• Hartwick students during vertebrate zoology lab
  • Hartwick students with snake during salamander science lab Strawberry Field, Hartwick campus
  • Students and Professor Sessions after Salamander Science lab
  • Hartwick student with crocodile expert in Costa Rica

Biology Major Requirements

For a complete, official description of the biology major requirements, consult the college catalog.

The biology major requirements were revised in 2008. For students enrolled prior to fall 2008, a description of the older requirements are at the bottom of this page.

Requirements for the Biology Major:

Students enter the Biology major by completing one Biology in Practice (101) course and two Concepts in Biology courses (202&203).  These three introductory courses provide students with the foundational skills and knowledge necessary for upper-level biology courses and are therefore prerequisites for all 300- and 400-level courses in Biology. Upper-level courses are divided into three Core Areas as follows:


Cell & Molecular Biology:

Organismal Biology:

Ecology & Evolution:

Animal Development (300)(D)

Anatomy & Physiology I&II (206&207)

Ecology (303)

Plant Development (301)(P)

Plant Physiology (302)(P)

Plant Biology (305)(P)(D)

Microbiology (306)(D)

Medical Physiology (304)

Aquatic Ecology (308)

Molecular Biology of the Cell (312)

Microbiology (306)(D)

Ornithology (310)

Genetic Analysis (313)

Vertebrate Zoology (307) (D)

Evolution (318)

Immunology (314)

Medicinal Plants (309)(P)

Tropical Biology & Natural History of Costa Rica (340&341)

Electron Microscopy (321)

Ornithology (310)

Biodiversity & Conservation (403)

Developmental Genetics (420)

Invertebrate Zoology (311)(D)

Microbial Ecology (415)

Biochemistry I (BIOC 405)

Endocrinology (316)

Behavioral Ecology (435)

Biochemistry I w/lab (BIOC 405 & 405L)

Exercise Physiology (317)



Comparative Physiology (428)



Neurobiology (401)



Biopsychology (PSYC 305)



Students must complete 21 credits of upper-level coursework that includes at least one laboratory course from each of the core areas.  They may choose from two different credit distributions to achieve this:

1) Complete a minimum of seven credits from each of the three Core Areas.

2) Complete a minimum of 10 credits from one area, a minimum of 7 credits from a second and a minimum of 4 credits from the third area.

Students are also required to select their upper-level core courses such that

·      at least one from each subject area is a lab course

·      at least one has a significant plant component (P)

·      at least one has a significant biological diversity component (D).

Biology majors begin the Biology Capstone experience in the Fall Term of the Junior year by developing a research project proposal in Research Methods in Biology (392). Students complete their research projects (total of 4 credits) as a Biology Senior Thesis (490).  By the end of the spring term a written thesis must be completed and presented orally at the annual Biology Symposium.

Biology majors are encouraged to do internships on or off campus, most of which are graded.  One may be used in calculation of the GPA in the major but cannot be substituted for core courses.

Additional Requirements:

General Chemistry I & II w/labs (CHEM 107,107L & 108,108L) or Accelerated General Chemistry w/lab (CHEM 109,109L)

Organic Chemistry w/lab (CHEM 201, 201L)

Principles of Physics I & II (PHYS 140 & 141) or General Physics I & II (PHYS 201 & 202)

Statistics (MATH 108) or Experimental Statistics (PSYC 291) or Single Variable Calculus (MATH 121)

Senior Comprehensive Examination

Three-Year Degree Option:

For students majoring in biology, Hartwick’s Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree Program is a unique opportunity to earn a degree in three years. For more information visit the Program Web site at www.hartwick.edu/threeyeardegree.