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Academic advising

What to do first

Before completing your first 45 credits, your academic advising will be provided through the NHS Academic Advising Center.  Your points of contact are:

Please meet with your advisor each semester to obtain a PIN that will be needed for registration. 

Academic Advising Information

What classes to take for the biology major


Along the path to graduation with a biology degree, you will complete courses in several different categories as follows:

  1. Liberal arts core courses
  2. Required biology core courses
  3. Elective biology courses
  4. Biology capstone experience
  5. Other supporting courses required by the major
  6. University-wide elective courses

Make a four-year plan

The required classes to take are listed in the University Catalog and in the four-year plans that can help you plan for the completion of your degree.  Once you have made a plan, it is important that you follow it as closely as possible so you can graduate on time. 

Liberal arts core (LAC) classes

Liberal arts core (LAC) classes cover the breadth of knowledge that a liberal arts education should provide. These classes are often referred to as General Education classes at other institutions. The courses in your major (biology) will provide the depth of knowledge that you will need for your chosen career path, while your LAC courses ensure that you get a well-rounded education. LAC classes are organized into areas (1-8) based on the areas of knowledge that they cover.  We strongly recommend spreading your LAC classes over your four years to help balance each semester's schedule.

LAC classes fulfilled by the biology degree

Some of the introductory classes required of the biology degree fit into these areas, and they fulfill the required credit hours for those LAC areas. In some cases, the biology degree will require more than the minimum number of LAC classes in a particular area because of the depth of knowledge needed. The required biology classes that fulfill LAC area requirements are:

  • LAC Area 1 (Communication -- 6 hours) is fulfilled by ENG 122 (College Composition -- 3 hours) and SCI 291 (Scientific Writing -- 3 hours).
  • LAC Area 2 (Mathematics -- 3 hours) is fulfilled by STAT 150 (Introduction to Statistical Analysis -- 3 hours).
  • LAC Area 6 (Physical and Life Sciences -- 7 hours) is fulfilled by BIO 110 (Principles of Biology -- 4 hours) and CHEM 111 (Principles of Chemistry I -- 5 hours).
  • LAC electives is a category that permits you to take any additional LAC courses that may be needed to fulfill the minimum of 40 LAC credit hours required by the University. As a biology major, MATH 171 (Calculus I for Life Science -- 4 hours) and PHYS 220 (Introductory Physics I -- 5 hours) count toward that 40 credit hour minimum.

LAC classes not fulfilled by the biology degree

For those LAC areas that are not fulfilled by required biology classes, you are free to take any of the courses listed in the UNC catalog for LAC areas 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8.  Some courses in areas 3, 4 and 5 also fulfill areas 7 and 8.  If you wish to graduate by taking the minimal 120 credit hour requirement for a biology degree, we suggest that you "double-dip" by selecting courses that fulfill multiple areas simultaneously. Look for the asterisk (*) next to the class in the LAC 7 and 8 sections of the UNC catalog. The area that you can "double-dip" is indicated in brackets [ ].  Your adviser can also provide advice about LAC courses.

Biology electives

Biology elective classes are typically offered on a rotating basis every year or every other year. Descriptions and prerequisites for these courses are provided in the UNC catalog. Check the biology course calendar offerings to ensure that you know when each course will run and plan accordingly.  The number of biology elective classes that are required to complete a biology degree will depend on your emphasis area.

Biology capstone experience

The capstone experience is intended to give you specific hands-on experience that is directly related to your career goals. As a biology major, one credit of capstone experience is required. Please discuss this unscheduled course with your academic adviser.  Your options for this course are:

  • Directed Studies (BIO 422) -- for research activities
  • Internship in Biological Sciences (BIO 492)
  • Clinical Internship in Biological Sciences (BIO 493)
  • Undergraduate teaching experience (BIO 494)

Transfer students

Contact: The biology transfer adviser is Frank Skufca, frank.skufca@unco.edu (email), 970-351-2469 (tel)

Helpful link: UNC transfer admissions website

Helpful link: Transferology

Transferring from another institution

If you transfer from any other institution of higher education to UNC and you declare biology as your major program of study, you should do the following things:

  1. Be familiar with the courses that transfer to UNC. After being accepted to UNC, the university will review your academic transcripts from other institutions and determine which courses may be accepted for credit at UNC. The list of accepted transfer courses will be sent to you. Be sure to bring this list with you when you meet with your academic adviser or with the biology transfer advisor. The list will indicate courses that have been accepted into various categories such as:
      1. Liberal Arts Core courses (general education credits). The university admissions office determines which transfer courses fulfill Liberal Arts Core requirements.
      2. University elective courses. These courses can apply to your degree, but not necessarily to your major.
      3. Biology major required courses. These courses will count toward those that are required to fulfill the biology major. Transfer courses may be sufficiently similar to an existing required biology course that they will be accepted as such, or they may be accepted as a biology elective course. In other cases, a transfer course may not meet the biology requirements at all and will count only toward a university elective. The biology transfer adviser makes this determination.
  2. Meet with your academic advisor. When you decide to declare biology as your major program of study, you should visit the main office of the School of Biological Sciences (Ross Hall, room 2480). Our office staff will be able to help you declare your major, and they will assign you an academic advisor. You should meet with this person as soon as possible for help with selecting the courses that you will need to take.
  3. Meet with the biology transfer advisor. The biology transfer adviser will make the final determination of what courses can apply to the biology major. If you have course syllabi or catalogs from the institutions that you attended prior to UNC, these can be very helpful.

Transferring from another major program at UNC

If you change your major to biology from any other major at UNC, there are special rules that apply to you. For example, some 200-level biology courses may be substituted for upper-division biology courses depending on the grade that you received. You should talk to your academic adviser to see what is possible.

Biology academic advisers

Who is your academic adviser?

If you don't know who your academic adviser is and you have declared biology as your major, you can look it up on Degree Works (available through Ursa), or you can contact the biology office for help at biology@unco.edu or 970-351-2921.

List of academic advisers

Biology academic advisers specialize based on emphasis area.





Rick Adams
Ross Hall 1540
Lauryn Benedict
Ross Hall 2546
Patric Burns
Ross Hall 1516
Gregory DeKrey
Ross Hall 2516
Ginger Fisher
Ross Hall 1526
Scott Franklin
Ross Hall 1510
Karen Gomez
Ross Hall02555
James Haughian
Ross Hall 2716
Ann Hawkinson
Ross Hall 1530
Teresa Higgins
Ross Hall 2526
Emily Holt
Ross Hall 2520
Andrea James
Ross Hall 2536
Judy Leatherman
Ross Hall 2410
Steve Mackessy
Ross Hall 2540
Mit McGlaughlin
Ross Hall 1560
Nicholas Pullen
Ross Hall 2550
Robert Reinsvold
Ross Hall 1536
Frank Skufca
Ross Hall 1520
Mark Thomas
Ross Hall 2530