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Advising Questions and Answers

Advising Questions and Answers

If you have a question you do not see answered below you can email IB.advising@oregonstate.edu.

Advisors and appointments

The registration system requires a registration PIN (personal identification number), but it requires it at different times based on student status. Unlike other majors, not all biology and zoology students need to meet an advisor each term to receive a PIN.

When students do need a PIN, an appointment is required, so please plan ahead. Advising appointments for PINs usually begin around week 5 of the term. Registration PINs are also given out to students with holds or balances on their accounts so they can register when those issues are resolved.

The following list covers when biology and zoology students need to meet with advising to receive a registration PIN:

  • All new students must attend their required orientation:

  • Sophomores and higher in biology and zoology only need a new registration PIN once a year for the following year. These students should meet with their advisor as outlined in the appointment page.

  • First-year students, NCAA athletes, and student veterans or those receiving veteran benefits need to meet with an advisor EACH TERM to receive their registration PIN. Some students working with Disability Access Services also need to meet EACH TERM to receive their registration PIN.

  • If you were listed with another major before biology or zoology or have recently changed majors from a major that required a PIN each term, you may need to get a PIN each term at first. Students with some double majors may also need to meet for PINs more frequently as other units require a new PIN every term.

Mission statement

The mission of biology and zoology advising is to engage students in developing and implementing a plan leading to the realization of their educational, life and professional goals. Biology advisors assist students in making well-informed decisions by giving them accurate information about requirements, career choices, professional activities, academic success resources and university policies.

Advising philosophy

Biology and zoology advising is organized around the conviction that students should be actively engaged in their education, as well as the planning and decisions needed to reach their professional goals. From the beginning, advising focuses on educational and professional goals, and advisors work to suggest opportunities that are important to being successful in those goals. However, advisors will never know everything, and students should also actively seek out information on their own. Advisors are there to assist students, but students bear the ultimate responsibility of being aware of requirements and utilizing appropriate resources and opportunities to meet their needs.

Advisor and advisee responsibilities

You should:

  • Understand and accept that you are ultimately responsible for your education and your own decisions.

  • Ask for help when you need it and utilize appropriate campus resources to ensure your success.

  • Make appointments in a timely fashion to avoid crises and cancel appointments that cannot be kept.

  • Come to all appointments prepared with the documents and information outlined on the website and be ready to actively participate in the meeting.

  • Keep an advising file where you track requirements, as well as professional development and career issues.

  • Provide accurate and truthful information when being advised.

  • Actively research career information and undergraduate opportunities and discuss any questions with your advisor.

  • Follow up on plans of action identified during advising sessions.

Your advisor should:

  • Assist students in developing education, life and career plans.

  • Provide timely and accurate information.

  • Assist with academic success issues.

  • Assist with career exploration and graduate/professional school options.

  • Assist with appropriate course choices.

  • Assist with choosing and integrating appropriate extra and co-curricular activities such as research, internships, volunteering, and study abroad into education requirements.

  • Assist with monitoring progress toward educational/career goals.

  • Sign forms that require an advisor's signature and write recommendations as appropriate.

  • Discuss graduation audits and requirements.

Your advisor will not:

  • Plan out all of your courses. Advisors will provide feedback on plans you develop using the online resources, but they will not do it all for you.

  • Know everything about all careers. Your advisor will provide what feedback they can, but generally, you will need to engage in further research on your own through reading, orientation classes, shadowing, volunteering, informational interviews and other resources. You should be working on and thinking about this task frequently and discussing what you discover with your advisor.

  • Solve all of the challenges you encounter. Your advisor will frequently need to refer you to other services on or off campus based on the situation you are dealing with.

Academic issues: S/U, withdrawal and academic warning, probation and suspension

Students on academic warning or probation should communicate with their advisor immediately, particularly related to any math or science course they were not successful in. In addition, these students should read the regulations on academic standing. All Corvallis students on academic warning or probation look at the Academic Success Resources for Biology Students at OSU. Ecampus students should review the online student resources guide and consult with the Ecampus student services as appropriate.

Students on academic suspension should read the regulations on academic suspension and the guidelines for reinstatement.

Students who wish to be reinstated from suspension must do the following:

  • Read the guidelines for reinstatement to see if they are eligible. The Academic Standing Committee will not approve students who do not meet all of the guidelines.

  • Meet with your advisor about their support in the reinstatement process if you meet the guidelines above.

  • Fill out and sign an academic contract with the advisor. Academic contracts can be picked up from the College of Science Office in Kidder 128 or Ecampus students can work with the Ecampus student services team to route the petition appropriately.

  • Meet with the College Head Advisor. Turn in the completed petition for reinstatement to the Registrars Office by the deadline or work with the Ecampus student services team.

