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 380 biology course offerings and in the design of our 14 major concentrations and overall flexibility of the undergraduate curriculum.

Students select the college of enrollment when applying (The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences or The College of Arts & Sciences). Students tailor their individual academic goals with their 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.


  • animal physiology
  • biochemistry
  • biodiversity and Systematics
  • computational biology
  • ecology and evolutionary biology
  • general biology
  • genetics, genomics, and development
  • human nutrition
  • insect biology
  • marine biology
  • microbiology
  • molecular and cell biology
  • neurobiology and behavior
  • plant biology

Employment Fields

  • Medicine
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Conservation and the Environment
  • General Business
  • Healthcare/Public Health
  • Research
  • Government
  • Law

What recent graduates are doing

  • Medical, veterinary, and graduate study at Cornell, Columbia, Georgetown, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State University, SUNY Buffalo, and Harvard
  • Health Administration & Policy
  • Graduate students in public health, law, genetics, education, pharmacology, health care administration, and environmental science
  • Biomedical sciences research
  • Entomological research
  • Biotechnology/pharmaceutical consulting

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.

    More about Biological Sciences from the Department