Bachelor of Science Degree

Biology is a multidisciplinary cutting-edge field encompassing the vast diversity of life from the smallest amino acid to ecosystem dynamics. The biology program at SUNY Poly provides an in-depth introduction to the breadth of the discipline through core courses with a diverse selection of upper-level classes. This program prepares students for a variety of careers in research, conservation, pre-med and other health specialties, veterinary medicine, or teaching, as well as employment in government or private firms.

Our faculty are dedicated to quality education through scholarship and research. The breadth of our faculty interests and experiences enable students to specialize in sub disciplines of biology such as ecology and evolutionary biology, botany, physiology, biochemistry, and cell biology.

Laboratories and Facilities
Many of our biology courses include a 3 hour lab session or fieldwork per week. The biology laboratories are equipped with standard equipment consisting of compound and dissecting microscopes, a sterilizer, and incubators. Students also have access to electrophoresis equipment, a PCR instrument and a tissue culture hood. Our two chemistry labs have new, state of the art equipment including a high pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC), Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR), UV-Vis spectrophotometer, atomic absorption spectrometer, gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer, and flame ionization detector. And, for science students who prefer a larger lab experience, the SUNY Poly campus includes hundreds of acres of forest and wildflower areas. In addition, SUNY Poly is close to diverse ecosystems such as the Utica Marsh, Rome sand flats, and the Adirondack Mountains.

The Program
The biology program is for those students who have an interest in Biology on an organismal or physiological level and wish to study the roles and interdependence that organisms have within an ecological system. Students will be prepared for careers that may involve, but are not limited to, the assessment of environmental impact as a result of human enterprise, the control of animal and biological pests in a safe ecological manner, the impact of genetically altered plants and animals on the environment, the biological effects of global warming, etc. Students in our program are able to choose their electives to specialize in the topic of their choice or to sample across topics. There is also room in the program of study for students to get a minor in a related field, such as psychology or community and behavioral health.

Pre-med/Pre-health students
Pre-med students and students desiring to go into other health fields such as Physician’s Assistant and Physical Therapy will work with their advisor to tailor their program of study to their specific needs and graduate school requirements. This includes extra courses in social sciences and physics and can include courses such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and advanced physiology.

Degree Requirements
To earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in biology a student must fulfill the following: The structure of the degree program will require all students enrolled to take fourteen core courses (50 credits). Generally, nine to twelve of these courses will be completed by the end of the sophomore year. Also, students will be required to complete all of the general education courses as outlined by the N.Y.S. Board of Regents, many of which may also be completed by the end of their second year in the program.

The major requires an additional 9 to 12 credits of elective course work in biology beyond the core courses. All of these courses will need to be completed during the junior and senior years including the 1 credit each of Junior Seminar and Senior Seminar taken in the last 2 years.

Additional elective courses in biology or in other academic areas will complete the 124 credit hour degree requirement for the B. S. Degree in Biology.

B.S. in Biology—124 total credits

Students shall satisfy the requirements listed below.

I. SUNY General Education Requirements (30 credits)

All SUNY students must satisfy the following requirements.

No fewer than 30 credits must be attained from the SUNY approved General Education Course List with the following provisions:

  • Communication (written and oral)
  • Mathematics (and quantitative reasoning)
  • Natural Sciences (and scientific reasoning)
  • Diversity: Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

At least three (3) out of the following six (6) SUNY General Education categories:

  • The Arts
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • U.S. History and Civic Engagement
  • Other World Civilization
  • World History and Global Awareness
  • World Languages

NOTE: You may take more than one course in a given category to complete this 30-credit hour requirement, but you must also satisfy the appropriate number of categories.

II. Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements (no fewer than 30 credits) 

The New York State Education Department (SED) requires a student earning a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree to attain no fewer than 60 credits of combined SUNY General Education and Liberal Arts/Sciences courses. There may be overlap (*) between courses meeting the SUNY General Education Requirements, SUNY Poly Degree Requirements, Liberal Arts/Sciences Requirements, and Program courses; but a student may receive course credits only once even if multiple requirements are satisfied by a single course. The total number of combined credit hours must be no fewer than 60 credits.

SUNY Poly degree requirements:

  • Natural Sciences – one course which may be a General Education Natural Science course (fulfilled by BIO 103T & BIO 103L)
  • Upper-Division Writing Course See the Catalog descriptions for COM courses to find specific courses to satisfy this requirement.

Specific requirements for BS in Biology majors:

  • Physics I (PHY 101T & PHY 101L)*
  • **Students wishing to go to medical school will also take Physics II (PHY 102T & PHY 102L). 
  • Statistical Methods (STA 100)*
  • Calculus I (MAT 151)**
  • **Students may substitute MAT 112 after consultation with their program advisor.

Liberals Arts/Sciences Electives (remainder of credits)

III. Core Coursework (45 credits)

  • Introductory Biology I (BIO 103T & BIO 103L)*
  • Introductory Biology II (BIO 104T & BIO 104L)
  • Cell Biology (BIO 270)
  • Ecology (BIO 300T & BIO 300L)
  • Plant and Animal Physiology (BIO 315)
  • Genetics (BIO 351)
  • Evolution (BIO 380)
  • Junior Biology Seminar (BIO 390)
  • Senior Biology Seminar (BIO 487)
  • Introductory Chemistry I (CHE 130T & CHE 130L)
  • Introductory Chemistry II (CHE 131T & CHE 131L)
  • Organic Chemistry I (CHE 230T & CHE 230L)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHE 231T & CHE 231L)
  • Biochemistry (CHE 430T & CHE 430L)

Program Electives (10-20 credits)

  • Anatomy & Physiology I (BIO 215T & BIO 215L)
  • Anatomy & PhysiologyII (BIO 216T & BIO 216L)
  • Plant Anatomy (BIO 230)
  • Introduction to Mycology (BIO 235)
  • General Microbiology (BIO 275T/L)
  • Entomology (BIO 320)
  • Integrated Pest Management (BIO 322)
  • Comparative Plant Morphology (BIO 331)
  • Vertebrate Zoology (BIO 340)
  • Invertebrate Zoology (BIO 341)
  • Animal Behavior (BIO 342)
  • Advanced Physiology (BIO 350)
  • Phylogenetics (BIO 401)
  • Plant Systematics (BIO 430)
  • Oncology (BIO 472)
  • Developmental Biology (BIO 474)
  • Special Topics (BIO 490)
  • Independent Study (BIO 491)
  • Elective substitutions must be approved by the Biology Program Coordinator

IV. Unrestricted Electives (remainder of credits)

All students must achieve a minimum of a “C” grade in all major courses (core and track/electives) and a minimum of 2.0 overall grade point average in order to graduate. Pre-med students are strongly advised to take both a psychology and a sociology course as part of their curriculum preparation for the MCAT. You must have 30 credits in upper division (300 and 400 level) courses; in addition to the core requirements, you will need at least one program or unrestricted elective at the upper division level to meet that total.

NOTE: Core courses may fulfill general education and/or liberal arts requirements; consult SUNY Poly course catalog for specific general education categories.

NOTE: Courses with a “T/L” designation are equivalent to courses taken prior to fall 2016 with the same course number (e.g., BIO 103T/L = BIO 103).