Jun 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences Department

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Professors: J. de Ondarza, N. Elwess, J. Parker, D. Slish,
Associate Professors: N. Buckley, M. Burgess
Assistant Professors: N. Ankrah, A. Gleichsner, A. Ryan, L. Tyrrell
Lecturers: S. Amon, M. Sheehan, K. Smith, M. Valentine
Biochemistry Coordinators: K. Ckless, D. Slish

Contact Us
Chairperson: Neil Buckley, Associate Professor
Phone: 518564-5165
Email: bucklenj@plattsburgh.edu


Biological sciences at SUNY Plattsburgh emphasize the principles and methods of the life sciences. Students learn about current advances in many frontier areas of biology. Their advisors keep them abreast of expanding job opportunities - not only in industry and research, but also in medicine and other health science professions.

Students in all biological sciences specializations receive a sound liberal arts education. They learn to think critically, to analyze problems, and to formulate and demonstrate solutions. Many qualify and are encouraged to work actively in original research with members of the faculty, thus earning credits through undergraduate research.

Program requirements ensure that all majors receive a sound, general education in biology and gain experience in their specialization in advanced studies. Some advanced courses do not necessarily meet a particular student’s career aspirations. When this occurs, substitutions determined educationally sound may be made, subject to approval by the chairperson and the dean. Such substitutions could include the pursuance of special topics via independent study.

Biomedical Sciences: The B.S. in Biomedical Sciences major is designed for students who are interested in pursuing graduate study and careers in a wide variety of health care fields.  Students who complete the degree will be well positioned to apply successfully to schools of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, occupational therapy, optometry and other postgraduate professional schools. The Biomedical Sciences B.S. degree is also an excellent option for students interested in pursuing graduate research in molecular biology, biomedical engineering, and related fields.

The curriculum provides a rigorous foundation in biology and includes not only the core sciences that are prerequisites for these post-graduate schools (introductory biology, chemistry & physics, organic chemistry, anatomy & physiology) but allows students to choose from a diverse selection of elective courses to deepen their knowledge of those  topics in biology that are most relevant to their graduate school goals (e.g., histology, bioinformatics, medical microbiology, neurobiology, and molecular genetics). 

Liberal Arts Biology: The curricula for the B.A. and B.S. biology majors provide a rigorous foundation in fundamental biology to include study in more than one kingdom. Both curricula are firmly supported by chemistry, mathematics, and physics requirements; students are also afforded the opportunity to pursue study in interdisciplinary courses as preparation for successful participation in civic and societal endeavors that support the sciences. Both curricula provide excellent background for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in the life sciences (plant, fungal, animal, and microbe) or professional school in allied health (medical, dental, veterinary, pharmacy, or public health) as well as careers in industrial or academic research laboratories. In addition, students enrolled in the B.S. curriculum, upon successful completion of all cognate chemistry courses with a grade of C or better, earn a chemistry minor subsequent to submission of paperwork.

Biochemistry: The undergraduate curriculum for the biochemistry major provides an excellent basis for advanced study in biochemistry, biological sciences, and allied health (medical, dental, veterinary, public health) as well as direct entry into industrial and academic research. For American Chemical Society Certification, students are required to additionally take CHE 321 , CHE 430 , CHE 431 , CHE 455  (in place of CHE 451 ) and CHE 456 .

Cytotechnology: This program is designed for students interested in research or diagnostic cellular pathology, particularly as it pertains to cancer and viral infection. The curriculum closely parallels the medical technology program and prepares the student for the fourth-year clinical internship in the hospital setting. (SUNY Plattsburgh’s senior residency requirement is not applicable to this program.) Graduates will be eligible for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists’ Board of Certification examination to become a board-certified Cytotechnologist and qualify for New York State Licensure. Students must apply as juniors to clinical training centers for admission to the fourth-year internship. Acceptance to the internship is competitive, and admission to SUNY Plattsburgh does not guarantee placement in the clinical internship. Those accepted spend 12 months in residence at the clinical training center where they follow a curriculum approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the American Society of Clinical Pathology.  SUNY Plattsburgh is affiliated with Magee Women’s Hospital (Pittsburgh, PA). Admissions to non-affiliated hospitals is also possible provided the clinical site is CAAHEP-accredited. The curriculum for the hospital program includes the cytology of the lungs, gastrointestinal system, breasts, genitourinary system, abdomen, body cavity fluids, thyroid and parathyroid glands, salivary glands, lymph nodes and CNS, with particular emphasis on gynecological cytology.

Medical Technology: This program is for students interested in careers in medical research, clinical laboratory analyses, and food or pharmaceutical industrial research. The curriculum involves three years of study in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences as preparation for the fourth year of clinical training in a hospital. (SUNY Plattsburgh’s senior residency requirement is not applicable to this program.) Admission to the medical technology program at SUNY Plattsburgh does not guarantee admission to a clinical training hospital. Students must apply as juniors to clinical training centers for admission to the fourth year of training. Acceptance to the fourth year is competitive and depends upon academic record, references, and attitude toward medical technology as a career. Those accepted spend 12 months in residence at a clinical training center where they follow a curriculum approved by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists and the American Medical Association. Affiliated hospitals include Berkshire Medical Center (Pittsfield, Mass.), Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center (Johnstown, PA), Monmouth Medical Center (Long Branch, N.J.), New York Presbyterian Hospital (New York, N.Y.), and Rochester General Hospital (Rochester, N.Y.). Admission to nonaffiliated hospitals is also possible provided the clinical program is NAACLS-accredited. The curriculum for the hospital program includes the following topics:

Microbiology - 8 credits*
Immunology-Serology - 1 credit
Hematology - 8 credits
Blood Bank - 4 credits
Urinalysis/Clinical Microscopy - 1 credit
Principles of Disease - 1 credit
Clinical Chemistry - 8 credits
Elective - No credit or 1 credit
* Credits for each of these subjects may vary by hospitals.

Students who successfully complete clinical training successfully receive a B.S. in medical technology and become eligible to take the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Certification examination. Those who pass the exam receive certification and privilege to use the title Medical Technologist (ASCP) and qualify for New York State Licensure.

Students who plan to apply to schools of medical, dental, or veterinary medicine should not enroll in the medical technology program. They should enroll in one of the other biology programs and seek advice from the Pre-Health Professions Committee.

Biology/Adolescence Education B.A./M.S.T.: This combined degree program is for students who seek adolescence education teacher certification in biology. (For more information see the Combined Programs section of this catalog.)

Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Professions Study Opportunities: This program provides students with study options in medical, dental, vererinary, optometry, and other postgraduate professional schools. Pre-Medical/Pre-Health Professions Study Opportunities  

Undergraduate Research: The Department of Biological Sciences offers students the opportunity to conduct a variety of research projects under the mentorship of department faculty. The research projects correspond to the research interests of the faculty. The research opportunities provide students with a greater appreciation of the process of scientific discovery. Students should speak with faculty to arrange research projects and complete the appropriate paperwork for registration. Research projects (BIO 495 ) may be conducted for one to six credit hours a semester. Alternatively, students may enroll in the Investigative Biology Experience (BIO 490 ) which is offered in alternate spring semesters. This 12 credit hour course involves students in discussions, seminars, and immersion in original research. BIO 490  is open to science students regardless of major. Funding opportunities to support undergraduate research include Beaumont Grants-In-Aid Awards and Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Awards, which provide students with small amounts of supply money for research projects. Students must prepare proposals describing the research in order to apply for these awards. The results of research projects may be presented at a campus-wide forum.


    Majors (Undergraduate)Minors (Undergraduate)

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