Undergraduate Advising2018-10-26T12:41:26+00:00

Undergraduate Advising

Howdy and welcome to the Biology Undergraduate Programs Office! We are located in Butler Hall, Room 107.  Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8AM-5PM.  Call (979) 845-3116 to schedule an appointment with any of the advisors.  Walk-ins are welcome and are accommodated based on advisor availability.

It is the mission of the Biology Undergraduate Programs Office (UPO) to provide quality academic advising in an encouraging and welcoming atmosphere.  Our office strives to help students navigate their undergraduate academic career and understand the value of their education to foster individual academic success.  Biology UPO Advisors will follow the guidelines in the Advising Syllabus.


Undergraduate Advising Office

Butler Hall, Room 107
Office hours: M-F, 8AM-5PM
(979) 845-3116


Christine Farris is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’92 Agricultural Economics major. She also obtained a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2003 from Texas A&M and has been an Academic Advisor here since 2001. Christine didn’t have to travel far to attend Texas A&M, as she is originally from College Station. She still resides in the area with her husband, William, her son, Josh and her daughter, Amanda. Christine loves attending Aggie sports events and also attending her children’s sports events and activities.

Clint Crampton is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’99 Political Science major. Clint has been an Academic Advisor in the Biology Department since January of 2004. He is originally from Houston, but has lived in College Station for the last 10 years. In his spare time, Clint enjoys reading and playing with his dog, Sasha.

Tara Hardin graduated from Dallas Baptist University in 2010 with a B.A.S in Interdisciplinary Studies with focus on business and marketing. She has been an Academic Advisor in the Biology Department since 2012, and  lives in Bryan with her husband,  James, and their sons J.G., and Thomas.

Vanessa Nordell is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’97 Genetics major. She also obtained a Master’s in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M and has been an Academic Advisor since 2004. She resides in the area with her husband, son and a neighborhood kitty. Vanessa loves running, travel, history books and baking (and eating) cookies.

Grace Jones is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of  ’17 English Major with minors in Anthropology and History. Her research focused on Science and Medicine in Romantic Literature and Philosophy. She has also previously worked with The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, and the Office of Admissions at Texas A&M University. Grace enjoys traveling, music, reading, museums, and everything Star Wars.



Tips for Success in your Biology degree

Transferring from another College or Institution

Transfer applicants are admitted to a specific major and are required to follow the curriculum for that major. Applicants to the Department of Biology in the College of Science should complete:

  • The first two semesters of Biology courses (Texas Common Course Numbers BIOL1406 & 1407) with a 3.0 or higher GPR (on a 4.0 scale), with no grade less than “B”
  • 8 hours of Chemistry I and II with 3.0 or higher (Texas Common Course Numbers CHEM1411 & 1412), with no grade less than “B”
  • For prospective applicants starting college in Summer 2014 and after, MATH2413 and MATH2414 (calculus I & II) are also required (GPR 2.0+, no grade less than “C”).  For more information, visit www.science.tamu.edu.

Transferring from another major/department at Texas A&M University

Change of major students into the Department of Biology must meet the following requirements:

  • Texas A&M University GPR of 2.5 overall and in proposed major (BIOL, BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL) and support (CHEM) courses
  • At least one BIOL course (111 and 112 preferred, else the next BIOL course in the degree plan) and at least one CHEM course (101/111 and 102/112 preferred, else the next CHEM course in the degree plan)
  • No grades of “D” or “F” in BIOL course(s) unless student has retaken courses and earned “C” or better.

Students who do not meet the minimum 2.5 GPR must have a special appeal from one of the departmental academic advisors. Additionally, students must have no cases of scholastic dishonesty or academic misconduct on their record.

Transferring Courses

You might decide to complete some courses at another academic institution. The Texas Common Course Numbering website will help you locate the correct course number at another public Texas institution. Use the most recent TCCNS online searchable matrix to compare institutions and get the corresponding course number. When you have completed the course, be sure to request that a transcript be sent to Texas A&M University.  Please consult with an academic advisor to confirm use in your degree plan.


