Academic Advising


All undergraduate students in the Biology department have an assigned faculty advisor; however the vast majority of your questions can be answered by Síle Ní Scanláin in the Biology Office. Her contact info is as follows:

Síle Ní Scanláin
355E Higgins Hall

Prof. Eric Folker, Interim Director of Undergraduate Programs is also available to meet with students and provide academic advising services.

Eric Folker, Ph.D.
Higgins Hall 578

In AGORA you may view your faculty advisor by selecting “My Services,” “Account and Personal Information,” then “Academic Advisor.” Freshmen are assigned advisers through the Academic Advising Center. Biology faculty members serve as advisors for sophomores, juniors and seniors. During the registration period the department will provide open office hours for all of our faculty. Feel free to use this time to learn about their research, ask career questions, or get more information on specific courses.

First-Year Students

First-year biology majors will typically take courses in biology, chemistry, and math. The following are general guidelines for first-year students; however, there may be variability and students will have the opportunity to discuss their plan with an academic adviser during Orientation. Check the Biology Curriculum Checklist for all major requirements. 

General Guidelines

Biology majors in the regular BS and BA programs are advised to enroll in BIOL 2000 Molecules & Cells and BIOL 2010 Ecology & Evolution in their first year. These courses may be taken in either order.

Freshmen are also advised to enroll in CHEM 1109 General Chemistry 1 and CHEM 1110 General Chemistry 2 (with co-requisite labs).

First-year biology majors should also take MATH 1100 Calculus 1 or MATH 1101 Calculus 2 depending on their Advanced Placement Scores. For further information about Calculus placement see the guidelines below or consult a Math Advisor during First-Year Orientation.

Students considering advanced placement should enroll in BIOL 2010 in the fall semester (there is no AP substitution for BIOL 2010). In the spring, these students could take BI 3040 Cell Biology or continue with the regular program and take BIOL 2000 Molecules and Cells. See further guidelines about advanced placement below.

Freshmen who have completed BIOL 2000 and Advanced Placement students can take the 3-credit Investigations in Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory (BIOL 2040) during the spring semester of their first year, if space is available.

General Biology (BIOL 1100)

Entering freshmen who are interested in Biology, but feel unprepared to go directly into BIOL 2000 (Molecules & Cells) or simply want to "try out" the discipline, should consider enrolling in BIOL 1100 General Biology. This one-semester Core course is designed for non-majors and will introduce students to the basics of cell structure and function. Students should see an adviser regarding concurrent enrollment in General Chemistry.

BIOL 1100 satisfies the Natural Science Core but cannot be applied to the Biology or Biochemistry major.

Advanced Placement for Biology B.S. and B.A. Majors

Students who received a score of 5 on the AP Biology exam in their senior year of high school and wish to consider advanced placement may enroll in BIOL 3040 (Cell Biology) in place of BIOL 2000. This elective is recommended because it is a prerequisite for many other classes

These students should enroll in BIOL 2010 Ecology and Evolution in the fall (there is no AP substitution for BIOL 2010) and BIOL 3040 Cell Biology in the spring.

Calculus Placement 

Biology majors typically begin and/or complete calculus courses during the freshman year.

Calculus 1 requirement is satisfied by completing MATH 1100 or an AP score of 4 or 5 on the AB exam.

Calculus 1 & 2 can be satisfied by completing MATH 1101 or with an AP score of 4 or 5 on the BC exam or Biostatistics (BIOL 2300 or ECON 1151)

You must take two additional math courses to meet the quantitative co-requisite, not including any substitutions that you have made for Calculus 1 or 2. Calculus 2 (or the AP option) and Biostatistics can both be applied to the four-course requirement, but each course can only be applied once.