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Academic advising for the minor

Contact: Dr. Judy Leatherman, judith.leatherman@unco.edu, 970-351-2453.

To tailor your biology courses to meet your educational goals, schedule an appointment with the biology minor adviser each semester.

Academic advising for the major

What to do first

Make a plan for yourself

Completing your degree starts with a course plan.  The University Catalog lists all requirements for each biology emphasis area.  To help you start, please take a look at these four-year plans.  

Meet with your academic advisor

Who your academic advisor is depends on how far along you are in your degree program.  

  • Freshmen/Sophomores

    Points of contact

    The Advising Center
    Ross Hall 1210

    All biology emphasis areas: Frank Skufca, frank.skufca@unco.edu, (970) 351-2469, Ross Hall 1212D
    Pre-health: Andrew Smith, andrew.smith@unco.edu, 970-351-1119, Ross Hall 1210

    General information

    Your academic advising will be provided through the NHS Academic Advising Center until you have completed your first 45 credits.  Contact Frank Skufca or go to Ross Hall room 1210.

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

  • Juniors/Seniors

    Points of contact

    Biology academic advisors

    Pre-med and pre-health: Andrew Smith, andrew.smith@unco.edu, 970-351-1119, Ross Hall 1210

    If you don't know who your academic advisor is, you can:

    • Contact the biology office: biology@unco.edu, (970) 351-2921, Ross Hall 2480
    • Check Degree Works: Log into Ursa (ursa.unco.edu), click on the Student tab, and follow the Degree Works link under "Important Links"

    General information

    After completing 45 credits, your academic advising will be provided by a biology faculty advisor. 

    You will need a PIN from your academic adviser to register for each semester during the academic year.

    Please schedule an appointment to see your academic adviser each semester and as early as possible before it becomes an emergency.  Your adviser is available to discuss your academic schedule, your capstone experience, your career goals, or whatever else is on your mind.

What classes to take for the biology major

Along the path to graduation you will complete courses in the following categories...

  • Liberal arts core

    What are 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 within 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.

    Prior to the 2021-2022 catalog year

    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.
    • Other LAC classes.  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.
    Starting with the 2021-2022 catalog year

    LAC requirements change substantially beginning with this catalog year.  Some required biology classes will count toward LAC requirements.

    • Written Communication (6 credits): this area will be fulfilled by ENG 122 (College Composition -- 3 credits) and SCI 291 (Scientific Writing -- 3 credits).
    • Mathematics (3 credits): this area is fulfilled by STAT 150 (Introduction to Statistical Analysis -- 3 credits) or STAT 250 (Statistics for Life Sciences -- 3 credits).
    • Natural and Physical Sciences (7 credits): this area is fulfilled by BIO 110 (Principles of Biology -- 4 credits) and CHEM 111 (Principles of Chemistry I -- 4 credits).
    • Arts & Humanities, History, Social & Behavioral Sciences, U.S. Multicultural, and International Studies (15 credits): this area is not fulfilled by any required biology courses.  Please see the details of your emphasis area within biology to determine if there are courses that are recommended for a particular career path (e.g., medicine).
  • Required biology core

    These are classes that will provide an appropriate biology background for any biology student and any biology emphasis area.  These courses include:

    • BIO 110 - Biology: Atoms to Cells
    • BIO 111 - Biology: Organisms to Ecosystems
    • BIO 210 - Cell Biology
    • BIO 210 - Genetics
    • BIO 351 - Microbiology
    • BIO 360 - Ecology
    • BIO 465 - Evolution
  • Elective biology advanced

    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)
  • Required supporting
    These are courses in STEM areas other than biology (e.g., chemistry, physics, mathematics) that complement and support the foundation of knowledge and experience that provided within the biology degree program. 
  • University-wide elective
    These are courses that you choose based on your intellectual, professional, or personal interests.  They can be in any area or discipline at UNC. 

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. Know 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.
  2. Meet with your academic advisor.  They will assist you with fine-tuning your transferred courses to maximize the fulfillment of UNC and biology degree requirements. 

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.