Courses of Study 2019-2020 
    Apr 20, 2024  
Courses of Study 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Policies and Procedures

In Biological Sciences  .


The Office of Undergraduate Biology (OUB), 216 Stimson Hall,, staff provides academic, personal and career advising and supports student success through a multi-dimensional, developmental approach.  OUB and faculty advisors complement one another to foster intellectual curiosity and help students understand the goals and requirements of the biological sciences major.  OUB staff provide services, develop programs, and utilize technology to support holistic development and well-being. The staff assists students to explore undergraduate curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities as well as the diverse career paths available to our graduates.  In collaboration with faculty advisors and university colleagues, OUB staff teach and empower students to utilize resources and to become self-regulated learners who think critically about and take responsibility for their educational experience and career aspirations.

Students interested in marine biology should visit the Shoals Marine Laboratory website and contact the SML Cornell Academic Coordinator listed on the staff page. Students interested in other biology related majors should visit the appropriate advising office. Biology & Society, HBHS, BEE, BME, ESS, Animal Science, Nutritional Sciences , Global & Public Health, Human Development.

Curriculum Committee

Many decisions pertaining to the curriculum are made by the Biology Curriculum Committee. The committee meets monthly, consists of faculty members and welcomes advice and suggestions from all interested parties. The committee can be reached through the Office of Undergraduate Biology, 216 Stimson Hall.

Forbidden Overlaps

Because the department offers many courses with overlapping content, students must choose their courses carefully to ensure that they will receive credit for each course they take. Listed below are courses that have similar content or forbidden overlap. Students will receive credit for only one of the courses (or course sequences) in each group:

Group A

BIOG 1440 Introductory Biology: Comparative Physiology  

BIOG 1445 BIOG 1445 - Introduction to Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, Individualized Instruction  

Group B

BIOMG 3300 - Principles of Biochemistry, Individualized Instruction  

BIOMG 3310 - Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism  and


BIOMG 3320 - Principles of Biochemistry: Molecular Biology  

BIOMG 3330 - Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins, Metabolism, and Molecular Biology (Summer)  

BIOMG 3350 - Principles of Biochemistry: Proteins, Metabolism, and Molecular Biology  

NS 3200 - Introduction to Human Biochemistry  

Group C

BIOG 1500 - Investigative Biology Laboratory  

PLSCI 1420 - Functional Plant Biology  

Group D

BIOEE 1540 - Introductory Oceanography  

BIOEE 1560 - Introductory Oceanography with Laboratory  

Group E

BIOMG 2800 - Lectures in Genetics and Genomics  

NTRES 2830 - DNA, Genes and Genetic Diversity  

Group F

BIOEE 1780 - An Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and Diversity  

BIOEE 1781 - Introduction to Evolution and Diversity  


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 and minor, 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.

The Office of Undergraduate Biology (OUB) is located in 216 Stimson Hall, The OUB provides comprehensive, academic, career, and research advising to current and prospective biological sciences majors and minors, as well as alumni and faculty. Our primary mission is to serve the diverse needs of our majors as they navigate the curriculum and achieve their academic and career aspirations.

The Shoals Marine Laboratory, a cooperative venture with the University of New Hampshire, is located on Appledore Island in the Gulf of Maine. SML provides academic advising for students interested in marine sciences and in SML programs: both short-term courses and semester plans.

Please visit the Shoals Marine Laboratory website and contact the SML Cornell Academic Coordinator listed on the staff page.

Pre-Health Students Not Majoring in Biological Sciences

  • Pre-health students should refer to the following link for a list of courses required for admission to medical/veterinary/dental school:
  • Advanced placement biology credits may be used to fulfill pre-medical/pre-veterinary prerequisite courses, but students should check Cornell Career Services, 103 Barnes Hall, or check directly with medical school of interest.
  • Non–biological sciences majors should consult with their major advisor for course selection advice regarding introductory-level biology courses that may be required for their major.

Study Abroad

Cornell Biological Sciences majors study all over the world! It’s not difficult to fit in a study abroad experience (even if you are pre-med or pre-grad) as long as you plan early.  Students can count up to two courses taken abroad toward the major.  To count a course toward a Concentration, students must get their faculty advisor’s approval.  For approval of any other Biological Sciences major requirement, or for other questions, please contact the OUB.

Visit the Office of Global Learning in 300 Caldwell Hall to explore opportunities in different countries and regions, review evaluations from students who’ve been abroad, discuss financial aid, and peruse catalogs and other program resource materials. 

Transferring Credit

Once matriculated, biological science majors are required to complete all core courses (introductory cluster courses, biochemistry, evolution, genetics, and concentration courses) at Cornell or during an approved Study Abroad semester.

External transfer students may use transfer credit for introductory cluster courses but are limited to applying credit to only one of the following core biology course (Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, or Biochemistry) and one advanced course of up to 3 credits toward their concentration. See the Office of Undergraduate Biology for approval procedures.

Students must obtain approval from the Office of Undergraduate Biology to receive credit for biology courses taken during an approved Study Abroad semester. Students can count up to two study abroad courses toward major requirements.

Use of Animals in the Biological Sciences Curriculum

Live animals may be used for teaching in certain courses in the biological sciences. Some animals will require humane euthanasia after they have been used for teaching. From the Cornell Center for Animal Resources and Education (CARE), “Cornell University regards the study of animals in teaching and research as essential to continued progress in science, medicine, agriculture, and education. When animal use is necessary, we maintain the highest ethical standards for their use and care.” All Cornell faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduates, and research personnel involved in the care and use of animals in teaching and research are required to familiarize themselves with and to follow Cornell Policy 1.4 Care and Use of Live Vertebrate Animals in Research and Teaching. Any student concerns regarding the use of animals in teaching should first be addressed with the faculty member responsible for the course.