Jun 12, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Bulletin

Biology, BS Major in

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. All majors are required to take a comprehensive examination administered by the department in the senior year.

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 hours.

4. General Requirements


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 BIOL 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 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:

Required courses

Students must take either BIOL 111 112   and BIOL 113  or BIOL 112  and 113 .

Additional required courses

Choose at least three courses from:

One laboratory skills in biology course:

(A maximum one course allowed)

A course in biostatistics:

BIOL 124 - Biostatistics   

Research Courses

Two courses (totaling exactly 6 semester hours) of undergraduate research:

Additional Biology Courses

Additional coursework in biology for which the prerequisites have been met may be chosen to complete the 48 semester hours required for the BS major in Biology, with the exception of BIOL 004, 140, and 162.

Two Semesters of Mathematics with One Course Chosen from the Following

Departmental Honors

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Successful completion of an undergraduate research project and thesis or essay (BIOL 194  or 195 ).
  3. 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:

  1. Excellence in all of the three requirements for Honors.
  2. A GPA of 3.7 in biology coursework.
  3. 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 four specialized study tracks for students who have predetermined specific study and career goals: Cell and Molecular Biology; Ecology and Evolution; Marine Biology; and Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental and Pre-Veterinary Studies. 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 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: BIOL 224 (Statistics) for BIOL 124, BIOL 268 (Techniques in Molecular Biology) for BIOL 168, BIOL 252 (Virology) for BIOL 152, BIOL 273 (Genomics and Bioinformatics) for BIOL 173, BIOL 253 (Endocrinology) for BIOL 153, BIOL 256 (Advanced Conservation Biology) for BIOL 156, BIOL 238 (Advanced Field Ecology) for BIOL 138, BIOL 239 (Advanced Coastal Marine Biology) for BIOL 139, and/or BIOL 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:

Secondary Education Careers

Students interested in pursuing a Biology major who are planning careers as 7-12 science/biology teachers should consult with their Biology Faculty advisor as well as the Dr. Amy Catalano, Chair of Science Education, to discuss course selection as well as options for achieving New York State Initial Certification for Secondary Education.  There are options for pursuing a dual degree in Biology and Secondary Education, leading to a Master of Science in Education degree and B.A. or B.S. in Biology.

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 HPR 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.

Recommended Program Sequence - Total Hours: 124