Starting a major

  • Because chemistry provides a foundation for biology, most students will begin with CHEM 121, CHEM 122, 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, Can 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