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Why SUNY Potsdam?

Our focus on hands-on learning, small class sizes and undergraduate research, combined with our proximity to world class outdoor laboratories (like the Adirondack Park and the St. Lawrence River) makes SUNY Potsdam the perfect place to study STEM.

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Quality Education

  • We are a small school with a focus on undergraduate education.
  • SUNY Potsdam is ranked #15 in the nation for number of tenured professors teaching. Information from The Chronical of Higher Education.
  • Small class sizes allow faculty to spend one-on-one time with students and build a sense of community.
  • 99 percent of our graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of Commencement.

Our campus has unique facilities to teach students the practical skills they need! Geology Professor Dr. Sara Bier teaches students basic field skills in our Geoscience Garden (an installation of 41 boulders around campus).

Students learn about sustainable agriculture in the WISER Center. Outreach with the community and K-12 groups gives SUNY Potsdam students experience developing communication skills while sharing knowledge about the things they love.

STEM is brought to life in and out of the classroom. Hands-on/applied learning opportunities enrich a student’s intellectual curiosity and nourish their confidence and self-esteem.  Archaeology Professor Dr. Timothy Messner teaches students how to start a fire with primitive tools.

Unique Location

  • The Adirondack State Park provides firsthand experience with the unique rocks and minerals, archaeology, ecosystems, and atmospheric and meteorological data collection.
  • The nearby St. Lawrence River offers a world class aquatic biosphere ripe with research potential.

Potsdam is nestled between the six million-acre Adirondack Park and the St. Lawrence River. This living laboratory offers a wealth of research and recreational opportunities.

The ancient meta-sedimentary and meta-igneous rocks of the region record a billion years of earth history and provide world class mineral collecting. The faculty take advantage of our prime location by taking students out in the field to apply the skills they learn to real-world questions.

The nearby St. Lawrence River offers a world class aquatic biosphere and is an excellent place to take biology and ecology labs.

Research Opportunities

  • Faculty are active researchers in their fields and are supported by more than $4 million of funding from grants and donors
  • Research is centered on undergraduate students. Students attending SUNY Potsdam get to participate in the research process, then present and publish their work.

Research opportunities are never lacking at SUNY Potsdam. Students work on research projects and present their results in Introductory level Geographic Information Science (GIS) classes and Senior Seminars in their major.

Involving undergraduates in research is something all SUNY Potsdam STEM faculty take very seriously, for example Dr. Maria Hepel (above), winner of a national award in 2017 for undergraduate research. These research projects can involve field or laboratory work but often lead to publication in peer reviewed scientific journals, or presentations at regional and national conferences.

Biology Professor Glenn Johnson has been awarded $477,326 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create and enhance nesting habitat for the Blanding’s turtle, a New York State threatened species. SUNY Potsdam students will be involved in trapping and tracking turtles, doing habitat assessments and nest surveys, setting up fences and cameras, and analyzing data. Learn More

SUNY Potsdam students have many opportunities for research funding and presenting their results to the campus community. The Learning and Research Fair is held every spring semester with over 70 student research projects presented!

Dr. Fadi Bou-Abdallah, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at SUNY Potsdam, has received a grant award from the National Institutes of Health for $414,047. Bou-Abdallah plans to work with SUNY Potsdam undergraduates over the next three academic years and summers to complete the project. The students will be involved in all aspects of this research and be exposed to interdisciplinary research at the interface of chemistry, biology and materials science. Learn More