  • Attend the Academic Standing Committee meeting you are assigned.

You can change your grade to (S/U) or withdraw from courses up until the Friday of Week 7, but there are specific rules about which courses you can S/U. Before making any decision about dropping or withdrawing from a course (or term), you should do the following:

  • Meet with your professor to discuss what grade you actually have in the class. It can be unclear how you are performing in a course (better or worse), and the professor (or TAs for labs) is usually the only person who can clarify questions you might have. You want to be clear on where you stand in the course and what you need to get in the remainder of a course to pass in order to make a good decision about withdrawal (W) or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U). You should carefully evaluate if it is realistic for you to perform at the level needed to be successful, and you should not assume you will do radically better than you have before without good reason. It also does not help to ride out a course to the end that you have no possibility of passing as these grades stay on your record even after retakes.
  • Talk to Financial Aid (Kerr Administration Building) if you have loans, grants or scholarships. They can tell you the financial repercussions of dropping a course. In general, you must complete at least 67% of all credits attempted for your current degree or certificate (which means you can usually drop below full-time!). Both OSU and accepted transfer credits will be counted as attempted credits. You must contact the Financial Aid office to confirm this general rule related to your specific situation.
  • Contact your advisor if you need to discuss what you find out and/or your decision. They can help you see what impacts it will have on future coursework and degree progress.

Guidelines for S/U or W from a course:

  • No Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grades are allowed for major, minor or option courses. S/U is OK for Baccalaureate Core or other courses not required by major, minor or options. If the course is in your major, minor or option, your only choice is withdrawal (W).
  • Any grade below a C- in an S/U class is a U, while a D is passing for many courses in your major. The BI 22x series and all math courses require a C- or better, and students who are in a series should have a C- or better before moving forward. Most professional schools will not accept D's in courses that are prerequisites.
  • Students must have a 2.0 cumulative OSU and major GPA (see MyDegrees), but they can have down to a D- in some courses (see above).
  • When a course is repeated for a grade at OSU, only the second grade counts for GPA even if the grade is lower. Both the first and second grades will appear on transcripts. If the student repeats the course for a third time, the grade will not replace the second grade in their GPA, and all grades will appear on transcripts.
  • A student cannot repeat a course as S/U if they received a grade in that course previously. See the appropriate repeated courses academic regulations (AR 20) for more information.
  • Students can withdraw a maximum of 12 times. (AR 12)
  • Incompletes (I) can be granted in specific circumstances at the instructor's discretion as noted in the academic regulations. You must be passing the course when you request an incomplete. (AR 17)
  • Further information on withdrawing.
  • Further information on Incomplete "I" and other grading issues.

S/U and W process:

Important S/U and W dates (see Academic Calendar for more details)

  • Week 1: The last time students can add and drop classes online. Students can change the grading of a course to Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory (S/U) if the course is not required for a major, minor, or option.
  • Week 2: Students can drop a course online. Adding courses requires department and instructor approval. Contact the department office of the unit offering the course for details.
  • Week 3: Students can still change the grading of a course to Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) if the course is not required for a major, minor, or option.
  • Week 7: Friday of week 7 is the last day to S/U or W from a course.
  • Week 8: After week 7 students can only petition the Registrar to receive a W or S/U grade in single courses, but they must have a significant reason why they missed the deadline (serious illness or emergency). Students considering withdrawal from the term should see the appropriate regulation.

Please see the GPA calculator.

Your advisor does not automatically know you are retaking a course. If you are considering repeating any course you completed at OSU or another school, or you are repeating any OSU course for the third time, you should bring the specifics of your situation to the attention of your advisor. You can also review the points below and the appropriate Academic Regulation (AR 20) for more information.

It will not always be very beneficial to retake courses, particularly since small changes in grades are often dwarfed by your cumulative GPA by the time you graduate. In general, unless you must retake a requirement, it is generally not a good idea to retake a course unless you feel you can do significantly better and you have not already attempted it twice. Often it is better to focus on doing well in subsequent courses. You can use the GPA calculator to run scenarios of repeating courses and the impact on your GPA.

A few considerations related to repeating courses:

  • The second time you take a class at OSU (first retake) will replace your original grade in the OSU GPA, regardless of whether the second grade is higher or lower.
  • Every attempt of a course will appear on the OSU transcript.
  • Any retakes at other institutions or any third or subsequent graded attempts at OSU will not count toward your OSU GPA. If the second attempt of a course was not passed at OSU, the third or additional graded attempts at OSU will also not count for the 180 credits required for graduation or for the total credits for other requirements such as minors. Students in this situation may have to complete additional course to make up for those credit deficiencies.
  • Some courses that are pre-requisite for other courses in the major require a C-, and students will need to retake those courses until they achieve a C- grade in order to continue even if it take more than two attempts.
  • In progress courses are counted in MyDegrees in the total credits for degrees, majors, minors, etc. If one of those courses in progress is a retake the credits for the retake will be subtracted from any totals once grades are fully processed. This issue can be particularly important to seniors who may show having exactly 180 credits with retakes in progress but end up with less than 180 after retakes are accounted for.
  • Most professional schools, and human health professions in particular, do not replace the original grade when a course is retaken, and use every attempt when calculating your GPA. Plan to discuss all retakes with a pre-professional advisor.

