FIG student working in a laboratory

What is a FIG?

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) provide students with the opportunity to live in a close-knit community with other first-year students who have similar academic interests and are taking core classes together. A FIG creates an environment that recognizes some of the most powerful learning experiences can take place outside the classroom.

Fall 2018 FIGs

This year, we are offering FIGs in biology (BioFIG) and neuroscience (NeuroFIG). BioFIG & NeuroFIG are academic and residential programs for first-year Biology, Biological Science, Zoology, Plant Biology, and Neuroscience majors in the College of Arts and Sciences. BioFIG & NeuroFIG students live together in the Wing-Davis-Wilks residential complex and enroll in the same sections of fall courses required for their majors: BCOR 011- Exploring Biology, CHEM 031- General Chemistry, and MATH 019- Fundamentals of Calculus I. In addition, BioFIG & NeuroFIG students also enroll in a one-credit supplemental seminar course, AS 095: grounded in the principles of persistent practice and peer collaboration, this weekly seminar class includes interactive sessions with a student leader as well as faculty and staff from across campus.

The goals of FIGs are to:

  • support a successful transition to a rigorous, college-level science curriculum
  • create community as you will live with other FIG students, but also be part of a larger residential community
  • develop effective study skills
  • promote academic success
  • provide on-site tutor facilitated study groups
  • offer community dinners
  • furnish on-site academic advising

Joining BioFIG & NeuroFIG

The College of Arts and Sciences will review the high school records of first-year students who have declared Biology, Biological Science, Zoology, and Plant Biology or Neuroscience majors. Based on their high school record, the College will invite students to apply via invitation. 



How can I join BioFIG or NeuroFIG?

The College of Arts and Sciences reviews the high school records of incoming first-year students who have declared Biology, Biological Science, Zoology, Plant Biology, and Neuroscience majors. The College will invite students to apply to BioFIG or NeuroFIG based on having a strong high school academic record.

I’ve been invited to BioFIG or NeuroFIG! How do I join?

You were sent an invitation, which included a link to the application. You will be notified via email by June 1st if you have been accepted.

What are the advantages of being in a FIG?

  • You have chosen a rigorous, college-level science curriculum and BioFIG or NeuroFIG will provide support to help you transition successfully.
  • BioFIG & NeuroFIG consists of other first-year students with similar academic interests.
  • You will take your core classes together.
  • You will find it easy to form study groups.
  • You will live in the same complex (Wing/Davis/Wilks) with other FIG students.

How many students are accepted into BioFIG & NeuroFIG?

Approximately 20-30 students per FIG. For Fall 2017 there will be two BioFIGs and one NeuroFIG.

What happens if I apply but I am not accepted?

Because space is limited to a maximum of 30 students per FIG, there will be many talented students who apply but are not accepted. Like other UVM first-year students, students who are not accepted must complete a housing contract form. Housing is then assigned based on the preferences you list on your contract, such as room style, roommate, and lifestyle preferences. It is also based on whether you applied for and have been accepted into any other programmed (special interest/themed) housing.

Does BioFIG & NeuroFIG last for both the fall and spring semesters of my first year?

The academic component of BioFIG & NeuroFIG is structured around the fall semester. This is the semester when all students in BioFIG & NeuroFIG are enrolled in the same classes: BCOR 11, CHEM 031, MATH 019, and AS 095. BioFIG & NeuroFIG students remain in the same residential housing for both semesters of their first year unless they request a housing or room change.

How do I register for the BioFIG or NeuroFIG classes?

BioFIG & NeuroFIG students are pre-enrolled into the same section of BCOR 011, CHEM 031, MATH 019, and AS 095. When you attend Orientation in June, these classes will already be part of your fall schedule.

Will I be able to take classes other than those in BioFIG & NeuroFIG?

At Orientation, you will select one or two additional classes. We encourage all new College of Arts and Sciences first-year students to select one of the TAP (Teacher-Advisor Program) seminars, which will also satisfy the University's Writing and Information Literacy requirement. Advisors will be available to assist you in selecting your additional classes. Students typically take five classes each semester.

What if I want to drop or withdraw from a BioFIG or NeuroFIG class?

Once classes begin, if you believe you need to drop one of your BioFIG or NeuroFIG classes, you should consult with your faculty advisor or with one of the Dean's Office Student/Academic Advisors.

I am in the Honors College. Can I also be in BioFIG or NeuroFIG?

Since Honors College students enroll in Honors College first-year seminar classes and residential housing, they typically are not in BioFIG or NeuroFIG.

I am a varsity athlete. Can I be in BioFIG or NeuroFIG?

As long as the training schedule or game schedule does not conflict with your classes, you are welcome to apply.

What if I decide to change my major after my first semester?

If you decide to change your major, you can drop your science classes and remain a resident of Wing/Davis/Wilks.

How is the one-credit seminar class graded?

AS 095 is graded like any other course, A-F. Attendance will be taken and there will be regularly graded assignments.

What happens in the spring semester?

BioFIG & NeuroFIG students are not pre-registered in their next set of science classes (BCOR 12, CHEM 32, MATH 20). Before spring semester registration, all students should consult with their faculty advisor to discuss their academic plans and class choices. Students remain in the same residential hall unless they request a room change.

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Please email any questions you have to