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Undergraduate Program


Department advisors can help students with a variety of tasks and questions including:

If you are looking for first year advising please see: First-Year Course Planning: First Two Years.

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Biology Major, Minor, and Certificate Advisors

BA in Biology (Class of 2018, 2020)
Minor in Biological Sciences

Danielle Presgraves, PhD
Hutchison Hall 478
(585) 275-0925
  • send email with availablility for appointment

BA in Biology (Class of 2019)
in Biological Sciences

Cheeptip Benyajati, PhD
Hutchison Hall 474
(585) 275-8040
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Biochemistry Major Track

Elizabeth Grayhack, PhD
Medical Center 3-7415 (directions)
(585) 275-2765
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Cell and Developmental Biology Major Track

David Lambert, PhD
Hutchison Hall 344
(585) 273-2482
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Computational Biology Major Track
Minor in Computational Biology

Amanda Larracuente, PhD
Hutchison Hall 343
(585) 273-1693
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Major Track

Dr. James Fry, Ph.D.
Hutchison Hall 318
(585) 275-7835
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Microbiology Major Track

Dr. Jacques Robert, PhD
MRBX 2-11124 (directions)
(585) 275-1722
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Molecular Genetics Major Track

Dr. Elaine Sia, PhD
Hutchison Hall 332
(585) 275-9275
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Neuroscience Major Track

Dr. Renee Miller, PhD
Meliora Hall 303F
(585) 276-4024, (585) 273-1506
elaine.sia@rochester.eduSee BCS Advising website for contact information:

In addition to their advisor, students also have access to the following resources:

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How to Declare Your Major/Minor in Biology

Students intending to declare a major or minor in any biology program other than neuroscience should:

  1. Meet with the UPBM program manager to make a schedule for completing major or minor requirements and receive advisor assignment. Visit the UPBM Booking Site to select a time that meets your needs.
  2. Bring any transfer credit information on courses that may be applicable to the major/minor, if needed
  3. Make an appointment to meet with the appropriate faculty advisor to review schedule for approval
  • To set up an appointment, send an email to your advisor with a few dates/times of availability
  • Submit signed paperwork to the UPBM program manager
  • Submit the online major declaration form

After officially declaring your major, we recommend that you periodically visit with your advisor. This is particularly important if there are any changes from the curriculum proposed on the concentration form. Formal submission of another form is NOT required, but the changes should be made in writing and made part of your record in the track office.

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Request an Exception to Major or Minor Requirements

To get an exception, students must consult with their advisor and submit a petition to the UPBM Committee of Track Coordinators.

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Biology Courses for First-Year Students

BIO 112L: Perspectives in Biology I

(CRN 14102 Instructor: Dr. David Goldfarb)
Fall 2019 Lab Times

A first year course designed for confident students with strong biology backgrounds. This typically means a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Biology test, or an IB score of at least 6.

BIO 110L: Principles of Biology I

(CRN 13471 Instructor: Dr. Michael Clark)
Fall 2019 Lab Times

A course designed for students who have some biology background. This typically means they took AP (IB) biology but did not score a 4 or 6 on the respective tests. However, a confident student who has taken multiple AP courses in other disciplines should also consider this course. This course is open to upper classmen.

BIO 110L: Principles of Biology I

(CRN 13485 Instructor: Dr. Thomas Eickbush)
Fall 2019 Lab and Workshop Times

A first year only course designed for students with little biology background. This typically means they last took Biology their freshmen or sophomore year of high school. All students will take part in a weekly study group run by a graduate student mentor. A permission code is required to register for this course and can be obtained from the student’s first year advisor. If students have questions they should contact Dr. Eickbush in person Friday morning at the “Open House”, or Friday afternoon at his office (HH334a).

