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First online zoology bachelor’s degree ensures access for all

By Tamara Cissna

The country's first online zoology degree is taught by nationally renowned biologists at the College of Science. It features a wide range of courses on the biology of animals and opens opportunities to jobs in conservation, animal research and more.

The College of Science is proud to announce the launch of the nation’s first online bachelor’s degree in zoology. One of Oregon State University’s longest-running and popular majors, the bachelor’s degree in zoology is the only one offered throughout the state of Oregon. Now the distinctive program provides online students across the country access to a zoology major at Oregon State studying the same robust curriculum as on-campus students.

The fully online program combines the university’s industry-leading online education and the department of integrative biology’s deep expertise in zoology and the life sciences. OSU has been teaching life sciences courses, including zoology, for more than 100 years.

“Oregon State is developing a strong life sciences presence online,” said Sally Hacker, professor of integrative biology in the College of Science. “Students in the online zoology program learn from faculty who are nationally recognized in their teaching and research from any location while also being able to tailor their studies to meet their interests in animal biology through a series of required and elective courses.”

Launched last summer, the program initially admitted 35 students, and the program is continuing to grow with more online exposure and presence. This is a strong start for a new online degree program offered through OSU Ecampus, the university’s online learning unit. OSU Ecampus online bachelor’s programs were ranked No. 3 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in January 2019, making it making it Ecampus’ fifth straight year in the top 10.

“Growing online learning programs in the College of Science is a means for fulfilling our land grant mission, fundamentally making education accessible to people who might not otherwise have that access,” explained Brock McLeod, lead academic advisor in the Department of Integrative Biology. “Not only do online courses create greater access, they also help on-campus students across all majors with degree completion by allowing greater flexibility for those who need more scheduling options.”

Students in the online zoology program study all aspects of the biology of animals – from genes to ecosystem. In particular, the zoology coursework covers major areas of the life sciences including genetics, physiology, ecology, evolution and conservation biology.

And as with on-campus zoology majors, students enrolled in the online zoology program are strongly encouraged to participate in undergraduate internships and study abroad experiences. One experiential learning option enables students to enroll in marine science summer courses offered at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center Center in Newport, Oregon.

“Students in the online zoology program learn from faculty who are nationally recognized in their teaching and research from any location while also being able to tailor their studies to meet their interests in animal biology.”

The College of Science expects to make further strides in the online learning space in the next couple of years. It currently offers nearly 70 online courses with courses in biology, chemistry courses and labs, mathematics, physics and statistics.

The Department of Integrative Biology has had notable success with its online introductory biology course series and a first-of-its-kind 3-D Virtual Microscope – winning a WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies Outstanding Work (WOW) award two years ago. The award recognizes innovative, technology-based solutions that transform the college learning experience.

OSU zoology graduates obtain jobs in varied fields that include animal care and husbandry, curatorial and museum management, laboratory animal research, field biology and conservation and environmental management and policy.

Learn more about the online zoology program on the OSU Ecampus website.

Learn more and apply to the zoology major at Oregon State University

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