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Updates

Important Spring 2020 updates

Some policies and procedures have been temporarily updated for the Spring 2020 semester only. Refer to University notices and emails from your Academic Advisor for more information. If your question has not been answered, contact your Advisor directly to see how these changes affect you.

BASICS

Where is the advising center located?

We are located in the Moffett Molecular Biology Building (MBB) on Speedway in room 1.220. The main entrance is located through the breezeway on the ground floor.

What are the benefits of having an advisor in the Biosciences Advising Center?

Completing entry-level science courses and moving from the Center for First-Year Advising to the Biosciences Advising Center comes with many benefits, including an advising code (which means registration preference!) and access to additional scholarship opportunities. Your first appointment in the Biosciences Advising Center will include long-term degree planning, referrals to career planning resources, and being added to Senior Countdown.

How do I know who my academic advisor is?

You can click here or contact the front desk at (512) 471-4920 to find out who your advisor is.

When should I see an academic advisor?

Academic advising is available on an ongoing basis, not just during registration periods. Advisors are available to assist with degree planning and course selection, help students who are struggling academically and non-academically, and provide information about UT’s numerous resources.

How do I make an appointment with my advisor?

30-minute appointments can be made by visiting the front desk in-person, calling the main line at (512) 471-4920, or using the online scheduling link provided to you by your assigned advisor via email. Every Wednesday and the weeks leading up to registration are reserved for walk-in appointments only. During peak times, such as registration, the Q-drop deadline, and the OTE deadline, wait times may be high. Plan ahead—advisors are available to meet with you year-round!

I’m struggling with my course load this semester. Who can I talk to?

Your academic advisor is here to help! We can suggest campus resources for tutoring, recommend strategies to meet with professors and TAs, and provide referrals to non-academic counselors and mental health resources. You and your advisor can also discuss options for taking a course pass/fail, using a Q drop, or using your One-Time Exception Q Drop. Your advisor can also complete long-term degree planning with you to map out the best combination of science and non-science courses for your academic success.

REGISTRATION

My registration time seems really late. How can I improve my registration time?

Your registration time is determined on the 20th class day of the current semester by the Registrar’s Office based on your percentage to degree completion. You can check your percentage by running a degree audit (IDA). In order to ensure you are assigned the best possible registration time, make sure you complete the following by the 20th class day of the semester:

  1. Claim AP/IB credit for courses that will count towards your degree (the most common one to claim is GOV310L). If you are unsure about which credits you should claim, meet with your academic advisor.
  2. Send in transcripts from other universities and/or community colleges. This includes community college transcripts from dual credit courses you may have taken in high school.
  3. Apply for a minor or certificate if your degree requires one. After your application is approved, you will be instructed to contact your academic advisor so they can attach it to your degree profile.

Can I get into a course that is full/closed?

Advisors CANNOT add students to a course that is already full. Students need to keep checking the availability of preferred courses/sections during all registration periods, including the add/drop period before a semester starts, to see if they open up. Courses/sections may open up when other students rearrange their schedules or when students are dropped from courses because they do not meet the prerequisites. If you are entering your last semester and need a course in order to graduate, contact your academic advisor.

Students may also attend a course and request permission from the professor after the 4th class day to be added. However, doing so does not guarantee registration for the course. Students attending a course they are not registered for should continue attending all their other classes as well, in the event that permission to add the closed course is not granted.

Can I add myself to a waitlist for a course I want?

BIO, NEU, and BCH courses do not have waitlists. Students need to keep checking the availability of preferred courses/sections during all registration periods, including the add/drop period before a semester starts, to see if they open up.

Courses offered by other departments may utilize waitlists. If available, add yourself to the automated wait list option and keep trying to add the course during all the add/drop access periods. Being on a wait list is not a guarantee for getting into a class. Therefore, you should have an alternative class planned as a back-up and use the registration system to set up an automatic swap if you get off the waitlist for the class you prefer.

