Bachelor of Science in Biology

Bachelor of Science in Biology

Get a Hands-On Perspective in Preparation for Multiple Career Paths

Biology is the study of life — from the simplest, one-celled organism to complex ecosystems. But that simple definition only hints at where the field can lead you. With a bachelor's degree in biology from Clarkson, you could pursue a career in healthcare, develop new drugs, protect vulnerable habitats, go on to teach or continue your education in graduate school.

Why Study Biology at Clarkson?

When you study the sciences at Clarkson, doing and learning go hand in hand.

You'll focus on the fundamental concepts of the field, building a foundation in health and biomedical science (human and animal), biotechnology and environmental science.

Through it all, you'll put the concepts you learn to work, both in the lab and Clarkson's rich natural surroundings. 

Those are research opportunities you'd typically find at a large university. The best part: we combine them with the small classes and personal attention from faculty that you find at a small college.

What You'll Learn

Your classes will give you an overview of the field while allowing the flexibility to focus on the topics that excite you the most — such as cellular and molecular biology, biotechnology or environmental biology.

If you're interested in the health sciences, the pre-health advising track can guide you to graduate work in veterinary science, medicine or physical or occupational therapy.

You'll take classes including:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Genetics
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Molecular and Genome Evolution
  • Pharmacology
  • Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

The biology program consists of 40 credit hours in biology, 16-17 credit hours in chemistry, 8 credit hours in physics, and 9 credit hours in mathematics and computer science. 24 credit hours are in free electives, which is enough to complete a minor or second major if you so choose.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

Clarkson Common Experience

The following courses are required for all students, irrespective of their program of study. These courses are offered during the fall semester, with FY100 First-Year Seminar being required of only first-year students. Both FY100 and UNIV190 are typically taken during the fall semester of the first year at Clarkson.
FY100 First-Year Seminar (1 credit)
UNIV190 The Clarkson Seminar (3 credits)

Biology Core Requirements

Students are required to complete the following courses:


  • BY140 Biology I: Inheritance, Evolution & Diversity
  • BY142 Biology I Laboratory (2 credits)
  • BY160 Biology II: Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • BY162 Biology II Laboratory (2 credits)
  • BY214 Genetics
  • BY401 Professional Assessment (0 credit)

Professional Experience

Students are required to complete one of the following Professional Experience (0 credits):

  • BY405
  • BY410
  • BY495
  • BY498
  • BY499

Chemistry and Physics Courses for Biology

Students must complete the following courses:

  • CM131 General Chemistry I (4 credits)
  • or CM103 Structure & Bonding
  • and CM105 Chemistry Laboratory I (2 credits)
  • CM132 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • or CM104 Chemical Equilibrium & Dynamics
  • and CM106 Chemistry Laboratory II (2 credits)
  • CM241 Organic Chemistry I 
  • CM242 Organic Chemistry II 
  • CM244 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I 
  • PH141 Physics for Life Sciences I (4 credits)
  • or PH131 Physics I (4 credits)
  • PH142 Physics for Life Sciences II (4 credits)
  • or PH132 Physics II (4 credits)

Mathematics and Computer Science Courses for Biology

Students must complete the following three courses:

  • MA131 Calculus I or MA132 Calculus II
  • A Statistics and Probability (STAT) course
  • Mathematics (MA) or Computer Science (CS) courses at 100-level or higher

Biology Core Electives

Lab Elective

Students must complete two biology lab courses at the 200-level or higher (excluding BY405 and BY410).

Knowledge Area/University Course Electives

Students will have at least 18 credit hours available to use toward Knowledge Area and/or University Course electives to satisfy the Clarkson Common Experience requirements.

Free Electives

Students will have approximately 24 credit hours available to use toward courses of their choice.

Whether you're interested in healthcare, biomedicine, environmental biology or another discipline, we'll help you find a co-op or internship where you can put your skills to work. Pre-health students often work in local clinics and hospitals, while our Career Center can connect you to opportunities at places like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Every faculty member in the Biology department has an active research lab, and many collaborate across disciplines. And, each of those labs relies on undergraduate research assistants. In the past, Clarkson students have studied the development of the digestive tract using a zebrafish model, ways to control invasive Eurasian watermilfoil and the regeneration of the spinal disc.

