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The department offers courses in all aspects of the biological sciences from molecular biology through ecology and behavior, and from microorganisms through botany and zoology. Coursework includes laboratory and field experience, and independent study (which often involves working directly with a faculty member in his or her area of research). Students have access to modern technology and instrumentation: a scanning electron microscope, tissue culture laboratories, a cell and molecular biology laboratory suite, a large greenhouse, a vivarium, and the Vassar Farm with a 416-acre ecological preserve and a field station for environmental studies. Independent research is a prerequisite for departmental honors.