I can’t access a course I need for my minor or certificate. Who do I contact?

If the course you are attempting to add is not a BIO, NEU, or BCH course, you will need to contact the department offering the course in order to learn about their registration process.

I am graduating next semester and cannot access/am on a waitlist for a course I need in order to graduate. Who do I contact?

Students participating in Senior Countdown can contact the Graduation Help Desk for help gaining access to courses they need in order to graduate.

How do I sign up for Senior Countdown?

During your initial appointment with your assigned advisor, your advisor will confirm your intended graduation date and add you to Senior Countdown.

What are the required prerequisites for a specific biology course?

Prerequisites for all courses are listed in the Course Schedule and Undergraduate Catalog. All course prerequisites are enforced. If you do not meet the prerequisites for a course you are registered for in a future semester, you will be dropped from that class and will need to register for a replacement course.

Can I take BIO 325 (Genetics) and another upper-division biology course concurrently?

No. Students must receive a grade of C- or better in BIO 325 (Genetics) before taking another upper-division biology course, unless the course schedule specifies other prerequisites.

DEGREE DETAILS

How do I change my major?

Information sessions for majors at UT are held at various times throughout the semester. Check the program’s website for session times and locations.

  • Students wanting to change from one biology option to another should contact the Bioscience Advising Center in MBB 1.220 or contact their advisor directly.
  • Students wanting to change majors from Biology, Neuroscience, or Biochemistry to another major within the College of Natural Sciences should contact the CNS Student Division in WCH 1.106.
  • To change majors out of CNS and into another college, use Google to search “UT Internal Transfer [Major]” to find more information for next steps.

Can I complete a minor?

The Bachelor of Science and Arts degree plans have an option for a transcript-recognized minor or a transcript-recognized certificate. Students also have the option of completing a 15-hour field of study, which will not be officially marked on their transcript but can be listed as a minor on resumes or applications. Students in another major who want to add biology as a minor should discuss this option with their academic advisor, as minors in other colleges can be classified differently.

How do I add a transcript-recognized minor/certificate to my degree?

Each minor and certificate offered by the university has its own website with information about application requirements and procedures. After a student has applied and been accepted, they will be prompted via SAN to contact their academic advisor so the minor or transcript can be added to their degree profile. Minors and certificates become active on the 20th class day of each semester. In order for an attached minor or certificate to improve a student’s registration time or enable a student to register for restricted courses, it must be attached and in effect by the 20th class day of the semester.

How do I add a 15-hour field of study to my degree?

Students should contact their advisor, who will then initiate a petition for the field of study to be active on the student’s degree audit.

How do I run a degree audit?

Run a degree audit here. This handout has detailed instructions on how to run and read your audit.

What courses are considered upper division?

Courses with the last two digits between 20 and 79 (e.g., BIO 320, BIO 325) are upper division courses. Those with the last two digits lower than 20 are lower division (e.g., BIO 311C). 

What counts as an elective?

Any course that does not fulfill a specific degree requirement will be counted in a degree audit as an elective. In order to complete a degree at UT, you need to complete a minimum of 120 credit hours and fulfill all other degree requirements. Most students will need to complete elective hours in order to reach the 120 credit hour minimum, and these hours can be fulfilled with non-science courses. Some electives may be required to be upper-division; refer to your audit or the Undergraduate Catalog (make sure you are looking at the correct degree tab!) for your degree to see if this applies to you.

What’s an upper-division elective?

An upper division elective is ANY upper division course that you take to help reach your required total of upper division hours (36) but does not fulfill any other specific degree requirements. These can be additional biology classes, but they do not have to be. This is your chance to take something different and personally interesting to you. Search through the course schedule to see what's offered, and be sure to notice if the course is restricted or has specific prerequisites. Upper division electives may be taken pass/fail. Courses counting as an elective will fall at the bottom of your degree audit (IDA).

How do I find an upper-division Writing (WR) Flag?

