Biology and Society Cornell

Biology & Society Graduates Study

The Biology & Society Main is intended for pupils who wish to combine training in biology with viewpoints from the social sciences and humanities on the social, political and moral aspects of modern biology. Biology and Society Cornell.

Many of the most critical social anxieties of our time — food and population; impact of genetic engineering and new medical technologies; testing for drugs; AIDS and genes; the influence of heredity versus environment on humanoid behavior; environmental excellence; and ethical, legal and social features of modern medical practice — are innately biological.

Biology and Society Cornell

At the similar time, each of these subjects is inherently a social concern and includes complex relatives between biological and sociocultural forces. The Biology & Society major is envisioned to provide the skills and perspectives to enable its scholars to systematically confront these and numerous other social-biological subjects. For a detailed description of the Major, see the section on Biology & Society in the Courses of Study.

Each scholar’s program joining the supplies of the major is planned in consultation with a ability member and is designed to accommodate individual goals and welfares. Scholars who complete the requirements for the Biology & Society major leave Cornell with well-built writing and analytical skills and with the ability to challenge complex issues.

Biology & Society alumnae are thus armed to enter a diversity of careers. Students have found the Main is also excellent preparation for law, medicine, health services administration, and other expert schools and for graduate programs in genetic counseling, nutrition, clinical psychology, public health, ecological studies, anthropology, sociology or other related fields.

Scholars have gone on to successful careers in the healthcare industry, legal occupation, policymaking, scientific research, and many other exciting occupations.  

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Learning Outcomes

At the time of advancement, students majoring in Biology & Society should be able to:

  • Apply information and analytical methods in several major domains of the biological sciences that reproduces a breadth and depth of understanding;
  • Identify, analyze, and assess social and ethical subjects in the conduct of biological investigation and application of biological knowledge;
  • Describe the social dimensions in the way biological info and knowledge is produced and used that reproduce the reciprocity between biology and society and that can draw on analytic perspectives in arenas as history, sociology, economics, political science, law, and science & technology educations;
  • Employ basic statistical approaches to analyze quantitative information;
  • Design an educational package in the major around their needs and interests at and outside Cornell.

Graduates of the program have enthused on to careers in law, medicine, public health, public policy, commercial, research, and academia.


Requirements for the main are listed below. A full report and listings of courses that satisfy the requirements can be got in 303 Morrill Hall. Also refer to the unit on Biology & Society in Courses of Study.

Biology & Society Requirements

Biology and Society Cornell

AP praise is not accepted by the Biology & Society main to fulfill the Intro Bio requirement. See the DUS or Advising Staff in 303 Morrill Hall ( for other options.

  • Preliminary biology (or two of the following: BioEE 1610 or BioSM 1610, BioEE 1780 or BioSM 1780, BioG 1440 or BioG 1445, or BioMG 1350.  Scholars are not obligatory to take BioG 1500, but may wish to for a lab knowledge. A minimum average grade of C is obligatory for the two Introductory Biology courses. Each option must be passed with a grade of at least C-.
  • College calculus (one course)
  • Ethics (one course)
  • Two social sciences/humanities foundation courses
  • Three biology foundation courses
  • One biology depth course
  • Statistics (one course)
  • Core course
  • Five theme sequences (a coherent group of five courses relevant to the student’s special interest in Biology and Society, counting a senior seminar that serves as a capstone course for the major).

The best way to think about your melody is like this: we’re giving you the freedom to design your own minor within the major. To do that, think about a query that you’re really passionate around, one that involves both biological and social issues. That shouldn’t be hard.

Maybe it’s about environmental justice, or worldwide health inequalities, or the life sciences and the law, or healthcare policy. Now, pick five options that help you explore that query. Two of them have to be usual science courses, two have to be from the humanities/social sciences, one has to be a older seminar [senior seminars are capped at ~15 scholars, are taught seminar style, and are registered at least at the 4000-level].

No single option may satisfy more than one main requirement. With the exception of the four chosen by election courses in the theme (2 biology electives and 2 humanities/social sciences electives), all courses must be chosen from the Biology & Society authorized course list.

Courses used for the Major must be at least 3 credit hours, at least 2000-level (except Intro Biology and Calculus requirements, BIOEE/STS 1180 MATH 1710, NS 1150, NS 1220, BSOC 1941 and 1942), taken for a letter grade, and students must receive at least a C- as a final grade. Scholars should develop their melody and select their courses in discussion with a member of the Biology & Society ability. A list of faculty is obtainable in 303 Morrill Hall.

