Biology

Discover what kind of biologist you want to be.

Biology class on a field tripYou'll develop a range of technical and practical skills both in the field and in the laboratory while working with biology faculty. You might focus on molecular genetics, neurobiology, ecology, or conservation. More importantly, you will do all of this in a supportive learning environment where you can explore the breadth of the biological sciences and discover what kind of biologist you want to be.

Explore authentic research questions for which no one knows the answers. In one introductory course, students examined the impact of global warming on coral populations, performed DNA sequencing, and wrote proposals for research projects that would expand the world's scientific knowledge about coral biology.

One Course At A Time allows us to focus our attention on one thing. We not only learn that topic better, we retain it better."–Barbara Christie-Pope, Professor of Biology

Ingenuity in action: conduct research

Learning biology on Cornell's One Course At A Time curriculum means practicing science in “real-time.” Daily labs allow you to immerse yourself into the process of analyzing the molecular genetics of cells, measuring how cells respond to drug treatments, detecting enzyme activities in animal tissues, or applying concepts of anatomy and physiology while examining human tissues in the cadaver lab.

Take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with your professors and other professional biologists. All of our biology faculty are involved in long-term research projects and work collaboratively with students both during the school year and during the Cornell Summer Research Institute. Students frequently present their work at Cornell’s annual Student Symposium or at professional conferences, and some have contributed to papers in scientific journals as undergraduates.

Study biology off campus

The One Course calendar lends itself to the study of biology on extended off-campus trips. You can study:

  • Ecology at the Wilderness Field Station in northern Minnesota.

  • Conservation biology in Costa Rica or the Philippines.

  • Coral biology in Belize or the Bahamas.

  • Plant-insect interactions in South American rainforests.

Want to teach?

Biology class on a field tripCombine your biology major with a secondary education certification and you'll be well on your way to teaching high school biology. If you discover you have a passion for teaching and want to share all that you're learning in biology with budding future scientists, then, you should consider secondary education certification. If you're not sure that teaching is the right combination with your biology degree but you're curious, talk to the education faculty, biology faculty, or your academic advisor to discuss what education course might let you explore this possible career path.

Internships and fellowships at your fingertips

You will have the opportunity to take part in internships and fellowships throughout your academic journey at Cornell. The Dimensions Program for Health Professions, part of the Berry Career Institute, is an academic enrichment program for students of any major who are interested in careers in health care. The program works closely with biology and other science departments to provide opportunities for students in health-related fields, including in physicians offices, public health offices, and research laboratories.

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The Cornell Fellows program is the college's competitive, high-level internship program. Approximately 30 students each year take part in an eight-week fellowship focused around a hands-on project. They receive financial support to offset costs associated with their housing, transportation, food, and supplies.

Recent internships and fellowships

  • Mote Marine Lab and Big Cat Rescue in Sarasota, Florida.

  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

  • The Iowa State Hygienic Lab in Coralville, Iowa.

  • Child Family Health International in New Dehli, India, and Oaxaca, Mexico.

  • The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

  • Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

  • The Children’s Hospital in Aurora, Colorado.

  • The University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

biology research
ecology research
parkinson's research
parkinson's research
monarch research
monarch butterflies research
turtles research
fire coral research

Mari Dettweiler ʼ19

Environmental studies major with a focus in conservation biology and stats and a double minor in biology and English

"Cornell has strengthened the skills and passions that I already had as well as preparing me further for the outside world. I have been able to do many things that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do like traveling to Guatemala for Spanish classes, presenting research in Cartagena, Colombia, and doing two summers of monarch research for my honors capstone."

Learn more about the block plan