2020-2021 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Oct 20, 2020  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Course 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, Carlos Castañeda, Heather D. Coleman, Jen Cook, Steve Dorus, Scott E. Erdman, Thomas P. Fondy, Douglas A. Frank, Jason D. Fridley, Anthony Garza, Paul Gold, Sarah E. Hall, Heidi Hehnly, James A. Hewett, Sandra J. Hewett, Robin Jones, Donna L. Korol, George M. Langford, Katharine Lewis, Jessica MacDonald, Eleanor Maine, Susan E. Parks, Melissa E. Pepling, Ruth Phillips, Scott Pitnick, Ramesh Raina, Surabhi Raina, Mark E. Ritchie, Kari A. Segraves, Robert Silver, Joseph T. Tupper, 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 a full year of introductory biology coursework and 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 (57 to 59 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.

Core Courses (16 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 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. 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; (3) and one of the following two-course sequences in mathematics: two semesters of calculus (MAT 285 /MAT 286  or MAT 295 /MAT 296 ) or one semester of calculus (MAT 295 ) and 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 and two semesters of physics.

Environmental Science Focus with B.S. in Biology (57 to 63 credits)

Students complete core courses in biology (BIO 121 , BIO 305 , 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 lab course from biology; (b) BIO 428 ; and (c) at least 15 credits of upper-division biology courses with a focus on the environment. In addition, 17 to 19 credits in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and calculus and/or 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.