BS in Natural Sciences graduate working on an equation at a whiteboard

Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences

Transfer up to
113 Credits
A median of 69 credits accepted
Receive credit for prior coursework

Prepare for Success by Earning an Online BS in Natural Sciences

Science and technology are at the heart of the global economy and crucial to addressing many of the world’s complex resource problems and opportunities. Employers as varied as financial institutions to government agencies to health care institutions look for BS in Natural Sciences graduates who are well-versed in the creative and analytic thinking that defines a degree in the natural sciences. These organizations want problem solvers, communicators, and team players motivated by curiosity and a desire to effect positive change in the world—economically, socially, and environmentally.

Excelsior’s natural sciences faculty members bring their unique real-world experience to the courses they teach, inspiring graduates to be passionate and dedicated leaders. This well-rounded approach combines the practical skills you’ll need to write a grant, present data to diverse audiences, and work in multi-disciplinary teams with the excitement of scientific discovery, exploration, and experimentation.


Biology or Without Concentration

Fast Facts:

Top industries for BS degree holders include conservation, geoscience, and meteorology (Source: BLS)

The average median environmental scientist salary is $69,400 (Source: BLS)

A typical BS degree holder will earn $1.19 million over their working lifetime—more than twice as much as a typical high school graduate (Source: The Hamilton Project)


credit hours

Online BS in Natural Sciences Program Details

120 credits required for the Bachelor of Science in Natural Sciences. As part of these credits, for the core component of this degree, a minimum of 33 credits must be earned in the field of natural sciences, of which 18 must be at the upper level. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the major.

  • Cornerstone Course
  • INL 102 Information Literacy
  • Written English Requirements
  • Humanities
    • One ethics course
    • Two elective courses
  • Social Sciences and History
    • Any combination of three social sciences and/or history courses
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
    • One mathematics course (minimum 2 credits)
    • One natural science course (minimum 2 credits)
    • Additional courses
  • Arts and Science Electives
  • Applied Professional Credits
  • Additional Arts and Sciences Courses

Core Requirements

  • One course in statistics or calculus
  • One introductory course in biology with a laboratory component
  • One introductory course in the physical sciences with or without a laboratory component

Optional Concentration

Without Concentration

  • Three or more courses in one natural/physical science discipline
  • Two or more courses in a second natural/physical science discipline
  • Electives in natural/physical sciences


  • One course in evolutionary biology or equivalent
  • One course in biodiversity or ecology or equivalent
  • One course from at least three of these areas: Anatomy and Physiology, Comparative Anatomy, Human Anatomy, or Vertebrate Physiology
    • Botany or Plant Science
    • Genetics
    • Cell/Microbiology
    • Biology Electives

Natural Sciences Capstone Course

Core Natural Sciences Courses


Students develop skills in the essential tools used for statistical analysis and decision making in business. The course covers descriptive and inferential statistics and emphasizes research techniques such as sampling and experimental design concepts for single- and multiple-sample groups.


An introduction to the study of life and life processes, this course covers topics including the scientific method, the chemistry and processes necessary for life, cells and cellular organization, energy production, and evolution and natural selection. Students also examine reproduction and the applications of biological principles to everyday experiences.

General Chemistry

General Chemistry examines topics including chemical nomenclature, measurement, states of matter, the atom, chemical bonding, solutions, stoichiometry, and thermochemistry, and how these apply in the world around us. The course introduces students to the structure of the atom and the basic physical laws that govern matter, as well as the processes chemists and scientists use to determine the composition and nature of matter.

Natural Sciences Capstone Course

This is a senior-level course for advanced students and working professionals, designed to help integrate their studies in the natural sciences. The course applies multiple theories and research approaches to current events from the perspective of a variety of disciplines, including geology, chemistry, physics, and biology. Students use their critical thinking and communication skills to review and analyze ethical questions and the concepts of diversity across the natural science disciplines. Through a mixture of discussions, presentations, and written analysis, students apply their previous learning in new ways, synthesizing new perspectives on their learning.

Without Concentration

Customize your degree by choosing from courses such as Microbiology, Bioethics, Advanced Investigations in Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Biodiversity, Developmental Biology, Ecology, Plant Anatomy, General Chemistry I, General Chemistry Laboratory I, Earth Science and Society, Introduction to Oceanography, Introduction to Astronomy, Physics I, Physics Laboratory I, Physics II, and the exams Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Pathophysiology, Physics, Physics Laboratory, and Biopsychology. Selections must include:

  • Three or more courses from one natural/physical science discipline
  • Two or more courses from a second natural/physical science discipline
  • Electives in natural/physical sciences

Biology Concentration

At the core of careers in health care, environmental science, and energy is a background in biology: more than the study of living organisms, biology is also about big data analysis, communication of complex ideas, experimentation, and technical expertise—skills that define creative thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders. The biology concentration helps build technical and analytical skills, scientific literacy and advocacy, and curiosity about the world.

