Course Placement

Many students who have taken high school advanced placement courses in the sciences still elect to take the Amherst College introductory courses in order to practice the deep engagement and critical thinking skills that build successful Amherst College STEM majors. However, students who have had significant advanced-level high school work may consider placing out of one or more introductory courses. This option should be explored through discussion with the student's advisor as well as a faculty member familiar with the course in question and/or the BCBP Chair. For the BCBP major course requirements, the consequences of placing out of an introductory course are described here:

  • Physics: For students who place out of PHYS 116/123 and/or PHYS 117/124, PHYS 125 becomes a requirement. If the student has placed out of the PHYS 125 course or has taken it at another school, then no introductory courses in physics would be required.
  • Biology: The BCBP major requires a minimum of three biology courses with laboratory, including BIOL 191. Placement out of BIOL 191 requires still meeting the three-lab requirement, either with the BIOL/BCBP/CHEM 331 course, or by adding another Biology laboratory course.
  • Chemistry:
    • For students who place out of Chem 151/155:
      • Biophysics track: CHEM 221 becomes a requirement
      • Biochemistry track: no chemistry coursework beyond what is already required (CHEM 221, CHEM 231, and CHEM 331)
    • For students who place out of CHEM 151/155 and CHEM 161:
      • Biophysics track: CHEM 221 and one more upper-level chemistry course become requirements
      • Biochemistry track: one more upper-level science lab class in consultation with their advisor.
  • Math 121: For students who place out of MATH 121, no additional math coursework will be required beyond those courses explicitly required for the Biophysics track.

For specific information on how to place out of a particular course, please see the requirements at each Department's website.