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Undergraduate Degrees in Biology

You can choose from three different undergraduate degree programs. The Department of Biological Sciences here at Binghamton offers both a B.A. and the B.S. in Biology.

Choosing A Major & Planning A Curriculum

How to decide which major is most suitable for you

Students of all majors have gone on to prestigious graduate programs, entered the most competitive medical, dental, and other professional schools, and pursued a wide range of successful careers. All these majors can lead to successful careers in business, law, education, and communication, to name a few. Employers and post-graduate schools will not be concerned about whether you got a B.A. or B.S. They will be focused more on courses and relevant experiences that you have had, and how well you performed in them. Your decision should depend more on your interest and aptitude for the courses required for each major.

The B.A. in Biology offers opportunity for you to work toward a double major, or to pursue a curriculum that is also strong in courses offered by other departments. You can pursue your interest in languages, arts, and the social sciences, and develop a wider education appropriate for careers such as medicine and other health professions, business, law, K-12 education, and communications. Moreover, despite the word "Arts" in the term, "Bachelor of Arts", you can consider enrolling in additional mathematics, computer science, engineering, and physical science courses.

The B.S. in Biology is better suited for students who thrive on the opportunity to take more courses in biology and thus, to pick up lab and field techniques that will prepare them for traditional lab and field-based careers in biology, including graduate research.

Students who choose the B.A. Biology or the B.S. Biology program may concentrate some of their courses within a specific sub-discipline of biology. Our department has strength in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution and animal behavior.

Selecting Courses to Suit Career Interests


There are wide-ranging careers in biotechnology. Most students immediately think of careers based in the industrial laboratory that hire at the bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. levels. The higher the educational level, the more growth is possible in that career. Some students prefer to go immediately to graduate school; others find jobs immediately. More and more companies are now focused on products and services that combine computer science and biology in what is now called Bioinformatics or Computational Biology. Besides laboratory-based and computer-based careers, graduates can opt to branch into the business side (sales, personnel, marketing, management) or the legal side (contracts, patents) of the biotechnology industry. To prepare for these careers, students are well advised to take some laboratory or computer science courses that teach the techniques used in the industry (ex. Biochemistry Laboratory, Molecular Biology Laboratory, Cell Biology Laboratory, Microbiology Laboratory, CS courses). When asked what they look for when hiring, employers all say they seek skills in communication and teamwork.

Careers in Ecology

From the Ecological Society of America: "... all ecologists need a broad background in the life and natural sciences. An understanding of the physical sciences, including geology, chemistry, physics, and engineering also is helpful. Ecologists need to communicate ideas to those around them, so it is extremely important to gain experience writing and making oral presentations. They need a working knowledge of mathematics, statistics, and computers to design sound investigations, to analyze and interpret their data, and to understand and build mathematical models of ecological concepts and processes. Because environmental challenges require working with people and ideas from disciplines beyond the natural sciences, it also is useful for ecologists to know something about the social sciences, such as economics and geography."

Degree Requirements

The links below are provided as curriculum guides and checklists for students. For the official list of requirements, students must refer to the bulletin corresponding to the year that they entered Harpur College. You may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to open pdf files.

For students entering BU Fall 2010 and later:  B.A. in Biology B.S. in Biology (CMB or EEB concentration) (.pdf, 60kb)
                                                                      Minor in Biology (entering Fall 2010 or later) (.pdf, 8kb)
For students who entered Fall 2005 to Spring 2010: B.A. in Biology, B.S. in Biology (CMB or EEB Concentration) (.pdf)
                                                                         Minor in Biology (entering Fall 2005 to Spring 2010) (.pdf, 5kb)

For students interested in combined degree programs:
3+2 BA plus MA in Biology, 3+2 BA plus MS in Biology
B.A. + M.A.T. in Biology 

Binghamton University – SUNY Optometry Joint Degree Program – interested students should contact Harpur College Academic Advising.

Majors in Conjunction with Other Departments

EVOS - Evolutionary Studies Program
Interdisciplinary all-campus program

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Last Updated: 2/23/15