Advising

Undergraduate Biology Advisors at Stony Brook University provide Biology advising to about 2,000 Biology Majors and Minors. Most Biology advising includes semester scheduling. We also help with issues such as transfer evaluations, research opportunities, post baccalaureate issues, and degree clearance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Semester Scheduling:
In general, we recommend that for every time our Biology Majors and Minors need help with semester scheduling, they should first see their Major/Minor Advisors for Major and Minor course requirements and then see an Academic Advisor in Academic and Transfer Advising Services.

Biology students who wish to see a Biology Advisor for help with semester scheduling should do so in plenty of time (i.e., about 1-2 months) before an upcoming registration period. This is particularly important for Biology Majors and Minors going into the first or second semester of their Senior Year. It is not unusual for Biology Majors to see a Biology Advisor every semester, especially from their Sophomore Year. BIO Major Freshmen are welcome for Biology Advising as well.

On this page and other pages containing recommendations regarding suggested semester schedules it is important to realize that it is possible to vary from such a schedule. For example, a BIO Major is able to take Advanced Level BIO courses at the same time as this student is finishing the Introductory Biology courses - as long as pre- and co-requisites for the Advanced Level courses have been met.

Click below for:
1. Freshman Year (U1) Overview
2. Sophomore Year (U2) Overview
3. Junior Year (U3) Overview
4. Senior Year (U4) Overview

1. Freshman Year (U1) Overview
The Undergraduate Bulletin features a "Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule (i.e., "Sample Course Sequence") for Biology Majors. According to this schedule Biology Majors are supposed to start with the following Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology courses in their Freshman Year: 
YEAR 1 SEMESTER 1:
CALCULUS A, GENERAL CHEMISTRY 1 & LAB 1
YEAR 1 SEMESTER 2:
CALCULUS B, GENERAL CHEMISTRY 2 & LAB 2, INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY LECTURE (ONE OF 3)

Biology starts with Mathematics and Chemistry. Most Biology courses have Math and/or Chem pre- or co-requisites. Incoming students must take the Math Placement Exam, unless they have approved transfer credits for Pre-Calculus or above. Biology Majors usually do not take BIO courses until the 2nd Semester of their Freshman Year.
 

The "Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule assumes that the student will be ready to take Calculus A (i.e., MAT 125) in their first semester of the Freshman Year. That is not true for everyone. For that reason, we have prepared suggested semester schedules based on the Math Assessment Level (or Math Placement Level - MPL), using the general guidelines:

MPL for Incoming Freshmen (U1)

Mathematics in
1st Semester of U1 Year 
Chemistry in
1st Semester of U1 Year  
 MPL 5 or higher  MAT 131 OR HIGHER  CHE 131/133 OR HIGHER
 MPL 4  MAT 125  CHE 131/133
 MPL 3  MAT 123  CHE 129/130/133
 MPL 2+  MAP 103  NONE
 MPL 2  MAP 103  NONE
 MPL 1  MAP 101  NONE

Freshmen with an MPL of 2+ might consider rescheduling the Math Assessment Exam. If, such a student on second attempt scores 3, then this student will be able to take MAT 123 and CHE 129/130 and CHE 133 in their first semester. If the new MPL is still 2+ or lower then the student should start with MAP 103.   

Students who must take MAP 103 as their first Mathematics course should expect delays in degree progress in future semesters. It would help such students catch up with the "Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule if they could take MAP 103 during the Summer before they start their Freshman Year and/or if they were able to take courses outside the Academic Year (i.e., Fall and Spring Semesters) in general.

Freshmen with an MPL of 1 should theoretically take MAP 101. However, this course has not been offered lately and such students are now given permission to start with MAP 103. This situation sometimes requires tutoring for the students to keep up with MAP 103.

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2. Sophomore Year (U2) Overview
According to the "Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule Biology Majors are supposed to take the following courses in their Sophomore Year:


YEAR 2 SEMESTER 1: ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 1, STATISTICS, INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY LECTURE (TWO OF 3), INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY LAB 1
YEAR 2 SEMESTER 2: ORGANIC CHEMISTRY 2, ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB, INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY LECTURE (THREE OF 3), INTRODUCTORY BIOLOGY LAB 2


It is recommended that students take Statistics at the same time or before the semester in which they take Introductory Biology Lab I. However, they can take it whenever it fits into their semester schedule after they finish the pre-requisites (e.g., MAT 125). This may be useful for some  Pre-Health (e.g., Pre-Med, Pre-Dent, Pre-PA) students who have to concentrate on meeting the pre-requisites for their particular programs by the end of their Junior Year.        

