Sciences at Oberlin

Work at the forefront of knowledge, from the laboratory to the world.

Oberlin is a national leader in educating undergraduate scientists. Our curriculum provides a strong foundation in core disciplines alongside emerging fields such as energy technology, computational modeling, and behavioral ecology. Students have the opportunity to work directly with faculty on the most important ethical and scientific problems of our time, from climate change to artificial intelligence.

Oberlin Sciences at a Glance

15 curricular pathways
100+ Laboratory Classes Per Year
24 Oberlin Graduates belong to the the National Academy of Sciences
#1 Liberal Arts College for Future PHDs

Hands-on Research

Research opportunities at Oberlin rival those found in graduate schools, as faculty invite students into their laboratories. But unlike at bigger schools, undergraduates are encouraged to take a central role in research, often co-publishing their findings with a professor.

Explore a month in the sciences at Oberlin

Student adjusting a monitoring device

Melissa Nova '25 works on precision spectroscopy in physics professor Jason Stalnaker’s laboratory.

Photo credit: Mike Crupi

Sciences in the Curriculum

Faculty-Student Collaboration

Oberlin’s emphasis on active learning helps all students thrive. Whether assisting with a prospectus or a problem set, our faculty work closely with students so they gain an understanding of key scientific concepts. 

Professor and student talk while pointing at writing on a white board
Two people wearing white coats and gloves talk and look at lab equipment
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

The immense support of my research mentor, Professor Gunnar Kwakye, and other mentors within the departments of chemistry and neuroscience, made my academic and experiential learning at Oberlin exceptional.

Paul Kamitsuka '22,
Recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Get into the Field

At Oberlin, science is more than just observation and measurement. It's learning to understand the processes that unfold around us every day. Our students have assisted with scientific fieldwork across the globe in Indonesia, South Africa, Japan, and Central America. Closer to campus, our students learn from field trips to nearby ecological sites including the Vermillion River Watershed and Lake Erie.

Students stand in a creek with buckets and gloves, smiling

Students in professor Angela Roles' class search for crayfish in nearby Plum Creek.

Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Launch into Med School

Prepare for a medical or health career at Oberlin with the guidance of a dedicated advisor and the support of a collaborative community. Oberlin science majors are accepted into medical school at a rate twice the national average, thanks to their outstanding scientific preparation, strong liberal arts education, and active engagement in community service.

Student stands in front of an ambulance

Anna Slebonick '22, a pre-med biology major and student athlete, spent her summer working as a volunteer EMT.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Find Your Cohort

Oberlin is committed to developing disciplined, engaged scientists across a wide range of identities and backgrounds. The STRONG program (Science and Technology Research Opportunities for a New Generation) represents Oberlin College’s commitment to increasing the diversity of the STEM workforce. We believe that promoting diversity in scholarship yields more relevant and meaningful discoveries.

Four people stand with arms around each other, smiling

Nicollette Mitchell ’13, Kopo Oromeng ’17, Marcus Hill ’19 and Shannon Banks ’19 earned top prizes for their research presentations at the National Association of Black Geoscientists annual conference.

Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

Science Writing and Communication

Oberlin students have many opportunities to hone the skill of effective science communication and join the professional community of working scientists. Students regularly co-author papers with faculty mentors and receive generous financial support for conference participation. These experiences help our students land promising first jobs or gain admission to the best medical schools and PhD programs in the sciences.

A student speaks to a small crowd in front of their poster presentation

Students share research with mentors and peers at the annual Undergraduate Research Poster Session.

Photo credit: Chris Schmucki '22

Undergraduate research has been a hallmark of the sciences at Oberlin. Working one-on-one with students on important problems is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Manish Mehta, Professor of Chemistry

Professor Metha smiling at the camera
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Obies in the Sciences

Each Obie has their own unique pathway through college and beyond. Read a sampling of Oberlin alumni at work in science, technology and engineering.

A Lesson in Computational Modeling

Rochelle van der Merwe ’21, a neuroscience major, participated in a special  workshop held at the Carney Center for Computational Brain Science geared toward using computational modeling to study neural processes and behavior.

Rochelle van der Merwe stands in a hallway wearing a disposable mask

In Search of Renewable Energy

Andrew Santiago '20 manages a rigorous schedule that allows him to take lessons in flute performance while majoring in chemistry and physics. During a summer break he balanced research into aqueous sodium ion batteries with flute practice.

Andrew Santiago stands in a computer lab

Educating in Death Valley

Marcus Hill ’19 was a geology major and promoted the major as a geology student representative. After graduation, he worked alongside seasoned park rangers helping to run education programs for elementary school students.

Marcus Hill and another researcher pose with a blue bird mascot

Researching Mental Health

Psychology and Environmental Studies major Ify Ezimora ’19 pursued research with a number of faculty. She now applies the skills she gained as an undergraduate to her current role as a clinical research assistant at Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, and the Miriam Hospital.

Portrait of Ify Ezimora

Postgrad Research at the FDA

At Oberlin, Gabby Walsh ’18 double majored in biology and biochemistry. Now, she is a postbaccalaureate fellow at the Food and Drug Administration.

Gabby Walsh stands with arms folded in a research lab

Science Resources and Facilities

Read more about our on-campus resources, from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to supercomputing clusters.

Next steps

Get in touch; we'd love to chat.

Three people in white lab coats sit in chairs facing away from the camera
Jane Sedlak '19, Sophie Lyon '22, and Haodaen Jiang '19 use the 400 MHz Spectrometer in the Instrument Laboratory as part of Professor Matthew Alrod's atmospheric research winter term.
Photo credit: Yevhen Gulenko