Welcome to the University of Iowa and the Department of Biology! This page includes tips and guidelines to help you have a successful transition to the department.

Transfer students have a variety of backgrounds, academic preparation and coursework so it is always important to speak with the Biology Academic Advisor (anna-gaw@uiowa.edu) about your individual situation.

Many transfer students discover after transferring to the department that it will take longer than they realized to graduate. This is because transfer students often take the wrong set of courses before coming to UI. Science courses are sequential so it is very important that you take the correct classes in the right order.

The following guidelines should be followed by all biology major transfer students no matter where they are coming from:

  1. Complete the first year sequence of Chemistry (equivalents for CHEM: 1110 and CHEM: 1120 Principles of Chemistry I and II)
  2. Complete a calculus course (equivalent for MATH: 1460 Calculus for the Biological Sciences or MATH: 1850 Calculus I or MATH: 1550 Engineer Math I Single Variable Calculus)
  3. Complete the full sequence for Introductory of Biology (only the full sequence of classes from your current institution will transfer as equivalent to BIOL: 1411 Foundations of Biology and BIOL: 1412 Diversity of Form & Function). Most schools have a 2-course sequence but some have a 3-course or even 4-course sequence for Introductory Biology. Individual Introductory Biology courses will not transfer as a major course requirement.
  4. Complete the Intermediate II level of a world language. Four years of one world language in High School will fulfill this requirement.
  5. Complete Organic Chemistry I (equivalent for CHEM: 2210 Organic Chemistry I) unless you are planning pre-Vet, pre-Med, Pre-PA or Pre-Dental. If you need more organic chemistry than what the major requires it is better to take it all at one institution.
  6. If additional time allows, complete a Physics course (equivalent for PHYS: 1511 College Physics I or PHYS: 1611 Introductory Physics I).

Review course equivalents–additional questions about course equivalents should be directed to the Office of Admissions.

    Transfer guides by major

    UI transfer course equivalencies:

    • CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I
    • CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry II
    • Full sequence of Introductory biology for majors at one institution
    • MATH:1850 Calculus I  Intermediate II of a world language (or 4 years in high school of one language)
    • RHET:1030 (English Composition I, II and Public Speaking)
    • Three additional general education courses
    • BA elective course outside the major: Organic Chemistry, Basic Physics, College Physics, or Intro to Computer Science can work for this requirement. If Pre-Med, Pre-Vet, or Pre-Dental, it is recommended to take the full sequence of organic chemistry at the same college.
    Hrs. Semester 1 Hrs.  Semester 2
    3-4 BA Elective outside the major II 4 BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics
    3 BMB:3110 Biochemistry 3 Biological Systems I
    3 STAT:3510 or STAT:2010 3-4 BA Elective outside the major III
    3 CLAS Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 13-14  
    14-15      
    Hrs. Semester 3 Hrs.  Semester 4
    3 BIOL:2723 Cell Biology 3 Biology Elective II
    4 BIOL:3172 Evolution 3 Genes & Genomes I
    3 Biology Elective I 3 BA Elective outside the major IV
    3 Biological Systems II 4-5 Course with a Lab
    3 CLAS Gen Ed 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    16   16-17**  

    These plans are guidelines to demonstrate the course requirements for biology majors. Hours may vary due to world language and math placements, AP or dual enrollment coursework, and actual classes transferred to UI. Details on course options can be found in the catalog.

    *120 semester hours are required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Students will set up a plan to graduation with an advisor during their first semester at Iowa.

    UI transfer course equivalencies:

    • CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I
    • CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry II
    • Full sequence of Introductory biology for majors from one insitution
    • MATH:1850 Calculus I
    • Organic Chemistry I (recommended to take organic II if pursing Pre-Med, Vet or Dental)
    • PHYS:1511 & PHYS:1512 College Physics I and II 
    • Intermediate II of a world language (or 4th level world language in HS)
    • RHET:1030 (English Composition I, II and Public Speaking)

    Three additional general education courses biology 2-year plan after transfer (remaining courses):

    BS Integrative Biology
    Hrs. Semester 1 Hrs. Semester 2
    4 BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics 3 BIOL:2723 Cell Biology
    3 BMB:3110 Biochemistry* 3 BIOL:2673 Ecology
    3 STAT:3510 or STAT:2010 4 BIOL:3172 Evolution
    3 CLAS Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 13-15  
    15      
    Hrs. Semester 3 Hrs. Semester 4
    3-5 Track Elective Course* 3 Biological Systems II
    3 Biological Systems I 4-6 Experiential Elective
    3 Genes & Genomes I 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    4 Investigative Lab course 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    13   13-15 **  

