Declaring a Major FAQs

When can I declare a major in the Department of Biological Sciences?

You must complete BIOSC 0150 and 0160 and CHEM 0110 and 0120 with grades of C or better (not C-) before you may declare a major in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Can I meet with a Biological Sciences advisor before I declare my major?

Yes! We encourage you to visit the advising office, peruse the department handouts, and meet the advisors. We are happy to discuss the majors and help you plan future schedules even before you declare your major.

I have transfer credit for BIOSC 0150 and 0160 and CHEM 0110 and 0120 (either from AP scores or another institution). Can I declare a major in the Department of Biological Sciences immediately upon enrolling at the University of Pittsburgh?

No, you must reside in the School of Arts and Sciences as Undecided for at least one semester and take a BIOSC course before declaring your major.

Where do I go to declare my major?

Ideally, you should declare your major during an appointment with your School of Arts and Sciences advisor. If this is not possible, you can declare your major at the front desk in the Arts and Sciences Advising Office (252 Thackeray).

I have already declared a major (e.g., Psychology), but I’d like to change to a major within the Department of Biological Sciences. How do I do this?

You need to fill out a "Change of Program" form in 140 Thackeray.

I am currently enrolled in a college other than the School of Arts and Sciences (e.g., CGS, Engineering, etc.), but I would like to change to a major in the Department of Biological Sciences. How do I do this?

Students who wish to transfer to Arts and Sciences from other schools at the Pittsburgh campus should contact the school in which they were most recently enrolled in order to have their records sent to the School of Arts and Sciences. Arts and Sciences will evaluate the records and send the student a letter of admission or rejection. To qualify for transfer, a student must have an overall average of at least 2.00, and students in the College of General Studies (CGS) must have at least 24 credits earned in residence in CGS.

What should I do after I declare my major?

After you declare your major you will receive an invitation to attend a Group Advising Meeting (GAM) with the Biological Sciences Advisors. At the GAM you will go over general departmental requirements, frequently asked questions, and you will schedule an individual advising appointment with an advisor in the Biological Sciences Department to discuss courses and scheduling as well as career plans and other issues. You are welcome to contact any of the advisors via phone, email, or in person if you have questions; see the Advising page for contact information.

After declaring my major, will I be assigned to an advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences?

We have several advisors in our department, Christine Berliner, Ellen Kelsey and Kevin Wu. For maximum flexibility, we do not assign you to one advisor. You are free to meet with any of them depending on your preference and their availability.