2 students and professor looking at a screen together in a lab

Declaring a Biology Major

I’m thinking about declaring a major in Biology. What should I do?
Contact Mrs. Roddy (roddymc@wofford.edu), the Administrative Assistant for the Department of Biology, and tell her of your interest. She will make an appointment for 30 minutes with Dr. Davis, the Chair of the Biology Department. Bring the Major Declaration form downloadable from the Registrar’s site (https://www.wofford.edu/uploadedFiles/majorDeclarationForm.pdf). Fill in the top part and write your Wofford email address above your name. Dr. Davis will complete the part about advisor. 

When should I schedule that meeting?
Anytime would be OK except the weeks in fall and spring semesters during academic advising. Avoid the last week of classes before exams.   

What happens at that meeting with Dr. Davis?
You’ll have an informal chat with Dr. Davis, who will take lots of notes. He’ll ask you about your background including high school and what you were known for there. He’ll invite you to tell what you’re comfortable sharing about your family (parents, siblings, etc.) Which other colleges and universities did you consider and how did you end up at Wofford? Now that you’re at Wofford, in what ways have you become part of this community? He’ll ask you the biology courses you’ve had so far. We’ll talk about other majors and minors that you may find appealing and whether summer school is a good option for you. Dr. Davis is a big proponent of study abroad. We’ll consider your options for study abroad for a semester. Finally he’ll ask you if you have a career in mind at this point. Don’t worry if you aren’t sure. You may change your mind as you discover new interests at Wofford. Or maybe you’ll become more certain than ever of what you want to do and be. In any case, we’ll take about courses that you’ll be taking as you major in biology. At any point in the conversation, you should ask whatever questions you have. 

At the conclusion of our meeting, Mrs. Roddy will take your picture on her cell phone and add it to our departmental database. It won’t be shared outside the department. You’ll also turn in your major declaration form to Mrs. Roddy. She will enroll you in the Biology Major Moodle so that you can get email announcements from the department and have access to other information for majors.

After the meeting, Dr. Davis will convert his notes into a summary, sort of a biology biographical sketch that he’ll send you in an email within 48 hours. Please check your email and read his notes. If there are corrections, please reply by email to Dr. Davis. If the notes are accurate, let him know by email that you approve. If he doesn’t hear from you, he will assume that you approve. He’ll add this to the Notes section of Degreeworks where you and your advisors will have access to it. We expect these Notes in Degreeworks should be useful to your advisor.

What happens next?
If you’re in your second year at Wofford, Dr. Davis will assign you an advisor from the Biology faculty. Mrs. Roddy will get your major declaration form to the Registrar’s Office and within a few days Degreeworks will be updated to show Biology as a major along with your new advisor’s name. 

If you’re in your first year at Wofford, Mrs. Roddy will retain your major declaration form until the last week of the spring semester when Dr. Davis will assign you a biology faculty advisor and send the paperwork to the Registrar’s Office, at which time you will officially be a biology major. We believe it is in your best interest to remain with your first year advisor for your first year. There are several reasons for this strategy: 1) your first year advisor is best suited to guide you through registration for general education courses, 2) first year advisors typically have far fewer advisees, and thus more time to advise each one individually, and 3) biology faculty members typically have more than 20 biology majors as advisees. It is challenging to schedule advising meetings with such a large number of students who need careful advising within the major.

How will I know which courses to register for if I don’t have an advisor in the Biology Department?
It is important complete BIO 150 in either the fall or spring of your first year. You should also complete Chem 123 and 124 as soon as possible. After 150, take BIO 212 Genetics and Molecular Biology. BIO212 is offered in both the fall and the spring. The third and final sequential foundational biology course you need to take is BIO214 Cell Biology, which is offered only in spring semester. It is best to take BIO214 in the spring of the sophomore year. Note that CHEM 123 is a prerequisite for BIO214. BIO214 is a prerequisite for most of the upper level biology courses, including the required BIO400 course.

If you’re considering pre-med, enroll ASAP in the Pre-Med Moodle so that you’ll get all the updates and announcements.

We’re working on Moodle sites for the other common career paths such as pre-vet, pre-Physician’s Assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and for those interested in research. 

What about getting the STEM scholarship enhancement for SC residents?
Once you’ve had your meeting with Dr. Davis and completed the paperwork, The Biology Department will send that information to the Registrar before the deadline to be eligible for the STEM enhancement scholarship.