Biological Sciences Major

Opportunities are available 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 200 biology course offerings and in the design and flexibility of the undergraduate curriculum.

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

Biological Sciences majors study the fundamentals of biology while concentrating on any of the following:

  • animal physiology
  • biochemistry
  • computational biology
  • ecology and evolutionary biology
  • genetics, genomics, and development
  • insect biology
  • marine biology
  • microbiology
  • molecular and cell biology
  • neurobiology and behavior
  • human nutrition
  • plant biology
  • systematics and biotic diversity

Sample Classes

BIOMI 3210 Human Microbes and Health

The human body is coated with microbes outnumbering “our own” cells 10 to 1, providing us with capacities we have not had to evolve on our own. This course will introduce the microbes of the human body, discuss their origins, adaptations to the body, molecular interactions, and associations with health and disease.

BIONB 3950 Molecular and Genetic Approaches to Neuroscience

Focuses on how different molecular and genetic approaches have led to major advances in neuroscience. Lectures, student presentations, and discussions examine original research articles. Topics include ligand-gated channels, potassium channels, seven membrane spanning receptors, development of the neuromuscular junction, neurotransmitter release, learning and memory, neurodiseases, and optogenetics.

BIOEE 2650 Tropical Field Ecology and Behavior

Gives students a broad hands-on understanding of tropical biology, ecology, and behavioral ecology. Students gain experience with experimental design and data collection, field methods, basic statistics, interpretation and evaluation of primary scientific literature, and scientific paper writing.

BIOMG 4450 Stem Cell Biology: Basic Science and Clinical Applications

This course will cover basic aspects of tissue morphogenesis and homeostasis with emphasis on the biological role of embryonic and adult stem cells in development, and their possible clinical applications. The focus will be placed on mouse and human stem cells. The discussion will be structured around relevant research papers that allow more in-depth analysis of the material taught during lectures.

What recent graduates are doing

  • Medical, veterinary, and graduate study at Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard
  • Graduate students in public health, law, genetics, education, pharmacology, health care administration, and environmental science
  • Biomedical sciences research
  • Biotechnology/pharmaceutical consulting

More about Biological Sciences