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Undergraduate Programs FAQ

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What can I do with a degree in Biological Sciences?​

A major in the biological sciences fully prepares students for advanced study in graduate school or professional programs in medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, veterinary science, physical therapy, physician assistant programs, optometry or other areas of health care. The bachelor’s degree qualifies students for various entry-level jobs in research laboratories, federal and state agencies, and companies in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries. Possible career directions include research, product development, quality control, sales and marketing, and management. By combining the biological sciences major with courses in writing or art, students may also pursue a career in technical writing or medical graphics. See: Biology Major Resource Kit

What can your Advisor do?

Your advisor can:

  • Help you plan an academic program that is in line with your interests and abilities;
  • Aid you in developing your educational and career goals;
  • Assist you with monitoring your academic progress and offer suggestions on how you might seek assistance when necessary;
  • Interpret academic policies, procedures, and requirements;
  • Help you consider other educational opportunities in addition to your coursework (volunteering, study abroad, campus organizations, etc.) and refer you to University offices which might also assist you;
  • Discuss career opportunities related to your academic studies and interests;
  • Be a mentor.

Who is my advisor?

Your advisor is listed on your main UDSIS page (labeled "Student Center"). Directly under your program information you should see a listing of your advisor(s). Click on Details and then click on the advisor’s name.  You can send an email to ask for an appointment.  If you have not been assigned an advisor, you should contact your department and ask to have an advisor assigned to you.

What grades are needed for my Biology major classes?

A “C-” is required in all biology classes.  If you receive lower than a C- in a required class, you will need to repeat the class.  Both grades will be averaged into your GPA, but the credits for courses repeated to improve a grade are counted only once toward the minimum required for graduation. If you are taking an elective biology class and receive lower than a “C-”, you can take a different class to count towards the electives.  If you take a Biology class Pass/Fail, it will not count towards the major but will count towards free electives to reach the required 124 credits to graduate.

What is Audit/Listener?

You may take a class as an auditor/listener. You do not get a grade in the course and do not usually take exams or write papers.  Changing a course status to auditor/listener is an option that students sometimes use if they are not succeeding in a course. The credits you take as "listener" do not count for graduation.  You must change a course to auditor/listener by the 8-week deadline. This may be a better option than withdrawing especially if you will be repeating the course.

It's a good idea to discuss your standing with the course professor and your academic advisor before making any of these choices!

Can I take a class pass/fail?

Some courses are offered only on a pass/fail basis. In addition, each semester matriculated students have the option to take one course that is offered on a letter-grade basis on a pass/fail basis. The total number of credits earned on a pass/fail basis may not exceed 24 in the baccalaureate degree program, excluding those courses that are graded pass/fail only.

In most instances a pass/fail course can only be used as a free elective.  A course taken on a pass/fail basis cannot be used to fulfill the University multicultural requirement.  Students are encouraged to consult with and obtain approval from their advisors in the selection of courses to be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Even when students complete a course on a pass/fail basis, the instructor will assign a regular grade. If the student has a grade of A, B, C or D (plus or minus), a grade of P will be listed on the report of grades and on the transcript. If the student receives a grade of F, it will be recorded on the permanent record. A passing grade will not be counted in the GPA. A failing grade under the pass/fail option will be counted in the GPA.

Can I withdraw from a course after free drop/add?

If you wish, you can drop a course without any penalty before the registration deadline (Add-drop deadline, 2 weeks into the semester).  If you withdraw from a class after this point, you will be charged $25 and will receive no tuition refund.  A "W" will appear on your transcript next to that course, and you will not receive credit for the course, or a grade in it.  There is a deadline for withdrawing from a course (The 8-week late registration deadline).

Does a “W” make me less than fulltime and will I be able to stay in the dorms?

"I'm taking 12 credits. If I withdraw from a course, then I'll only have 9 credits, and I won't be a full time student and I'll be kicked out of the dorm!"

Not true. Your full time status is determined by your credit load as it stands right after free-add drop is over.  If you withdraw from a course, you are still technically enrolled in it, but you are just getting a grade of "W" in that course. You will not lose full time status, according to UD, and you can stay in residence halls and so forth.

That said, some international student visas or athletic or academic scholarships and grants require you to maintain a fulltime course load, and they may not view you as being full-time if you take a "W".  You will need to check with your financial aid or scholarship organization to be sure about this.

Does a "W" look bad?

Students sometimes ask if a "W" looks bad on their transcript.  While a "W" doesn't look good (most people assume you dropped the class because you were failing), it's better than the alternative.  A "W" almost always looks better than an "F", and it does not get entered into your GPA.

It's a good idea to discuss your standing with the course professor before making this choice!

Also, pass-fail might be a good option if you are not doing well in a class but you still want to get some credit towards graduation. You won't fulfill any specific requirements, but at least you'll have credit toward the necessary total of 124 credits.

If I retake a class for which I received a grade, will I get the credit again?

