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Strategies for SUCCESS as a Biology Student

  • Meet with your Biology Major Advisor to develop a course plan for completing your B.A./B.S. degree (Ideally, you should meet EARLY, before you take upper division electives).
    • DO NOT TAKE all of your GE courses before taking your Majors courses.  BALANCE your Majors and Non-Majors courses EACH semester!!
  • Meet with a General Education advisor at the Advising Center (ADM 211) or at the COSE Student Resource Center (SCI 247) to plan and review your GE coursework and University graduation requirements.
  • Balance your semester load wisely.  Take ~2 Major classes per semester (not more than 1 lab class per semester, if possible).  Try to plan your semesters so you are taking half Majors classes with half GE classes.
  • Read the weekly e-mailed Bio-Bulletin with Department News, Scholarship announcements, Research and Employment opportunities.  Read the Biology Newsletter, Bio News, available every semester.  See the Department of Biology web page for previous editions.
  • When you turn in any forms to the Department of Biology, please include your e-mail address/contact info.  When you send an e-mail to the Department (staff or faculty), please SIGN your e-mail with your complete name.
  • IMPORTANT:  All prerequisite courses for Biology must be completed with a grade of C- or better (unless stated otherwise in the course description).  However, all Chemistry courses require that you complete chemistry prequisites with a grade of C or better.
  • Keep track of all academic deadlines (add/drop dates, credit/no credit dates, withdrawal dates, registration periods, petition deadlines, graduation application submission).
  • All lower division Major requirements (Biol, Math, Chem, Phys) and Biol 350 Cell Biology, Biol 355 Genetics, Chem 233/335 Organic Chemistry I and II, and Chem 340/341 Biochemistry I and II have companion 1 unit Science Concepts classes (SCI courses) to support student academic performance. Consider taking the SCI courses to enhance your academic performance.
  • Complete your transfer equivalency approval forms EARLY (your first semester!).  Do not wait until you are ready to graduate to get transfer courses approved for your major.  The equivalency is not official until the Department approves the equivalency.
  • If you take additional courses at community colleges to meet Major requirements, remember that there is a 70 unit transfer unit limit.  Courses beyond this limit can be accepted for “content only.”  Confirm with your advisor that any course taken at a non-SFSU campus will be accepted for Major credit BEFORE you take the course.
  • All courses taken at community colleges transfer toward lower division unit credit only.  Some courses may be equivalent to upper division courses in “content only” and not for upper division unit credit.  Check with the Articulation web site and your Biology Major advisor.
  • If you know your post-graduate/career plans, become involved in an appropriate student organization (pre-health professions, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, Undergraduate Biology Student Association, etc.).
  • If you would like to improve your academic performance, the SFSU Testing Center has online tutorials to help you improve your study skills, reading skills, test-taking skills, and time management skills at their Online Workshops web page.

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