ALFRED — The New York State Education Department has granted Alfred University approval to offer bachelor of science degrees in biology and biochemistry.

The new degree programs, both housed in the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will be available beginning with the 2020-21 academic year.

Alfred University already offers a bachelor of arts degree in biology. In some cases, biology majors — those with plans to go on to medical or professional school, for example — are already taking classes required to earn a bachelor of science degree.

“One of the reasons we wanted to offer the bachelor of science degree is that many of our (B.A. biology) students were already doing the coursework to earn the B.S. in biology but weren’t getting the degree,” said Jean Cardinale, professor of biology and chair of the biology department at Alfred. “We have all the capabilities in place to do this.”

Currently, a bachelor of arts biology major who plans to go to graduate or professional school has to take courses in physics, math and some additional biology courses not required for earning a B.A. degree.

“This recognizes that extra effort,” Cardinale said. “The B.S. degree in biology is very science intensive and includes multiple opportunities for hands on learning. Being able to award these students the B.S. degree provides them instant recognition for their achievement.”

Students enrolled in the B.S. degree program in biochemistry — the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms — can start directly in the program or move into the program after starting as biology or chemistry majors.

Among the careers available to biochemistry majors are scientific researcher; pharmaceutical sales; pharmacologist; forensic scientist; and work in the bio-technology field. Other options include enrolling in graduate or professional schools.