In the course schedule, any upper-division course that indicates "Writing Flag or WR" will fulfill the upper-division writing flag requirement. You can find a list of all Writing Flags offered in a semester in all departments by clicking the “Writing” option under the Flags section of the Keyword Search option. 

Do both of my Writing Flag courses have to be upper-division?

They can be, but they do not have to be. Students have the option of fulfilling one of their writing flags with a lower division course (typically UGS 302/303 or RHE 309K). Advisors STRONGLY recommend that students take one lower division writing flag course during their freshman or sophomore year.

Do I have to take a foreign language?

Not necessarily, as bioscience degrees do not require a foreign language. The Bachelor of Science and Arts degree includes foreign language courses as an option to fulfill the Language, Arts, and Culture section, but the LAC requirement can be fulfilled without taking foreign language courses. If you choose to take a foreign language, you are not required to meet the 2-year proficiency standard unless you are also pursuing a second degree that requires proficiency.

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH

What is Undergraduate Research?

Undergraduate Research gives students the opportunity to work closely with a professor in a lab doing independent research. In some cases, independent research may be counted in lieu of an upper division biology lab by petition with faculty advisor approval. Students can get more information the College of Natural Science's research webpage here. Instructions for finding research opportunities, registering for lab credit, and petitioning lab credit towards your degree can be found here.

What is the process for registering for BIO/NEU/BCH research credit?

Forms are available at the Biosciences Advising Center’s front desk, in MBB 1.220.

How can I use research credit to fulfill my degree requirements?

Research courses count in different areas in different degree plans. If you would like to use research credit to count in an area of your degree other than where your audit has picked it up, speak with your advisor to see if it is possible to petition the credit to count elsewhere. Additional steps may be required if you would like the research credit to count as upper-division lab credit.

TRANSFERRING CREDIT

Can I take math and science courses at an institution other than UT?

Yes, although it is strongly recommended that Natural Sciences students take all their math and science courses at UT. Bioscience majors may not take math and science classes outside of UT during the fall and spring semesters or during minimesters (December or May). Taking math and sciences classes outside of UT is permitted over the summer and through UT Extension. When deciding to take courses outside of UT, students should keep several things in mind:

  • Professional schools (e.g., medical schools) may not accept credit from community colleges for pre-requisite courses. Speak to your advisor or the Health Professions Office (PAI 5.03) if you are unsure.
  • All UT degree plans require that a student have at least 60 hours of credit taken in-residence at UT. Refer to your audit or the Undergraduate Catalog (make sure you are looking at the correct degree tab) to see the requirements for your degree.

Can I take core/flag courses at an institution other than UT?

Core courses can be taken outside of UT during any semester, including fall, spring, minimesters (December and May), and summer. Flags generally do not transfer from other schools and need to be taken at UT.

How do I know if a course I took at another institution will transfer to UT?

Use UT’s Automated Transfer Equivalency website to search for the sending institution and the equivalent course codes at UT. Keep in mind that the ATE system is historically cumulative (meaning that courses listed may not be currently offered) and that the ATE system does not certify degree applicability. Students should check with their advisor if they’re uncertain or have additional questions.

How do I transfer credit I took at another institution to UT?

If you have credits from a community college or other institution, please send your transcript to UT. There will likely be a fee associated with ordering and sending a transcript from the other institution. It can take a while for transcripts to process, so please be sure to send it in as soon as possible. You should contact the school where you took courses and have them send the transcript to UT Admissions.

Can I take classes at ACC or through University Extension while also taking classes at UT?

Concurrent enrollment refers to the act of enrolling simultaneously at more than one college or university, including through online education. The College of Natural Sciences does not allow concurrent enrollment during fall and spring semesters for full-time students. Concurrent enrollment over the summer is permitted with conditions—speak with your advisor for more information. If you are registered for 9 hours or less, the concurrent enrollment restrictions do not apply. UT Extension courses may be taken at any time.

Can I take core classes, electives, Physics, or Calculus over the summer at a community college?

