The department encourages interested students to speak with a biology adviser about this major before declaring a major. Students should notify the department as soon as possible after making the decision to major in biology. A departmental adviser will be assigned after the student declares the major.
Grades in biology lower than a C- do not count toward the total number of semester hours required for the biology major.
Students may, but are not required to, organize their biology courses around one of the study tracks below. Students must plan their schedules in consultation with their biology adviser.
Program Requirements - Total Semester Hours: 124
Candidates for graduation must successfully complete the following requirements:
1. The Successful Completion of at Least 124 Semester Hours
The successful completion of at least 124 semester hours and a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in overall work completed at Hofstra and in Biology courses. Military Science 001C , 001E , 002C , 002E and associated leadership laboratories may not be counted toward this total semester hour requirement.
2. Liberal Arts
At least 60 semester hours must be completed in liberal arts courses outside
the Biology Department.
3. Residence Requirements
There are two requirements that must ordinarily be completed in residence at
Hofstra: 20 semester hours in the major field of specialization and the last 30
semester hours. The 20 semester hours need not be included within the last 30
Distribution Course Requirement
(See the listing of Distribution Courses for more information.)
Six (6) semester hours in humanities chosen from at least two of the following categories: Literature (LT), Appreciation and Analysis (AA), and Creative Participation (CP); 6 semester hours in social science: 3 hours in behavioral social sciences and 3 hours in history and philosophy.
Students who matriculate at Hofstra with advanced standing must complete at least
3 semester hours in humanities distribution courses and 3 semester hours in social
science distribution courses in residence. In no case may distribution course
requirements be taken elsewhere after matriculation at Hofstra.
5. Completion Requirements
After completion of the freshman year and each subsequent semester, all BS program majors must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and a grade point average of 3.0 or better in all BIO courses to remain in the BS program. If a student does not maintain the proper cumulative grade point average, he/she will be placed on a one-semester probation. If at the end of the probationary semester, his/her grade point average does not meet the requirement, the student’s major will be changed from the BS major in biology to the BA major in biology . Students should be aware that this change in major will change biology and distribution course requirements for graduation.
6. Major and Additional Requirements
The fulfillment of the following major and additional requirements:
48 Semester Hours in Biology Including:
Additional required courses
Choose at least three courses from:
One laboratory skills in biology course:
(A maximum one course allowed)
Two courses that include laboratories chosen from:
Two courses (totaling exactly 6 semester hours) of undergraduate research:
Additional Biology Courses
Additional course work in biology for which the prequisites have been met may be chosen to complete the 48 semester hours required for the BS major in Biology with the exception of BIO 004, 140 and 162.
The Following are Also Required:
Two Semesters of Mathematics with One Course Chosen from the Following
The Department of Biology offers honors and high honors to qualified students who have a high GPA and have completed two semesters of research. The department encourages all students with a high GPA and an interest in research to apply for departmental honors. Students that intend to be considered for honors must notify their research adviser by the end of their first semester of research.
Please see your Biology Department adviser about undergraduate research. BIOL 193 must be started no later than the first semester of the senior year.
Graduation with Honors in Biology, Urban Ecology or Pre-Medical Studies has three requirements:
- A minimum GPA of 3.5 in biology course work, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.4, and completion of no fewer than 60 credits in-residence at Hofstra, including at least 15 credits in biology.
- Successful completion of an undergraduate research project and thesis or essay ( BIOL 194 or 195 ).
- Successful defense of the work in front of at least two members of the department (typically in the form of a poster presentation).
Graduation with High Honors in Biology, Urban Ecology or Pre-Medical Studies has three requirements:
- Excellence in all of the three requirements for Honors.
- A GPA of 3.7 in biology course work.
- A recommendation by the research adviser and by the team of faculty who evaluated the research project or internship and thesis, or essay and concurrence by the departmental chair.
Study Tracks within the BA and BS Majors in Biology
The Biology Department offers the following five specialized study tracks for students who have predetermined specific study and career goals: Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology and Evolution; Marine Biology; Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental and Pre-Veterinary Studies; and Secondary Education. Required courses and other suggested courses for each track are given below. Students must plan their specific schedules in consultation with their biology adviser. Please note that these study tracks do not constitute separate degrees; they are courses of study within the BA and BS majors in biology.
Dual-degree students in the concentration in secondary education or students who do not declare an undergraduate concentration are advised to substitute three out of the following courses for graduate and undergraduate credit during their senior year: BIO 201 (Statistics) for BIOL 124, BIO 234 (Techniques in Molecular Biology) for BIOL 168, BIO 240 (Virology) for BIOL 152, BIO 273 (Genomics and Bioinformatics) for BIOL 173, BIO 220 (Endocrinology) for BIO 136, BIO 275 (Advanced Conservation Biology) for BIOL 156, BIO 203 (Advanced Field Ecology) for BIOL 138, BIO 204 (Advanced Coastal Marine Biology) for BIOL 139, and/or BIO 307 (Internship in Marine or Freshwater Biology).