     

    BS Cell & Development Biology
    Hrs. Semester 1 Hrs. Semester 2
    4 BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics 3 BIOL:2723 Cell Biology
    3 BMB:3110 Biochemistry* 3 Track Elective Course*
    3 STAT:3510 or STAT:2010 4 Cell & Developmental Bio Core Course
    3 CLAS Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 13  
    15      
    Hrs. Semester 3 Hrs. Semester 4
    3 Cell & Developmental Bio Core Course 3 Cell & Dev Elective II
    3 Cell & Dev Elective I 3 Cell & Dev Elective III
    4 Investigative Lab course 4-6 Experiential Elective
    3 CLAS Gen Ed 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    13   13-15 **  

     

    BS Genetics & Biotechnology
    Hrs. Semester 1 Hrs. Semester 2
    4 BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics 3 BIOL:2723 Cell Biology
    3 BMB:3110 Biochemistry* 3 Track Elective Course*
    3 STAT:3510 or STAT:2010 4 BIOL:3172 Evolution
    3 CLAS Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 13  
    15      
    Hrs. Semester 3 Hrs. Semester 4
    4 BIOL:3713 Molecular Genetics 3 BIOL:3314 Genomics
    3 Genetics Elective I 3 Genetics Elective II
    4-6 Experiential Elective 4 BIOL:3716 Genetics & Biotechnology Lab
    3 CLAS Gen Ed 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    14-16   13 **  

     

    BS Neurobiology
    Hrs. Semester 1 Hrs. Semester 2
    4 BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics 3 BIOL:2723 Cell Biology
    3 BMB:3110 Biochemistry* 3 Track Elective Course*
    3 STAT:3510 or STAT:2010 3 BIOL:2753 Introduction to Neurobiology or
    3 CLAS Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 4 PSY:2701 Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    15   12-13  
    Hrs. Semester 3 Hrs. Semester 4
    4 BIOL:3253 Neurobiology I 4 BIOL:3254 Neurobiology II
    3 Neurobiology Elective I 3 Neurobiology Elective II
    4 Neuro Lab (2 to choose from) 4-6 Experiential Elecive
    3 CLAS Gen Ed 3 CLAS Gen Ed
    14   14-16 **  

    *Students take at least one semester of biochemistry along with an additional track elective, or they can take a two-semester sequence of biochemistry and molecular biology. Other track elective options are listed in the catalog.

    **120 semester hours are required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Students will set up a plan to graduation with an advisor during their first semester at Iowa.

    These plans are guidelines to demonstrate the course requirements for biology majors. Hours may vary due to world language and math placements, AP or dual enrollment coursework, and actual classes transferred to UI. 

    An application is required in order to be admitted to this major. Transfer students should have mostly As in science courses. There is also a required essay.

    Learn more

    Checklist for transfer work, check website for equivalencies:

    • CHEM:1110 & CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry I and II
    • Full sequence of introductory biology from one institution*
    • MATH:1850 Calculus I  Organic Chemistry I and II with lab
    • PHYS:1511 & PHYS:1512 College Physics I and II
    • Intermediate II of a world language (or 4 years in high school of one language)
    • RHET:1030 (English Composition I, II and Public Speaking)
    • Interpretation of Literature Gen Ed equivalency course
    • Introductory Psychology and Sociology (equivalent to PSY:1001 and SOC:1010
    Biomedical sciences 2-year plan after transfer (remaining courses)
    Hrs. Semester 1 hrs. semester 2
    3 BIOL:2211 or BIOL:2512 (Genetics course) 5 MICR:2157 & 2158 Gen Microbiology & Lab
    3 BIOC:3110 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology I 3 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology II
    3 STAT:3510 Biostatistics 3 HHP:3500 Human Physiology
    3 CLAS Core: Diversity and Inclusion 3 PSY:2130 Adv. Psychology for Pre-Med
    2 Success at Iowa 14  
    14      

    SUMMER: MCAT**

    Hrs. Semester 3 hrs. semester 4
    3 BMS Elective course I 3 BIOL:3373 Human Pop Genetics & Variation
    3 BMS Elective course II 4 Experiential Elective
    4 Investigative Lab course 6 CLAS General Education classes
    6 CLAS General Education classes 3 Elective hours
    16   16  

    These plans are guidelines to demonstrate the course requirements for the biomedical sciences major. Hours may vary depending on actual classes transferred to UI. 120 hours are required to earn a bachelor’s degree. Review your transcripts with the biology advisor to create an individualized plan of study.

    *Consult the academic advisor to see if you need two biology courses or if one from your college.

