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Biology Major Overview

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum for the Biology major requires courses in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics, as well as foundational lectures and laboratories in Biology.
Overview of the Biology major curriculum

More information on the Biology major and minor, as well as course descriptions and pre-requisites, can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Advanced Biology Courses

There are two options for the Biology major at Stony Brook: the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Bachelor of Sciences.   

Students who wish to complete the B.S. in Biology requires 20 upper division credits in Biology from one of 6 specializations:

  • Developmental Genetics
  • Ecology & Evolution
  • Environmental Biology
  • Interdisciplinary Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics

For the Biology B.A., only three upper division BIO courses are required, including one in a genetics or evolution discipline.The Biology B.A. requires a concurrent non-overlapping minor from the College of Arts and Sciences in replacement of a specialization. 

Research in Biology

Motivated students are encouraged to begin faculty-sponsored independent research in their sophomore or junior year. A few students start as early as their freshman year. The summer is an especially good time for students to start with research in biology. The advanced tracks in the biology major provide direct links to independent research in faculty laboratories in the Centers for Molecular Medicine, the Life Sciences departments, and the School of Medicine. Students interested in research should visit the Undergraduate Biology Research page.

Honors Programs in Biology and in Biology and Society

Biology Majors may graduate with departmental honors in Biology or in Biology and Society provided they have a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher in all courses for the major. They must present an honors thesis based on a research project written in the form of a paper for a scientific journal. The completed thesis must be approved by a thesis committee. Learn more about the Honors Program in Biology.  


Biology Minor

Stony Brook offers a minor in biology for students not majoring in biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, marine sciences, or marine vertebrate biology. The Biology minor requires completion of at least 20 credits in courses designated for the biology major including:

Two of the Fundamentals of Biology courses (BIO 201, 202, 203).
Both of the Fundamentals of Scientific Inquiry courses (BIO 204 and 205 or 207)
Nine Credits at the 300 level
Courses in at least two of the advanced areas of inquiry in the biology major

The biology minor is an excellent option for students interested in the health care professions.