GUIDELINES AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BIOLOGY MAJORS
1) Consult the Biology Department Student Handbook see the most recent copy of the course rotation schedule to consider a four-year course of study, then meet with your Biology Department advisor to discuss your plan. This plan will serve as a flexible guide. It will help you to look ahead with an eye to avoiding future scheduling problems. This approach becomes especially important for fitting in courses that are not offered every semester or every year. It will also help you consider the possibility of spending a semester abroad. This basic plan can be revised from year to year, but it will serve to keep you on track.
2a) Keep in touch with your advisor throughout the year so you can be aware of any scheduling changes that are being planned for the following semester or year which might affect you. Success favors the prepared mind.
2b) Be sure you are assigned an advisor in the Biology Department as soon as you declare yourself a Biology major! Often times students want to keep their Elon101 advisor however it is important to get someone in the department who knows the ins and outs of the Biology major best to help guide you. See the appropriate page at the Academic Advising Website to formally declare your major, at which point we can then set you up with a Biology departmetn advisor.
3) Tips for planning your 4 years academically
4) Choose your General Studies requirements wisely. Do not view them as courses to get out of the way. You should choose courses that satisfy your intellectual appetites outside the sciences. These courses should help you to develop an expanded worldview. They can also provide a welcome change of pace in a semester packed with science courses. You can also choose to pursue a minor that complements your interest in biology. For example, a psychology minor would add a new perspective for students interested in animal behavior, and a sociology or anthropology minor would be appropriate for for those interested in the evolution of humans. Students interested in wildlife biology and conservation should consider a minor in statistics, math or computer science.
5) If you will be spending a summer or winter term in some activity related to biology, investigate the possibility of receiving internship or research credit to satisfy the Biology Department Experiential Requirement. Your experience might satisfy the experiential component of the B.S. and B.A. Biology degrees. You will not be able to receive credit for such an experience after the fact. You must be registered for internship credits prior to beginning the experience.
6) Plan ahead when trying to arrange a research (BIO 499) or internship (BIO 481) experience. Talk to the professor who will supervise your research or internship prior to registering for these courses. Find out what will be required of you beforehand to make sure you can satisfy the time commitment. Remember, 40 hours of on-the-job experience is required for each credit hour of internship. Internships are available during summer and winter term as well as in the fall and spring semesters. The Biology Department expects at least three hours of research per week for each credit of research. So, students who sign up for two credits of BIO 499 should expect to spend six hours per week working on their research projects, in addition to a weekly one-hour meeting with their research advisor. More details about internships and undergraduate research are provided in the section of this handbook titled “Experiential Requirement Guidelines.”
7) Remember that course substitutions are generally not permitted. You will not be allowed to substitute research, internship or special topics seminars (BIO 37_) for Senior Seminar (BIO 462). Students who do complete 4 s.h. of BIO 499 may use those credits to satisfy 4 s.h. of the Biology Electives Requirement. Additionally, 4 s.h. of biology special topics courses may also be used to satisfy the Biology Electives Requirement.
8) Be aware that graduate or professional programs may require courses for acceptance that are not required, or even counted, for your B.S. degree. Some graduate programs in wildlife biology may require calculus or computer science courses, while some medical programs may require human anatomy and human physiology. If you are thinking about attending a graduate or professional school, it is a good idea to contact them early (sophomore or junior year) to learn about their admission requirements.