NO, you can only receive credit one time for the same course.  Your old grade will remain on your transcript and will not be replaced by the new grade.  But the new grade will be averaged into your GPA.

What if I need to drop after the 8-week deadline?

Under unusual circumstances (such as severe illness) students may appeal to the Assistant Dean's office (for your college) for special exceptions to these general policies. Call them at (302) 831-3020 to find out how to arrange this. The deadline to do this is the last day of classes for that semester.

How is my GPA calculated?

The cumulative grade point index (also known as GPA) is computed by dividing the total number of quality points by the total number of quality hours. The quality points for each course are obtained by multiplying the quality point value for each grade by the credits for that course: e.g., a grade of A in a three credit course would earn 12 quality points (4 quality points x 3 credits). See GPA Calculator

A minimum average of C or a scholastic index of 2.0, in all work taken at the University of Delaware is required for the baccalaureate degree. Both term and GPAs are calculated and reported to students after each grading period.

A grade of Z is equal to a grade of F in calculating the index (0 quality points per credit). For courses taken on a Pass/Fail basis, F grades are included in the calculation of the grade point index, but P grades are not. All other grades for courses taken for credit at the University are included in the calculation of the index, including the first and later grades for courses that have been repeated. The credits for courses repeated to improve a grade are counted only once toward the minimum required for graduation.

Credits and quality points for courses completed elsewhere and transferred to the University will not be included in the student's University of Delaware cumulative grade point index.

What is Academic Probation and dismissal?

Students are expected to maintain an overall cumulative grade point average of C (2.00 GPA) to be in good academic standing, and full-time students must enroll in at least 12 credits per semester. Students whose cumulative GPA falls below 2.0 accumulate quality-point deficits and will be placed on academic probation or will be subject to academic dismissal, depending on the number of quality-point deficits. Deficit points, probation and dismissal are described on the link here.

I am thinking of changing my major; what should I do?

Normally, first semester freshmen may not change majors until the conclusion of the semester. Some majors have enrollment limits and individual transfer procedures, which may include application deadlines, prerequisite courses, and/or GPA requirements.

First, you should review the requirements for the major in the UD Catalog . See All University of Delaware majors and minors.

Read over the course titles and descriptions; be sure that you are interested. Through the Student Center in UDSIS, you can also learn about how your current courses would count in your new major or degree. Follow the instructions for using the "What-If" Report.

Then review the requirements and restrictions for changing into the new major. Then, contact the department you're looking to switch into. They will be able to talk with you about the major and any possible concentrations. They may also be able to tell you whether any of your previous credit will apply. If you are not sure what you'd like to change your major to, you can call UAS for an appointment or set up a meeting with an advisor from the University Studies program.

I would like to add a minor.

Designed for students interested in a particular field, minors provide programs of study less intensive and comprehensive than a major but with greater coherence than a group of courses selected at random. Minors have been approved in over 60 fields of study.  In general, a minor requires at least 15 credits of course work. There are many options. For a list of all minors offered see: All University of Delaware majors and minors.

Can I double major?

Yes. As long as the second major is also in the College of Arts and Science, it is relatively simple to double-major. This is because the CAS graduation requirements (e.g., group requirements and foreign language) apply to both majors.

Can I double major in Other UD Colleges?

While it is possible to double major in majors such as Education, Nursing, Business, or Human Services, this may be more difficult. These majors are in other UD Colleges (e.g., Human Services is in CEHD, whereas Biology is in the College of Arts and Science). This makes it a bit more complicated to double major, because each college has its own graduation requirements, and they don't always overlap. For this reason, students interested in both majors, often choose to major in one and minor in the other. Here is a link to all the majors and minors available at the University of Delaware.

Who is required to complete University breadth requirements?

All students admitted to a University of Delaware undergraduate degree program in Fall 2010 or later are required to complete University breadth requirements. Students admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences must also complete the CAS breadth requirements.

What is the minimum grade for University breadth?

The minimum grade for University breadth is a C-.

Can students use courses from their majors to complete University breadth requirements?

Maybe. Students with ONE major may NOT use courses from that major to satisfy University breadth. There is a policy for students who are double-majors or double-degree candidates.

Can students use University Breadth Courses toward the Arts and Sciences Breadth Requirements?

Yes! Up to 3 credits from each of the University Breadth Requirement categories may be used to simultaneously satisfy the CAS Breadth requirements.  Please be aware, while University Breadth courses may satisfy the CAS Breadth requirement, it is not always true that CAS breadth courses may satisfy the University Breadth requirement. Make sure that you select from the correct breadth list to satisfy your requirement. To learn more go to the CAS Breadth Requirements page.

What is the minimum grade requirement for College of Arts and Sciences breadth requirements?

For students who are admitted in Fall 2010 or later, the minimum grade requirement for College of Arts and Sciences breadth is C-.