New Student Conferences

All incoming Freshman and Transfer students to Texas A&M will attend a “New Student Conference.” New Student Conference programs provide you with what you need to get started on your career here at Texas A&M and offer a chance to learn about the many opportunities available to members of the Aggie community. During the conference you will meet in small groups with academic advisors for academic advisement and selection of your courses. There will be a meeting specifically for Biology majors, at both the Freshman NSC and the Transfer NSC , where you will be able to meet your advisors and ask questions.


Is there a specific computer that I should get for my classes?2017-02-10T13:44:46+00:00

Having a computer of your own will be helpful in your studies, but the Biology department does not have a specific computer brand or model that it recommends. In fact, though it will require discipline on your part, it is possible to use computing resources that are available to all students to work on your assignments, and not buy a computer at all. There are very large Open Access Labs located all over Texas A&M’s campus, including the Student Computing Center. The SCC is very close to the buildings that the Biology Department is located in.

But, if you would like to get a computer of your own, please consider the following questions and answers:

Do you want to take it to class with you?2016-12-22T13:55:59+00:00

Many students do opt to get a laptop computer for this exact reason. Just realize that not every classroom is going to have room for a bigger laptop (15″ screen or larger) and some won’t have sufficient room for every student to have a laptop. Also consider how much weight you’re willing to carry around added to all of the books you’re going to be carrying.

If you are still sold on the idea of a laptop, realize that they present a tempting target to the less-honorable among us – both on-campus as well as in your apartment or dorm room. You are going to want to get a lock to secure your computer from would-be thieves.

Is there a specific brand I should look at?2016-12-22T13:55:20+00:00

Many companies offer discounts to Texas A&M students, including Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard. Frequently the discount is limited, but there are good deals to be found. There is no specific brand that stands out and Texas A&M students are seen using almost every computer brand sold.

What should I look for?2016-12-22T13:54:44+00:00

Assuming that you want your computer to last for your entire undergraduate time at Texas A&M, you probably want to buy a computer that has a good amount of power rather than the most inexpensive model you can find. You will want as much RAM as possible, as RAM is more important to your system’s ability to process things than any other component. If your know your way around a computer, you can save some money by getting the system with the basic amount of RAM that the manufacturer provides and then upgrading the RAM yourself. You might also consider getting an external hard drive of some sort to use for backing up your data (that way a sudden hard drive crash on the computer isn’t going to cause you to lose that paper you were working on all semester). And, as mentioned above, if you are getting a laptop, get a lock for it. You might consider an extended warranty for your computer, especially if it is a laptop. If you are rough on computers or think someone living with you might be, look into a warranty that includes accidental damage such as Dell’s CompleteCare.

Will I be able to use the internet on campus?2016-12-22T13:52:54+00:00

Texas A&M has an extensive wireless network and all of the buildings that the Biology Department is in have excellent coverage. This is also true of almost every classroom on campus.

Can I get help with my computer if it breaks?2016-12-22T13:52:16+00:00

Help Desk Central provides both software and hardware support for current students. Help Desk Repair offers several services free of charge, and a variety of important repairs for very resonable rates. HDC also offers a variety of free short courses designed just for students which will help you to improve your skills in some of the most popular software available.

What sort of software will I need?2016-12-22T13:51:35+00:00

Different classes may require different software. Most software required for use in class is available for use in the Open Access Labs. If you would like to purchase software of your own, the Texas A&M Software Center has a wide variety of deeply discounted software for current students, including Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office packages for both Windows and Mac.

I don’t want to stay in biology, but don’t know what degree program I should enter. What should I do?2016-12-22T13:23:16+00:00

Ask yourself where your interests are (business, engineering, etc.). For more assistance visit Student Counseling Services located in Cain Hall or visit their website at http://scs.tamu.edu.

How do I find out who my advisor is?2016-12-22T13:22:27+00:00

Students in the Biology department are not assigned advisors, but they can request a particular advisor if they want. Call our office at 979-845-3116, or come to Butler Hall 107 to schedule a time.

