FAQs for Undergraduates

Please browse our frequently-asked questions below for Pre-Majors. Further down the page are FAQ's for students who have already declared a major.

Pre-Majors

  • The biology major consists of 11 courses, including two in chemistry or physics, plus nine biology courses chosen from an approved list. The biopsychology major consists of ten courses- five in biology and five in psychology. Biochemistry majors require Chemistry 1 or 11, 2 or 12, 31,42 or 43, 51/53.52/52. 171 and 172; Biology 13, 41, 50 (or Biology 54 or Chemical and Biological Engineering 163), and 105; Chem 31 (Physical Chemistry), which has Math 34 and Phys 2 as prerequisites. Please see the department website for further details.

  • There is no difference in the number of requirements needed to complete a BS or a BA for the Biology majors. Students that are considering a health profession or graduate school may want to consider declaring a Bachelor of Science. A Bachelor of Science is traditionally viewed as being more rigorous and is favorable to other institutions outside of Tufts University.

  • Your first and second years are your opportunity to explore courses of your interest! We recommend that students begin by taking Bio 13: Cells and Organisms and Bio 14: Organisms and Populations. These courses will explore common topics in biology and provide you a knowledge base that will allow you to be successful throughout your degree.

  • The Biology department courses for the current semester are available on our website or on SIS. Course details for the coming semester are posted to SIS approximately 1-2 weeks before advising period.

  • No, you do not. You can take the courses in any order. Bio 13 is offered in the fall and will cover general biological principles and widely uses methods related to cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, and biomedical sciences. Bio 14 is offered in the spring and will cover topics in animal and plant physiology, development, genetics, and population biology with emphasis on evolutionary mechanisms.

  • It is not recommended that students take Bio 13/14 and Chem 1/2 at the same time, as they are time-intensive laboratory classes. Each course is 5 SHU's.

  • Yes, an AP score of 5 will count as an equivalent of either Bio 13 or 14. Refer to Tufts Pre-Matriculation Credits.

  • Biology is a useful major for students who are pre-health because the curriculum has significant overlap with the MCAT, DAT, and GRE requirements for graduate school. However, students apply and are admitted to health profession graduate schools with a number of different majors -- biology being one of them. Please refer to Tufts Pre-Health Advising for more information.

  • First, you will need to select an advisor in the Biology Department. Meet with them during office hours to discuss what courses you've taken so far and your interests in the biological science. Once you select your advisor, you will need to complete a Declaration of Major/Minorform. This can be found under the Tufts Registrar website.

  • Yes! Many biology students have a second major or minor. Notify your advisors that you will be pursuing a second major or minor and they will be able to provide you with guidance for success.

  • We recommend that students review our faculty laboratory websites and attend our weekly seminar series to determine the types of research that is being conducted in our department. If you are interested in a particular lab, you can meet faculty during office hours to discuss your research goals as an undergraduate. You can also join Tufts Biology Research Club. This student run club will connect you to active research labs in the Biology Department, Chemistry Department and Tufts Medical School.

    The Biology Department offers research courses for students interested in conducting independent research. These courses provide students the opportunity to actively engage with scientific literature and design their own experiments. You are not limited to the Biology Department! Several students seek research opportunities in other departments, at the Tufts Medical School, or outside institutions.

  • Biopsychology is an interdepartmental major that evaluates the intersections of or neurobiology and behavior. This major investigates how the brain and neurotransmitters influence behavior. Cognitive Brain Science is a concentration within the Psychology Department. It is an interdisciplinary area drawing on psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy of mind, and computer science. A Cognitive and Brain Sciences degree provides an excellent preparation for careers in the sciences, computer fields, health professions, law, and education.

  • Our Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Monica Morin, and her team of students put together a weekly newsletter to keep you updated on all things biology! The Newsletter highlights important dates, research and job opportunities, relevant events, topic spotlights, and more! Click here to subscribe.

Declared Majors

  • Meet with your advisor during office hours. These hours are also posted just outside the Biology Department office (Robinson 369). Please note that advisors will be available to discuss courses during advising period each semester.

  • Yes, an AP score of 5 will count as an equivalent of either Bio 13 or 14. Refer to Tufts Pre-Matriculation Credits.

  • No, this course is graded as pass/fail. No major course may be taken pass/fail. It qualifies as research experience for summa cum laude honors eligibility.

  • Course credit toward a biology major is at the discretion of the instructor.

  • No. Your advanced laboratory requirement must be a biology lab numbered higher than Bio 14.

  • Bio 193 or Bio 194 (but not both) may be used as one of the two electives for the biology major. Bio 193 or 194 can be used to fulfill an advanced lab requirement. A student can take Bio 193 and count it as an advanced lab and then take Bio 194 and have it count as an elective.

  • The class of 2021 may count these courses as an elective. The class of 2022 and beyond can only count courses taught in Biology Department or cross-listed in biology as an elective.

  • Advanced laboratory courses can count as electives as long as the advanced laboratory course(s) was (were) not also used to satisfy a group A, B, C, or Q requirement.

  • Please refer directly to Tufts Bulletin.

    Majors: Half of the courses taken towards a major can count towards another major. If that student has only 2 majors, then whichever has the fewer required courses determines what may double-count. Courses taken for a major may double-count with foundation or distribution requirements.

    Minors: Two courses towards a minor may double-count, whether that's toward foundation requirements, distribution requirements, another minor, or major.

  • Please refer to the Transfer of Credit process.

    1. Print out a copy of your Advisement Report from SIS.
    2. Complete the Concentration Checklist for each major. A fillable PDF for the biology majors are below. Please fill out the Concentration Checklist electronically.
    3. E-mail your advisor with your student audit, transcripts and completed concentration checklist. Set-up a time to meet with them virtually and confirm that you have met your major requirements. Your advisor may sign the Concentration Checklist via electronic signature on Adobe PDF OR physically sign and scan. NOTE: DO NOT LOCK THE PDF.
    4. Once your advisor has signed the form, please submit your graduation packet to Monica Morin to be reviewed by the Biology Department.
    5. Dr. George Ellmore will review and sign your graduation packet. You will receive an e-mail with signed graduation packet.
    6. Submit your graduation packet electronically to Student Services. It is your responsibility to bring the packet to Dowling Hall prior to the deadline.
  • We recommend that students review our faculty laboratory websites and attend our weekly seminar series to determine the types of research that is being conducted in our department. If you are interested in a particular lab, you can meet faculty during office hours to discuss your research goals as an undergraduate. You can also join Tufts Biology Research Club. This student run club will connect you to active research labs in the Biology Department, Chemistry Department and Tufts Medical School.

    The Biology Department offers research courses for students interested in conducting independent research. These courses provide students the opportunity to actively engage with scientific literature and design their own experiments. You are not limited to the Biology Department! Several students seek research opportunities in other departments, at the Tufts Medical School, or outside institutions.

  • The research requirement to earn summa cum laude honors has been waived for the class of 2021 AND the class of 2022. Biology, Biopsychology, and Biochemistry majors graduating in the class of 2021 and the class of 2022 will be expected to meet the GPA requirements as outlined in the AS&E Dean's List and Honors, but will not need the additional requirement of completing biological research. For questions, please contact Monica Morin, Undergraduate Program Coordinator.

    To be eligible for a summa cum laude degree, a student must have completed biology research equivalent to Biology 93. Comparable research in related fields will also be considered.

    View Tufts University's requirements for Dean's List and Latin Honors in the Tufts Bulletin.