Biological sciences majors are enrolled in either the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Students can tailor their individual academic goals by selecting the college of enrollment, one of 14 biology concentrations, and specific courses to meet requirements.

    Bio by the Numbers

    1300

    majors

    from CAS and CALS

    14

    concentrations

    380+

    courses

    300+

    faculty members

    teach in our curriculum and engage in research with our students

    70%

    of majors participate in undergraduate research

    before graduation

    500

    students

    earn academic credit for conducting research

    Major Requirements

    Biological sciences majors are enrolled in either the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the College of Arts and Sciences. The requirements of the major itself are identical in both colleges, although the individual requirements of the two colleges will result in biological sciences majors taking somewhat different overall undergraduate programs.

    Students can tailor their individual academic goals by selecting the college of enrollment, one of 14 biology concentrations, and specific courses to meet requirements. Biological sciences students are broadly educated in chemistry, physics and mathematics while developing an excellent foundation in biology from our entry-level biology courses and more advanced courses in genetics and biochemistry. Students who wish to graduate with honors must apply to the Biology Honors Program in the second semester of their junior year. Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative and science/math grade point average and write a thesis based on original research conducted under the direct guidance of a Cornell faculty member.

    Learning Outcomes

    After successfully completing the Biological Sciences major, students will be able to:

     

    1. Explain the basic structures and fundamental processes of life over a range of levels of organization within the full scope of biology from molecules to ecosystems, integrated with the basic principles of inheritance and evolution.
    2. Apply quantitative reasoning and basic principles from the physical sciences to thinking about biology
    3. Explain principles by which hypotheses can be evaluated scientifically using examples of observations and experiments that have shaped biological thought
    4. Explain, evaluate, and effectively interpret claims, theories, and assumptions in the Biological Sciences, including those presented in the scientific literature.
    5. Communicate scientific arguments and ideas clearly and explicitly through writing and speech.
    6. Demonstrate a deeper working knowledge of one or more biology disciplines (specific outcomes defined by the programs of study)

    Looking to petition for an exception to the requirements?

    Exceptions to the requirements need to be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and the OUB via the Biological Sciences petition.