Students working in the biology lab, analyzing fluid containers. Student with gloves weighing substance and mashing it. A professor demonstrating on a centrifuge talking to two students. A sweeping shot of a student analyzing something under a microscope. Students watering plants. Two students outdoors identifying an analyzing plant life.

Biology (BA)

Biology graduates need to be able to move into a diverse array of careers, from health related professions such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary, to post-graduate study across a range of topics such as biotechnology, ecology, or animal sciences, to employment opportunities such as teaching or biological research. We will train you to have a strong, broad foundation in biology while providing numerous opportunities for students to develop specialized expertise and technical and research skills you need in order to be competitive.


Campus Locations

Main Campus - Alfred, NY


Biology (BA)



Foundation and Core:

  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations - 4 credits
  • BIOL 211 Cell Biology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 212 Principles of Genetics - 4 credits
  • BIOL 213 Structure and Function of Organisms - 4 credits
  • BIOL 226 Biostatistics - 4 credits
  • BIOL 314 Community and Systems Biology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 390 Junior Seminar
  • BIOL 490 Biology Research Seminar

Take 12 credit hours. Recommend completion of one research intensive course.

  • BIOL 300 Topics in Biology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 302 General Microbiology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 306 Field Techniques in Plant Biology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 307 Anatomy & Physiology: Nerves, Muscles, Bones - 4 credits
  • BIOL 308 Anatomy & Physiology: Viscera - 4 credits
  • BIOL 315 Genetics and Evolution of Populations - 4 credits
  • BIOL 322 Botany - 4 credits
  • BIOL 346 Animal Nutrition - 4 credits
  • BIOL 348 Animal Behavior - 4 credits
  • BIOL 353 Tropical Ecology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 354 Ecology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 357 Conservation Biology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 375 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy - 4 credits
  • BIOL 376 Animal Physiology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 400 Research Topics - 4 to 5 credits [Research Intensive course]
  • BIOL 402 Immunology - 4 credits
  • BIOL 405 Bioinformatics - 4 credits [Research Intensive course]
  • BIOL 420 Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism - 4 credits
  • BIOL 422 Biochemistry: Nucleic Acids - 4 credits
  • BIOL 425 Physiological Plant Ecology - 4 credits [Research Intensive course]

Related Courses. Take all courses; additional courses in math and physics are strongly recommended.

  • CHEM 105 General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 106 General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 310 Basic Organic Chemistry
    or 315/316 Organic Chemistry I and II

View general education requirements here.

You will complete a core of courses and select a prescribed number of elective courses related to your personal and career interests. Additional courses in chemistry, mathematics, and physics are required or recommended. All courses taken as part of the Biology major must be passed with a grade of C or better.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the major in Biology, as well as the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences general education requirements, you'll be required to complete the College's First Year Experience Program or Transfer Student Program.

Study What You Love

Independent study projects in biology provide an opportunity for students to pose original questions of interest to them and formulate responses which may be research based, literature based, or the result of a creative endeavor. Students are encouraged to have fun with their projects and enjoy the opportunity for in-depth study in an area of their choosing.

Students develop and carry out their ideas with the advice and guidance of a faculty member and the final project is presented to the Division of Biology in the form of a thesis, poster, oral presentation, or other acceptable format.

Course Credit

The independent study is taken as either BIO 450 (Independent Study) or BIO 485 (Internship in Biology), depending on the degree of independent work.


Students may apply for an Alfred Research Grant for Undergraduate Students (ARGUS) to help fund their projects. Faculty may have other sources of funding to support student work as well.