Key Points

  • All 3 courses are appropriate for pre-medical school tracks, and will prepare students for upper level biology courses. Non-premed students, who intend to major in the social sciences or humanities should register for BIO 101 Genes, Germs, and Genomics (Benyajati).
  • All 3 courses require concurrent enrollment in Chemistry (e.g. CHM 131 or equivalent). Students with questions concerning this requirement should contact Drs. Goldfarb, Clark and Eickbush at the “Open House” on Friday Aug. 23rd.
  • All 3 courses have a required laboratory that is attended every other week. This lab is not a separate course, but is incorporated into the 4-credit lecture course.
  • Students in BIO 110L with Dr. Clark and BIO 112L with Dr. Goldfarb will register for their workshops through the Registrar's online system. 
  • Students in BIO 110L with Dr. Eickbush will register for both labs and workshops through an online form sent by the UPBM Office. 

All 3 courses have required workshops and labs.

Registration Instructions

STEP 18/24/19

REGISTER FOR LECTURE through the on-line registration during your pre-assigned time.

CAN’T GET IN? Students who cannot get in need to use our online form as soon as possible and let us know which lecture you need to get in to.

STEP 2: 8/26/19 at 9:00am 


All students enrolled in BIO 110L and 112L lecture will receive an email from the Biology Department with a link to an online application to register for labs (and workshops for BIO 110L with Dr. Eickbush). It is essential that you register for the course and respond immediately, or risk being shut out of the section that meets your needs.

Email confirmation will be sent immediately after selections are made. Students who need to change their selections may do so by visiting the link labeled “edit submission” that will be provided in the email confirmation.  Students will have until Friday 8/30 to make any changes.  

Students with questions or who need to make changes to their times after 8/30 will need to send an email to:

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Dual Major and Dual Degree Restrictions

Dual Degrees (Both a BA and BS)

Students seeking approval to earn dual degrees will need to petition the Administrative Committee of the College before the double degree program can be implemented. No student may declare a BA in biology and a BS in biological sciences in any track. See the sophomore page for more information.

Dual Majors (Two BA or Two BS Degrees)

Dual majors involving one UPBM track major and a major in an area outside UPBM are allowed as long as there is no more than a two-course overlap (allied fields do not apply.) No student may declare two BS degrees within the UPBM tracks. See the sophomore page for more information.

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How AP and Transfer Credits are Incorporated

AP Biology Credit Policy: Students who scored a 4 or 5 on Advanced Placement biology exams receive four general college credits; however, it cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements for the biology major or minor.

IB Biology Credit Policy: Students who scored a 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate exam receive four general college credits; however, it cannot be used to satisfy any of the requirements for the biology major or minor. 

AP and IB Students Eligible to Take Concentrated Introductory Course Series: Students who received credit for AP or IB biology scores are eligible to take BIO 112/113: Perspectives in Biology I and II.

Note: The biology department does not approve AP or IB biology credit for use toward major requirements.

Transfer Credit Restrictions

 Students wishing to apply coursework completed at institutions outside of the University of Rochester* toward their biology degree must provide evidence of the following:

  • Courses were not “pre-professional” in nature (i.e., nutrition, nursing, or technical training, such as EMT training)
  • Courses were offered in the biology department or equivalent
  • Courses counted toward a biology degree at the institution that offered them
  • Courses overlapped in content with biology courses offered at the University of Rochester

Before undertaking coursework elsewhere, students should have their biology courses evaluated, approved by their major advisor, and then submitted to the College Center for Advising Services to ensure that the course can count toward their undergraduate degree. Visit the following website for process overview and Bio transfer credit form to get started:

*With the exception of the courses specified in the master list of transferable courses at MCC.

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How to Get Involved in Research

Getting Started in Research

Finding a Research Mentor - Sample Email

Our department has many great ways to get involved in research including:

The Office of Undergraduate Research is another useful resource for getting research funding, learning about undergraduate research conferences, and more.

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How to Become a Teaching Assistant

The department recruits undergraduates to lead workshops, recitations, or laboratory sections associated with many of the courses offered. See the teaching assistant page for list of current opportunities and how to apply.

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How to Get Credit for Teaching

Students must first apply and be accepted into a teaching assistant position and then sign up for BIO 390. For more information see the supervised teaching page.

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Preparing for Medicine/Health Professions

Graduate and medical degree programs in the health professions frequently have admissions requirements that include two semesters in general chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, and calculus. Some programs may have additional requirements such as biochemistry and/or microbiology.

For detailed information on premed course requirements, academic planning, and the MCAT, visit the Health Professions Advising website.

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