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B.A. / B.S. in Biology

The Biology Department at SUNY Potsdam offers opportunities for student learning through a rich educational experience with a strong foundation in content knowledge and the development of higher-level cognitive skills through speaking, writing and research. The department is dedicated to student learning by providing a broad exposure to a range of biological topics with a foundation in national and state science standards and opportunities for student research.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology (B.A.) is ideal for students who wish to teach biology at the secondary level. Students pursuing a degree in secondary education also complete a variety of courses within the School of Education and Professional Studies and are assigned an adviser from that School. This degree option is also best for students who wish to combine a major in biology with another major offered by the College.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (B.S.) is the best option for students who plan to enter graduate studies in biology or the health professions. PreMed students will complete all of the requirements for medical school in addition to the receiving an excellent preparation for professional exams (e.g. MCAT). This option is also best for students planning careers in Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Veterinary Sciences and postgraduate research in the life sciences (M.S. or Ph.D.). In addition to concentrations in Pre-med and Pre-health Sciences, students have the option to pursue concentrations in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Anatomy and Physiology and Marine Biology.

“I always wanted to be on a ship, try to make a difference, educate people about endangered species, and be on the front lines."



Students will demonstrate an understanding of major biological concepts.  This will be accomplished by:

  • Explaining important biological processes at the subcellular, cellular, organismal, and ecological levels;
  • Describing how evolution connects all levels of biological processes;
  • Applying knowledge to broader context, e.g. human health, biodiversity, and emerging technologies. 

Students will demonstrate ability to communicate Biological concepts through: 

  • Current Topics course where students must present substantive talks in front of their peers;
  • Writing meaningful laboratory reports, independent research reports, and review articles in upper division courses;
  • Poster and oral presentations of independent research at local, regional, national, and international conferences.

Students will demonstrate enhanced knowledge of the scientific method through various research and teaching activities such as:

  • Developing appropriate experimental skills through courses;
  • Students learning methods of experimental design, hypothesis testing, data collection, and summarizing data in graphical and statistical form;  
  • Embedding student-directed projects in current laboratory courses;
  • Providing opportunities for independent research throughout the calendar year;
  • Providing teaching assistantship opportunities. 

Students will demonstrate ability to gather and process information from the peer-reviewed literature:

  • Incorporate primary literature into written review articles in WI courses and laboratory reports;  
  • Develop critical analysis and interpretive skills of both qualitative and quantitative data;
  • Critically evaluate primary and secondary literature