2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, BS


Billie Trapani, Academic Support Coordinator
114 Life Sciences Complex
batrapan@syr.edu, 315-443-9139


Yasir Ahmed-Braimah, David M. Althoff, Katie M. Becklin, Melanie J. Blanden, Carlos A. Castañeda, Heather D. Coleman, Jen Cook, Steve Dorus, Scott E. Erdman, Christopher W. Fernandez, Thomas P. Fondy, Douglas A. Frank, Austin M. Garner, Paul Gold, Sarah E. Hall, Heidi Hehnly, James A. Hewett, Sandra J. Hewett, Robin Jones, Donna L. Korol, L. Jamie Lamit, Katharine Lewis, Jessica MacDonald, Eleanor Maine, Vera McIlvain, Angela Oliverio, Susan E. Parks, Melissa E. Pepling, Ruth Phillips, Scott Pitnick, Ramesh Raina, Surabhi Raina, Mark E. Ritchie, Kari A. Segraves, Robert B. Silver, Roy D. Welch, Michele G. Wheatly, and Jason R. Wiles

Students majoring in biology establish a general background in the discipline through a series of first-year/sophomore-level core courses that preview the major sub-disciplines of biology. This introductory program is followed by courses that allow the student to focus on more advanced material.

The major in biology leads to either the B.A. or the B.S. degree. The B.S. degree is intended for students interested in graduate study in biological science or the health professions (medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine). In addition to biology requirements, students pursuing a B.S. degree take general chemistry, organic chemistry, and calculus. Students are also encouraged to gain practical experience and academic credit through the University Honors Program, the Community Internship Program, or departmental research. Students may also receive a B.S. degree with emphasis on environmental sciences.

The B.A. degree is intended for students who wish to pursue technical or science-related careers that do not require a graduate or professional degree, or careers outside of biology in which a background in science may be useful, such as science writing, business, or law. Although the first- year/sophomore-level core biology course requirements for the B.A. and the B.S. degrees are similar, there are key differences. The B.A. degree requires fewer courses in chemistry and mathematics.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Be able to recognize and distinguish theories, concepts and principles from the major sub-fields of biology

2. Be able to analyze and synthesize more specific and advanced concepts in selected areas of biology

3. Apply skills in the nature and practice of science

4. Utilize oral communication skills relevant to biological sciences

5. Utilize written communication skills relevant to biological sciences

6. Apply quantitative methods to solve problems in the biological sciences

Major Requirements

B.S. Degree Requirements (59 to 61 credits)

To Declare the B.S. Major in Biology

A student may declare the B.S. major in Biology during the admission process or anytime thereafter by contacting the Academic Coordinator of the Biology Department.

Students cannot double major in biotechnology, biochemistry or biology. They cannot complete a minor in biology in conjunction with one of those three programs.

Core Courses (18 credits)

All core courses need to be completed by the end of a student’s junior year, preferably by the Fall.

Upper-Division Courses (22 credits)

Students in the B.S. program complete an additional 22 credits of upper-division coursework in Biology with a minimum of 6 of the 22 credits being laboratory credits. Students may complete these 6 credits through any combination of laboratory courses offered in Biology, except the combinations of BIO 316 - Anatomy and Physiology I for Biology Majors  and BIO 317 - Anatomy and Physiology II for Biology Majors  or BIO 316 and BIO 482 - Neuroanatomy Lab or BIO 317 and BIO 482 - Neuroanatomy Lab or   BIO 463 - Molecular Biotechnology  and BIO 464 - Applied Biotechnology . By petition, laboratory courses with significant biological relevance offered by other departments may also be counted toward the requirement. In addition, BIO 355 - General Physiology cannot count as an upper division Biology elective if taken in addition to BIO 316 and/or BIO 317. Also, one upper division elective course must include a significant focus on communication skills experience and at least one upper-division elective course must be taken in each of two distribution areas, Ecology/Evolutionary Biology and Cell/Molecular Biology.

Math and Chemistry Requirements (19-21 credits)

The B.S. degree in Biology requires: (1) two semesters of general or inorganic chemistry with laboratory; (2) one semester of organic chemistry with laboratory; and (3) one semester of calculus and MAT 221 Elementary Probability & Statistics I or a 300 to 500-level statistics course.

Students intending to enroll in an advanced program in the health professions (e.g., medical school) or a graduate program in biology will also need to take an additional semester in organic chemistry, one semester of biochemistry, and two semesters of physics.

Environmental Science Focus with B.S. in Biology (59 to 61 credits)

Students complete core courses in biology (BIO 121 ,  BIO 123, BIO 224, and BIO 345 ), two 3-credit introductory courses in earth science, and 24 credits of upper-division coursework. Of the 24 credits, students must take: (a) an upper-division 3-credit biology lab course; (b) BIO 428 ; and (c) 12 credits of upper-division biology courses with a focus on the environment. The remaining 6 elective credits can be taken outside of the department upon approval of the faculty advisor. In addition, 17 to 19 credits in general chemistry, organic chemistry, calculus, and statistics are required. All core courses need to be completed by the end of a student’s junior year, preferably by the Fall of that year.