Important clarification on “Explanatory Statement for Absence from Class form for the term Fall 2020”

Howdy! We are seeing a large number of students completing this form and putting down August 19-November 30 as the days of absence. The form is only to be used for actual sick days when you cannot attend class either virtually or in-person. You are NOT required to report that you are attending a class remotely. If you are planning to be online in the fall, no form is required. The intention of the “Explanatory Statement for Absence from Class form for the term Fall 2020” is that you are (1) too sick to be in class personally and (2) too sick to attend a class virtually.

While not required, if you wish to indicate your intent to take classes while being physically present in the classroom or remotely please log into the Howdy Portal and type in the Search Bar: “Course Participation Plan”. You should see a one-question survey. Please remember to click “Submit” when done.

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 a Zoom or phone appointment with any of the advisors. Walk-ins are are not currently available due to Covid-19 procedures.

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.

Office Information

The Biology Undergraduate Advising Office will be available for in-person appointments on Mondays and Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. to noon and on Wednesdays and Thursdays 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please call 979-845-3116 or email with days and times you are available to meet. Please include your Phone number and UIN.

We will not be able to accept students for face-to-face meetings at any other times.

When you arrive for your appointment the office door will be locked. Call us at 979-845-3116 when you arrive. We have limited space in the waiting area so you may be required to wait in the hall until called in. Face masks are required to be admitted into the office area and must be worn at all times.

We are also available for Zoom meetings or phone meetings all during the week. Call or email for a time. Fridays we will have our Zoom waiting room available for walk-ins 9:00 a.m. to noon and 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Our meeting address is:

Meeting ID: 952 4548 2559

Call 979-845-3116 or email for the meeting passcode, you must use your email address or account to enter the meeting.

Students will be seen on a first come first serve basis. Wait times will vary depending on number of students in waiting room ahead of you.

Thank you for working with us as we are doing our very best to navigate the current environment.


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

Profile Photo of Christine FarrisChristine 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.

Profile Photo of Vanessa NordellVanessa 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.

Profile 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. She and her husband, Tom Lyster (Class of ’88), grew up in South Texas, but proudly call Bryan their home now. They have three sons ranging from recent college grad, soon to graduate Aggie (Class of ’20), and freshman college student. Jill loves entertaining, traveling, baking, and spending time with family and friends.

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 Science 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.

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 in each:
    • Overall Coursework at TAMU
    • In proposed major (BIOL)
    • In support courses (CHEM)
  • 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)
    • *Effective Fall 2019, CHEM 101/111 is now combined into one course, CHEM 119
    • *Effective Fall 2019, CHEM 102/112 is now combined into one course, CHEM 120
  • 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.



***FOR ALL FORMS***: Due to cautionary procedures for COVID-19, please do not turn in any forms in person to Butler 107, even if the instructions on the form say to do so. Please email the form to and be watchful for a reply with any questions by our advisors.


  • 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 up to 7 hours of 491 (BIOL majors) or 4 hours of 491(BMCB, MBIO, ZOOL majors) 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?
    • 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. 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). 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.