B.S. in Biology

We study life.

This vast field examines the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution of living things. At Rensselaer, we emphasize modern techniques and interdisciplinary learning. Students obtain knowledge in a diverse range of biological sub-disciplines, including molecular and cellular-level biology or ecology and evolution. Together, the curriculum provides a strong background in quantitative, physical, and chemical biology.

Many biology majors pursue careers in the health professions (medical, dental, vision, veterinary), while others plan for careers in ecological or environmental fields. Many pursue graduate school and conduct biological research. And still others plan for careers that will relate to biology, such as management or law.

Program of Study

Our program trains students in analytical problem-solving skills using cutting-edge research approaches and technologies.

Program Outcomes

As a result of completing this program students will:

  • demonstrate proficiency in the foundational topics of biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, molecular biology, ecology and evolution.
  • demonstrate additional competency in advanced Biological Sciences topics relative to their academic interest.
  • be able to apply skills such as reading primary literature, developing testable hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and using statistical and quantitative methods.
  • be able to communicate effectively on scientific topics in written and oral formats.
  • be able to apply knowledge and skills from across the curriculum to current problems in biological sciences to generate integrative papers, proposals, or other types of projects.


While rigorous, the undergraduate curriculum (128-Credits) offers sufficient flexibility and course choices to allow you to tailor your education.

Please see the Curriculum templates below under the Documents & Resources heading. 



Research is an important component of the B.S. in Biology. Our program introduces you to biological research in basic and advanced laboratory courses, and most students pursue independent research in a faculty laboratory or through an internship or co-op during their Arch Away Semester. 

Minors & Concentrations

Rensselaer students can minor or concentrate in just about any degree area offered on campus. Programs of particular interest to those majoring in Biology include:

In addition to the minor in Psychological Science, students particularly interested in that field may wish to consider the dual-major program in Biological Neuroscience and Psychological Science


The Arch is a unique approach to education that provides flexibility in the semester schedule, allowing students to pursue professional and personal development opportunities that prepare them to meet the multifaceted challenges of the 21st century. The Arch is a requirement of the Rensselaer curriculum.

Summer Here
During The Arch, students remain on campus for the summer after their sophomore year, taking junior-level classes, and receive focused attention from professors at this pivotal point in their academic progression. 

The World Away
Then, students leave the Troy campus for a semester during the traditional junior year—either fall or spring—to pursue their passions in the form of co-ops, internships, civic engagement, research, or international experiences. Students who pursue these opportunities during their academic career are better prepared for future professional careers and graduate school.

For more information regarding the Arch, please visit https://info.rpi.edu/the-arch


The Biological Sciences faculty provide a variety of research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in our degree programs. Students who are interested in pursuing research themselves or learning more about what faculty members in our department should consult the Biological Sciences Research page. 

Academic Opportunities

Student researchers play a critical role in the world-changing discovery, innovation, and breakthroughs taking place across campus.

Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society is for undergraduate students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study, and extending the boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research.

Alpha Epsilon Delta is the National Health Preprofessional Honor Society dedicated to the encouragement and recognition of excellence in preprofessional health scholarship.

Ecologic is the longest-running environmental club at Rensselaer. Their mission is to make progress toward a greener world and educate the community about environmental issues. They run many fun projects and events throughout the year.

Inspiring a younger audience to explore the role of science in society.