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Petitioning the Department for Off-Campus Credit

The Department of Biology will consider counting courses taken off-campus (e.g., Five College courses, or those taken while studying away) towards the Biology Major Requirements. These courses must be counted by the Registrar towards graduation from Amherst.

To petition for credit towards the Biology major requirements, students should have a discussion with their academic advisor about the course in consideration. After getting preliminary approval, students should prepare a letter to the Department, sending it electronically to their academic advisor, Biology Department Chair, and the Biology ADC and include the following information.

  1. Your name, class year, and advisor's name.
  2. All departmental requirements you have completed to date, including both biology and physical science courses required for the major.
  3. The semester/year you went (or are planning to) be abroad, the name of the program, and information about the course(s) for which you would like to receive credit.  For each course, please include the following information.
    • Course title and number
    • Course description (e.g., from the course catalog)
    • If you have already completed the courses (or have access to the following information), please attach a copy of the syllabus and indicate the textbook used.
  4. Finally, indicate what category of credit (core, elective, laboratory, or seminar) you believe is most appropriate for the courses taken off-campus.

Following the submission of your letter, your major advisor will bring the request to the department for review and determine the level of credit to be awarded [tentatively if you have not yet completed/taken the course(s)].  Your major advisor will write back to you with confirmation, and relay the information to the ADC to be entered in your record as fulfilling a major requirement.

Please note: we require that at least 5 of the 7 required Biology courses for the major are taken on our campus. Biology majors who are interested in studying away are strongly advised to take the two required core courses (BIOL-291 or BIOL-370/371; and BIOL-230 or BIOL-320/321) on campus.