For students who were admitted to a degree program PRIOR to Fall 2010, the minimum grade requirement for CAS breadth is D-. This is true regardless of when the course is taken. For example, a student who was admitted in Fall 2009 can utilize the minimum grade of D- for breadth even if the approved breadth course is taken in a semester after Fall 2010. For any approved breadth courses that students who were admitted to UD prior to Fall 2010 take between their admitted term and their graduation term, the minimum grade for CAS breadth will be D-.

Can students use courses from their majors to complete College of Arts and Sciences Breadth requirements?


I've noticed that some courses have changed from one group to another. What does that mean for students?

CAS policy is to honor the course as it was categorized when the student took it. If, for example, a student took ARTH 153 in Spring 2010 as a Group B course, we will honor that as a Group B. However, since the course became a Group A course in Fall 2010, any student who takes it in Fall 2010 (or later) may use it only as a Group A. Similarly, the student who took the course in Spring 2010 while the course was a Group B course cannot now elect to use the course as a Group A.

Where can I find a listing of Breadth (Group) Requirements?

For your CAS Breadth Requirements see your specific degree on the Biological Science Undergraduate Degree Requirements webpage.

See a comprehensive listing of CAS Breadth Requirements.

You may also wish to read more about how requirements work by checking the CAS Breadth Requirements page.

How do I know if a course satisfies the A&S Second Writing requirement?

See a master list of all courses approved for Second Writing. However, not all sections of a particular course are offered as Second Writing during every semester. You MUST verify in the registration materials and the course syllabus that the section in which you are enrolled is one that will count. If it is not explicitly stated on the course description and syllabus, the course will not satisfy the requirement.

What is the "residency requirement"?

The University of Delaware requires student to complete either 90 of the first 100 credits of their degree OR 30 credits of the final 36 credits at the University of Delaware in order to receive a Bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware.

For more details regarding residency requirement, please see here.

I want to take more than 18 credits; can I do that?

Yes, but permission is required. There are GPA requirements to take more than 18 credits. Contact for permission to exceed 18 credits. There is no additional tuition.

I'd like to take an online course. How do I get permission?

Students with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher may take up to two online courses each semester without permission. Students with a GPA below a 2.0 and students who want to take more than two online classes must seek permission from UAS to take an online course during the fall or spring semesters. In considering whether or not permission will be granted, the student's immediate need for the course, prior success in online courses (e.g., winter and summer sessions), academic history, and extenuating circumstances (e.g., medical needs, etc.) are considered. If you wish to seek permission for online enrollment, please contact UAS at

I would like to take a class at another institution.

To transfer credits from approved institutions, students must submit official transcripts and official test scores from sources from which we accept credit. Coursework will only transfer for grades of "C" or better in college-level courses. Remedial coursework, CLEP scores, Pass/Fail grades, life experiences and military courses are not accepted for transfer of credit. Course content not aligning with the university’s curriculum may not transfer. Additionally, academic departments may require students to repeat outdated courses and/or coursework completed more than seven calendar years earlier. Courses taken under a different credit system will be converted to UD semester hours, ex: quarter hours x 2/3 (or .67) = semester hours.

Students enrolled at the University of Delaware who wish to complete coursework for credit at another institution must complete a Transfer Credit Evaluation form and obtain their assistant dean's approval prior to enrolling in such courses in order to assure transferability of coursework. Credits and quality points for work completed elsewhere will not be included in the student's University of Delaware cumulative grade-point index. For more detailed instructions regarding approval procedures,

Students who want to know whether the course(s) they are taking or plan to take will transfer to the University of Delaware may consult the Transfer Credit Matrix. The Transfer Credit Matrix is designed to be a resource to identify potential transfer credit and associated University of Delaware course equivalents from completed course work at other academic institutions. 

Students taking coursework at other institutions are encouraged to be aware of the University’s residency policy. To receive a University of Delaware baccalaureate degree, admitted students must complete 90 of the first 100 credits or 30 of the last 36 credits, full- or part-time, at the University of Delaware. To receive an associate degree, at least 31 of the required 60 credits must be earned at the University of Delaware.  Additional baccalaureate residency requirements may be required within individual majors and minors.

I am interested in studying abroad.

Go to the Study Abroad webpage. The best time for Biological Science majors to study abroad is typically during winter or summer session.

I would like a Senior Checkout. How do I get one?

Senior Checkouts are completed according to your graduation term listed in UDSIS. In the Fall semester, the CAS Dean's Office automatically completes a Senior Checkout for those students who have graduation terms in the following Spring semester. (Other graduation dates are conducted similarly). There is nothing that you need to do to initiate this process, except to verify that your intended graduation term, major(s), and minor(s) are correct in UDSIS. The Senior Checkout will be sent to your UD email address. You should be on the lookout for it 6-8 months in advance of your graduation date. For more extensive information and Senior Checkout and Degree Conferral, please see our Senior Checkout FAQ page.

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Undergraduate Programs FAQ
  • Department of Biological Sciences
  • 105 The Grn, Room 118 Wolf Hall
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-6977