How to Declare

B.A. Degree in Biology: Eligibility Requirements

In order to declare a B.A. major in Biology, students are required to have completed either BIOL 2100 or any 3000-level BIOL course at UVA. Students with AP or IB BIOL credit for BIOL 2100 must have completed any 3000-level BIOL course at UVA prior to declaring the B.A. degree. Prospective B.A. majors must have attained a 2.000 cumulative GPA at UVA and be in good academic standing. Incoming 3rd year transfer students may declare the B.A. degree during their first semester, provided they are enrolled in either BIOL 3000 or BIOL 3010. Incoming 3rd year transfer students may initially only declare the B.A. degree in Biology.

B.S. Degree in Biology: Eligibility Requirements

In order to declare a B.S. major in Biology, students are required to have completed all three core courses (BIOL 3000 Cell Biology, BIOL 3010 Genetics & Molecular Biology, BIOL 3020 Evolution & Ecology) and attained a 2.700 cumulative GPA (B- average) for these three courses. This is an overall GPA requirement for the 3 core courses, not an individual course grade requirement. Students must also have attained a 2.000 cumulative GPA at UVA and be in good academic standing prior to declaring the B.S. degree in Biology. Students who originally declared a B.A. degree at the end of their second year may change (i.e. re-declare) to the B.S. program, once they have met these eligibility requirements.*  

*Note:  The College deadline for changing your major declaration is February 1st of your last semester.

When to Declare a Biology Major

According to College rules:

Students must enroll in either a major program offered by one of the departments or an interdepartmental program before the last day of classes in the fourth semester; the program must be approved by an official major advisor. Students needing an additional term (the fifth semester) to complete prerequisite classes may submit the Deferral of Major by the same deadline and no later than the first week of classes in the fall term. Absent a major in SIS or a deferral of major form, a hold will be placed on the student's record.

No student may begin a sixth full-time semester without a declared major in SIS.

Students may declare a major in the first or second year, provided a department or program accepts them. Students who transfer as third-years must defer or declare no later than September 30th. New third-year spring-term transfers must defer or declare by February 1st. See the academic calendar for the exact deadline for fourth-semester students to declare a major.

*Note: Generally, the Department of Biology recommends that students wait until their fourth semester to declare a Biology major.  However, first and second year students who have met the eligibility requirements are welcome to declare before then.

WARNING:  The last day that the Biology Office will accept and process completed & signed major declaration forms for each academic year is the last day of classes of Spring semester. Major declarations will NOT be processed over the summer. 

How to Declare a Biology B.A. Major

Please follow these steps to complete a Biology B.A. major declaration:

1.   To begin the Biology major declaration process, complete the Biology Major Application.

2.   Within approximately one week of submitting your application, you should receive an email with contact information for your assigned advisor, as well as directions for completing the major declaration form. Whenever possible, major advisors will be assigned based on students’ interests and academic plans.  (Note: If you submit an application at the end of the spring semester, it will not be processed until the beginning of the fall semester.)

3.   Pick up a College Major Declaration Form at either the College of Arts & Sciences Registrar’s Office (Monroe Hall) or the Biology Department Office.  Do not complete this form before you meet with a Biology major advisor; however, while you are waiting for your advisor assignment, you should draw up a tentative Biology major plan. To help you plan your major program, consult the List of Biology Courses by Discipline which identifies “typical” fall versus spring semester scheduling. You may also find it helpful to complete a “What-if” scenario (under the My Academics tab in SIS). The “What-If” scenario allows you to see how your current coursework would transfer to a new program of study.

4.   Contact Your Assigned Advisor to set up an appointment. In preparation for this meeting, complete the appropriate Biology Major Checklist (see Forms for Declaring a Biology Major below). Take both the College Major Declaration Form and the Biology BA Checklist to your major advising appointment. Use this appointment to review the Biology major requirements, discuss which major is ultimately best for you, develop a plan of courses to complete the major, and go over how to complete the Major Declaration Form. Your advisor can also answer questions regarding the Biology major and careers. [NOTE: If you have repeated difficulty reaching your assigned advisor, or if you decide not to declare a Biology major after all, please notify Ms. Stephanie Ryan.

5.   Complete the Major Declaration Form and return it to your Advisor to check and sign.  

6.   Submit your Major Declaration Form to Monroe Hall 101.  The white copy goes to Monroe Hall, the yellow to your advisor, and the pink copy you keep.[NOTE: Declarations should be made within 2 weeks of receiving an advisor assignment.]

7.   Confirm that your major declaration appears in SIS with the correct major. Generally, your major declaration appears within one business day of turning in the form to the College; however, during peak major declaration periods, processing may take longer.

How to Re-Declare a Biology Major for the B.S. Degree

All that is necessary to change from a Biology B.A. major to a Biology B.S. major is to re-declare the major, by completing a new Major Declaration form.  There is no need to complete a new Pre-Declaration Form, but you should confirm with your current advisor that you have fulfilled the necessary B.S. eligibility requirements. If you use the B.S. CHECKLIST (see the forms list below), be sure to list your grades for BIOL 3000, 3010 and 3020. Please note that the three prerequisite courses (BIOL 3000, 3010, 3020) must be completed before the semester you plan to graduate.  In other words, it will not be possible to change to the B.S. major if you have not completed the B.S. degree prerequisites prior to the February 1st application deadline for a May graduation.

1.   Complete the Major Declaration form and return it to your Advisor to check and sign it. 

2.   Submit the signed College Major Declaration Form to Ms. Stephanie Ryan in PLSB 204. She will give you the pink carbon copy to keep for your records.

Forms for Declaring a Biology Major*

*Note – If you intend to print these PDF forms, you should check your printer settings to make sure that “Fit to Page” is checked.