Independent Study and Honors Research:

Officers are encouraged to do independent education or honors research. Projects under the way of a Biology & Society faculty mentor can be developed as a part of the program of education within the student’s attentiveness area. Further info can be found in Courses of Study or is available in the Biology & Society office, 303 Morrill Hall. NOTE: At this time Biology & Society honors investigation is obtainable to majors from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Arts and Sciences. 

Major Forms

  • Course Checklist (Major Requirements) 
  • BSOC Course Offerings
  • Petition for BSOC Off-Campus Credit
  • Petition for BSOC On-Campus Credit
  • Suggested Curriculum 
  • Approved NS 1150/NS 1220 Depth Courses 
  • BSOC Career Paths

Applying to the Major

Every student who wants to join the Biology & Society main must submit an application during their sophomore year. 

Key Requirements:

  • Completion of one-year of college-level biology or two entry-level biology options with an average least grade of C/2.0

NOTE: Scholars in the process of completing this precondition may be admitted to the Main on a provisional basis. It is the scholar’s responsibility to promise that final acceptance is decided on completion of the introductory biology requirements. 

  • Transcript of work taken at Cornell University, or away, current as of the date of application.

Important notes:

  • CALS scholars: The application obligation applies to both A&S and CALS students. While CALS scholars declare a main already during their freshman (or transfer) year, their sustained study in the major is depending upon submission of an application during the sophomore year. (In CALS terms, this is from time to time referred to as a Statement of Intent.) This is to guarantee that all students meet the minimum supplies by the end of their sophomore year.
  • Although only introductory biology, or its equal, is a prerequisite for acceptance, scholars will find it useful to have finished some of the other requirements by the end of their sophomore year
  • Biology & Society officers may not dual major in Biological Sciences. This policy will smear to new scholars entering Fall 2018 and after.
  • Juniors are careful on a case-by-case basis. Upper-division candidates should realize the problems of completing the Major requests in less than two years.

Applications are studied by the faculty admittances committee twice a year, once each during the fall and spring semesters. A ability advisor is assigned upon admittance to the Major.

The Biology & Society major is offered to scholars enrolled in the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Main is administered by a committee of faculty members on behalf of various disciplines in the biological and social sciences and the humanities. About 70 faculty from three colleges serve as advisors to Biology & Society Officers.

The Major is coordinated for scholars in both colleges through the Biology & Society office. Scholars can get information, specific option requirements, and application events for the major from the office located in 303 Morrill Hall. Ability advisors are obtainable to discuss the main and requirements with you.

Because the main is multidisciplinary, scholars must attain a basic understanding of each of the several disciplines it comprises . These include introductory sequences in three of the nine fields of biology, ethics, history or philosophy and statistics. In addition, majors are obligatory to take a core course and must grow a theme: a coherent and meaningful grouping of five sequences representative of their special interest in Biology & Society. Scholars should develop the theme and choice the sequences in consultation with a associate of the Biology & Society faculty. 

To submit your application: 

Whole the Biology & Society Major Application Form online by the deadline registered there.
Applications received by this deadline will obtain priority care for gaining a Biology & Society faculty advisor before pre-enrollment begins. 

Application Forms

  • Biology & Society Application  
  • Biology & Society Guidelines
  • Acceptance of Non-Arts Credit Form (for Arts & Sciences students only)

For a listing of Biology & Society Courses.

Honors Program

The Honors Program is intended to challenge academically talented undergraduate scholars whose major is Biology & Society. Scholars who enroll in the honors database are given an opportunity, with faculty guidance, to do self-governing study and research dealing with subjects in biology and society. Scholars participating in the program should find the experience intellectually motivating and rewarding.

Selection of Students:

Biology & Society officers are careful for entry into the honors program at the end of the second semester of the junior year. Application forms for the honors package are obtainable in the Biology & Society office, 303B Morrill Hall. The Biology & Society honors database is available to Biology & Society officers from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Agriculture and Life Sciences.

To succeed for the Biology & Society honors program, scholars must have an overall Cornell cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.30, have expressed a research topic, and have found a project manager and a second faculty member willing to serve as advisors. Both must hold academic actions at Cornell, and at least one must be a member of Biology & Society.

Requests will be reviewed by a committee headed by the director of scholar studies, who will notify students directly of the outcome. Scholars will be permitted to register for the honors program only by consent of the section. Scholars must enroll for two semesters, each time for four praises. At the end of the first semester, the student will receive a grade of “R” for acceptable progress. The grade recorded at the end of the additional term assesses the student’s performance in the sequence for the entire year. 

