Biology Major (BA, BS)


The Biology major is designed for students with an interest in aspects of the life sciences, to provide excellent preparation for postgraduate education and careers in biomedicine, health and secondary education, as well as other fields that require an understanding and practice of scientific reasoning and methods.

Students build a scientific foundation for understanding how biological systems function through courses taken during the freshman and sophomore years. In the junior and senior years, students may concentrate in areas such as: pre-professional health, biotechnology, secondary education, or an individualized program. Research opportunities with departmental faculty as well as internships and cooperative programs with public and private organizations afford students the opportunity to apply their skills outside the classroom. Due to the complex biological issues that face modern society, the department also encourages non-majors to take selected courses in the biological sciences.

What can I do with a biology major?

Admission to the Program

Any undergraduate student can declare the biology major or a track within the major.

Program Requirements

General Education Requirements (31 credits)

Major Department Requirements (37 credits)

*denotes courses that meet both major and general education requirements

Biotechnology/Molecular and Cellular Biology

The strength of Brockport’s Biology Department lies in these areas. The department is well-equipped to provide skills needed to pursue a career in biotechnology/molecular and cellular biology. Students have the opportunity to gain a firm knowledge base as well as a variety of laboratory skills in the areas of molecular biology, tissue culture, microbiology, microscopy, cell and developmental biology, physiology, and genetics. A substantial percentage of graduates who have obtained these skills have successfully entered Master’s and PhD programs or found jobs in academic, government or industrial laboratories. Students choosing this career area are advised to select all their upper-division electives from the following group of courses.

Physiology and Development

Some students may be more interested in how the body develops and how the body functions in response to internal and external changes. These interests are encompassed in the areas of physiology and development. Students interested in these areas might select their upper-division electives from the following group of courses.

Certification in Adolescent Education (7-12)

Students who intend to become secondary school biology teachers qualify for New York State Provisional Certification by completing the requirement of Bachelor of Science and the requisite courses toward certification in secondary education as arranged with the Department of Education and Human Development. These certification requirements are extensive and changeable. Therefore, the student should meet with an advisor in both the Department of Biology and in the Department of Education and Human Development. Students in this program need to obtain a broad education in biology in order to satisfy the New York State Living Environment Curriculum. To do this, students should take the following courses among their upper-division biology electives.

Pre-medicine, Pre-dentistry, Pre-veterinary, Health Careers

Each year, students from Brockport apply for admission to professional study in medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, veterinary, optometry, podiatry, and physicians’ assistant programs. Although at Brockport most pre-professional students have majored in the Biology, there is no special major for pre-professional health care, and the requirements for admission can be met through a variety of majors available at the College. The program in Biology is well established and our graduates successfully compete for positions in health professional programs. Upon arrival at Brockport, students should contact the department for further information on these programs.

A Pre-Professional Health Advisory Committee assists students interested in entering medically related professions through formal meetings, counseling and a library of materials; provides application materials for the MCAT, DAT and OAT exams (the admissions tests for medical, dental and optometry schools); and prepares a committee evaluation prior to application based on a formal interview with the applicant as well as test scores and GPA. This committee consists of faculty members from Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For more information contact:

Students interested in pursuing health-related professions are advised select their upper-division elective courses from:

Additional Degree Requirements

  • GEP 100 Academic Planning Seminar (0-3 credits)
  • A minimum grade of “C” in BIO 201 and BIO 202 is required before Biology majors students are allowed to take further biology courses in the major
  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.0 in all required major courses (Major Departmental Requirements).
  • Completion of all college-wide degree requirements

Combined Bachelor/PharmD Degree (3+4) Articulation Agreement

The combined degree articulation agreement culminates in both B.S. and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees in conjunction with the University at Buffalo. The first three undergraduate years will be completed at SUNY Brockport in conjunction with our Biology major degree program. Following application and offer of admittance, coursework in the fourth through seventh years will be taken at the University at Buffalo. The fourth year of coursework will be transferred back to Brockport to complete the B.S. degree requirements. For more information, please refer to the Pre-Professional Health Program section.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Define and accurately use biological terminology and nomenclature.
  2. Evaluate and analyze biological problems using knowledge of cell structure and function.
  3. Integrate interdisciplinary concepts to assess tissues, organs and systems.
  4. Evaluate and analyze biological problems using knowledge of genetics and evolution.
  5. Compare and contrast origins and diversity of life to explain life processes.
  6. Competently employ common laboratory equipment.
  7. Analyze and interpret scientific data, using relevant computer skills.
  8. Use quantitative reasoning to analyze complex biological problems.
  9. Apply biological knowledge to societal issues.