What student biological societies are available?2016-12-22T13:21:51+00:00

There are a number of biologically-oriented societies for undergraduates on the Texas A&M campus. Aggie Optometry Association, Alpha Epsilon Delta (preprofessional honor society), American Medical Association, Beta Beta Beta, Black Engineers and Scientists, Cell and Molecular Biology Association, Future Aggie Physician Assistants, Marine Science Society, Microbiology Society, Multicultural Association of Pre-Health Aggies, Society of Conservation Biology, Pre-Medical Society, Pre-Dental Society, Pre-Pharmacy Society, Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists, and the Zoological Society. Students may obtain the name of the Faculty Advisors for these groups from the Undergraduate Advising Office. Fliers for these groups are also posted in the Undergraduate Advising Office.

What departmental scholarships are available?2016-12-22T13:20:55+00:00

Scholarships for students in the Department of Biology are offered through the College of Science (see http://www.science.tamu.edu/undergraduates/aid for more information). Students apply using the general Texas A&M University scholarship application through the Department of Scholarships and Financial Aid (see https://scholarships.tamu.edu for more information).

What do I do if I have a disagreement with a professor?2016-12-22T13:20:13+00:00

If the professor is a faculty member in the Department of Biology, the student should first speak with an undergraduate advisor (call 845-3116). If the faculty member is in another department, the student should go to the advising office of the department offering the course.

How do I apply for graduation?2016-12-22T13:18:12+00:00

You must complete an application for graduation before you can receive a diploma. To apply for graduation please go to http://howdy.tamu.edu and under the MyRecord tab, select the “Apply for Graduation” link in the Degree Evaluation channel.

What is the best major to get into medical/dental school?2017-02-03T11:31:38+00:00

Professional schools do not consider what major the student completes with regard to admissions. Most professional schools do require that a student complete certain courses before entering professional programs as outlined below. While many of the courses prescribed by medical and dental schools may be included in some curricula, few of these courses may be required in others. Students should examine their curricula carefully and plan a course of study whereby all requirements for both the bachelor’s degree and the medical or dental schools are completed on schedule.
The minimum course requirements for the medical and dental schools in Texas can be met by completing the following: Biology (8 semesters hours of introductory biology with lab and 6 semester hours of advanced biology), Chemistry (8 semester hours of inorganic chemistry with lab and 8 semester hours of organic chemistry with lab), Physics (8 semester hours with lab), Statistics (3 semester hours for medical schools only), English (6 semester hours), Biochemistry (3 semester hours).

Recommended courses at Texas A&M are: BIOL 111 112 and two advanced level courses, CHEM 101/111, 102/112, 227/237, 228/238, PHYS 201 and 202*, MATH 131*, ENGL 104 and a Literature course or ENGL 210 [*Higher level courses such as MATH 151 or MATH 171 may be substituted.]

Complete information is available from the Office of Professional and Graduate School Advising located in Henderson Hall, or from the following web address: http://opsa.tamu.edu.

How do I apply to dental/medical school?2017-02-03T11:34:29+00:00

Detailed information can be obtained from the Office of Professional and Graduation School Advising (209 Koldus).

Where do I get MCAT/DAT information? When should I take it?2017-02-03T11:35:08+00:00

Instructions for applying, obtaining evaluations, registering for the MCAT or DAT, etc., are available in the Office of Professional and Graduate School Advising (209 Koldus). Since an applicant’s knowledge in biology, chemistry and physics will be tested on the MCAT the student should plan a program so that at least the year of introductory biology, both inorganic and organic chemistry, and physics are completed before taking the MCAT. An applicant’s knowledge of physics is not tested on the DAT.

What can I do with a Biology degree?2016-12-22T13:15:29+00:00

Without a doubt, the Biology degree is the most versatile of the many degrees in the life sciences. Over half of our majors (in all of our degrees) go on for an advanced degree such as the Master of Science (M.S.) or the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Historically, Biology has placed more of its majors in medical and dental schools than any other department at Texas A&M. In addition, a large number of our majors complete teaching certification in order to take positions as science teachers in secondary schools. Qualified science teachers continue to be in high demand, giving the applicant options to go to nearly any area of the state or country where they might choose to live. Business, industry, and government continues to hire many of our graduates where skills and knowledge in the life sciences are in great and growing demand. Furthermore, training in Biology provides a unique perspective in other professions such as Law, Architecture, Engineering, Business and Management.