If, after admission to the honors program, a scholar fails to maintain a high scholastic regular, or for any other reason is measured unsuited for honors work, the scholar reverts to candidacy for the even Bachelor’s degree. The scholar who does not continue in the honors program must change the first semester to Independent Study in instruction to and receive a grade.

Scholars are required to whole two semesters of honors project research and to write an honors thesis. The project must comprise substantial research and the finished work should be of wider possibility and greater originality than is usual for an upper-level course. A initial paper and bibliography on the scholar’s project is due by the end of the fall semester.

Program Requirements:

The scholar has primary accountability for constituting a group of two faculty advisors, expressing ideas, developing the proposal, carrying out the study, and preparing a appropriate thesis. Honors projects will be carried out under the way of the two advisors stated above. The project supervisor should be skilled in the topic and willing to serve as the primary advisor.

In the second semester of the older year, the director of undergraduate educations will appoint a third reader of the finished honors thesis. The third reader has negligible participation in the honors thesis and is only complicated near its conclusion, when they are provided with the final draft of the honors thesis by either the scholar or the project supervisor previous to the honors defense. The third reader is predictable to attend the defense.

The third booklover is usually the honors student’s ability advisor. If the ability advisor is already serving on the honors group as either the supervisor, or the second reader, then the Director of Undergraduate Educations will serve as the third reader, unless another suitable faculty member has been recognized. 

Scholars must register for the total credits (8) for the whole year, 4 credits each semester in Biology & Society, Honors Scheme I and II. Students should note that BSOC 4991 may not be rummage-sale to fulfill any major requirements. The scholar and the project supervisor must reach clear contract at the outset as to what sort of work will need to be finished during the first semester. Slightly an honors thesis outline and bibliography should be accomplished.

At the end of the first semester, a grade of “R” will be assigned to note satisfactory progress. The advisors, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies, will evaluate whether or not the scholar should last working on an honors project. The student who does not continue in the honors package must change the first semester to Independent Education in order to receive a grade. The grade logged at the end of the additional term evaluates the student’s recital in the course for the entire year. 

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Scholars should meet regularly with the scheme supervisor during the period of investigation and writing for the honors thesis. The responsibility for scheduling these meetings, and for loud out the research in timely fashion, rests with the scholar. Advisors are expected to make themselves obtainable for discussion and to offer information on the plan of investigation, as well as provide critical and positive comments on the written work as it is completed. They are not predictable, however, to pursue students to confirm that the research and writing are being done on schedule.

The Honors Thesis:

Biology & Society Graduates Study
Biology & Society Graduates Study

There is no set length for a thesis, since dissimilar topics may require longer or shorter treatment, but the thesis should be a substantial body of work. We have originate that the thesis is usually in the range of 70 – 100 double-spaced typed pages. The proposition must be accomplished in a form satisfactory for drives of evaluation and succumbed by April 15* to the two thesis advisors and to a third faculty member chosen by the director of undergraduate studies.

The applicant must meet with their supervisor and the two readers for a formal defense of the thesis between April 29-May 10*. CALS scholars must follow the necessities set forth by Dean Viands for formatting, binding, and succumbing their honors thesis. 

One copy of the finished and defended thesis (suitably bound in a plastic or hard-backed cover), composed with the advisors’ recommendations, must be submitted to the scholar coordinator in 303B Morrill Hall by May 13.*

Following the formal thesis defense, the thesis advisors will submit to the director of scholar studies a recommendation to comprise: 1) the evaluation of the honors thesis by the committee; 2) an evaluation of the student’s moot record in the Biology & Society major; and 3) a recommendation for or against donation honors, as well as a recommendation for the level of honors.

As the director of scholar studies may have little information of the subject area of the thesis, recommendations should be prudently prepared to help safeguard consistency within the Honors Program. If there is a difference among the committee, the director of scholar studies will make the final decision after discussion with the interested parties.

The Biology & Society main is an interdisciplinary major that allows scholars to combine the study of the biological sciences with options that explore the social and moral aspects of modern biology. In addition to gaining a foundation in biology, students in the major obtain background in the social dimensions of modern biology and in the biological sizes of modern social issues.

The major is open to students in two colleges: Arts & Sciences and Farming and Life Sciences. The main is appropriate for students seeking careers in law, medicine, public health, public policy, business, research and academia.

