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Undergraduate Program

Advising

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
danielle.presgraves@rochester.edu
  • send email with availablility for appointment

BA in Biology (Class of 2019)
in Biological Sciences

Cheeptip Benyajati, PhD
Hutchison Hall 474
(585) 275-8040
cheeptip.benyajati@rochester.edu
  • send email with availablility for appointment

BS in Biology 

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

Biochemistry Major Track

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

Cell and Developmental Biology Major Track

David Lambert, PhD
Hutchison Hall 344
(585) 273-2482
dlamber2@mail.rochester.edu
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Computational Biology Major Track
Minor in Computational Biology

Amanda Larracuente, PhD
Hutchison Hall 343
(585) 273-1693
alarracu@bio.rochester.edu
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Major Track

Dr. Albert Uy Ph.D.
Hutchison Hall 450
(585) 273-1309 
al.uy@rochester.edu 
  • send email with availablility for appointment

Microbiology Major Track

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

Molecular Genetics Major Track

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

Neuroscience Major Track

Dr. Renee Miller, PhD
Meliora Hall 303F
(585) 276-4024, (585) 273-1506
rmiller3​@​ur.rochester.eduSee BCS Advising website for contact information: http://www.sas.rochester.edu/bcs/undergraduate/declaring.html

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 an advisor assignment. To book a time, visit the UPBM Program Manager booking website. All meetings are 30 minutes in length and conducted through zoom. The zoom link will be in meeting confirmation and reminders.
  2. Afterward, the schedule is made, make an appointment with the major or minor track coordinator for further review and approval of the plan. To set up a Zoom meeting, send an email to the faculty advisor with a few dates/times of availability. 
  3. File a Major/Minor Declaration form with the college. The major declaration form is online. The UPBM Program manager a link to the student once the advisor approves of their schedule.

Please note that the initial schedules made are tentative, and students do have the ability to make changes. After officially declaring your major, students are encouraged to visit their advisor periodically to communicate changes and progress.   

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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

BIOL 101: Genes, Germs and Genomics

(Instructor: Dr. Cheeptip Benyajati)

An introduction to selected principles of the biological sciences, explored through current topics in biology. Areas of study include the organization of life, the scientific method, and understanding data. Biological and biomedical topics of contemporary interest to be discussed may include, but are not limited to, cancer, aging, stem cells, genetic engineering, genetic counseling, the genetic and molecular basis of human disease, precision medicine and personal genomics, and the human microbiome. Classes involve lectures and workshop-style cooperative learning, which requires students active participation.This course is designed for the non-science students. It is not suitable for students interested in going to medical school or other health-related professions. BIO 101 can be used in the following clusters: Biological Principles (N1BIO002), Understanding the Biological World (N1BIO003), Chemistry and Life Science (N1CHM0003), Life on Earth (N1INT015), and Technology, Food, and Society (N1INT019)

BIOL 110L: Principles of Biology I

(Instructor: Dr. Michael Clark/ Dr. Alexis Stein)

First semester in a course sequence for all biology majors. The course will provide an introduction to biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and animal physiology. Emphasis will be placed on quantitative learning and data analysis; weekly workshops will emphasize the construction and interpretation of graphs. If you need assistance getting into this course go to https://form.jotform.com/72284930681158, complete the survey, and the Undergrad Bio Dept will follow up with you. Prerequisites: Completion or concurrent enrollment in CHM 131 or equivalent

*Please note that the BIOL 110 course offered during the spring semester does not include a lab. Students who plan to major in biological science should take BIO 110L during the fall semester.

BIOL 112L: Perspectives in Biology I

(Instructor: Dr. Xin Bi / Dr. Alexis Stein)

The first semester in a year long introductory course sequence. Material will include diverse aspects of genetics, biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology. BIO 112 accesses this material via topics such as genome structure and dynamics, gene regulation, RNA and protein metabolism and function, cellular organelles, as well as genome editing, animal cloning and synthetic biology.  Thus, while BIO 112 is designed to prepare students for subsequent coursework, it does not present content in the order found in most text books. This course also differs from BIO 110 in that material will be covered in greater depth and there will be greater emphasis on experimental approaches and data analysis. It is designed for confident first year students with a strong biology background who have obtained a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Biology test, or an IB score of 6. Completion or concurrent enrollment in CHM 131 or equivalent is required.

 

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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 BIOL 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.

Biology Transfer Credit Restrictions and Guidelines

 Students who want to apply coursework from other 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:  https://form.jotform.com/92163302128145.

Students who need to transfer credit for non-biology coursework should visit the Center for Advising Services Handbook course approval website for form and further instructions:  http://www.rochester.edu/college/CCAS/assets/pdf/course-approval-form.pdf.

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

Please note that UR courses must fulfill at least half of the requirements in biology concentrations. These restrictions do not apply to ancillary field courses. Be sure to consult your advisor before considering courses at other institutions.

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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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