Entomology  Program Description

 
 

Insider Info

dotWe usually think of insects as pests or pollinators, and that's about it. But entomology students know that insects lead complex lives, and that they're vital participants in the complex relationships among plants and animals.

Entomology students learn about insect lifecycles and behavior, pest control, insects' roles within specific ecological systems, insect toxicology, disease transmission, physiology and anatomy.

Entomology studies also require a lot of time in the lab and field to gather samples and information on insects and their effects on their environment. Like all science degrees, the first year or two of entomology studies means courses in basic life sciences. After that, students choose courses in their field of interest.

Several schools offer undergraduate degrees specifically in entomology, and many more offer graduate degree programs. A bachelor's degree will allow you to work as an assistant in labs and field studies. But most students go on to graduate work.

The two main streams of entomology studies are insect management and research. But entomology is so broad that students will have a wide variety of areas to choose from.

High school students can prepare for entomology by taking biology, chemistry, math and English courses. But learning how to learn is even more important, says John Spence, an entomology professor.

"Learn how to work with information -- it doesn't really matter what kind," says Spence. "Learn how to store it and make innovative connections with it. Pay attention to arts courses that unleash creativity, and write, write, write until it is not painful for you."

Ding Johnson of the University of Idaho says a background in genetics, ecology and evolution can also be helpful. "Statistics, chemistry and biochemistry are useful, while physics and math are less critical," he says.

Extracurricular activities can also provide future entomologists with useful experience.

"Making an insect collection or observing living insects in the field are excellent ways to prepare for an entomology career," says professor Neil Holliday. "Volunteer work with environmental education organizations, park naturalists or museums with insect collections is a more formal way of making early contact with people involved in entomology or other biological sciences."


Links

Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Agricultural and Food Scientists

For more information related to this field of study, see: Biological Technicians

Entomological Foundation
An excellent information source for careers in entomology

National Museum of Natural History
Information on different species of insects as well as other information pertaining to entomology

BugBios
This site is filled with fascinating facts, photos and resources about insects

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this program is about? Check out Just the Facts for a simple description.