Information for First Year Students

If you are interested in majoring in Biology or one of the other biology related majors, you should take Biol 101: General Biology w/Lab, in the fall, which fulfills the Natural Science with Lab and Environmental Literacy requirements.

We advise taking General Biology (BIOL 101 in the fall and BIOL 102 in the spring) and General Chemistry (CHEM 103 in the fall and CHEM 104 in the spring) your first year. This plan will allow you to take advantage of opportunities, such as international study programs, as well as have flexibility in your chosen major.  Doing so is particularly important for pre-health students.  If you will not be on campus during the fall semester, you can also begin the General Biology sequence with BIOL 102 during the spring semester and complete BIOL 101 the next year.

If you take General Biology and General Chemistry, you will receive 1.5 units for FYP, 1.25 units for General Biology and 1.25 units for Chemistry. Combined, these courses are enough credit to be considered a full-time student. Students who wish to take just these three courses in the fall semester are free to do so, but students who wish to take a fourth course can do that as well. Students should consult with their advisors to decide which choice is best for them.

Many students who major in biology come to SLU with a health career as a predetermined interest. Our major areas of study require careful planning; thus you should talk with a member of the biology department faculty about a second advisor in Biology shortly after you arrive. You may declare your Biology major earlier than sophomore year, but we recommend that you explore other areas of potential interest during your first two years as well. Commonly, students have a second major or minor in an area beyond the biology interest.

We offer a variety of biology-related majors:
Biochemistry (coordinated with the Chemistry department)                                                                                  Biomedical Sciences
Conservation Biology
Neuroscience (coordinated with the Psychology department)
Environmental Studies/Biology

If you have earned biology advanced placement credit with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP test, you still have to take BIOL 101 in the fall semester. If you do well in BIOL 101 (as judged by the course instructors), you may bypass the spring semester BIOL 102 and receive the 1.25 units of credit toward a biology or related major, and you can enroll in upper-level biology courses in the spring. If your high school biology experience did not have a strong laboratory component, you should forgo the advanced placement and take General Biology in the fall and spring. If you begin the general biology sequence in the spring, you may receive AP credit for BIOL 101 by earning a 3.0 or better in BIOL 102 and earning a 4 or 5 on the AP test. 

In order to enroll in upper-level biology coursework (200+ level), you must earn a minimum of 2.0 in both BIOL 101 and BIOL 102.  You cannot use a “P” grade (from a pass/fail option) to satisfy this requirement.