The biology concentration also enables graduates to take unique career paths, such as science journalism, public policy, forensics, or wildlife conservation. Some students pursue higher education, leading to jobs in teaching, medical research, and environmental law.

Core Biology Courses

Evolutionary Biology

Recent advances have allowed biologists to explore the genetic mechanisms that result in the diversity found in nature. In this course, students learn about the development of living organisms, from their genes to their ecosystems. Students compare what happens when an organism is under an environmental stress and how this stress affects development. Finally, they explore ethical considerations through discussions of classic model systems and current research of developmental biology.


Through readings and numerous activities, this course examines the rise and fall of biological diversity over time through the study of ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. Topics include the meaning and value of biodiversity, major threats to species and ecosystems, and efforts to conserve, manage, and sustain biological diversity.

Anatomy and Physiology

This is a laboratory course that uses simulations and hands-on experiments to study body systems that include: cells, blood, integumentary system, muscular system, nervous system, skeletal system, and the endocrine system. Students use the scientific method in an experimental environment, learn and use safe laboratory practices, perform dissections, perform experiments, gather and analyze data, and present data and conclusions in scientific laboratory reports.

Plant Anatomy

Explore the anatomy of vegetative and reproductive structures of angiosperms (flowering seed plants) through the microscopic study of prepared images. This course also discusses the scientific techniques and tools scientists use to study plant anatomy and how these affect modern research. Students examine how structures of plant parts suit their functions.

Human Genetics

This course provides an overview of the field of human genetics from its beginning, Mendelian genetics, through the chromosomal theory of inheritance, the evolution of molecular genetics, to the modern techniques of genetic engineering. Learn about the applications of human genetics in the healthcare field along with topics on genetic counseling and the bio-psycho-social aspects of various genetic based diseases. Students also discuss the political and sociological implications of the ever-expanding understanding of genetics and heredity.


In this comprehensive introductory course in microbiology, students are introduced to cellular microbes, such as bacteria, protists, fungi, and helminthes (parasitic worms), and non-cellular microbes, such as viroids, viruses, and prions and how they are classified. The course covers the biological and biochemical foundations and scientific methods necessary to understand microbial growth and metabolism. In addition, students explore the impact of these microbes on the environment, human health, and society.

Biology Electives


This course introduces students to the basic concepts and principles of bioethics through critical thinking, writing, and discussing contemporary bioethical issues. Students address topics like Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), biotechnology advances, environmental ethics, and testing on human and animal subjects. Students advance their knowledge and understanding of bioethical issues as they are encountered in daily life and learn to analyze them thoroughly and fairly.

Advanced Investigations in Biology

This course is a wide-ranging examination of advanced concepts, topics, and research methods in the biological sciences. Through virtual laboratory experiments, students explore topics including epidemiology, cardiac physiology, natural selection and evolution, and population genetics. Students also focus on strengthening their analytical and writing skills with laboratory reports.


This course examines how neurons work individually and together to enable behavior, feelings, and thoughts. Students learn about the structures and functions of the nervous system and how they contribute to the biological bases of behavioral development, perception, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, language, sleep, and psychological disorders.

Compare and contrast key theories, principles, and processes of at least two disciplines in natural sciences.

Demonstrate the ability to integrate scientific methods of inquiry and data analysis, and communicate findings.

Analyze quantitative and qualitative research data and make evidence-based conclusions.

Use an interdisciplinary approach to address ethical issues raised by modern science and technology.

Apply an interdisciplinary scientific approach to solve complex contemporary global issues.

View additional details about programs and courses:

Download the Undergraduate Studies Catalog

Common Careers with an
Online BS in Natural Sciences





Patent Law

Pharmaceutical Industries

Public Policy

Lauren Harlow
AS in Liberal Arts, 2017

“Excelsior gave me skills in critical analysis, writing, problem solving, and communicating, which all helped me perform my job well.”

Recognitions & Accreditations

Middle States Commission on Higher Education logo

Institutional Accreditation

Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) The MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Phase: Accredited
Status: Accreditation Reaffirmed
Accreditation Granted: 1977
Last Reaffirmation: 2017
Next Self-Study Evaluation: 2021-2022

All of Excelsior College’s academic programs are registered (i.e., approved) by the New York State Education Department.