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Biology Major FAQ

Biology Major Frequently Asked Questions (updated 10/2017) 


Q. Which courses should I take first?

A. Consider following one of our suggested CU Biology Major Coursework 4-Year Plan. If you have questions meet with your Academic Advisor.


Q. Which courses should not be taken together?

A. The Biology Major is challenging and several courses are historically very difficult for students. Ideally, we recommend students take no more than 2 science courses together in any semester. Courses with labs require a lot more time. Organic chemistry, Human Anatomy, and Genetics are historically difficult for students; we do not recommend taking these at the same time. Consider following one of our suggested CU Biology Major Coursework 4-Year Plan.​


Q. Which electives should I choose?

A. Biology is a very broad field and so the elective choices are very diverse (i.e., ecology, cell, molecular). If you are unsure about the field of biology that you would like to pursue in a career, we suggest taking diverse electives so you can be exposed to many aspects of biology. This should help you to narrow your interests down and help you choose a career. If you know what you want to do when you graduate, work with your Advisor or Biology Faculty Member to choose electives. If you already know that you wish to apply to a graduate or professional program after graduation, review the course requirements to apply to the program and choose your electives based on those requirements. Speak with your Advisor or Biology Faculty Member if you have any questions!


Q. Which Bio Major classes are offered online?

A. We have offered the following classes online: General Biology I BIOL2051 (lecture only), General Biology II BIOL2061 (lecture only), Principles of Ecology BIOL3411, General Genetics BIOL3832, Cell Biology BIOL3611, Intro to Evolution BIOL3445.  They are not offered online every semester or in a consistent pattern. I would not suggest waiting to take them until they are offered online; they are offered each semester on campus.


Q. How do I know when a specific course will be offered?

A. We offer the required biology courses (Gen Bio, Ecology, Evolution, Genetics, Cell) every semester (fall, spring and summer). We offer Microbiology, Anatomy and Physiology every fall and spring semester. Upper division biology elective course are not offered in specific patterns. There are always many upper division biology electives to choose from. I recommend searching in the Schedule Planner in UCDAcess for BIOL courses which will list all biology courses offered for a semester. If you search for specific electives, you may be frustrated that a specific course is not offered in that particular semester and you may miss out on unique offerings that you would not have searched for.


Q. I tried to register for a course but it wouldn’t let me because I don’t have the prerequisite. What does that mean?

A. Biology courses build upon prior knowledge. Each course has specific prerequisites which must be completed before taking the course. You will be blocked from registering if you have not completed the prerequisites. The prerequisites have been decided by the instructors for the course and ensure that you have the necessary background to succeed in the course. You will not be able to take a course without completing the prerequisite. If you have completed the prerequisites at another institution but they are not in the CU Denver system, contact the Biology Transfer Evaluator.


Q. I am interested in attending graduate school after I complete my bachelor’s degree. What should I do now?

A. Get to know your professors! This will be useful for several reasons: a) Get some research experience , b) They know lots of things about graduate school and programs, c) You will need great letters of recommendation from some of your instructors. It is difficult for them to write these if they don’t know you.


Q. I am interested in a career in health. What classes should I take?

A. There are many different paths for a career in health (i.e., nursing, medical doctor, public health worker, medical laboratory technician). CU Denver has a Health Professions Advising center. I suggest reviewing the information on their website and meeting with one of their advisors to discuss possible careers and the requirements and pathways to achieve those careers.


Q. What classes do I have left to take before I can graduate?

A. Stop in to see your Advisor. You can also review your Degree Audit in UCDAccess. If you are confused about how to read your audit or you think there is something incorrect in your audit, contact your Advisor.