Common Questions

Accelerated Master's degrees

U of L undergraduates can apply for accelerated programs for either a non-thesis Master of Science degree in Biology or a Master of Arts in Teaching.   In both programs, students complete 9 hours of graduate work while undergraduates, and these hours are applied to the graduate degree;  9 hours required for the undergraduate degree are waived.  Students should apply to these programs in their junior year.

Students who may be interested in the "Early Start Program" for the MAT are those interested in pursuing a career in teaching biology in public schools.  They will be certified to teach in Kentucky upon satisfactory completion of the MAT, and can complete both an undergraduate degree in Biology and the MAT graduate degree in five years.  More information about applying to this program is available in the MAT section of our graduate application page.

A variety of students may be interested in pursuing a accelerated Master's Degree in Biology.  This degree is useful for students who are undecided about their career direction in biology, who need a higher-level degree for the type of work they would like to do, or who would like to improve their credentials for applying to medical or dental school or other post-graduate programs.   More information about applying to this program is availablein the requirements section of our graduate program application page.

Credit for transfer hours

Your transcript from your previous school will be evaluated after admission to U of L, and counselors in the advising office will determine what credits you will be awarded for courses outside the field of biology taken elsewhere. Credit hours and equivalencies (i.e. the courses at U of L for which you will receive credit) for biology courses will be determined by an advisor in the Biology Department. Transfer students from four-year colleges or universities must take at least 30 hours at U of L, and transfer students from two-year colleges must take at least 60 hours at  U of L.  Transfer students must also take at least 6 hours in Biology at U of L for a major.   For all students, 30 of the final 36 credit hours must be from U of L.

Credit for AP courses

We allow 3 hours credit to be used in place of Biology 102 for the following:

  1. a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP test in biology
  2. a score of 50 or higher on the CLEP subject exam in general biology
  3. a score of 5 or higher from the International Baccalaureate program.

Please note that Biology 102 does not count for credit in the major.

University Honors

Participating in University Honors requires a minimum GPA of 3.5. This program is run through the Honors Office, and you can find out more about it at the honors program web site.

Undergraduate research

Participating in research as an undergraduate is highly encouraged. Doing so will give you the opportunity to get a feel for how science works and to explore one particular area in much greater depth than is possible in a classroom setting. In addition, research experience demonstrates an interest and ability that can be attractive to admissions committees at professional and graduate schools. While you may gain such experience simply by volunteering in the lab of a faculty member, there are two more formal ways of pursuing research as an undergraduate which can result in receiving course credit for your work, Independent Research and the Biology Honors Program.

You can count up to 6 hours of credit in Undergraduate Research (UR) and Independent Study (IS) toward your major. You must have an overall GPA of 3.0 to enroll in these courses.  In an UR course, students work with a faculty member, or in some cases a graduate student, to test a hypothesis in a field of interest. IS courses are more commonly library research projects rather than hands-on research. Both kinds of classes give you the opportunity to investigate a topic of interest in great depth, or to study a subject not otherwise available in formal courses.

Biology Department Honors

In order to graduate with Biology Department Honors, you must have an overall GPA of 3.0 and a GPA in Biology of 3.5, plus you must complete and present an honors thesis project. These requirements mean that you may be able to qualify for Biology Honors even if you do not qualify for University Honors. Ideally, if you intend to participate in Biology Honors, you should take the Biology Honors seminar (Biol 388) in your sophomore year. In this course, various faculty members make presentations about their research and opportunities in their labs, which will enable you to define your research interests and discover which faculty member might be the best fit for you. We encourage you to begin working in a lab by your junior year. You must submit a thesis proposal early in the semester before you graduate (get project proposal form here [PDF]); deadlines are the same as for University Honors. Then in your senior year you complete the work and write your honors thesis, a paper in scientific format that describes your project. You can register for Undergraduate Research and receive up to a total of six hours of course credit for this work.  You can obtain further information about Biology Honors from Dr. Corbitt, who directs this program.