You can find research opportunities off campus, too. In the past, students have participated in the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, the McNair Scholars Program and the Community of Underrepresented Professional Opportunities (CUPO).

Sophisticated research demands sophisticated tools. You'll have the chance to use the same instrumentation our faculty and grad students rely on. Learn techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).

Other instruments available for teaching and research include:

  • Electron microscopes
  • Mass spectrometers
  • Particle sizers
  • Thermal and mechanical analyzers
  • UV/visible, fluorescence and atomic adsorption spectrometers
  • X-ray diffractometers

Biology students can join the Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, where they can discuss recent breakthroughs, participate in seminars and perform community service. Or, join any of more than 200 clubs and organizations, including ones devoted to sports, gaming and more.

See all clubs and organizations

Students pursuing other majors at Clarkson also have the option to minor in biology. The minor in biology is composed of 20 of the 120 required credits for a bachelor's degree.

All courses are 3 credits unless noted.

Biology Minor Core Requirements

Students must complete the following courses:


  • BY140 Biology I: Inheritance, Evolution & Diversity
  • BY160 Biology II: Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • BY214 Genetics or BY222 Ecology or BY320 Microbiology or BY360 Physiology


  • BY224 General Ecology Laboratory (2 credits) or BY142 Biology I Laboratory (2 credits) or BY162 Biology II Laboratory (2 credits) or BY322 Microbiology Laboratory (2 credits) or BY362 Physiology Laboratory (2 credits)

Elective Courses (9 credits)

Students must take at least 9 credits of biology courses numbered 300 or above.

Medicine and Healthcare

The best healthcare practitioners are more than technically proficient. They're also keenly aware of ethics, history and other perspectives on their profession. Get insights that will prepare you for what awaits in the field while gaining invaluable hands-on experience. Learn more about the medicine and healthcare minor.

See all minors, concentrations and tracks

Big Opportunities, Close-Knit Department

"Because our Biology department is so intimate, it gives you incredible opportunities to research and advance in your field."

Kelsey Cullen '22, BS in Biology

Hear more from Kelsey and other students

Career Possibilities

A biology degree from Clarkson is flexible — it gives you the chance to explore multiple career paths while you seek your passion. And, many of those jobs are in demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers see a growing need for nurses, doctors, wildlife biologists, technicians and other specialists.

Some of the careers you can pursue include:

  • Biomedical researcher
  • Environmental scientist
  • Dentist
  • Physical or occupational therapist
  • Physician
  • Teacher or professor
  • Veterinarian
  • Wildlife biologist

Recent Employers

Graduates have started industry careers through:

  • Achievement First
  • Albany Medical Center
  • Banfield Pet Hospital
  • Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital, members of Beth Israel Lahey Health
  • Cornell University
  • Global Football Connect
  • Middlesex Hospital
  • NorDx
  • NYS Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation
  • Price Waterhouse Coopers
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Randstad Corporate Services
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Sandstone Care
  • Saratoga Hospital
  • Saratoga Veterinary Hospital
  • Striker
  • The Manor
  • Trudeau Institute
  • UVM Medical Center
  • WellNow Urgent Care

Graduate Schools

Biology majors have gone on to graduate work at institutions such as:

  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Bangor University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Cornell University
  • Pace University
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison

Get a Head Start on Your Healthcare Career

If you're interested in becoming a physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT) or physician assistant (PA), our Direct Entry Healthcare program can make it easier to reach your goal.

After completing your BS in Biology, you'll jump right into a master's or doctorate degree program in your chosen field at Clarkson.

You won't need to complete a second application — as long as you keep up your grades and satisfy other requirements, Direct Entry participants get a guaranteed spot in one of these programs:

Contact Us 

Department of Biology
Phone: 315-268-2342

Interested in learning more about the Bachelor of Science in Biology? Contact the Department today with your questions.

2023 Undergrad University Placement Rate

Take the Next Step

A biology degree from Clarkson opens the door to careers in medicine, environmental science and many other fields. Find out more today.