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

Declaring a Major or Minor in Biology

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

  1. Visit their intended track page in the “Majors” or “Minors” tab and click on the link for the Department Major Declaration Form for their desired track. This form allows students to build a tentative schedule toward their major/minor.
  2. Once the schedule is made and approved by the UPBM office, make an appointment with the major or minor track advisor for further review and approval of the plan.
  3. Once the UPBM program manager notifies you that the advisor has approved your schedule, file a Major/Minor Declaration Form with the College.

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.

Requesting an Exception to Major/Minor Requirements

To get an exception, students must consult with their advisor and submit a petition to the UPBM committee of track coordinators.

Dual Major/Degree Restrictions and Computational Minor Guidelines

Students can declare only one program of study within the biological sciences. A "double major" or "dual degree" in more than one biology major is not permitted. See the sophomore page for more information on double majors and dual degrees. Visit our majors page for the complete list of biological science tracks to which these guidelines apply.

Biological science majors may earn a minor in computational biology as long they comply with the College’s overlap policies.

Incorporating AP, IB, and A-Level Transfer Credits

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.

AS (Advanced Subsidiary) and A-Level (Advanced) Exam credit policy: Students who have taken A-Level courses and scored an ‘A' would receive general college credit, eligibility to enroll in the BIOL 112/113 series, but will not be approved to receive credit for BIOL 110.

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

Transfer Credit Restrictions and Guidelines

Before undertaking coursework elsewhere, students should have their biology courses evaluated and approved by their major advisor using the Biology Course Transfer Credit Form. Once approved students can submit the prospective course to the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) to ensure that the course can count toward their undergraduate degree.

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

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

Students who need to transfer credit for non-biology coursework should see the CCAS course approval page for form and further instructions.

Please note that University of Rochester 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.

Getting Involved in Research

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

  • Independent research: Students work with a faculty research mentor during the semester for credit.
  • Summer research fellowships: Students work with a faculty research mentor over the summer.
  • Honors research: Students develop a novel body of work that includes publication-quality data, and create and defend a senior thesis.

See getting started in research and finding a mentor for helpful tips.

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

Becoming a Teaching Assistant

The department recruits undergraduate students 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 application instructions.

Preparing for Health Professions

Student interested in continuing onto a medical or health professions degree should visit the Applying to Health Professions Programs site, which outlines information on information on premed course requirements, academic planning, and the MCAT. We also recommend scheduling an appointment with a health professions advisor to develop a plan that will help ensure you’ll have all of the courses required to applied to your desired program.

Petition to the UPBM Committee

Declared students can petition the UPBM Committee to:

  • Request a substitution a biological science major or minor
  • Alter a biological science cluster
  • Exceed eight credits of independent research with the same faculty member policy
Biology Advisors

For appointments with advisors send an email to the appropriate faculty person with your availability. See their page for contact information:

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