Frequently Asked Questions
I took AP Biology in High School. How can that be applied to my Biology courses at Simmons?If you got a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, then you can exempt out of Biology 113, Introductory Biology. Note that Biology 113 will not appear on your College Transcript, so if you need an Intro Biology course as a requirement for graduate or medical school, you may still elect to take Biology 113.
AP scores of 4 or 5 also convey college credits toward graduation, as is written in the Simmons College Undergraduate Catalog (page 30): Academic credit and/or advanced placement in courses taught at Simmons may be granted to students who have completed advanced placement (AP) courses in secondary school. Achievement in the AP tests of the College Board is recognized as follows: eight credits will be given for a score of five; four credits will be given for a score of four.
Guidelines for Major/Minor Combinations within the Biology Department
Students may double major or have a combination of a major and a minor or two minors from among the different majors in the Biology Department, with restrictions. Please download the Double Major/Minor Guidelines Document
How do I arrange for a senior independent study?
Each April, there is a meeting for rising seniors majoring in Biology to learn about the Independent Study program. At that time, a packet of information is given, and all steps explained.
In a nutshell, it is the students' responsibility to find and arrange for a project in a research lab or an internship. The Independent Study coordinator, Dr. Bruce Gray in 2010-2011, keeps a database of contacts, and can help students with leads. Students should try to line up a Fall placement before leaving for the summer. Boston and the surrounding areas are rich with internship and research opportunities. They are also rich with other students competing for spots.
Students who are doing research or an internship outside of Simmons will choose a Simmons Biology faculty member as her liaison. The faculty liaison, along with the Independent Study coordinator, will approve the student's project, and will help to guide the student throughout the year.
How can I get a written recommendation from my professor?
The Biology Department has a recommendation form
for you to complete when requesting a recommendation from a faculty or staff member. You will need to have the name and contact information for the scholarship, graduate program, etc. to which you are submitting the recommendation. You will need to attach a current resume, and to indicate deadlines and processing information for the recommendations (are they submitted electronically or will you come by the office to pick up the letters?).
Be sure to think ahead! You need time to ask for the recommendation, submit the form, and have at least 1-2 weeks lead time for the professor to complete your recommendation.
Information about Transfer Credit
Many students take classes over the summer, and need to seek departmental approval so that the classes can substitute for those offered at Simmons. Here are some things to consider when seeking approval:
- Timing: Be sure to complete the Simmons college transfer credit form before you register for the class. You'll want to be sure that the department has approved the course so that you have time to look for an alternate course if you need to.
- Required Courses in the Major: In order for a course to be substituted for a required Biology course, it must be comparable in scope and in meeting time. You should have the course description to submit to the Biology Department chair, along with a syllabus if possible, and a detailed schedule of meeting times. For summer courses, you'll need to know the start and end date of the course, and the number of hours it meets per week for both class and lab. Use the Biology Transfer Credit Petition to assess whether the course is equivalent. If it seems comparable, then the Chair will sign the transfer credit form from the Registrar's Office and you are all set. Remember that you have to earn a "C" grade or better in order for you to receive transfer credit.
- Electives in the Major: A Biology student selects a minimum of three elective courses as part of the requirement for the major. One of the electives can be at the 200-level and the other two must be at the 300-level. In order for an outside course to be approved as a Biology elective, you must show that it is comparable in rigor, depth and meeting time to Simmons' upper level Biology courses. You should have the course description to submit to the Biology Department chair, along with a syllabus if possible, and a detailed schedule of meeting times. For summer courses, you'll need to know the start and end date of the course, and the number of hours it meets per week for both class and lab. If it seems comparable, then the Chair will sign the transfer credit form and you are all set. Remember that you have to earn a "C" grade or better in order for you to receive transfer credit.