Depending on your post-graduation plans, it may not be beneficial to take courses outside of a 4-year institution. Speak with your advisor for further guidance.

CLAIMING CREDIT

Which courses should I claim for credit?

Talk with your academic advisor before claiming any credit. Core courses you should claim and the necessary AP/IB scores can be found here. Generally, Bioscience students should claim the following, when applicable:

  • E 316L/M/N/P*
  • RHE 306*
  • HIS 315K/L
  • GOV 310L
    • If you have at least a 3 on the AP US GOV/Policy exam, you will need to take the Texas Government Only Test prior to claiming credit
  • Calculus (talk to an advisor first about which option is best for you!)
  • Visual and Performing Arts courses**

You may also want to claim the following courses:

  • Social sciences**
    • Some students want to take PSY 301 at UT for pre-health preparation purposes. You may also plan to pursue a certificate that takes care of this requirement.
  • Elective credits
    • Wait until you’re further along in your degree! If you need additional hours, you can talk to an advisor about what credits you can/should claim.

* If you plan to pursue a pre-health profession, you will likely want to take an English or Rhetoric course at UT. Most students claim their core requirements, and then take an additional course at UT.

** For a list of all courses that count for the core, such as VAPA and Social/Behavioral Sciences courses, see: https://ugs.utexas.edu/core/requirements

Should I claim my science AP/IB credits?

In almost all cases, it’s best for a student to take all science courses at UT. If you claim credits you don’t need, you could cause your audit to count courses incorrectly, which can set back your progress!

Should I just claim all of my available credits? Will that help progress me towards my degree?

No, you should start by only claiming credits that will count towards specific degree requirements (primarily for your core). Your registration is based off of your progress towards your degree, so claiming random credits will not help you get a better registration time.

How long are AP credits valid for?

Your scores are valid for 10 years, so you should not be in a rush to claim elective credits! You’ll communicate with your advisor throughout your time at UT to monitor your progress, and together you’ll determine if it makes sense to claim elective credits.

Should I claim scores for credit or for placement?

You shoud claim scores for credit unless you’ve been told otherwise by an advisor.

How do I claim credit for AP/IB exams?

Follow the directions on this handout to claim credit.

How do I claim AP credit for GOV310L?

You will need to take the UT Austin Test in Texas Government to supplement your score on the AP Government and Politics exam. Before your eligibility for GOV 310L credit can be determined, you must arrange to take the UT Austin Test on Texas Government, which is offered only on the UT Austin campus. It is offered one time per month. Dates for the next month’s test are updated on the 23rd of each month. Visit the Test Registration System to view and register for upcoming test dates. The Bioscience Advising Center recommends that students complete the Texas Only exam and claim their GOV 310L credit by the end of their sophomore year.

GRADES/GPA

How do I calculate my GPA?

You can find a GPA calculator on the registrar's website. The calculator allows you to plug in your current GPA as well as hypothetical grades in current courses to see how they will affect your overall GPA. 

What grade do I need to earn in a class in order for it to count towards my major requirements?

For math and science courses, students must earn a C- or higher. For courses in a minor or certificate, students should refer to the website for the minor or certificate to determine grade requirements.

Each course may have a different percentage threshold for earning a particular letter grade. Students should refer to their course syllabi to determine the percentage points a professor has established for a grade of C- in the class.

Can I take a course pass/fail instead of for a letter grade?

Students should not take a course pass/fail if it is needed to fulfill a degree requirement. If a degree requirement is taken pass/fail, it then becomes an elective. The total number of pass/fail hours varies by catalog; check with your advisor to see how taking a course pass/fail might affect you.

What grade is considered passing for a pass/fail course?

A grade of D- or above is considered passing in a pass/fail course. Each course may have a different percentage threshold for earning a particular letter grade. Students should refer to their course syllabi to determine the percentage points a professor has established for a grade of D- in the class. 

I’m taking a course pass/fail. How will that affect my GPA?

