students chatting

Biology faculty are familiar with the coursework and requirements you need to complete in order to achieve your biology degree, and they will work with you to design coursework that best meets your goals. In addition, your advisor will help enhance your relationship with the university and help you meet the general graduation requirements for your degree path. Your advisor can help you select courses, walk you through the organization and policies of UVM, and help keep you on track towards fulfilling the requirements you need to graduate. 

As a first year student, you'll be responsible for attending manditory advisory meetings and optional drop-in hours, in which you can ask your advisor any questions you have about courses, registration, and more. All first-year students are assigned to the department's designated first-year advisor that will help you with course selection your first year. We know that meeting consistently with your advisor is a great way to help you stay on track academically, so you won't be able to sign up for spring semester courses until you have met with your first-year advisor to go over course selection. During your sophomore year, you will be re-assigned to one primary advisory with expert knowledge of your major (biology, zoology, biological science).

Who will be my advisor?

If your major is biology, zoology, or biological science in the College of Arts and Sciences, you will be assigned a biology faculty member as your advisor. If your major is Neuroscience or Environmental Science, your advisor will be either from Biology or from another participating department.

Biology and zoology minors or students considering a minor/major who would like advice are welcome to make an appointment with the Department Chair or the Director of Undergraduate Studies, or to reach out informally to professors they know in the department.

How do I prepare to meet with my advisor?

The main purpose of academic advising is to help you meet your educational requirements and career goals. Academic advising requires that both you and your advisor work together as a team; for every meeting, the you should come prepared with specific questions and ideas. It also doesn't hurt to submit a Degree Audit before your meeting.

Organizing a course of study

Life science is a very broad discipline, and students will need guidance in choosing a program of study including advanced electives and independent research or internships. Faculty advisors help you with this important and exciting task. For biology majors (the BA), students take four advanced electives, so choosing the right courses is critical. Therefore, several tracks are recommended: environmental biology, forensics, molecular biology, neurobiology, and preprofessional (for human or animal medicine). Students who wish to remain very generalized in their academics choose the general biology track. For Biological Science (BS) majors, students select a larger set of electives from an approved list. The zoology major (BA and BS) and environmental Science (BS) are distinct in structure from the biology and biological science, and each have an approved list of courses for students to choose from with careful advising by faculty.

Fall 2023 Office Hours

First-year advisor meeting times

Group advising: At least once a semester, during your scheduled BIOL 010 meeting time, your advisor will go over common questions and issues related to major requirements, course sequencing, general distribution requirements, and more. Attendance is required to lift an advising hold from your account (applied to all first-year students); it also is the first step towards answering most advising questions. All students will be informed of the times and places of group advising sessions.

Drop-in advising hours: In the two weeks before course registration time, your advisor will inform you of open drop-in hours; this is a great opportunity to get answers to specific, specialized questions before registration. Peer advising sessions will also be available.



Additional Resources: Careers, Research, Graduate School

The biology department is committed to helping you learn more about their chosen area of study and the opportunities associated with it. As nationally- and internationally-known scholars with successful careers in the sciences, our faculty members have a wealth of expertise to share about the nature of the field, graduate programs in the life sciences and related disciplines, and new research initiatives. In addition to consulting individual faculty members about these issues, we strongly encourage you to be attentive to opportunities devoted to the following topics:

Research opportunities. You will be subscribed to a department listserv that periodically will send information about research opportunities, including summer programs at UVM and at other institutions. The Biology Department Guide to Research Courses and the Office of Undergraduate Research are excellent sources of information, including fellowships and other funding opportunities.

Applying to graduate school. The Career Center hosts an annual graduate school fair to help you explore when and if to apply, what materials you need to prepare, how to choose a program, and what job prospects are like in various fields.  Usually offered in late September.

Pre-med and other pre-health advising. The Career Center, through its Pre-Health group offers information sessions that explain how to apply to medical school. Check their website for dates and additional details.

Career Ideas. Several organizations around campus organize career panels that bring together UVM alums and other professionals to talk about how their studies in the life sciences helped prepare them for jobs in health care, research, nonprofits, and more. One example is the VGN Career Day organized by the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN). Usually offered in April. Check website for dates and additional details.