Study Track in Cell and Molecular Biology
Students Choosing This Track Must Take
And at Least 6 Additional Semester Hours from the Following List of Courses
Study Track in Ecology and Evolution
Students Choosing This Track Must Take
And at Least 6 Semester Hours from the Following List of Courses:
(At least one of the courses taken must include a laboratory.)
Study Track in Marine Biology
Students Choosing This Track Must Take
And at Least 8 Additional Semester Hours from the Following List of Courses:
Study Track in Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental and Pre-Veterinary Studies
MATH 071 and BIOL 124 are strongly recommended for fulfillment of the Mathematics requirement in this study track. Students interested in veterinary medicine should be aware that MATH 071 and 072 , microbiology, and one semester of biochemistry are prerequisites for most veterinary schools. (Students should determine the prerequisites of the schools to which they intend to apply.) Students should note that additional prerequisites apply for some post-baccalaureate programs in allied medical professions (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant - see below). Nonmajors interested in medical careers should see the requirements below. Students should take advantage of the advisement offered by the Biology Department and Premedical/Prehealth Professional Studies Office in the Center for University Advising to make sure that the courses selected to complete degree requirements are appropriate for the post-bachelor’s program of studies they wish to pursue.
Students Choosing This Track Must Take
And at Least 6 Additional Semester Hours from the Following List of Courses:
Study Track in Secondary Education
Biology majors who are planning careers as 7-12 science/biology teachers should choose this study track. This coursework leads to the completion of a bachelor’s degree with the required biology background and additional science and mathematics required for the New York State Initial Certification in the teaching of secondary biology (grades 7-12) as well as certification in general science. A primary focus of the program will be on methods for implementing the New York State Common Core Learning Standards for Biology in grades 7-12. New York State Initial Certification requires additional coursework and either a B.A. or Master’s Degree in Education (Students should see the requirements for either the BA in Science Education or MSEd in the School of Education).
Students Choosing This Track Must Take:
- BIOL 120 - Evolution, Ecology and Behavior Semester Hours: 4
- BIOL 121 - General Physiology Semester Hours: 3
- BIOL 124 - Biostatistics Semester Hours: 4
- BIOL 122 - Genetics Semester Hours: 4
- BIOL 123 - Cell Biology Semester Hours: 4
A course in plant biology is strongly recommended:
- BIOL 148 - Plant Cell Biology and Development Semester Hours: 4
- BIOL 149 - Plant Physiology Semester Hours: 4
- BIOL 176 - Ecology of Wild and Urban Plants Semester Hours: 4
Non-Biology Science and Math courses required for certification and recommended for secondary education study track students. These courses are not required for the B.S. in Biology unless indicated above.
To satisfy New York State Teacher Certification requirements, students who desire New York State Initial Certification in the teaching of secondary biology (grades 7-12) as well as certification in general science, should complete additional science and math courses to include the following:
• 3 s.h. in Calculus (i.e. Math 071, can be completed as part of the Biology B.S.)
• 3 s.h. in Statistics or advanced Math (i.e. BIO 100, Biostatistics, already included in the B.S. in Biology)
• 6 s.h. in Geology
• 6 s.h. in Physics (already included in the B.S. in Biology)
• 6 s.h. in Chemistry (already included in the B.S. in Biology)
Note: Students who are preparing for general science certification are strongly encouraged to take GEOL 007 as one of their two geology courses in addition to the other B.S. requirements.
Other Recommended Courses Include:
Pre-Allied Medical Professions
Biology majors who are planning to enter programs in physical or occupational therapy or similar programs after graduating from Hofstra need to be aware that most of these programs have prerequisites in addition to those required for a bachelor’s degree in biology. The following courses are recommended to enable completion of the requirements for a BA in biology as well as the additional prerequisites for entry into these programs. Students must plan their schedules in consultation with their biology adviser.
Students Interested in These Programs
should follow the requirements for the BA major in biology and the recommendations for the study track in pre-medical professions listed above.
The Following Are Also Typically Required:
(do not count toward the biology major)
The Following Are Recommended
9 semester hours in psychology chosen from:
Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Prerequisites
The following courses are required as prerequisites for physical therapy and occupational therapy programs by some schools. (Students should determine the prerequisites of the schools to which they intend to apply.):
Please note that the above recommendations would result in the completion of 45 semester hours of biology (if BIOL 124 is taken) without the inclusion of HSCI 050 or 106 . If any number of semester hours above 45 in biology are completed, a comparable number of extra total semester hours (greater than the 124 required for graduation) must be completed.
Animal Dissection Policy
Practical experience with structure and function in animals is an essential component of a biology education. This experience may include the use of living or preserved animals in some laboratory exercises and may require animal dissection. Majors in biology who object to these practices based on ethical, moral, or religious grounds need to discuss their objections with the department chairperson. A student with proper advisement from their biology adviser can select a rigorous and rewarding set of biology courses that are consistent with the student’s moral, ethical, or religious beliefs. Only two required courses in the major sacrifice animals or perform animal dissection (BIOL 113 and 112 ). For these specific courses, accommodations will be made for students whose beliefs prevent them from directly participating in animal euthanasia and dissection. Students must inform the course instructor within the first week of class of their concerns/objections and submit to the chairperson of the Biology Department written documentation that substantiates their objections.