How do I apply to graduate school?2017-02-03T11:36:34+00:00

Detailed information can be obtained from the Office of Professional and Graduate School Advising (209 Koldus). Students interested in one of our graduate programs in Biology should visit our Graduate Advising Office in 102 Butler Hall.

Where can I get G.R.E. information?2017-02-03T11:37:20+00:00

More information on the GRE exam can be obtained from the Office of Professional and Graduate School Advising (209 Koldus) as well as many other offices on campus. The following website also has detailed information on the GRE: http://www.ets.org/gre/

How do I change majors?2016-12-22T13:09:43+00:00

To another major within the Biology Department (BIOL BA, BIOL BS, BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL) – Students currently enrolled in the Biology Department must initiate a change major in the Undergraduate Advising Office in 107 Butler Hall. Students are advised to meet with an advisor to be sure of their new degree requirements. This process usually takes 5-15 minutes, but can take longer depending on student questions and traffic in the office.

To a major in a different department – A student enrolled in a Department of Biology degree program who wishes to change to a major in another department should meet with an Academic Advisor in the Department offering the desired major. The personnel in that office will complete a change-of-curriculum form and direct the student on any additional requirements.

How do I get forced into a class?2017-02-10T13:25:04+00:00

Each department handles “forces” differently. A student who desires to be placed into a Department of Biology course should fill out a “wait-list” form available in the Undergraduate Advising Office in 107 Butler Hall.  Student are placed as space permits during the open registration period and are notified at the email address or phone number they indicated on their request form.  If the course in question is in another department, the student should contact the department offering the course and ask for the proper procedure.

What should I take next semester?2017-02-10T13:26:02+00:00

Students are provided with a degree plan at their New Student Conference.  Students may also obtain a copy through the Advising Office in 107 Butler Hall.  Students should be aware of their completed courses and of required prerequisite courses in their plan (ex. CHEM228 is a prerequisite for BICH410).  Prerequisites, co-requisites and course descriptions are listed in the undergraduate catalog.

What catalog should I follow?2017-02-10T13:29:24+00:00

Students are held to the catalog in effect upon their entry to Texas A&M University unless they change their major.  The catalog requirements in effect at the time of the change of major will then apply.  For example, a student who entered TAMU as a psychology major in the Fall of 2014 would be held under catalog #137 (2014-2015).  If that student changes their major to biology in Fall 2015, then he/she would be held to catalog #138 (2015-2016).

Can I take a course pass/fail (S/U)?2017-02-10T13:32:15+00:00

Free elective courses may be taken on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis.  KINE199 (Required Physical Activity) and KINE198 (Health & Fitness Activity) may also be taken S/U.  Students following a plan in catalog #136 (2013-2014) or older must complete KINE199 S/U.

Can an undergraduate take a graduate course?2016-12-22T13:05:29+00:00

An undergraduate student with a GPR of at 3.25 or higher may register for and apply a graduate course toward an undergraduate degree by filing a written petition for approval that has been signed by the course instructor, a representative of the student’s department, the dean of the college where the course is taught, and the student’s dean. These credit hours may not be used to meet graduate degree requirements. Students interested in this option should come to the department’s Undergraduate Advising Office in 107 Butler Hall.

A senior undergraduate student with a GPR of 3.0 or higher may enroll in a graduate course and reserve that course for graduate credit by filing a petition stating their intentions. The petition must be signed by the course instructor, a representative of the student’s department, the dean of the college where the course is taught, and the student’s dean.

What day do I register?2016-12-22T13:04:48+00:00

The Office of the Registrar assigns start times to all students; students are notified of their time via their official TAMU email address. The Undergraduate Registration Schedule is listed on the Registrar’s website.

What is my classification?2016-12-22T13:03:26+00:00

A student’s classification is based on the total number of credit hours earned (this does not include hours in which the student is currently enrolled). Rule 13 of the TAMU Student Rules outlines the necessary hours.

