Jun 19, 2024  
2019-2020 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2019-2020 Undergraduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED 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

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 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:

45 Semester Hours in Biology Including:

The fulfillment of the following major and additional requirements:

Research Courses

Two courses (6 semester hours) of undergraduate research:

Additional Biology Courses

Additional course work in biology to reach an overall total of at least 45 semester hours to complete the BS major. Two of the additional courses must include laboratories (lecture/laboratory courses or laboratory-only courses). Any biology course for which the prerequisites have been met may be chosen to complete the 45 credits required for the BS Major in Biology with the exception of BIO 003, 004, 010, 050, 103, 105, 106, 123, 125, 140 and 162.

Two Semesters of Mathematics with One Course Chosen from the Following

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • Semester Hours: 4
  • Semester Hours: 4
  • And any other MATH course under advisement with the exception of MATH 004A, 004B, 006A, 008, 030A, 040, 061 and 061A. Students planning to pursue advanced degrees in life and health sciences are urged to take MATH 071 . BIO 100  may be used to satisfy the Mathematics requirement at the discretion of the department.  If BIO 100 is used to fulfill a MATH requirement,  an additional 4 credits of BIO course work must be taken. PSY 040 and SOC 180 may not substitute as a Mathematics requirement for the Biology degree.

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. BIO 093  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 ( BIO 094  or 095 ).
  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 course work.
  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.

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 (BIO 011  and 012 ).  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.

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 BIO 100, BIO 234 (Techniques in Molecular Biology) for BIO 139, BIO 240 (Virology) for BIO 152, BIO 273 (Genomics and Bioinformatics) for BIO 173, BIO 220 (Endocrinology) for BIO 121, BIO 275 (Advanced Conservation Biology) for BIO 115, BIO 203 (Advanced Field Ecology) for BIO 110A, BIO 204 (Advanced Coastal Marine Biology) for BIO 109A, 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 6 Additional Semester Hours from the Following List of Courses:

Study Track in Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental and Pre-Veterinary Studies

MATH 071  and BIO 100  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:

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 BIO 100  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.

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:

Three (two if biology credit is given for Bio 100) out of four courses chosen from: 

  • Semester Hours: 2-4
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 3
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 3
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 3

  • Two laboratory courses

    One chosen from:

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 4

  • One chosen from:

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • or

  • Semester Hours: 4
  • or

  • 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:

Strongly Recommended:

  • two semesters of geology
  • one additional chemistry course

See Also:

Students should see the requirements for BA in Science Education  in the School of Education of HCLAS .