Selected Biology Student Independent Research Projects

  • An investigation of prion protein interactions and other causal factors in the development and onset of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • The effect of enrichment methods on cribbing in Equus caballus
  • The influence of equine conformation on performance
  • How to address Toxocara in humans and companion animals as a public health issue
  • Assessment of intra- and inter- species interactions and use of space between captive common squirrel monkey, black capped squirrel monkey, howler monkey, and capuchin monkeys
  • GMO’s effect on health and the environment
  • Investigating the relationship between hair dye and hair tensile strength 
  • Gender markers in Nepenthes
  • Molecular genetics of autofluorescence in Avena sativa
  • Color vision in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus)
  • Indications of Exhibit Quality based on Captive Felid Behaviors
  • Territorial behavior and dominance hierarchies between three species of African cichlids
  • Chemotaxis responses to pheromones in cockroaches
  • Attempts to establish a cricket colony and future chemotactic studies
  • Integrated human health: A review of the integration of complementary and alternative medicine with conventional healthcare
  • Behavioral responses to novel objects in North American river otters (Lonta canadensis)
  • Learning, imitation, and time-expenditure frequencies in Lontra canadensis
  • Manufacturing cockroach pheromones and testing their effectiveness
  • The effect of latitude on reproductive behavior and timing in the North American river otter (Lontra canadensis)
  • Differences in seasonal reproduction patterns between tropical and temperate squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus) populations
  • Research in equine nutrition: diet changes in PSSM horse
  • Human impacts on extinction and threat of extinction of island avifauna
  • Investigation of the presence of the phorid fly Apocephalis borealis and other causes of CCD in honeybee hives of Alfred NY
  • Engineering Chimeras to Monitor Multiplex Interactions
  • Genetics of Zebrafish
  • Zinc finger nucleases: The past and present of in vivo genome editing
  • The effects of cigarette smoke on plants
  • Integrated human health: a review of the integration of complementary and alternative medicine with conventional medicine
  • Microbial community analysis of a human versus a canine oral cavity
  • Spore formation by the gram negative bacteria Chitinophaga pinensis
  • Antimicrobial activity of silver containing cements
  • The synthesis of small molecules to inhibit FabI in the fatty acid synthesis pathway of apicoplast parasites
  • Interaction analysis of a putative MafA-like protein and a hypothetical protein with AniA, an anaerobically induced outer membrane protein of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Identification of nematode species found in the oat rhizosphere
  • Identification of bacteria found in the rhizosphere of oats (Avena sativa)
  • Phylogenetic analysis of microorganisms living in streams impacted by acid mine drainage
  • Evaluation of microbial community structures and coliform persistence in the Alfred Wastewater Treatment Facility reed bed sludge treatment system
  • Microbial community analysis of fungi in oat rhizosphere
  • Nematode maintenance and culture
  • Novel apparatus for growing and examining plant-microbe rhizosphere relationships
  • Microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons within various soil textures 
  • Biofilm Formation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A Sea of Unexplored Possibility
  • The effects of minimal fluoride exposure on the uptake of nutrients in agricultural and horticultural plants
  • Genetic diversity of American beech and Canadian hemlock in Allegany County
  • The Therapeutic potential of Viral-Vector Based, Antigen Specific, Vaccines for Oral Cancer
  • Tissue culture and cytogenetics of Amazon water lilies
  • Steady State Nitric Oxide Levels in Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Physiological analysis of Growth Patterns in Two Mutant Strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Tissue culture of insectivorous plants
  • Anaerobic Liquid Culture of Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • An Investigation into the Sources of Fecal Coliforms in the Canacadea Creek
  • The chemical basis of autofluorescence of oat hulls
  • Analysis of the Role of the Highly Conserved Region in Bacterial Quinoprotein Dehydrogenase Based on Relative Kinetic Studies of Site-Directed Mutation in Escherichia coli
  • Oil-degrading Microbes at AU
  • Effect of Cranberry Extracts on Helicobacter pylori
  • Statistical analysis of body piercings in AU students
  • An Investigation of Extremophiles in Extraterrestrial Environments
  • Sensitivity of Neisseria gonorrhoeae to Human Serum

The Biology Division rewards deserving students for their progress, performance, and dedication to the field. Eligible students may qualify for the following awards:

Brenda Bernstein Butner Award in Botany

The Brenda Bernstein Butner Award in Botany funds outstanding student research projects on native plants. This award provides a stipend for a semester-long or summer project.