Sophomores should consider which Biology Major Specialization they want to follow. BIO Specializations must now be officially declared on Major/Minor Declaration Form. By the end of their U2 Year, Biology Majors should have completed all the Introductory Biology Lecture courses (i.e., BIO 201, 202, 203). They should choose their BIO Specialization based on interest, ability, and post baccalaureate plans.

Examples of Future Plans: Advice for Selection of BIO Specialization:
Medical, Dental, and 
Other Professional Schools
Keep in mind the need for a high GPA. Choose the specialization that contains the most interesting courses - if this coincides with the highest grades. Also, make sure to take certain advanced level courses that these schools require/recommend. 

Also, note that pre-med students who plan to take the MCAT after their Junior Year will have to take Organic Chemistry during their Sophomore Year. Organic Chemistry II is one of the requirements for Biochemistry I that must be taken by such students before they take the new MCAT. This new exam will start in Spring 2015. 
Graduate School (PhD Program) Choose the specialization that contains the most interesting courses - keeping in mind that in general a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for graduate school. The GRE is required for most graduate programs. This exam should in general be taken after the Junior Year. 
Graduate School (MAT Program) Future K-12 Teachers should follow the General Biology or Interdisciplinary Biology specialization. There are several different ways of becoming a Biology Teacher. Make sure to check the CESAME web page for Prospective Teachers.  

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3. Junior Year (U3) Overview
Juniors in the Biology Major Program are expected ("Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule) to follow these guidelines:


YEAR 3 SEMESTER 1:
PHYSICS 1/LAB 1, ADVANCED BIOLOGY LECTURE (ONE OF 5), ADVANCED BIOLOGY LECTURE (TWO OF 5)
YEAR 3 SEMESTER 2:
PHYSICS 2/LAB 2, ADVANCED BIOLOGY LECTURE (THREE OF 5), ADVANCED BIOLOGY LAB (ONE OF 2)


Instead of taking Organic Chemistry in the U2 Year and Physics in the U3 Year, students could switch these if needed/wanted. However, starting in Fall 2013 Pre-Med students should take Organic Chemistry during their U2 Year and Biochemistry I along with Physics in their U3 Year or they will not be able to take the MCAT at the end of their Junior Year. 

Biology Majors can, in general, take up to TWO Advanced Biology Lecture courses and ONE Advanced Lab course before they should have a good idea of which Biology Specialization they prefer. Students who do not have a clear preference for a Biology Specialization often take one Advanced Lecture course in an interesting BIO Specialization and another one in a different area during their first semester of their Junior Year. This makes it easier for such students to select BIO Specialization. BIO Specializations must now be officially declared on Major/Minor Declaration Form.  

It most likely will save time during their Senior Year if Biology Majors made sure that they satisfy the Upper Division Writing Requirements during their Junior Year or the first semester of the Senior Year. 

Students who are planning to apply for Graduate School or Professional School (e.g., medical, dental, physician assistant, optometry, physical therapy, veterinary, etc. school/program) should prepare to take the qualifying exams needed by the end of their Junior Year. For that reason, it might be wise to take a relatively light course load in the second semester of the U3 Year. 

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4. Senior Year (U4) Overview
Biology Seniors should finish their degree requirements in their Senior Year:


YEAR 4 SEMESTER 1:
ADVANCED BIOLOGY LECTURE (FOUR OF 5), ADVANCED BIOLOGY LAB (TWO OF 2)
YEAR 4 SEMESTER 2:
ADVANCED BIOLOGY LECTURE (FIVE OF 5)


Students do not have to take Statistics during the first semester of the Sophomore Year as mentioned in the "Standard" Suggested Semester Schedule. They can take it whenever it fits into their semester schedule after they finish the pre-requisites (e.g., MAT 125). This may be useful for some  Pre-Health (e.g., Pre-Med, Pre-Dent, Pre-PA) students who have to concentrate on meeting the pre-requisites for their particular programs by the end of their Junior Year. 

Student who plan to satisfy the Upper Division Writing Requirements (UDWR) for Biology Majors during their last semester of the Senior Year, should realize that this may delay degree clearance. If at all possible, make sure to submit your papers together with the completed UDWR form during the Junior Year or the First Semester of the Senior Year. 

We recommend that all Seniors that are planning to graduate with a Biology Major or Minor make certain that they will be registering for the right courses/number of credits in advance of the registration period for their last semester. All BIO Specializations must now be officially declared and submitted to the Registrar's Office on a Major/Minor Declaration Form

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Undergraduate Biology, 107-112 CMM/BLL, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5110 - 631 632-8530, 631-632-1680 (fax)

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