I missed my registration day. What can I do?2017-02-10T13:33:51+00:00

A student who misses their assigned pre-registration period must wait until open registration to access the registration system.

I forgot to pay my fees and my schedule was dropped. What can I do?2016-12-22T13:00:06+00:00

Any student who does not meet the deadlines for fee payment as shown in the Schedule of Classes is subject to having a hold placed on their schedule. If this occurs, the student must pay their tuition plus a $100 late fee during the first 5 days to be reinstated into his/her classes. It is very important that tuition and fees be paid by the published deadlines. An installment plan is available; contact the Student Financial Services at 845-8127 for more information.

Why does the registrar add penalties to my fees?2016-12-22T12:59:19+00:00

Students may be assessed late fees and penalties for a number of reasons, including missing a scheduled installment payment, or adding courses or registering after classes begin. Refer to Student Business Services for more information on tuition and fees.

I’m blocked. How do I clear the block?2016-12-22T12:58:47+00:00

A student may be blocked from registration by many campus offices including their academic departments or colleges, Transportation Services, Student Financial Aid, Student Business Services, Admissions and Records, the Student Health Center and the Department of Student Affairs. To clear the block, a student must contact the office that placed the block. Students who cannot determine what office placed the block should come to our Undergraduate Advising Office in 107 Butler Hall.

How many times may I take the same KINE 199 (physical education)?2016-12-22T12:58:12+00:00

We are not aware of any policy which limits the number of times a student may take any particular activity course. On occasion, students have been moved from beginning to intermediate activities due to their skill level. However, students are allowed to take only one Health and Fitness Kinesiology (KINE198).

If I make a “D” in a course do I have to retake it?2016-12-22T12:56:38+00:00

A grade of “D” is considered passing by the University and earns 1 grade point per semester hour. However, all Biology majors are required to earn a “C” or better in BIOL 111 and BIOL 112 (whether taken at Texas A&M or transferred in) before enrolling in upper level biology electives. In all other BIOL courses, a student is allowed only one “D” in their degree plan. As a reminder, you must have a 2.0 or better GPR overall and in your major.

I made a “D” in a course. If I retake it is the “D” taken off my record?2016-12-22T12:55:58+00:00

Grades are never removed from a student’s record at Texas A&M University. The highest grade will be used in determining degree requirements. However, the Dean’s Office reserves the right to count all attempts in calculating probation, warning and removal decisions.

Am I on probation?2016-12-22T12:55:23+00:00

Any student with less than a 2.0 GPR overall or in their major is on probation. Each semester the Dean’s Office determines probation and mails notices to students in this situation. Contact the Office of Student Affairs in the College of Science in 514 Blocker for more information.

What if I don’t make my probation requirements?2016-12-22T12:54:43+00:00

When a student is placed on probation, he/she is given the terms of probation for the next semester. A student who does not meet their probation requirements will be notified by the Dean’s Office and any options available will be outlined. As with other questions concerning probation, the student should go to the Office of Student Affairs in the College of Science in Blocker 514.

How do I appeal a grade?2016-12-22T12:54:05+00:00

Any student who feels the grade they received does not reflect proper credit should contact the instructor of the course directly. If the grade is to be changed, the instructor will submit a grade change form to the Records office.

Do grades count for transfer courses?2016-12-22T12:53:30+00:00

Grades earned for transfer work are not included in the GPR shown on the student’s transcript from Texas A&M.

How do I withdraw from the University?2017-02-03T11:26:57+00:00

The procedure for Withdrawal is outlined in Student Rule 17.  The procedure is initiated by the student through the Howdy portal and routed to the student’s Dean for approval.

How do I drop a course?2016-12-22T12:50:48+00:00

Student Rule 1.16.2 discusses in detail how students may drop courses.

Can I drop a particular course after the Q-drop deadline?2017-02-03T11:28:05+00:00

After the 60th class day, a student may withdraw from a course with the Dean’s permission. This is allowed only under very unusual circumstances. Students typically must withdraw from the university.  See student rules 1.18, 1.19 and 1.20.

