- Departments & Programs
- Department of Biology
- Academic Program
This information is part of the Colgate University catalog, 2022-23.
Professors Belanger, Cardelús, Frey (Chair), Fuller, Holm, Hoopes, Ingram, McCay, McHugh, Watkins
A major in biology is the traditional undergraduate preparation for students planning to pursue career interests in the biological or health-related sciences. Although the majority of majors ultimately pursue careers in the life sciences, a significant number of individuals with other career interests choose the major within the liberal arts context. The department's majors are found today in positions of responsibility in many fields outside the life sciences, including business, theology, law, and the performing arts. Biology majors who are interested in pursuing a career in elementary or secondary school teaching should refer to Educational Studies.
Students expecting to attend graduate or professional schools are reminded that these schools frequently recommend or require calculus, statistics, computer science, chemistry (typically through organic), and a year of physics as cognates to the biology major.
The Oswald T. Avery Award — awarded by the department in honor of Dr. Oswald T. Avery, who graduated in the class of 1900 and subsequently made major research discoveries in molecular biology at the Rockefeller Institute. The award is given each year to one or more senior majors in molecular biology chosen by the faculty on the basis of academic achievement, academic development, research project, and departmental service.
The Raymond J. Myers Award — awarded by the department in honor of Professor Raymond J. Myers, who taught biology at Colgate from 1934 to 1972. The award is given each year to one or more senior majors in biology chosen by the faculty on the basis of academic achievement, academic development, research project, and departmental service.
The Christopher Oberheim Memorial Award — established as an award for a biology student chosen by the faculty on the basis of showing great promise in research, as evidenced by previous work.
Advanced Placement Policy
An incoming student who submits an AP grade of 4 or 5 will receive credit for BIOL 101. This course can be counted as a 100-level elective course. Students with AP credit are encouraged to enter the department's curriculum with BIOL 181 or BIOL 182.
Honors and High Honors
A student may be allowed to stand for honors or high honors in the department following approval of their research adviser. Both honors and high honors in biology require an overall GPA of 3.30 in courses counted toward the major, a demonstrated deep commitment to research in biology, an oral presentation to the department, a review paper, and a research paper submitted to the research adviser and two committee members. The research project evaluated for honors must be based on at least one (honors) or two (high honors) semesters or summers of research. The awarding of honors and high honors will be decided by the faculty in consultation with the adviser and honors committee and will be based on the demonstrated commitment to research and the quality of the research project, the thesis, and the oral presentation. Research projects submitted for honors or high honors must be carried out on campus or on the NIH study group or Singapore Exchange Program.
International Exam Transfer Credit
Transfer credit may be granted to incoming first year students who have achieved a score on an international exam (e.g., A-Levels, International Baccalaureate) that indicates a level of competence equivalent to the completion of a specific course in the department. Requests should be directed to the department chair. Any such credit may not be used to fulfill the university areas of inquiry requirement, but may count towards the major.
A maximum of two biology course credits transferred from other institutions may be applied toward major requirements. Students who intend to transfer a course must supply the department chair with a course description and a course syllabus for evaluation prior to taking the course. Students transferring to Colgate with upper-class standing may petition the department for permission to transfer a third course. Courses taken on Colgate Study Groups are approved in the same manner as other non-Colgate courses, but they are not included in the total transfer credit limit. Courses transferred into the major from other institutions cannot be counted toward the lab-course requirement.
The Department of Educational Studies offers a teacher education program for majors in biology who are interested in pursuing a career in elementary or secondary school teaching. Please refer to Educational Studies.
The major in molecular biology is designed for students who are interested in biology at the molecular level and who wish to take courses in both biology and chemistry. For further information, contact Professors Ay, Belanger, Hagos, Holm, Hoopes, Meyers, Taye, or Van Wynsberghe. Program requirements are described under Molecular Biology Major.
This major is affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program (ENST) and is designed for students interested in biology and the environment. For further information, contact Professors Cardelús, Frey, Fuller, Ingram, McCay, or Watkins. Program requirements are described under Environmental Biology Major.
Natural Sciences Topical Major in Marine - Freshwater Science
This topical major is offered with the cooperation of the geology department through the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. This program is particularly applicable for students who wish to take courses in both biology and geology. For further information, contact Professors Fuller or McHugh. Program requirements are described under Natural Sciences Topical Major in Marine - Freshwater Science.
Mathematical Systems Biology Minor
This minor is affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and is designed for students interested in how mathematics can be applied to the study of living systems. For further information, contact Professor Ay or the chair of either Biology or Mathematics. Minor requirements are described under Mathematical Systems Biology Minor.
Other majors and minor
Certain courses in biology count toward majors in biochemistry, geology, and neuroscience, and the geology minor. (See chemistry, geology, and psychology listings in this chapter.)
Australia Study Group (fall term)
An opportunity for junior majors in environmental biology to expand their environmental studies at the University of Wollongong, one hour south of Sydney.
Australia Study Group (spring term)
An opportunity for junior science majors to study at the University of Wollongong, one hour south of Sydney.
