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Academic Advising

Undergraduates at UMBC are responsible for making their own decisions about their academic career. However, because UMBC recognizes that students often need some guidance while making these kinds of decisions, all degree-seeking undergraduates are required to meet with an academic advisor at least once per semester. 

In the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, faculty members and a full-time academic advisor share the responsibilities of advising students.  They encourage students to monitor their own academic progress, provide advice on internship, research, and career opportunities, and refer students to other campus resources when appropriate. 

In order to best serve the needs of students during different phases of their undergraduate education, there are two levels of advising.

At the first level, students are advised by the full-time Undergraduate Academic Advisor. For Biological Sciences, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Chemistry majors, students assigned to this advisor generally have 30 or fewer credits. Because some first-year students are uncertain as to which Life Sciences major they would ultimately like to pursue, having centralized advising for all first-year students in Life Sciences helps ease the transition from one of these majors to another. The Undergraduate Academic Advisor also works with students who need some assistance identifying their academic strengths and weaknesses, referring them to on-campus resources when necessary.

Once Biological Sciences, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Chemistry majors have successfully progressed beyond the 30-credit threshold, faculty members take up the responsibility of acting as advisors for the students. Students are assigned to a faculty advisor from either the Department of Biological Sciences or the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, according to the major that the student is pursuing.

For the Bioinformatics & Computational Biology program, a student’s progress toward completing the gateway requirements determines the student’s advising level.  Students are advised by the Undergraduate Academic Advisor for Life Sciences until they have successfully fulfilled the program’s gateway requirements. When these requirements have been met, the student is assigned to a faculty advisor from the Bioinformatics & Computational Biology program.

Students’ advising assignment information is posted outside the main offices for the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry (BS 480 and MEYR 100, respectively). This information is updated each semester, usually near mid-term.

Special advising arrangements are made for students who are pursuing a minor in either Biological Sciences or Chemistry, and for those who are pursuing Biological Sciences, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Chemistry, or Bioinformatics & Computational Biology as a second major. Please see the department’s main office or contact the Undergraduate Academic Advisors for Life Sciences; Julie Crosby or Christine Powers for more information.