A brief history of the Biology Department, 1963-2020

Although Buffalo State College traces its origins to 1871, just 12 years after the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, the modern study of biology began on campus in 1963 when the state authorized the college to offer a bachelor of arts in biology. This was followed by a master's degree in 1969.

Through the 1970s and 1980s, the department gradually transitioned from its original focus on teacher training to offering a comprehensive curriculum of modern biology courses.

The department’s Honors Program was begun in the mid-1980s and in 1989 the department began to offer an undergraduate minor in biology.

In the 1990s, the growing recognition of the global biological significance of the Great Lakes was embraced by the department. In coordination with the Great Lakes Center, research in aquatic biology became an area of departmental strength.

To better serve the educational and professional goals of our undergraduate majors, the bachelor of arts in biology was revised to include concentrations in biotechnology and aquatic biology in 2003. It was also during this time that the department established itself as a campus leader in engaging undergraduates in research, a reputation that it proudly maintains. 

In 2012, the master of arts degree was revised to include both thesis and comprehensive exam tracks to better meet the needs of working professionals seeking to advance their education in the biological sciences. At about the same time, to better connect undergraduates with careers in biology, the department expanded its ability to offer a wide diversity of undergraduate internships.  

Looking forward, the pending completion of state-of-the-art teaching and laboratory facilities in the Science and Mathematics Complex will allow the department to better serve a growing population of students interested in careers in health and medicine while continuing to provide comprehensive, hands-on undergraduate training in across the breadth of biological disciplines.