Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate Program

The science of biology concerns itself with the workings of life in all its varied forms. Over the past several years, biology has been revolutionized with the development of powerful techniques in molecular and cellular biology, genomics and bioinformatics that are now being applied to research across the spectrum of the science, from genetics and development to biomedicine, field studies and animal behavior. The department’s programs of study and research reflect this contemporary view of biology.

The department offers students the opportunity to explore the various areas of current biology in an integrated yet diverse program that builds from a solid foundation of the basic elements of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, evolution, organ systems and population studies. Students are exposed to modern concepts, state-of-the-art approaches and current methods of experimentation in molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics and bioinformatics within introductory courses taken at the very outset of their studies. A variety of intermediate courses then provides in-depth exploration of major fields of biology. Advanced students may register for graduate-level courses, which are most often given in the specialized areas of faculty research.

Three options are available to students pursuing a major in Biology. The standard Biology track provides the major with a broad background in biology with the laboratory, quantitative and reasoning skills needed for today’s modern biology. The Ecology track also provides students with the broad background in modern biology, but with a focus on ecological concepts, approaches and analytical methods. The Global Public Health/Science major with Concentration in Biology provides students with strong foundations in biological science and global public health, with a focus on one of three emphasis areas: genetics and genomics, infectious diseases or environmental health.

The department also offers a series of discrete minors in the life sciences, specifically in the areas of:

  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genomics and Bioinformatics
  • Environmental Biology

Each minor is designed to hone skills in a particular contemporary area of biology and requires a laboratory experience. The minors permit students to create a course of study that will meet their unique academic and career goals.

The Biology majors and minors provide outstanding preparation for careers in research, academia, medicine, dentistry and related fields. Graduates of the department have a remarkable record of success in acceptance into professional schools and in establishing notable careers in the biomedical sciences.

Other courses offered by the department are designed to acquaint nonscience majors with contemporary issues in biology. Such courses are often topical, addressing problems such as environmental pollution, limits of the earth, and human physiology.

Outstanding and highly motivated students are offered special opportunities for honors work, independent study, summer laboratory research, internships and other enhancements. Upper-level students may become involved in undergraduate research projects in faculty laboratories through the many formal and informal opportunities afforded by the department. The department has a tradition of important research accomplishment and contains several specialized research and laboratory facilities that are integrated into the educational programs. These include the undergraduate Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Microscope Facility, the Genomics Core Facility and the Tissue Culture Facility. Field studies are carried out at many regional sites. Department faculty are also affiliated with the NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, the NYU Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the NYU School of Medicine, the NYU David B. Kriser School of Dentistry, the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories.

Students with questions about majoring in biology or minoring in a specific area of biology should visit the office of the Department of Biology. Those declaring a major in biology should complete a department declaration form. They are assigned a faculty adviser from the department; students meet with that professor to design a program of study, determine course selections and discuss career goals. The faculty adviser is also available to provide guidance concerning the many options and opportunities afforded by the department for curricular enhancement, including research experiences.

Questions concerning the Biology Department's undergraduate programs or any of their requirements should be addressed to: biology.dugs@nyu.edu. For announcements of upcoming events and other information of interest to current and prospective Biology majors, see the BioDUGS blog.