Rochester Institute of Technology

Academic Program Overviews

Student Skills & Capabilities, Salary Data, Career Information 

Biology BS

Program Overview

In the College of Science, biology is something that students do, rather than something they merely learn. The courses present biology as it is done by career biologists, and they emphasize hands-on laboratory and field experience. Scientific knowledge is based on research, and we encourage students to undertake research projects in the laboratories of our faculty.
The biology program housed with the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences prepares students for rewarding positions in a broad assortment of occupations related to the life sciences, ranging from wet bench biology research to fieldwork in remote locations. Graduates with a biology degree can go into clinical and medical research, science laboratory management, science journalism and technical writing, zoology, ecology and environmental science, food science, agriculture, and biology education, just to name a few.

The program includes all of the course work and support services to prepare students for entrance into professional schools for medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, and others. Graduates are well-prepared to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in a wide variety of fields in the lifesciences, or apply their biological knowledge to seemingly unrelated graduate programs for a unique perspective in solving real-world problems.

Degrees Awarded

  • Bachelor of Science


  • Approximately 100 students

Cooperative Education & Experiential Education Component

  • All students in the College of Science and the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences are required to complete Experiential Learning (EL) that is minimally equivalent to one academic year, exclusive of first-year biology, before they graduate.
  • The experiential learning requirement can be fulfilled through a variety of methods including co-op, undergraduate research, summer research experiences, designated EL courses, etc.

Salary Information

                 Avg.                                      Range
Co-op:        $14.00/hr  
BS:              $50,000                              $27,000 - $66,850

Student Skills & Capabilities

Students’ skill sets will vary depending on the elective courses the student has taken. The following is a comprehensive list of skills and techniques taught in the biology curriculum. Preparation of media, reagents, buffers; keeping a laboratory notebook and preparing research reports, culturing, isolation and characterization of microorganisms; bacterial transformations; plasmid isolation; PCR and DNA sequencing; DNA restriction digests and ligation; PAGE and agarose gel electrophoresis; thin-layer chromatography; HPLC; western and southern blots; identification of normal and pathologic tissues; animal dissection techniques; comparative animal anatomy and physiology; microscopy; gathering and analysis of ecological and environmental data; gathering and interpretation of phylogenetic data; application of skills beyond the classroom.

Equipment & Facilities

·          9 teaching laboratories
·          13 student/faculty research laboratories
·          NYS-DOH certified animal facility
·          Greenhouse and plant tissue culture facility
·          Confocal Microscopy Laboratory Core Facility
·          Next-Generation Sequencing platform

Nature of Work

Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment. They research problems dealing with life processes and living organisms. Most specialize in some area of biology such as zoology, human medicine, or microbiology. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook)

Training / Qualifications

The bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research jobs. For example, some graduates with a bachelor’s degree start as biological scientists in testing and inspection, or get jobs related to biological science, such as technical sales or service representatives. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree are often able to work in a laboratory environment, in some cases, on their own projects. Some may work as research assistants/associates, while others become biological laboratory technicians or, with additional courses in education, high school biology teachers. Also many with a bachelor’s degree in biology enter medical, dental, veterinary, or other health profession schools. A master’s degree is required for some occupations in applied research or product development, management, or inspection. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Job Outlook

Employment of biological technicians is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Continued growth in biotechnology and medical research is expected to increase demand for these workers. 

Job Titles

Research assistant, laboratory technician, clinical and medical laboratory technician, assistant/associate biologist, pharmaceutical sales representative, technical writer, process developer, zoologist, field biologist, research associate, entymologist, aquatic ecologist, microbiologist, environmental science and protection technicians, food scientist


Biological scientists held about 79,300 jobs in 2014. Almost half of all biological scientists were employed by Federal, State, and local governments. Federal biological scientists worked mainly for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and Defense, and for the National Institutes of Health. Most of the rest worked in scientific research and testing laboratories, the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing industry, or hospitals. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics O.O.H.)

Selected Employer Hiring Partners

University of Washington, Wetlands Institute, New York Blood Center, University of Rhode Island, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, National Center for Deaf-Health Research, Henrietta Animal Hospital, NOAACorps, Medimmune, VWR Scientific, Lonza Biologics, NH Pharmaceutical, Seneca Park Zoo, Genencor, App Tec, University of Rochester Medical Center.

Contact Us

We appreciate your interest in your career. We will make every effort to help you succeed. Call our office and ask to speak with Mindy Blake, the career services coordinator who works with the Biology program. For your convenience, you can access information and services through our web site at

Mindy Blake, Career Services Coordinator, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 585.475.5467
Rochester Institute of Technology . Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education
Bausch & Lomb Center
57 Lomb Memorial Drive . Rochester NY  14623-5603

Unless otherwise noted, information is based upon data collected by RIT Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education.