Starting a major

  • Because chemistry provides a foundation for biology, most students will begin with CHEM 121 or CHEM 125 or CHBI 125 (students should consult their placement recommendation) in their first year.
  • BIO 150 is the first biology course in the major, and can but does not have to be taken in the first year.

Are there courses students MUST/SHOULD take their First Year?

  • Must: There are no courses that absolutely must be taken in the first year. However, we strongly recommend that students start in a chemistry course unless there are unusual circumstances.
  • Should: Students should take either chemistry (strongly preferred) and/or BIO 150 in the first year. Many students take a calculus course in the first year (note that calculus is a prerequisite for CHEM126 and CHBI 126).

Credit for previous coursework

  • 100-level elective credit toward the major is given for: AP score of 4 or 5, IB HL score of 5-7, or Cambridge A-level score of A (unless other credit is arranged).
  • Credit for transfer courses are done in consultation with the Registrar and the Biology Department Chair.


  • The first biology course in the major is BIO 150 for all students. Rare exceptions include certain transfer courses or a score of A on Cambridge A-level Biology.
  • For chemistry, students should follow their placement recommendation found in the Student Information System (SIS).

Informational Events

  • Email Kathie Towler (contact info below) to sign up for the “biointerest” email alias to receive occasional emails from the department about fun and interesting events!
  • Week One Information Sessions

Other Information

Contacts & Department Location

Biology Department Office: Regents Hall of Natural Science (RNS) 360

To print or download, click on this link: Biology Information Sheet