Degree: BS, BA
College: Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Insect species outnumber all other life forms combined. Human health, local and global economies, and sustainable food and water supplies all depend on state-of-the-art knowledge about insects, their integral roles in ecosystems and their effective management. Pollination by honey bees and other insects ensures the availability of fruits and vegetables in our diets, and insect communities are important indicators of environmental quality and their study advances ecosystem restoration and management.
While most species are beneficial, insect pests account for more human deaths than all wars combined, destroy food and fiber, and damage homes and other structures. Every year, research-based strategies for control of insect-borne diseases save millions of lives. It’s no wonder that entomologists, biomedical researchers, environmental scientists and evolutionary biologists study insects to understand the biological world, improve the human condition and protect the environment.
Interested students, newly accepted or currently enrolled at Ohio State, should contact the Department of Entomology to set up a personal meeting with a curriculum advisor to discuss career plans and goals and explore the many benefits of majoring in entomology. Once the major is declared, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who helps with identifying a career path and assembling the most appropriate combination of required and elective courses.
The entomology major couples a strong background in the biological sciences with in-depth study of insect biology and applied entomology. Students learn insect physiology, behavior, ecology and taxonomy, as well as beekeeping, veterinary and public health entomology, sustainable agriculture, and integrated pest management in agricultural, forest and urban environments.
Faculty are world-class scientists engaged in cutting edge research who also teach entomology courses. Our smaller class sizes enable instructors to provide individual attention to students.
Entomology students enjoy a high degree of flexibility in shaping their program, and typically choose one of two tracks: (1) applied pest management or (2) pre-graduate, pre-medical or pre-veterinary studies. Tracks can be customized. Examples include human or veterinary ecology, insect ecology and conservation, or general insect science.
Core requirements include general entomology and capstone courses. Many of the courses feature a hands-on laboratory component. The major tracks are not mutually exclusive, and students meet with their advisor to select required electives from a wide array of basic and applied entomology courses to tailor their programs to their interests and goals. An internship is also required. To broaden their horizons, all entomology students must select a minor (12 credits) in another subject area.
Entomology students may take exciting summer field courses at The Ohio State University’s “Island Campus,” Stone Laboratory, located on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie’s Put-in-Bay Harbor.
Students also have opportunities to gain hands-on entomological experience through volunteer or paid positions in Ohio State’s Museum of Biological Diversity, home to the C.A. Triplehorn Insect Collection, which is ranked among the top university collections in North America. Students can also gain experience in caring for live arthropods at the insectary, located within our rooftop greenhouses.
Our department offers an opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom and study the life, intellectual development and evolutionary theory of Charles Darwin, who used insects as study subjects.
Required student internships are customizable by student interest. While some students use research experience with entomology faculty as their internship, many students secure hands-on experiences outside the university through government agencies, non-profits, and private business and consulting firms.
For entomology students admitted to the Honors and Scholars Programs, three Scholars programs are of interest: (1) the Biological Sciences Scholars Program, which emphasizes research, with individualized advising and significant lab and field experience; (2) the Health Sciences Scholars Program, which focuses on preparing students for careers in health sciences and health care; and (3) the Environment and Natural Resources Scholars Program, which focuses on appreciating and analyzing global environmental issues while exploring the natural world.
Many entomology undergraduate majors are engaged in research guided by faculty mentors. This research may be support an existing faculty research project, or it may be research co-designed by the undergraduate student. Such opportunities allow students to develop their scientific curiosity and discover the excitement of the discipline while preparing them for graduate school or a career in research. Information about faculty research interests is available at entomology.osu.edu.
Undergraduates are encouraged to join Chrysalis, the undergraduate entomology club. Members build networks with faculty and graduate students and potential employers and participate in events like field trips to collect insects for research, and to zoos and museums. Chrysalis members also participate in service activities and outreach activities at public events.
Entomology majors graduate with many career options. Employers report immediate and longer-term needs for well-trained entomologists. Entomology majors are well prepared for careers in plant health management, public health (including the armed forces), research laboratories, greenhouse management, university extension services, agrochemical industries, environmental and crop consulting, environmental education, zoo and wildlife management, natural resource protection and conservation, and government agencies.
Students who pursue a master’s degree in entomology find many specialized opportunities in these same areas. For students aspiring to a professional degree in K-12 education, medicine, veterinary medicine or further specialization in entomology, this major provides an excellent background and favorable reception from graduate, medical and veterinary schools. Entomologists who desire careers as research scientists or college professors pursue a doctorate. Many graduate students in entomology programs serve as research and teaching assistants as part of their training and receive stipends, tuition and other benefits that support all or most of their living and educational expenses while in graduate school.
The Ohio State University is home to the only entomology major in Ohio, and the Department of Entomology ranks among the top in the nation.
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