Courses taken pass/fail do not count towards your GPA (unless an F is earned) and may not fulfill prerequisite requirements. Courses taken pass/fail will appear as a “Z” prior to final grades being posted, and will change to “CR” (credit) or “F” (failing grade) when grades are finalized.

What is a Q drop?

All courses dropped after the 12th class day will appear on your transcript as a “Q.” You are allowed 6 total Q drops while enrolled at any public Texas institution. Using your OTE (One-Time Exception) counts as using one of your six total Q drops. In order to initiate a Q drop, visit the Biosciences Advising Center’s front desk to fill out a form that will then be signed by your academic advisor and sent to the Dean’s office for approval and processing. The deadline for filling out Q drop paperwork falls during the middle of the semester; consult the University Calendar for the exact date.

If Q dropping a class will place you at under 12 credit hours for the semester, keep in mind that full-time status is usually necessary to receive financial aid, live in on-campus housing, compete on a University athletic team, be covered under parents’ health or car insurance, receive Veterans’ Benefits, or be an international student.

Can I drop a class after the drop deadline?

Every student in the College of Natural Sciences is allowed a One-Time-Exception (OTE) Q drop after the deadline. An OTE is an exception to the Q drop deadline; it appears as a standard Q drop on your transcript. Using your OTE counts as using one of your six total Q drops.

I’m Q-dropping a class. How will that affect my GPA?

A Q-dropped course will not affect your GPA. A “Q” will be present on your transcript in place of a letter grade.

If I transfer in credit from another institution, does it affect my GPA?

Grades from a transferred course will appear on your transcript but will not affect your UT GPA. Letter grades of D or F cannot be transferred into UT.

Can I repeat a course?

Students are not permitted to repeat a course for which they have already earned a C- or better. In addition, no student may enroll in the same Natural Sciences course more than twice without an appeal, which needs to be approved by your advisor.

If I repeat a course, will the old grade go away?

No. Both grades will remain on your transcript and both are averaged into your UT GPA.

GRADUATION

How/when do I apply for graduation?

Students apply here for graduation during their final semester at UT before the mid-semester deadline (same as the Q-drop deadline).

Can I participate in graduation ceremonies if I’m taking my final classes over the summer?

Students who have 12 credit hours or less remaining during the Summer can apply to participate (“walk”) in the May ceremony. Students should complete the Walk Application during the spring semester, and then complete the actual Graduation Application by the summer application deadline. Students completing their UT degree requirements at another institution must apply to graduate “In Absentia.”

Can I participate in the May ceremony if I graduated the previous semester?

Yes. If you graduated in a fall semester, you may participate in the following spring’s ceremony (pending space in the ceremony). There is no fall graduation ceremony. You will apply to graduate in the fall semester and apply separately to walk in the spring.

How do I know if I’ve met all of my degree requirements in order to graduate?

You should run a degree audit before and after every registration period and after changing your registration (e.g., after adding/dropping courses, using a Q drop, switching a course to pass/fail, or not passing a course). Once your degree audit reaches 100%, including any minors/certificates you intend to complete and with future courses, you are able to graduate. Remember, running an audit with your intended minor/certificate does NOT mean that you have applied for the minor/certificate or that it is attached to your degree profile. Check with your advisor if you are unsure of whether or not your minor/certificate is attached.

It’s my last semester and I want to take less than 12 hours. Is that okay?

It depends. To be a full-time student, you must register for, and be enrolled in, a minimum of 12 hours at UT. Full-time status is usually necessary to receive financial aid, live in on-campus housing, compete on a University athletic team, be covered under parents’ health or car insurance, receive Veterans’ Benefits, or be an international student. Please consider whether you are affected in any way by part-time status before enrolling for fewer than 12 hours. Pre-health students should consider remaining full-time students for professional school applications. Taking elective courses is also a good way to explore other interests and enrich your experience at UT before you graduate. You can learn more about enrollment requirements in your final semester here.