In Biological Sciences .
The Insect Biology concentration covers a broad range of topics concerned with insects. Students are required to take the introductory course in Insect Biology, which is a prerequisite for most higher-level entomology courses. Students then may choose among several specific second level courses and many third level courses to explore areas of special interest, such as systematics, ecology, behavior, physiology, development, management of pest insects, among others.
This concentration differs from most other programs in that it is organized around a specific group of organisms, namely insects, rather than around a specific level of analysis, such as ecology, neurobiology, or genetics. Because insects represent over 50% of global species diversity, any broad principles developed from study of insects, regardless of level of analysis, have generality for all of biology. Your own interests may be at a more organismal or a more reductionist level. Regardless, you will find a model insect system with which you can approach the type of biological questions you are interested in. The Insect Biology concentration is flexible by design with only one required course. Students are encouraged to build a broad biological background as undergraduates, and faculty advisers will help students chart their own individual course through this concentration.
The variety of courses offered in the concentration in Insect Biology reflects the broad range of research interests of its faculty. These interests range from evolutionary radiation in island chains, phylogenetic analysis, ecological relationships of insects and plants, and social behavior; through sensory physiology, pathology, and genetics; to molecular bases of digestion, immunology and resistance to pesticides. Many faculty have interests in more applied topics in management of pests in agroecosystems and forests, and in epidemiology of insect-borne diseases. Most courses offered in the Insect Biology concentration have labs, so students will develop technical and taxonomic competence to augment their conceptual understanding of insects.
After graduation, the majority of students studying Insect Biology plan further study in graduate school, but a significant number begin working immediately for agricultural biotech companies, governmental agencies involved with the environment or human health, or non-governmental organizations, such as Nature Conservancy.