Sample classes

  • Ethical Subjects in Health and Medicine
  • Introduction to the History of Medicine
  • Ethics and Environment
  • Plagues and People


All information below is First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not thorough; rather, they are a sample of the data. “Other” includes time off, travel, helper experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school. If you would like more info, please email

54%   Employed
25%   Attending Grad School
8%     Seeking Employment
12%     Other

64% of the Class of 2014-2018 Biology & Society alumnae completed the survey. n = 118

Below, you will find:

Top Employment Segments

Where Graduates Work

  • Top Employment Sectors
  • Health and Human Services (23%)
  • Nonprofit Organization (23%)
  • Consulting/Prof. Practice (17%)
  • Education (16%)
  • Government (5%)

Biotech/Pharma/Life Sciences (3%), Communications & Media (3%), Law (3%), Manufacturing (3%), Business – Other (3%), Insurance (3%), Technology (3%)

Biology & Society Requirements

Where 2014-2018 Biology & Society Graduates Work

EmployerJob Titles
Act BlueMarketing Assistant
Advisory Board CompanyAnalyst
Alternative Behavior StrategiesBehavioral Interventionist
Avalere HealthAssociate
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun ViolenceInstitutional Giving Associate
Center for Disease Control & PreventionResearch Fellow
City of Hope National Medical CenterResearch Associate
CityYearAmericorps Memeber
Team Member
CityMDMedical Scribe
Collective HealthMember Advocate
Operations Associate
Columbia University Medical CenterMedical Assistant
Compass Professional Health ServicesAssociate Health Professional
Cornell UniversityEducational Outreach Assistant
Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteResearch Data Specialist
Research Asssitant
Deloitte ConsultingStrategy Consulting Analyst
Emergency Medical AssociatesClinical Information Manager
FCBHealthAssistant Account Executive
GoButlerOperations Associate
Hospital for Sick ChildrenResearch Associate
Hospital for Special SurgeryResearch Assistant
Imagen TechnologiesClinical Operations Associate
IpsosResearch Analyst
Labella AssociatesEnvironmental Scientist
Massachusetts General HospitalClinical Research Coordinator (2)
Mathematica Policy ResearchProgram Associate
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterSession Assistant I
Care Coordinator
Mount Sinai Medical CenterClinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Assistant
Navigant ConsultingStrategic Healthcare Consultant
  NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services  NYC Urban Fellow
NYU Langone Medical CenterClinical Research Coordinator (2)
Northwestern UniversityResearch Assistant
NYC ServiceCity Service Corps Member
Partners HealthcareAssociate Application Coordinator
Peace CorpsPeace Corps Volunteer
Putnam AssociatesAssociate Consultant (2)
Sitka Performing Arts CenterProgram Coordinator
Student Conservation AssociationConservation Corps Member
Teach for AmericaGrade 11 Biology Teacher
Tisch MS Research Center of New YorkResearch Scholar
United Nations FoundationIntern
University of MichiganResearch Assistant
University of MinnesotaResearch Technician
Urban Health Plan, Inc.Health Educator
Weill Cornell MedicineResearch Assistant
Research Technician
Wilkie Farr & GallagherConflicts Analyst
World Vision  Child Development & Protection Intern  

Top Graduate Fields Pursued

  • Medicine (28%)
  • Law (14%)
  • Hosp & Health Services (10%)
  • Public Health (10%)
  • International Nutrition (7%)
  • Nursing (7%)
  • Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology (3%), Biology (3%), Biomedical Engineering (3%), Epidemiology (3%), General Studies (3%), Genetic Counseling (3%), Healthcare Administration (3%)

Graduate Degrees Pursued

  • MD (21%)
  • MS (18%)
  • JD (14%)
  • MPH (14%)
  • MHA (7%)
  • DO (4%), MEng (4%), MGC (4%), MSN (4%), PhD  (4%), Post-Bacc (4%), Certification/License (4%) 

Biology & Society Graduates Study

  • Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Arizona State University At The Tempe Campus
  • Boston University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • George Washington University
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical  Medicine
  • New York University
  • Sackler School of Medicine
  • SUNY Downstate Medical College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Colorado at Boulder
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Southern California
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Weill Cornell Medical College

Admission Requirements

CALS seeks scholars who uphold a rigorous high school prospectus and demonstrate an unsettled record of moot achievement.

This major needs scholars to take courses in biology, humanities and social sciences thus strong science English basis is essential.

  • 4 Units of English
  • 4 Units of Mathematics including calculus
  • 3 Units of Science (biology, chemistry and physics recommended)
  • Also recommended: an extra unit of science
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