University Advisory Committee for the Health Professions Scholarships

Each year three merit-based awards are given to one sophomore, one junior and one senior student interested in animal or human medicine and who, by their academic, extracurricular and health-related practical experiences, have demonstrated a strong motivation and potential for pursuing a career in a health profession.

Diana Mossip Memorial Scholarship

One of our most treasured scholarships is in memory of Diana Mossip who entered Alfred University in 1994 and was killed in a tragic automobile accident while still a student in 1996. Diana was a National Merit Scholar and a member of the Honors Program. She was majoring in Biology and had planned a career in veterinary medicine. Diana was a member of the Biology Club, assisted with blood drives, and enjoyed living in the Brick Residence Hall.

As an organ donor, Diana provided the gift of life to several people. Her family provides the gift of education by awarding the scholarship annually to two deserving students who are planning future careers in veterinary, human or dental medicine.

Three-Year Plan
CORE REQUIREMENTS   S22 F22 S23 F23 S24 F24 S25
Biological Foundations 150 XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXX
Cell Biology 211 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Principle of Genetics 212   XXX   XXX   XXX  
Structure and Function of Organisms 213   XXX   XXX   XXX  
Biostatistics 226 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Community & Systems Biology 314 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Jr Seminar 390   XXX   XXX   XXX  
Sr Seminar 490 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Three-Year Plan
General Microbiology 302   XXX   XXX   XXX  
Human Pathophysiology 306   XXX          
Anatomy and Physiology: Nerves, Muscles, Skeleton 307   XXX   XXX   XXX  
Anatomy and Physiology: Viscera 308 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Genetics & Evolution of Populations 315         XXX    
Toxicology 320       XXX      
Botany 322   XXX       XXX  
Animal Nutrition 346 XXX       XXX    
Ecology 354 XXX     XXX      
Conservation Biology 357     XXX       XXX
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy 375   XXX       XXX  
Animal Physiology 376     XXX       XXX
Bioinformatics 405       XXX      
Biochemistry: Proteins & Metabolism 420 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Biochemistry: Nucleic Acids 422   XXX          
Special Topics 300   XXX XXX XXX      
Three-Year Plan
Physiological Plant Ecology 425       XXX      
Research Topics 400   XXX   XXX XXX    
Three-Year Plan
NON-MAJORS COURSES   S22 F22 S23 F23 S24 F24 S25
Physiology of Aging 119 XXX   XXX   XXX   XXX
Introduction to Human Genetics 130 XXX       XXX    

*Please note this three year plan represents our "best guess." Offerings may shift in response to student needs and/or faculty staffing.

Upper level requirements and electives are determined according to your career interests and your decision to focus on cell/molecular biology, organismal biology, or ecological biology.

A total of 24 credits is required for the Biology Minor.

You must take one of the following BIOL courses:

  • BIOL 150 Biological Foundations
  • CHEM 105 General Chemistry I
  • Plus at least 16 additional credits of BIOL courses (excluding BIOL 226, 390, 450, 485, and 490), selected in consultation with a Biology advisor

Alfred University's Biology program has an international reputation for producing graduates who are solidly prepared to enter the workforce or continue on to postgraduate study programs.

Alfred University graduates have been admitted to numerous medical, dental, and veterinary schools as well as programs for physician assistants and physical therapy. Examples of recent health-related graduate school admissions include:

  • University of Florida
  • Ohio State
  • University of Illinois
  • Gannon University
  • Cornell University

Our graduates are also successfully admitted to graduate programs for various disciplines in Biology. Examples of graduate school admissions include:

  • Auburn University - Biological Sciences
  • Washington University - Genome Sciences
  • Nazareth College - Education
  • SUNY ESF - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Biology graduates are successful in biology-related occupations as:

  • Research Technicians
  • Animal Control Officers
  • Biology Teachers
  • Falconry Experts
  • STEM Specialists

Similar Programs

Students interested in careers in Biology may also consider these other majors and minors:

All Undergraduate Programs