environmental resilience.

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The department of Biological Sciences at Rensselaer encompasses a diverse and inherently interdisciplinary portfolio of research. Our faculty, graduate students and undergraduates are deeply involved in the work of pushing boundaries and inventing solutions.

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“The Biological Sciences department at Rensselaer encouraged my involvement in undergraduate research, which has proven crucial in my quest to medical school."

- Lynnette Lacek, Biological Sciences B.S. '15

"I love how much Rensselaer strives to help us succeed. Between review sessions, practice exams, and tutoring services, I never feel unprepared for an exam."

- Grace Erdman, Biological Sciences B.S. '17

"I chose Rensselaer because it has such a strong collaborative research environment and the availability of resources to conduct cutting edge experiments."

- Keith Fraser, Biological Sciences Ph.D. '16

Earn your B.S. and Ph.D. in only seven years.

The average undergraduate education takes four years. The average graduate time to the Ph.D. degree is five to six years.

How can someone do it all in seven years?

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More Academic Highlights Within the School of Science

Every year, the Office of Undergraduate Education sponsors more than 700 students participating in the Undergraduate Research Program (URP). The URP is open to all students.

Whether the choice is to join and augment an ongoing research project, or to seek faculty guidance in pursuit of research ideas, the program provides students with the opportunity to make research an integral part of their Rensselaer undergraduate education.

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Rensselaer offers study abroad and exchange opportunities for undergraduate students in more than 15 countries on five continents. A global perspective is crucial for anyone wanting to understand the world today, and so Rensselaer promotes study abroad through Rensselaer Education Across Cultural Horizons (REACH). REACH offers a variety of international opportunities for undergraduates, including semester-long study abroad and exchange opportunities, short-term and faculty-led international programs, and other international experiences such as internships and service learning.

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In 1964, Rensselaer and the Albany Medical College (AMC) were pioneers in initiating an accelerated degree program that enabled qualified individuals to complete requirements for both the B.S. and M.D. degrees in an accelerated time frame.

Now, many years and hundreds of graduates later, we are expanding on our innovative approach and are offering a program that will graduate physicians who are intensively trained in medical research.

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Rensselaer and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have partnered to create new educational and research collaborations that will allow clinicians, scientists, and engineers to develop biologic or clinical insights from the point of discovery through the design, development and delivery process necessary to introduce new medical treatments and diagnoses.

Current education programs include a Summer Undergraduate Research Program in New York City for undergraduates planning to pursue an MD/PhD or PhD as well as a Flexmed Program which allows for college sophomores in any major to apply for early assurance to the Icahn School of Medicine.

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The lines dividing departments and curricula are blurred and intersecting. Faculty, students, and even the programs themselves integrate and cooperate.

In today’s world, computer science graduates need to know about business. Engineers need the ability to communicate effectively. Architects must master new tools of information technology. At Rensselaer, students can focus on a preferred major while exploring other interests and acquiring complementary knowledge and skills.

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The divisions among the basic disciplines in the sciences—and among specialization within particular areas of science—are no longer as distinct as they once were. That’s why many of Rensselaer’s interdisciplinary programs in the School of Science have gained national recognition.

Many students and faculty in science participate in institute-wide centers, including integrated electronics, composite materials, design, robotics, scientific computation, and more. Others undertake co-op programs within industry.

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Platforms, Partnerships, & Centers

Rensselaer's emphasis on global challenges, intellectual diversity, and the complete student experience positions us as a top-tier, world-class technological research university. Through the following initiatives, the Biological Sciences department plays a vital role in Rensselaer's global reach and global impact.


Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Ranked among the world’s most advanced research facilities, The Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies provides the university with a state-of-the-art location to conduct interdisciplinary research and host world-class programs and symposia.

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Institute for Data Exploration and Applications

Utilizing significant new technologies for sensing/simulating the environment, The Rensselaer IDEA projects range from studying the molecular “biomes” that arise in urban environments to modeling large-scale enviroments and ecological climate effects.

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The Darrin Fresh Water Institute

The Jefferson Project at Lake George

DFWI is a multidisciplinary environmental research center dedicated to understanding the structure and function of aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric systems in the Northeastern United States. Utilizing DFWI, the Jefferson Project at Lake George is a historic partnership of The FUND for Lake George, IBM, and Rensselaer to make Lake George a global model for ecosystem understanding and protection.

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