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. Every year research-based strategies for control of insect-borne diseases save millions of lives. 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 deaths than all wars combined, destroy food and fiber, and damage homes and other structures. 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.
Upon admission to the university, interested students 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 admitted, 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, taxonomy and toxicology, 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, and smaller class sizes enable them 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.
Core requirements include general entomology and/or a current topics and capstone course. 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.
To broaden their horizons, all entomology students must select a minor (12 credits) in another subject area, and an internship is required.
Entomology students may take exciting 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 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.
For entomology students admitted to the Honors and Scholars Programs, two 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.
Almost all entomology undergraduate majors are engaged in research guided by faculty mentors. 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 choosing an undergraduate research laboratory and faculty research interests is available at entomology.osu.edu.
Members of Chrysalis, the undergraduate entomology club, build networks with faculty and potential employers and participate in field trips and service activities.
Entomology majors graduate with many career options. Employers report immediate and longer-term needs for well-trained entomologists. Entomology majors are well prepared for graduate, medical and veterinary schools, as well as careers in plant health management, public health (including the armed forces), research laboratories, university extension services, agrochemical industries, crop consulting, environmental education, natural resource protection and conservation, and government agencies. Students who earn master’s degrees find many specialized opportunities in these same areas.
For students aspiring to a professional degree in K-12 education, medicine or veterinary medicine, a major in entomology provides an excellent background and favorable reception from graduate 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.
Department of Entomology
216 Kottman Hall
2021 Coffey Road
Columbus, OH 43210
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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