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The Biology Program is designed to prepare students for seamless transfer into a four-year SUNY institution as a Biology or Biotechnology major. The curriculum provides academic tracks for Bachelor degrees in biochemistry, cell-molecular biology, microbiology, organismal biology, physiology, nutrition, and the health sciences. The program provides students the opportunity for entrepreneurship in science and technology so they appreciate their intellectual property rights and value to the industry. The Biology A.S. degree and Biotechnology Certificate provides students authentic lab skills required for transfer into a four-year research program and marketable soft skills for career advancement.

“The field needs researchers who can also act as interpreters for the general public. And I've been able to sharpen my communication skills at Tompkins Cortland (along with expanding math skills for the science work).”

– Marc Harrison, 2014 graduate of the Biology program


There are 24 credits from the core Biology degree program curriculum that can be applied towards the Biotechnology Certificate for students preparing for immediate job placement or needing to upgrade their skill set for promotion in their current job. Competency in technical lab skills related to biochemistry, cell-molecular biology, and microbiology are developed along with soft skills essential in a research or industrial lab environment. Many courses fulfill requirements for the Biology degree should you decide to continue your education. 

Already have a bachelor’s degree, in any field? Looking for a career change into the exciting and expanding field of STEM?

Students looking to prepare for graduate and advanced health professional (MS, PhD, PA and Pharmacy) schools can augment their principle bachelor’s degree with an associates in biology or math and science. Students preparing for GRE, MCAT or PCAT exams take three course-pairs from our core biology degree program curriculum. These credits, when combined with their prior degree, can be applied towards an Associate of Science degree from TC3. This approach will produce a degree in the science field, which will make for a more attractive candidate for graduate schools. Additionally, it provides additional opportunities for hands-on research experience in the life sciences to complement your degrees. 

Degree Requirements

Career Opportunities

The market for biotechnology and medical technicians has expanded. Biotechnology (genetics, biochemistry and microbiology) is applied in all sectors of the medical, food, and agricultural industries. New York State has developed several biotechnology corridors and small business incubators in response to rapid growth in these sectors. In the 12 county central NY regions there are 172 companies, employing over 6,000 persons in the biosciences with an average salary of $43,909, 30 percent higher than the regional average. Career opportunities exist as Laboratory Associates or Technicians in research, quality control, and production in areas related to medicine, diagnostics, and manufacturing. Learn more about related jobs: 

Careers on Career Coach

Program Chair

Jake Jacob

James R. Jacob, Ph.D.

Professor, Biology

Dr. Jacob has published over 25 papers in peer-reviewed journals during his two decades of scientific research performed at Baylor College of Medicine, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, and Cornell University.

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Transfer Options

Graduates may continue their education via seamless transfer to a four-year SUNY college or university. Students have successfully transferred to:

  • Cornell University
  • SUNY College at Cobleskill
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Ithaca College
  • SUNY College at Fredonia
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • SUNY College at Oswego
  • Binghamton University
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Jefferson School of Health Professions
  • University at Buffalo


Featured Faculty

  • James R. Jacob Ph.D.

    Professor, Biology
    Dr. Jacob has published over 25 papers in peer-reviewed journals during his two decades of scientific research performed at Baylor College of Medicine, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, and Cornell University. He is also listed as co-inventor on four patents, with several in application.
  • Kelly Wessell Ph.D.

    Professor, Biology
    Kelly received his Ph.D. in aquatic entomology from Michigan State University. His research interests include bioassassment of large river ecosystems and non-point source pollution of streams, but his passion is teaching. Kelly is the Environmental Studies Chairperson and regularly teaches ecology, evolution, and biodiversity courses for science majors and non-majors.
  • Jasmine LaMontain

    Technical Specialist Science Labs
    Chemical Hygiene Officer

    Jasmine manages the campus biology lab, making her a familiar face to students in all of the College’s science programs.

  • Marjolein Schat Ph.D.

    Adjunct Associate Professor, Biology

    Marjolein Schat received her MS in Entomology from Oregon State University and her PhD in Ecology and Environmental Science from Montana State University.

  • Stephen Snyder

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology

    Stephen received his Bachelor's in the plant sciences in 2002 from Cornell University and remained at the institution completing Master's in both the horticultural sciences and science education in

  • Breck Aspinwall

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology

    Breck Aspinwall received his Masters in Biology and Education from SUNY Cortland. Some of his interests include backpacking, woodworking, teaching, coffee with friends and mentoring young men.

  • Rick Cicciarelli

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology

    Rick Cicciarelli received his Master's in Entomology from Cornell University.

  • Diane Williams

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology
  • Fred Farah

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology

    Fred graduated from Rutgers University in 1975 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in education. He earned his M.S. at Cornell in 1978, studying natural resources and biometry.

  • Herm Altmann

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology
  • Michael Kobre

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology
  • Nancy Almann

    Adjunct Instructor, Biology
  • Ahmed Ahmed

    Adjunct Instructor, Chemistry
  • Michele Whitecraft

    Adjunct Associate Professor, Chemistry
  • Keith Josef

    Adjunct Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Student Showcase