Biology (BA)

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Program Description

The science of biology reveals the workings of life in all its varied forms. The Department of Biology is home to world-class laboratories with faculty dedicated to pushing the frontiers of knowledge and educating the next generation of scientists and biomedical professionals. Research and teaching span the range of modern biology, from microbes to multicellular animals and plants, and from molecular and cellular processes to genetics, development, behavior, and evolution.

The department is committed to providing an education that is rigorous, exciting, and inclusive. Students are exposed to modern concepts and state-of-the-art methods throughout their studies, from introductory courses to upper-level electives that explore major fields of biology in depth. Education extends beyond the classroom as well. Students are encouraged to participate in laboratory research in the department and at other New York institutions. Students also may study away while advancing in the major, an opportunity for global engagement that science majors elsewhere typically do not have.

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.


There are three tracks available to students pursuing a major in biology. Each biology major is assigned a faculty adviser from the department and meets with that professor to select courses in the context of the student’s academic and career goals. Faculty advisers also guide students in pursuing opportunities for curricular enhancement, such as research experiences and study away.

Standard Biology

The standard biology track gives majors a broad background, with the laboratory, quantitative, and reasoning skills needed for today’s biology.


The ecology track also provides students with a broad background in modern biology, but with a focus on ecological concepts, approaches, and analytical methods. It is primarily intended for students planning to pursue graduate study in ecology or a related field.

Global Pubic Health and Science; Concentration in Biology

The global public health and science major with a concentration in biology track 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 (see Global Public Health and Science in this bulletin for program information and requirements).

Honors Program

Candidates for a degree with honors in biology must have an overall GPA of at least 3.65 and a minimum 3.65 GPA in all science and mathematics courses required for the major. It is the student’s responsibility to secure a faculty member to sponsor the research and to provide laboratory space and equipment. All research credits should be completed by the end of the junior year.

In addition to all courses required for the biology major, students pursuing honors must also complete the following three courses (10 credits):

  • One semester of either Independent Study (BIOL-UA 997, 998; 4 credits per term) or Internship (BIOL-UA 980, 981; 4 credits per term). Department approval of laboratory-based research is required. Application forms are available online on the Department of Biology’s website. For biology majors on the standard track or on the ecology track, this research course may count as one of the five required upper-level elective courses. For GPH/science majors with concentration in biology, this research course may count as one of the two additional major electives (not as an emphasis area elective). Note that GPH/science majors with concentration in biology must also take Experiential Learning (UGPH-GU 60) as part of the core GPH requirements. It is recommended that honors track students enroll in section 002 (Individual Project) of UGPH-GU 60 while engaged in mentored research (but not in the same semester as BIOL-UA 980, 981, 997, or 998).
  • BIOL-UA 995 Becoming a Scientist (Honors), 4 credits: must be taken in the fall semester before graduation. This course does not count toward the reasoning skill category.
  • BIOL-UA 999 Undergraduate Research Thesis, 2 credits: must be taken in the final semester. Students prepare a written thesis based on the research results from their independent study or internship experience and defend the thesis at an oral examination before a faculty committee. Application forms, available online on the Department of Biology’s website, must be submitted by the beginning of the final semester.


New York University's Office of Undergraduate Admissions supports the application process for all undergraduate programs at NYU.  For additional information about undergraduate admissions, including application requirements, see How to Apply