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Pre-professional Specialty Advising

The Department has specific advisors for pre-professional programs:



Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 PSN 529-3149


Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 PSN 529-3149

Pre-Physical Therapy

Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 PSN 529-3149

Pre-Physican Assistant

Ms. Tailyn Walborn
106 PSN 529-3149


Dr. Michael Robinson
258 PSN 529-2353


Dr. Katia Del Rio-Tsonis
244 PSN 529-3128


Dr. Susan Hoffman
246 PSN 529-3125

Dr. Paul Schaeffer
246 PSN 529-3125

Medical Lab Science

Dr. Marcia Lee
58 PSN 529-5425

Advising FAQs

Majors, minors, co-majors

How do I sign up for a major in biology, botany or zoology?

Contact the main office of the Department of Biology (

How do I change from a B.A. to a B.S. (or vice-versa) in biology, botany or zoology?

Contact the main office of the Department of Biology (

Should I sign up for a B.A. or a B.S. degree?

The Department of Biology offers two different degrees, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.), in each of the three majors. Either degree is appropriate for students who plan to go on to health-related professional schools.

In general, the B.A. degree is designed for students who desire more flexibility or wish to take more courses outside of the natural sciences. All Miami Plan Foundation (MPF) and College of Arts and Science (CAS) requirements apply to this degree. The Departmental requirements are more flexible for the B.A. than for the B.S. degree and leave more room for customizing your program; you can use that flexibility to focus more on certain subdisciplines within biology, to take more courses in other branches of science, or to take a variety of non-science electives. This flexibility is also helpful if students have transferred to Miami from other colleges or from non-science majors.

The B.S. degree has more specific requirements within the sciences, including more required biology courses and more total advanced hours in biology, plus more related science courses.  All Miami Plan Foundation (MPF) requirements apply to this degree, but some of the College of Arts and Science (CAS) requirements do not. This degree is more suitable for students who plan to go on to graduate programs and pursue careers as professional scientists.

How do I decide which courses are appropriate for my area of interest within biology?

To get a general idea of which courses you might want to take given your interests, go to Area of Focus.

If I want to switch majors, or change between the B.A. and B.S. within a major, how do I figure out which classes I will still need to take?

Students can run a “what if” DAR in BannerWeb--if a student is e.g. currently a BA, the “what if” DAR shows what their DAR would look like if they changed to a BS. This allows students to do a direct comparison of the classes they would need for each degree.

Do I need to have a minor or co-major?

No. These are totally optional.

How do I sign up for a co-major in premedical studies, neuroscience, food studies or environmental science and sustainability?

How do I sign up for a biology-related minor?

What are writing requirements for B.S. and B.A. students?

Learn more about the CAS Writing Requirement.

Miami Plan and CAS Requirements

How do thematic sequences work? (for students enrolled prior to Fall 2023)

The Miami Plan requires that you complete a set of related courses (totaling at least nine hours) in an approved thematic sequence ( outside your department of major. This requirement can also be fulfilled by a second major or a minor that is at least partially outside the student’s department of major (i.e. is co-sponsored by another department in addition to the major department).

How do I sign up for a thematic sequence in other departments? (for students enrolled prior to Fall 2023)

Contact the main office of the department offering the sequence.

How do I know what foreign language courses to sign up for?

If you have some experience in a foreign language (e.g. you took 4 years of French in high school), you should take an online placement exam in that language. Go to the website of the relevant department for information on how this works.

If you are fluent in a language that is not taught by any department at Miami (e.g. you are a native Estonian speaker), contact the CAS Advising Office ( to find out how to have this count towards your language requirement.

Can I take a capstone class as a junior?

Yes, but it will count only as a regular class, not as a capstone. You would still need to take another capstone class once you have senior status.

Do I have to take a capstone class in my major?

No, students can take any capstone class for which they qualify--Biology does not have any specific departmental capstone requirements.

Are there exceptions granted to some of rules for the Miami Plan or for the major? How do I apply for those exceptions?

LDAs can waive or substitute classes for many of the major requirements. Exceptions to most MP or CAS rules (relating to thematic sequences, capstones, foreign languages, writing in the major, etc.) must be petitioned. Petitions and instructions are on the website of the Office of Liberal Education

Other Topics

Can I study abroad as a biology major and still finish in 4 years? What are my best options?

Yes, but it takes some planning. Students who are interested in ecology, marine biology, etc. should consider doing a semester in Australia or New Zealand. Universities there usually have lots of good courses in those areas that are taught in English. Students who are interested in the pre-health sciences, or those who specifically want to go to places like the Luxemburg campus, are unlikely to find many appropriate science courses abroad. They should try to do more science courses per semester here at Oxford, and “save up” their language and MP humanities requirements to finish during their semester abroad. Also, there are a number of summer and winter term study abroad programs that are easier to fit into your schedule than programs during fall or spring terms.

f I sign up for a cross-listed class like ATH/BIO 497 using the ATH number, will it count for Biology hours?

Yes, cross-listed BIO courses automatically count towards the major regardless of whether students register under ATH or BIO.

Are there any Biology classes that can be taken more than once for credit?

Yes. Bio 491 can be taken twice for credit. Also, up to 3 credits of Bio 177/277/377/477/320 independent study can count towards the major.

Can I get biology credit for Miami’s summer field science classes like GEO 413 (Tropical Marine Ecology) that have a lot of biology in them?

Usually 3 credits of these summer field classes can be used towards advanced biology or zoology hours IF the student’s class project is on an appropriate topic. Students need to contact the LDA to see if this credit can count towards their major.

How can I get class credit for internships?

How can I get involved in research on campus?

The Department of Biology offers opportunities for students to pursue independent research studies on a one-to-one basis with a member of the faculty. The independent study may involve fieldwork, laboratory experimentation, or intensive library research. We recommend that students interested in pursuing graduate studies or other research-oriented careers get some research experience as early as possible in their undergraduate years.

If you are interested, the first step is to choose an area in biology that appeals to you--look over the faculty research information ( on the departmental website to see which labs are doing research that you find interesting. Then talk to those faculty members and see what openings are available in their labs. If you and a faculty member reach an agreement, you can join their research team in one of three ways.

  1. Shadow another student for a few hours a week to learn how research is done in that lab--this is a good way to get your foot in the door and to see if you like doing research.
  2. Paid work is available in some labs; ask the faculty member if there are funds for this
  3. Academic credit may be earned for on-campus research work by enrolling in one or more of the following independent study courses:  BIO 320 (Research in Biology, 1-3 credits per semester, graded); BIO 177R, 277R, 377R, or 477R (Independent Study, 1-5 credits per semester, credit/no credit); and, for seniors only, BIO 419R (Independent Research Capstone, 3 credits, graded). Usually, 3-4 research hours each week during the semester is worth one credit. To enroll for credit, complete an Independent Study Permit ( with your faculty sponsor, and return it to the Department of Biology office.

I have transfer credits for a biology class I took at X College, and they show up on my DAR as “BioT01”. What does this mean, and can I use these credits towards the major?

It means that the class does not closely match a biology class here, so it did not transfer as equal to a specific class. These credits might count towards hours in the major, but they will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Students need to send the Biology LDA information on the course content from the class they took, preferably the class syllabus.

Department of Biology

Students in undergraduate and graduate programs learn biological concepts taught by dedicated faculty and gain hands-on research experiences in the laboratory and field using first-class equipment, centers, and facilities. Our graduates pursue a wide variety of career paths in health, biotechnology, the environment, and plant science.