How can I get an incomplete in a course?2016-12-22T12:49:19+00:00

A temporary grade of “I” is given when a student has completed the course with the exception of a major quiz, final examination or other work. The instructor will give this grade only when the deficiency is due to an authorized absence or other cause beyond control of the student. The student should complete the deficiency before the final day of the next fall or spring semester during which the student is registered at the university or the grade will be changed to an “F” by the registrar.

How do I register for a 491?2018-04-26T08:58:07+00:00

Students should obtain a 491 form, which is also available from our Undergraduate Advising Office. The form must be signed by the supervising professor and the form returned to the Undergraduate Advising Office in 107 Butler for an advisor’s signature. At this time the advisor will rule on whether or not the course is acceptable and exactly how it will be used in the degree plan. Up to 4 credit hours may be used as a directed elective (BIOL, BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL). Additional credit hours may be used as general electives. Complete it with the professor, and return it to the Advising Office. Visit the Undergraduate Research Page for more information and forms.

How many hours of 491 can I use?2018-04-26T08:58:18+00:00

Students may use up to 7 hours of 491 credit as a biology elective (BIOL, BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL) in their degree plan. Hours in excess of this (up to 11 hours) may be used as general electives as long as a student has completed the Core Curriculum requirements. Visit the Undergraduate Research Page for more information.

How do I choose a 491 topic?2018-04-26T08:58:48+00:00

Students are advised to look over the 491 listings. This allows the student to narrow their interests before approaching individual professors. Visit the Undergraduate Research Page for more information.

What is BIOL 491?2018-04-26T08:59:11+00:00

BIOL 491 is an independent research course supervised by various faculty members in the department (0-4 credit hours). Visit the Undergraduate Research Page for more information.

What courses can I transfer from another school?2016-12-22T12:30:24+00:00

There is no limit on transfer credits from other colleges and universities. TAMU residency requirements state that a student must complete 36 hours of 300- and 400-level courses at Texas A&M. Twelve hours of the total 36 hours must be in the student’s major field.

How do I satisfy a minor?2016-12-22T12:30:14+00:00

A minor is available for any student but is required for those students following the B.A. Biology degree plan. To complete a minor, a student must have 15-18 credit hours in the minor field with at least 6 hours in 300- or 400-level courses. A student is allowed to minor in up to two areas for his/her degree. A complete list of minors can be found here.

What can I use as general electives?2017-02-02T13:29:57+00:00

General electives are open as long as the student satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements. The only courses that cannot be used as general electives are prerequisite courses for minimum requirements (i.e. MATH 102, MATH 103), orientation courses (i.e. AGLS 101), and those courses offered by the Department of Biology for non-majors (BIOL 101, 107, 206).

What can I take as biology (or molecular, cell, microbiology, or zoology) electives?2016-12-22T12:29:58+00:00

Course selection may be found on the degree plans, available for download from the Undergraduate Advising page.

Do I have to take a language if I completed two years of language in high school?2017-02-02T13:34:17+00:00

No, as long as you completed two years of the same foreign language in high school (all degree plans).  If you began college before 2009 please consult with an advisor to confirm requirements.

What math courses are required for my degree?2016-12-22T12:28:32+00:00

Incoming Freshmen:
Fall 2009 onwards: You are required to take two semesters of calculus. These may be satisfied by any of the following sequences:
MATH147 & 148 (preferred); MATH151 & 152; or MATH171 & 172.
You may opt to take equivalent courses through a community college; the common course number is MATH2413 and 2414.
Fall 2008 and before: You are required to take MATH166 and MATH131, or their respective alternative courses.
for MATH166: You may take MATH141 or MATH152 or MATH172, or PHIL240
for MATH131: You may take MATH142 or MATH151 or MATH171

Incoming Transfer Students:
Your MATH requirement is dependent on when you were initially in college attendance prior to being admitted to Texas A&M University. See guidelines noted above for Incoming Freshmen.

Questions: Please contact the Biology Advising Office at 979-845-3116, or send an email.