Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Course planning for fall

If you are one of our incoming BIology majors - Congratulation!  We look forward to seeing you.  Here is some advice on planning for fall courses.  

Much of what follows is directed toward incoming Biology majors, but there is some important information for Biochemistry and Pre-Pharmacy majors as well.  (If you are planning to major in Biochemistry and have any questions, please contact Dr. Alayne Schroll, aschroll@smcvt.edu.  If you are planning to major in Pre-Pharmacy, please contact Dr. Ari Kirshenbaum, akirshenbaum@smcvt.edu,  if you have any questions.)

·        Please attend one of the summer registration days if you can; they are scheduled for July 13, 17, and 20.  We will have someone from the Biology Department available to assist incoming Biology majors with course selection and discuss our program if you wish.
·        All first semester Biology majors (and also those majoring in Biochemistry or Pre-Pharmacy) should take BI 151 (Intro. Ecology and Evolution) and CH 110 (Chemical Structure, Bonding, & Reactivity).  This is also true for anyone who plans to pursue a “Pre-Med” or similar “Pre-Health” course of study, regardless of their intended major.  These courses will put you on the right track for future course work in these fields.  The demand for these introductory courses in Biology and Chemistry is quite strong – so to help ensure that all students who need these courses get into them, we will make an effort to register you for these courses before the summer registration days.  This will make your summer registration day go more easily, as you will already have these two courses in your schedule.
·        Therefore, because you have indicated Biology, Biochemistry, or Pre-Pharmacy as your intended major, we will do our best to place you into BI 151 and CH 110.  However - if you have changed your mind or believe that we have made a mistake and you do not intend to major in Biology, Biochemistry, or Pre-Pharmacy, please contact Katherine Orthman (korthman@smcvt.edu) in the registrar’s office.  We can drop you from those courses, and you will have more flexibility in your course selection for the first semester, and also allow more space in these courses for students who need to take them.
·        Anyone who has not indicated Biology or Biochemistry as their intended major will not be placed into these courses.  Therefore, if you know someone planning to attend St. Mike’s and pursue one of these programs but who has not let us know of their intent, please mention to them that you got this message, and that they should contact the registrar’s office (Katherine Orthman, korthman@smcvt.edu) and declare one of these majors – it is the best way to maximize the likelihood that they will get into these courses and get off to a good start in these majors. (note – anyone receiving this email is already on our list of intended Biology, Biochemistry, or Pre-Pharmacy majors)

·        A note regarding Math requirements: Biology majors are required to take two semesters of math, with at least one of those being calculus. Biology majors are not required to take Calculus in the first year, but some students choose to so that the Calculus that they had senior year in HS is still fresh.  However – Biochemistry majors should take Calculus in their first semester.
o   If you took AP Calculus and got a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, you will get credit for Calculus 1 (MA 150) and are eligible to take Calculus 2 (MA 160). If you took a non-AP Calculus I course in high school (or do not yet know your AP score) and did well in the course, you may also be eligible to take Calculus 2 in the fall and should contact Dr. George Ashline (gashline@smcvt.edu) of the Math department if you would like to register for Calculus II in the fall
o   The Math Department offers sections of Elements of Calculus (MA 130), Calculus 1 (MA 150) and Calculus 2 (MA 160) that can be scheduled along with BI 151 and certain sections of CH 110 for the coming fall semester. 
o   If you are planning to take introductory Calculus (either MA 130 or MA 150) at Saint Michael’s as an incoming Biology and Biochemistry majors, then you should take the on-line Calculus placement test (see link) that was mentioned to you in an earlier notice. This will help you determine your preparation for introductory Calculus. If you successfully completed a Calculus I course in high school, then you need not take the Readiness test. Calculus 2 is not required for the Biology major - however, some graduate programs, including some medical schools, like to see it.  Calculus 2 is required for the Biochemistry major. 
o   Please note – If you plan to take Calculus 2 (MA 160) this coming fall, then we will then try to schedule you for BI 151 and the appropriate sections of CH 110 that will allow you to take Calculus 2.  (You would be eligible for Calculus 2 if you anticipate receiving credit for Calculus 1, or you successfully completed a Calculus I course in high school and feel comfortable with those concepts). 
o   Information about choosing the right math course is available on pp. 16-17 of your New Student Guide.
o   If you have any questions regarding the options for Calculus this coming fall or the calculus placement test, please contact Dr. George Ashline (gashline@smcvt.edu) of the Math Department. 

I look forward to seeing you either later this month or in the fall.

Doug Facey (dfacey@smcvt.edu), Chair
Biology Department

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