NIH Study Group (fall term)
An opportunity for juniors and seniors interested in careers in the biomedical sciences to spend a research-intensive semester at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
Singapore Exchange (fall term)
An opportunity for sophomore and junior natural science majors to study at the National University of Singapore while being immersed in the rich culture and history of Southeast Asia.
Wales Study Group (spring term)
An opportunity for junior science majors to study at Cardiff University.
The biology department also offers international extended study courses and encourages participation in Colgate approved off-campus study programs.
For more information, see Off-Campus Study.
Majors and Minors
- BIOL 101 - Topics in Organismal Biology
- BIOL 102 - Topics in Human Health
- BIOL 181L - Evolution, Ecology, and Diversity Lab
- BIOL 181 - Evolution, Ecology, and Diversity
- BIOL 182L - Molecules, Cells, and Genes Lab
- BIOL 182 - Molecules, Cells, and Genes
- BIOL 201L - Evolution Lab
- BIOL 201 - Evolution
- BIOL 202L - Genetics Lab
- BIOL 202 - Genetics
- BIOL 203L - Ecology Lab
- BIOL 203 - Ecology
- BIOL 204L - Molecular Biology Lab
- BIOL 204 - Molecular Biology
- BIOL 205L - Cell Biology Lab
- BIOL 205 - Cell Biology
- BIOL 206L - Organismal Biology Lab
- BIOL 206 - Organismal Biology
- BIOL 291 - Independent Study
- BIOL 301L - Parasitology Lab
- BIOL 301 - Parasitology
- BIOL 302 - Systems Biology
- BIOL 304L - Invertebrate Zoology Lab
- BIOL 304 - Invertebrate Zoology
- BIOL 305L - Vertebrate Zoology Lab
- BIOL 305 - Vertebrate Zoology
- BIOL 306L - Medical and Forensic Botany Lab
- BIOL 306 - Medical and Forensic Botany
- BIOL 310 - Epidemiology
- BIOL 311L - Comparative Physiology Lab
- BIOL 311 - Comparative Physiology
- BIOL 313L - Microbiology Lab
- BIOL 313 - Microbiology
- BIOL 315L - Biology of Plants Lab
- BIOL 315 - Biology of Plants
- BIOL 316 - Bioinformatics
- BIOL 318L - Vertebrate Physiology Lab
- BIOL 318 - Vertebrate Physiology
- BIOL 320L - Biostatistics Lab
- BIOL 320 - Biostatistics
- BIOL 328L - Field Ecology Laboratory
- BIOL 330 - Conservation Biology
- BIOL 332E - Tropical Ecology (Extended Study)
- BIOL 332 - Tropical Ecology
- BIOL 335L - Limnology Lab
- BIOL 335 - Limnology
- BIOL 336 - Advanced Ecology
- BIOL 337 - Cancer Biology
- BIOL 340 - Marine Biology
- BIOL 341E - Cognition, Behavior and Conservation of Marine Mammals (Extended Study)
- BIOL 341L - Animal Behavior Lab
- BIOL 341 - Animal Behavior
- BIOL 350 - Biophysics
- BIOL 351 - Topics in Advanced Cellular Physiology
- BIOL 355L - Advanced Topics in Organismal Biology Lab
- BIOL 355 - Advanced Topics in Organismal Biology
- BIOL 356L - Developmental Biology Lab
- BIOL 356 - Developmental Biology
- BIOL 357L - Plant Evolution Lab
- BIOL 357 - Plant Evolution
- BIOL 359L - Ecosystem Ecology Lab
- BIOL 359 - Ecosystem Ecology
- BIOL 361 - Biochemistry of Gene Expression
- BIOL 373L - Virology Lab
- BIOL 373 - Virology
- BIOL 374 - Immunology
- BIOL 375L - Advanced Genetics Lab
- BIOL 375 - Advanced Genetics
- BIOL 384 - Fundamentals of Neurophysiology
- BIOL 385L - Neuroethology Lab
- BIOL 385 - Neuroethology
- BIOL 389 - Molecular Neurobiology
- BIOL 391 - Independent Study
- BIOL 392 - Topics in Molecular Biosciences (NIH Study Group)
- BIOL 393 - Study Group Research (NIH Study group)
- BIOL 407L - Biology of Stem Cells Lab
- BIOL 407 - Biology of Stem Cells
- BIOL 474 - Global Health Epidemiology
- BIOL 475 - Molecular Analysis of Development
- BIOL 476 - Investigations in Biodiversity, Community, and Ecosystem Ecology
- BIOL 477 - Molecular Control of Neural Development
- BIOL 478 - Animal Systematics, Phylogeny, and Diversity
- BIOL 479 - Investigations in Evolutionary Ecology
- BIOL 480 - Cell Cycle Regulation
- BIOL 481 - Modeling of Biological Systems
- BIOL 482 - Adaptation to Environment
- BIOL 483 - Investigating the Microbiome
- BIOL 484 - Cellular Responses to Viral Infection
- BIOL 485 - Experimental Animal Behavior
- BIOL 486 - Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics
- BIOL 487 - Advanced Aquatic Ecology
- BIOL 488 - Investigations in Terrestrial Ecology
- BIOL 489 - Research in Plant Physiological Ecology
- BIOL 491 - Independent Study
- BIOL 493 - Study Group Research (NIH Study group)