For many courses a D will count, but not all of them. Biology and Zoology students need a C- or better in BI 221, 222 and 223 Principles of Biology series or the Ecampus BI 204, 205 and 206 series before moving on to upper division (300-400 level) BI and Z coursework. Both majors also require a C- or better in the CH 23x/26x general chemistry series (Biology and Zoology) or the CH 12x (Zoology major only). Biology majors need a C- in both CH 331 and CH 332, while Zoology majors only need a C- in CH 331. All OSU students also need a C- or better in all math courses to progress to the next course. All Biology and Zoology students also need a 2.0 AVERAGE in their major and OSU GPAs to graduate (see MyDegrees for these numbers). All of these requirements are tracked in MyDegrees.

Communication and technology issues

Many students are missing important emails from professors and advisors when using Google Mail for OSU since some of these emails end up in the Social or Promotions tabs of the Google Inbox. For instance, the Biology and Zoology listserve posts show up in many students’ Promotions tabs. To fix this issue, you can do one of two things: 1) Disable Google tabs and have just one inbox or 2) Add one Biology and Zoology listserve email to your Primary inbox (drag & drop or right-click, then click Yes on the pop-up message to send future messages to the Primary inbox.

How to disable tabs

How to add emails from a specific sender to primary inbox

Course approvals: Transfer courses, courses abroad and substitutions

If the courses are listed as counting in the articulation information then they will already work. The IB lead advisor approves all transfer coursework and substitutions for biology and zoology. If you had coursework approved previously they should be visible or noted in MyDegrees. If you have new coursework or want to substitute coursework, you should email IB.advising@oregonstate.edu about the course(s) in question and what you hope to count them for.

If you are completing an IE3 Global Internship listed in the abroad websites below you receive INTL 410 credit which may be counted for up to 3 credits of experiential learning electives for the biology and zoology majors and most biology options. The INTL credits also count toward elective credits to reach the 180 credits needed to graduate, and many students need additional credits to reach 180 as the majors and Baccalaureate Core do not add up to 180 credits. if you are seeking approval for internships not listed in the Go Abroad in Biology and Zoology document or Go Abroad in Human Health Professions websites, email IB.advising@oregonstate.edu a description of the IE3 Global Internship in question. Only internships listed on the OSU GO website can be pre-approved as part of your degree program.

Students who are completing a study abroad program listed in the abroad websites (Go Abroad in Biology and Zoology document or Go Abroad in Human Health Professions websites) should review courses taken at a specific school in the OSU Course Equivalency Database. The course database does not list all possible courses, and it should be used in conjunction with the destination school website to explore possible courses of interest. You can use the list of course designators in the OSU Course Equivalency Database to find departments that likely offer courses of interest. For example, James Cook University (JCU) offers marine biology courses under the MB designator. Looking up that designator on the JCU website will likely show you other courses than what are listed in the OSU database.

A few considerations for study abroad course selection are outlined below, and you can email IB.advising@oregonstate.edu if you have questions.

  • Some schools have study abroad student pages which can be useful to search for before you look elsewhere. In some cases these outline specific restrictions, course access and information about the timing of terms.
  • Make sure you review courses to confirm they are offered the term you plan to attend the other institution.

    Most Biology and Zoology students will want to go in our summer to fall term (leaving early in summer) to avoid disrupting their major series courses. Be sure to account for the term numbering or season being counterintuitive if you are looking at a school in the Southern Hemisphere (e.g. our fall is spring in Australia).
  • Courses taken abroad with 100-level numbers are generally equivalent to 100-200 level courses here, while courses with 200-300 numbers tend to be 300-400 level OSU courses.
  • Students who are going for a term abroad should focus on single-term, non-series courses, and health profession students should not take any professional prerequisites abroad. Advisors can generally help with scheduling all or part of the series at other times.
  • It is a good idea to focus on elective categories in your major and option which can be used much more broadly than specific courses. For example, look for upper-division science, organismal biology or other elective categories instead of a specific course like BI 311 Genetics.
  • It is a good idea to strongly consider courses that are things you cannot take at OSU and take advantage of where you are going.
  • Students can generally take some courses abroad that do not count for specific requirements and still graduate in four years. Courses taken abroad on OSU-approved programs count toward the 180 requirements for graduation even if they do not complete specific major or Baccalaureate Core requirements.
  • If you are taking courses to complete another major or minor you should seek separate advising approval from those programs. In particular, abroad courses can frequently be counted toward University Honors College requirements.

