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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 receiving 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.


Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate basic knowledge of history, theories, concepts, and methods in the fields of cell and molecular biology, ecology, evolution and genetics.
  • write effectively about biological phenomena.
  • speak effectively about biological phenomena.
  • evaluate information from scholarly peer-reviewed literature.

Career Outlook

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Biology students inspect local honey bee hives as they look for the presence of the Varroa Mite, a pest that regularly plagues Honey bee (Apis melifera) colonies—Causing the parasitic disease, varroosis that weakens bee hives and eventually causes the hive to die or “collapse.”

“I really liked SUNY Potsdam. There was just something about the Adirondacks and being on the campus. In September, the sun is shining, it’s getting chilly, and the leaves are falling. There’s nothing better than getting in a canoe and just riding down the Raquette River."

BROGIN VAN SKOIK '11 Biology major reflecting on his undergraduate research
Community Connections

In the same way that vertical aeroponic Tower Gardens help plants grow under a series of LED lights, so too have the partnerships grown between SUNY Potsdam and the community over the past decade. Through generous grant funding from the Alcoa Foundation, the WISER Center has continued to make an impact in the region—leading to educational workshops on campus, and allowing the College to supply 11 local schools, and now the Riverview Correctional Facility, with more than a dozen Tower Gardens at no cost.

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The Tick Trackers

As Jada West ’24 drags a light-colored flannel sheet across the forest floor, she searches for microscopic creatures most of us hope to never encounter. Pulling the sheet over leaves, plants, and soil she captures Blacklegged ticks like a lint roller absorbing fuzz balls from a favorite sweater. Working with Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Bridget Amulike, and Dr. Jessica Rogers, West and four other students were able to get hands-on experience through grant-funded research this summer, studying small mammals and examining tick abundance around Potsdam.

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Realizing His Dreams

When Wilber Parada ’20 arrived at SUNY Potsdam his freshman year, he already had a vision for his future. His plans to one day become a Doctor of Physical Therapy would involve years of hard work, completing undergraduate and graduate degrees, and passing the National Physical Therapy Examination. Seven years later he has made his dream a reality. Parada is now working at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, where he’s conducting research on exoskeletons and robotics, and helping to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic illnesses.

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Protecting the Endangered

Traveling up and down the east coast, and through the Gulf of Mexico, Brogin Van Skoik ’11 puts his degree from SUNY Potsdam to the test. Working as an endangered species observer on a large dredging vessel, he carefully monitors the human impact on a precious assortment of turtles, fish, and whales—halting dredging operations at a moment’s notice if too many species are harmed by the shipping operations.

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Smile for the Camera

Imagine a game camera with reading glasses. That’s one of the creative ways that four faculty members have been capturing close-range images of an unsuspecting assortment of small mammals through the modified lens of a wildlife camera. Funded by a grant through the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Kate Cleary, Dr. Jessica Rogers, and Dr. Bridget Amulike launched a pilot project this summer to determine the most effective ways to collect data on a variety of critters ranging from deer mice and shrews to chipmunks and weasels—research that will inform future projects looking at tick abundance in the region.

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Protecting the Majestic Crane

Taking flight like the endangered birds she studies, Bridget Amulike has launched an inspiring career as a conservation biologist, educator, and researcher. Born and raised in Tanzania, Amulike is now in the middle of a prestigious two-year SUNY PRODiG Fellowship at SUNY Potsdam, teaching her students about wildlife conservation with real-world examples from her research in Africa on grey crowned cranes.

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A New Lease on Life

Leaving behind a decade-long career as a paramedic, Laura Schappert ’08 & ’22 returned to SUNY Potsdam for a fresh start. She’s now pursuing a degree in biology, and gaining hands-on experience as a beekeeper, researcher, and caretaker for a lively cohort of amphibians within the walls of Stowell Hall.

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