Bachelor of Arts in Biology


Program Description

You don’t study biology at Cornell College; you actually get to be a biologist. You will be asked to explore authentic research questions for which no one knows the answers. In one introductory course, students examined the impact of global warming on coral populations, performed DNA sequencing, and wrote proposals for research projects that would expand the world's scientific knowledge about coral biology.

You'll develop a range of technical and practical skills both in the field and in the laboratory while working with biology faculty. You might focus on molecular genetics, neurobiology, ecology, or conservation. More importantly, you will do all of this in a supportive learning environment where you can explore the breadth of the biological sciences and discover what kind of biologist you want to be.

Biology, One Course At A Time

Learning biology on Cornell's One Course At A Time curriculum means practicing science in “real-time.” Daily labs allow you to immerse yourself into the process of analyzing the molecular genetics of cells, measuring how cells respond to drug treatments, detecting enzyme activities in animal tissues, or applying concepts of anatomy and physiology while examining human tissues in the cadaver lab.

Biology beyond the classroom

The One Course calendar lends itself to the study of biology on extended off-campus trips. You can study:

  • Ecology at the Wilderness Field Station in northern Minnesota
  • Conservation biology in Costa Rica or the Philippines
  • Coral biology in Belize or the Bahamas
  • Plant-insect interactions in South American rainforests

Take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with your professors and other professional biologists. All of our biology faculty are involved in long-term research projects and work collaboratively with students both during the school year and during the Cornell Summer Research Institute. Students frequently present their work at Cornell’s annual Student Symposium or at professional conferences, and some have contributed to papers in scientific journals as undergraduates.

You will have the opportunity to take part in internships and fellowships throughout your career at Cornell. The Dimensions Program for Health Professions, part of the Berry Career Institute, is an academic enrichment program for students of any major who are interested in careers in health care. The program works closely with biology and other science departments to provide research opportunities and internships for students in health-related fields.


A minimum of 13 courses (12 courses if CHE 161 is taken), including at least 10 courses in Biology, eight of which must be at or above the 200 level.

The courses in Biology must include the seven core courses listed below:

Core Courses

  • BIO 141 - Foundations: Cellular Biology (1)
  • BIO 142 - Foundations: Organismal Biology (1)
  • BIO 205 - Cell and Molecular Biology (1)
  • BIO 211 - Evolution (1)
  • BIO 315 - Genetics (1)
  • BIO 321 - Ecology (1)

Capstone Experience: (not required for students also majoring in Education)

  • BIO 485 - Biological Problems (1)OR BMB 485 - Problems (1)

And at least one course from each of the following three groupings:

Cell Grouping

  • BIO 305 - Advanced Molecular Biology (1)
  • BIO 313 - Developmental Biology (1)
  • BIO 327 - Immunology (1)
  • BIO 328 - Neurobiology (1)
  • BIO 335 - Chemical Ecology (1)

Plant Grouping

  • BIO 209 - Plant Morphology (1)
  • BIO 332 - Plant Systematics (1)

Animal Grouping

  • BIO 254 - Ornithology (1)
  • BIO 232 - Case Studies in Wildlife Conservation (1)
  • BIO 308 - Invertebrate Zoology (1)
  • BIO 312 - Vertebrate Zoology (1)
  • BIO 334 - Animal Behavior (1)
  • BIO 337 - Entomology (1)
  • BIO 382 - Advanced Topics in Biology (1)


  • CHE 121 - Chemical Principles I (1) AND CHE 122, OR CHE 161
  • CHE 225 - Organic Chemistry I (1)
Last updated Jan 2020

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About the School

Cornell College has been changing lives and changing educational norms since 1853. Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell was the first college west of the Mississippi to grant women the same rights a ... Read More

Cornell College has been changing lives and changing educational norms since 1853. Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell was the first college west of the Mississippi to grant women the same rights and privileges as men, and, in 1858, to award a degree to a woman. Read less