Once you have developed a list of courses of interest and what you hope to count them for, you can email IB.advising@oregonstate.edu with the list. In this list, you should include the course descriptions and course number at the other school (cut and paste them into an email) along with any ideas you have about what you hope to count them for in your program. This email will start the process of getting approval for the course, and you may end up meeting to finalize your list.

All transfer coursework must be sent directly to OSU Admissions. If you have sent coursework and it is not visible in MyDegrees, it may be that it has not been processed or it is in the excluded or electives area of MyDegrees. If you had transcripts sent before completing coursework or award of a transfer degree (i.e. AAOT, DTA, IGETC) you will need to have another transcript sent. Contact OSU Admissions to confirm the receipt of coursework or to discuss questions.

Exceptions in MyDegrees cannot be dealt with until transfer coursework is articulated. MyDegrees also does not clear prerequisites. Prerequisite overrides may be granted by departments before past coursework is articulated by Admissions. Follow up with the department offering the course to discuss options.

Registration issues: Closed classes, prerequisites and PINs

The registration system requires a registration PIN (personal identification number), but it requires it at different times based on student status. Unlike other majors, not all biology and zoology students need to meet each term to receive a PIN.

When students do need a PIN, an appointment is required so please plan ahead. Students can meet for advising at any time, and advising appointments for PINs usually begin around week 5 of the term. Registration PINs are also given out to students with holds or balances on their account so they can register when those issues are resolved.

The following list covers when biology and zoology students need to meet to receive a registration PIN

  • All new students must attend their required orientation:
  • Sophomores and higher in Biology and Zoology only need a new registration PIN once a year for the following year. These students should meet with their advisor as outlined on the appointment page.
  • First-year students, NCAA athletes, and student veterans or those receiving veteran benefits need to meet with an advisor each term to receive their registration PIN.
  • Some students working with Disability Access Services need to meet with an advisor each term to receive their registration PIN.
  • If you are listed with another major before Biology or Zoology or have recently changed majors from a major that required a PIN each term, you may need to get a PIN each term at first. Students with some double majors may also need to meet for PINs more frequently as other units require a new PIN every term.

Errors and overrides

Review the common registration errors and any holds listed at the top of MyDegrees to see what might be causing the error. The Science Success Center (Kidder 109) is open Monday-Thursday, 8 AM-7 PM, and Friday 8 AM-5 PM to assist with registration for Corvallis campus students. Ecampus student services at ecampus.ess@oregonstate.edu or 800-667-1465 (option 1) can assist Ecampus students. If you are having trouble registering for a course required to graduate the next term, contact your advisor. If you cannot enroll in a class you believe you meet the pre-requisites for, contact the department offering the course (see below). You will generally need to share documentation or a transcript for transfer coursework or test scores that relate to enforced prerequisites. In some cases a syllabus will also be required.

Directions for override requests

Biology or Zoology

Email ib@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737-2993 or visit Cordley 3029.

Chemistry

Some chemistry sections are restricted to chemistry majors (+520 restriction) - you cannot take these. For prerequisite overrides based on transfer coursework or test scores, use the override request form. For other chemistry issues and overrides, contact the main chemistry office through email (preferred) chemistry.registration@oregonstate.edu or call 541-737‐2081.

Biochemistry

For override requests or registration issues please complete the registration and override help form.

Math

Some math sections are restricted to EOP students (09x sections) or INTO students (6xx sections) - only these students can take these. For prerequisite overrides based on transfer coursework or test scores, use the override request form. For other math issues and overrides, email mathplacement@math.oregonstate.edu.

Microbiology

Contact Linda Bruslind at bruslindl@oregonstate.edu.

Other OSU departments

Call 541-737-0123 or review the OSU college and department contacts.

If you cannot get into a course that has an online waiting list you must register for the waiting list during Phase II of registration. If the course is baccalaureate core and has no online waiting list, you should pick another course. If the course is a math or science course you need for graduation, you should contact the department offering the course to discuss options. The location of departments can be found in the OSU schedule of classes course descriptions; by searching for and viewing the department web page on the OSU website; or by calling Campus Information at 541-737-0123 and asking for them. Some other common departments are listed in the registration issues and overrides.

Registration holds are placed on accounts when students owe money or have not complied with OSU requests. All holds are displayed on the top section of your “MyDegrees” checklist. You should already have an email in your OSU account for any holds placed, but you can also email the address listed with the holds in the MyDegrees header to get more information. Your major advisor cannot place or lift holds.