    **Students who come to UI with less than the above science transfer recommendations will have to take the MCAT later and plan a gap year, and graduation may be delayed. 

    Transfer recommendations

    Check website for equivalencies at your college:

    • CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I
    • CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry II
    • Full sequence of introductory biology from one institution*
    • PSY:1001 Elementary Psychology**
    • MATH:1850 Calculus I
    • Intermediate II of a world language (or 4 years in high school of one language)
    • RHET:1030 (English Composition I, II, and Public Speaking) 
    • Three additional general education courses***
    Neuroscience 2-year plan after transfer (remaining courses)
    Hr. Semester 1 Hr. Semester 2 
    4 PSY:2701 Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience 3 Neuroscience Elective
    3 PSY:2811 Research Methods I 3 PSY:2812 Research Methods II
    4 PHYS:1511 College Physics I 4 PHYS:1512 College Physics II
    3 Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 BIOC:3110 Biochemistry
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 13+  
    16      
    Hr. Semester 3 Hr. Semester 4
    3 Intro to Cognitive Neuroscience 3 BIOL:3254 Neurobiology II
    4 BIOL:3253 Neurobiology I 4-5 Neuroscience Elective
    3 Laboratory Course 3 Neuroscience Elective
    3 Gen Ed 3 Gen Ed
    13+   13+  

    These plans are guidelines to demonstrate the course requirements for the neuroscience major. Hours may vary due to world language and math placements, AP or dual enrollment coursework, and actual classes transferred to UI. Students will need a total of 120 hours to complete a bachelor’s degree. Review your transcripts with the Neuroscience advisor to create an individualized plan of study.

    Learn more

    *Communicate with the biology department regarding transfer biology credit. Usually, biology courses will only transfer if the full introductory sequence is completed. One of the biology courses is required while the other will count toward the four required neuroscience electives.

    **This course is not required for the major but is recommended for the social science GE.

    ***Refer to the CLAS website for GE requirements: https://clas.uiowa.edu/clas-core/requirements

    THIS MAJOR IS JOINTLY ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY AND DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL & BRAIN SCIENCES, IN COOPERATION WITH THE IOWA NEUROSCIENCE INSTITUTE.

    Pre-med plan transfer recommendations

    • CHEM:1110 Principles of Chemistry I
    • CHEM:1120 Principles of Chemistry II
    • Full sequence of introductory biology from one institution*
    • PSY:1001 Elementary Psychology*
    • SOC:1010 Introduction to Sociology*
    • MATH:1850 Calculus I
    • Organic Chemistry with Lab I and II*
    • Intermediate II of a world language (or 4 years in high school of one language)
    • RHET:1030 (English Composition I, II and Public Speaking)
    • One additional general education course
    Neuroscience 2-year plan after transfer (remaining courses)
    Hr. Semester 1 Hr. Semester 2 
    4 PSY:2701 Intro to Behavioral Neuroscience 3 Neuroscience Elective
    3 PSY:2811 Research Methods I 3 PSY:2812 Research Methods II
    4 PHYS:1511 College Physics I 4 PHYS:1512 College Physics II
    3 Gen Ed: Diversity and Inclusion 3 BIOC:3110 Biochemistry
    2 CSI:1600 Success at Iowa 3 PSY:2130 Adv Psychology for Pre-Med*
    16   16  
    Hr. Semester 3 Hr. Semester 4
    3 Intro to Cognitive Neuroscience 3 BIOL:3254 Neurobiology II
    4 BIOL:3253 Neurobiology I 3 Neuroscience Elective
    4-5 Laboratory Course 3 Neuroscience Elective
    6 Two Gen Eds 6 Two Gen Eds
    17-18   15

    Pre-med students should work with their major advisor and a pre-med advisor to develop an individualized plan of study. Students who come to UI with less than the above science transfer recommendations may take longer to graduate. Those students should plan to take the MCAT later and plan a gap year.

    *Pre-med recommendations, not major requirements. Psychology or sociology will count for the Social Science GE.

    Pre-med advising at Iowa

    Additional tips for transfer students

    • Save some general education/core classes
      • It is hard to manage a full-time load of all science courses. Most students find it more manageable to mix their science curriculum with some core classes. There are a many choices in diverse and interesting subjects at Iowa! 
    • Wait on microbiology
      • Most microbiology courses transfer as equivalent to a pharmacy or nursing microbiology at UI, and those courses do not count in any life science major. If you would like to take a microbiology course, wait until you get to UI so it will count toward your program of study.
    • Statistics courses from a community college or an introductory statistics course from a four-year college will not count in the major. Biology majors take biostatistics, which is a junior level course.
    • Human anatomy and physiology courses do not count in the biology major.