Courses of Study 2018-2019 
    May 18, 2024  
Courses of Study 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences

Exciting opportunities are available at Cornell for undergraduates interested in study and research in almost any aspect of the biological sciences. Cornell’s program in the Biological Sciences is composed of faculty members from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine. The size of the program and the diversity of the faculty’s teaching and research interests are reflected in more than 380 biology course offerings and in the design and flexibility of the undergraduate curriculum.

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. However, the non-major requirements of the two colleges differ and will result in students taking somewhat different courses throughout their undergraduate programs. Students can tailor their individual course selections based on their college of enrollment, selection of their biology concentration, and meeting college-specific requirements. Students in the biological sciences major are broadly educated in chemistry, physics and mathematics and develop an excellent foundation in biology from our introductory biology courses and more advanced courses in genetics and biochemistry. Over 70% of biology majors participate in research during their undergraduate academic careers at Cornell. Students who wish to graduate with honors must apply to the Honors Program at the end of their junior year, 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.

The departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neurobiology & Behavior, the Plant Biology section of SIPS, and Biomedical Sciences participate in the major, as does the Division of Nutritional Sciences. Research and teaching in biology at Cornell is not limited to these departments, however: there are over 300 biology faculty on the Ithaca campus alone, with more at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Faculty members in biology are actively engaged in research at the frontiers of the subjects they are teaching, creating intellectual excitement and vitality that give students a genuine feeling of participation in scholarly undertakings. In the classroom, undergraduates hear about important new discoveries, and they are also encouraged to be directly involved in this discovery by pursuing an independent research project. Cornell undergraduates are exposed to a broad diversity of biological problems and challenged to use a variety of investigative approaches to develop solutions.