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, please call the office or schedule through Navigate for an appointment. We will accommodate walk-ins as our schedule permits, but appointments will take priority. Call (979) 845-3116 or email advising@bio.tamu.edu to schedule a Zoom or phone appointment with any of the advisors, please include UIN and phone number on any emails or voicemails. Zoom visits are only offered by appointment.

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.


The Department of Biology has offices and laboratories located in five buildings near the center of the main College Station campus: Butler HallBiological Sciences Building East(BSBE) and Biological Sciences Building West (BSBW), Heldenfels, and the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building.

Our Administrative Offices, including the office of the Department Head, the Business Office, the Undergraduate Advising Office, and the Graduate Advising Office can be found on the first floor of Butler Hall.

The Biology Safety Office is also located in Biological Sciences Building West (BSBW).

Undergraduate Advising Office

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

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.

photo of Jill LysterJill Lyster

is a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’87 in Curriculum and Instruction and also completed an MBA at TAMU. Jill has a passion for helping students excel which explains her history of teaching and advising. She was elated to join the Undergraduate Biology Advising team in October 2019. Jill loves entertaining, traveling, baking, and spending time with family and friends.

TAMU Biology LogoChrissy Curry

graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Sciences. She also obtained her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Texas A&M University. As a military spouse she has lived in many different places, before making College Station home. Before becoming a part of the biology advising team, she was a Special Education teacher. In her spare time, Chrissy enjoys reading, traveling and the beach. Chrissy also enjoys watching Fightin’ Texas Aggie Baseball games with her two boys and husband.

profile photo of ruben valdezRuben Valdez

graduated from Texas A&M International University with a Bachelor of Fitness & Health, a minor in Psychology, and a Master of Arts in Communication with a concentration in Organizational. Before becoming part of the biology advising team, Ruben had an admission/recruitment background, previously working as a Regional Advisor for Texas A&M University and as Assistant Director of Admission at NYU Shanghai. During his time off, Ruben enjoys traveling, cooking, and watching sports.

Profile Photo of Crystal WagerCrystal Wager

has lived in the Bryan/College Station area her whole life. She attended Blinn College. She previously worked in banking until finding a home here at Texas A&M Biology as the undergraduate office Administrative Assistant. When not working, she enjoys reading, Zumba, and spending time with family.



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 Arts & Sciences should complete:

  • Overall Transfer GPA must be 3.0 or higher
  • 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”
  • MATH2413 (calculus I) -Required with grade of C or better
  • MATH2414 OR MATH 1342 (calculus II or intro statistics) -Required with grade of C or better.
  • Students who take more applicable courses in the required areas (BIOL, CHEM, and MATH) will have those courses also considered for admission. For example, if a student completes Organic Chemistry prior to applying, those grades will also be considered in the Chemistry grade point average.

Change of Major/Department from another major/department at Texas A&M University

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

  • No more than 90 hours completed
  • Texas A&M University GPR of 2.5 in each:
    • Overall Coursework at TAMU
    • In proposed major (BIOL)
    • In support courses (CHEM)
    • Please note that all applicable BIOL and CHEM courses taken will be used for consideration in determining change of major eligibility.
    • If only one BIOL or CHEM course has been taken, a grade of B or higher is required for each course to meet the minimum requirements
  • Additionally, students must have no cases of scholastic dishonesty or academic misconduct on their record.
  • Please email questions to advising@bio.tamu.edu

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.



***FOR ALL FORMS***: You may submit in person in Butler Hall room 107 during regular business hours or email a pdf attachment to advising@bio.tamu.edu. If you send via email be watchful for a reply from an advisor.

Undergraduate Degree Planner Information

When am I required to submit my degree planner?

Students are required to submit a degree planner once they complete (and have a grade for) 30 credit hours or more. Students who enter TAMU with 30+ credit hours, will need to complete the degree planner their first semester.

Degree planners must be submitted annually after the initial submission.

Check holds in My Profile on Howdy to see if you have a hold for “Missing UG Degree Plan”. Degree Planners are due Sept. 30th each year. Students with a hold will not be able to register for classes until their degree planner has been submitted and approved. Note: often degree plans are declined and require changes and resubmission.

Can I change my degree planner?

Yes, you may change or update your planner at any time, but it must be approved annually.

How do I complete the degree planner?

Go to Howdy/My Record/Undergraduate Degree Planner to access Undergraduate Degree Planner.

In this same area, it may be helpful to review the Undergraduate Degree Planner Guide (PDF) and Degree Planner FAQs before you begin the planner. These are found below the Undergraduate Degree Planner link.

How can I speed up approval of my degree planner?

  • Submit your plan well before the deadline
  • Use the PREREQ CHECK tab at the top of the planner to be sure you have added all necessary prerequisite courses
  • Be sure all progress bars of the DEGREE EVALUATION tab are green or green and yellow and say “Met”
  • If you see a caution sign indicating a course is not typically offered in that semester, use the COURSE HISTORY tab to see when the course has historically been offered
  • Use the resources listed below to aid in the development of your plan:


  • How do I complete my degree planner?
  • How do I register for a 491?
    • 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?
    • Students may use a maximum combination of 7 hours of 484/485/491 (BIOL and NRSC majors) or 4 hours of 484/485/491 (BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL majors) in their major coursework. Hours in excess of this (up to 11 hours) may be used as general electives as long as the student has completed the Core Curriculum and University requirements. Visit the Undergraduate Research Page for more information.
  • How do I choose a 491 topic?
    • 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?
    • 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?
    • 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?
    • 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. Majors in the Biology department (all majors) may not declare a minor in Pre-Medicine or Biomedical Sciences. Majors other than Biology (BMCB, MBIO, NRSC-MCB, ZOOL) also may not declare a minor in Biology. A complete list of minors can be found here.
  • What can I use as general electives?
    • General electives are open as long as the student satisfies the Core Curriculum requirements and University requirements (residency, International & Cultural Diversity, Cultural Discourse, Writing Intensive). 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?
  • Do I have to take a language if I completed two years of language in high school?
    • 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?
    • Incoming Freshmen:
      • Fall 2019 onwards: TAMU Students are required to take two MATH courses.
        • You are required to take one semester of calculus. This must be satisfied by taking MATH 147, or the equivalent course of MATH 151 (The TCCN of MATH 151 is MATH 2413).
        • The second Math course can be chosen from MATH 148, MATH 152 (The TCCN of MATH 152 is MATH 2414), or STAT 201 (The TCCN of STAT 201 is MATH 1342).
      • Fall 2009-2018: 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.
  • Which courses count towards the University Writing Requirement?
    • Any changes to the list of approved courses is always communicated to students via the Biology listserv. Always consult with a Biology Academic Advisor for the most current information.
    • The courses that may satisfy the Writing Intensive requirement must be in the major field of study. The courses are 900-level sections of BIOL401, BIOL402, BIOL491 (also requires explicit approval from the professor) and BIOL495. Students following Microbiology and Molecular Cell Biology may also use 900-level sections of BICH414 or BICH432. Courses that are Writing Intensive are noted as such in the Attribute column of the schedule of classes (Univ Req-Writing Intensive).