First Year Advising – FAQs on Math and Science courses, programs and majors

If the student is thinking about a pre-med, biology or biochemistry major:

  1. The student should take Chemistry their first year.
    1. If the section the student registers for is full, or the lab section is full, the Registrar will place them in another section if available.
    2. Reassure students they WILL get into Chem 107 A, if they need it. Sometimes this does not happen until they are on campus and classes have started, but they WILL get in (maybe not at the preferred time, but, hey…).
    3. For Bio majors, Chem 107 is an absolute must during their first semester.   If they do not take Chem 107 in the fall of their first year, they will NOT be able to take Bio 242 (the second course in the bio/neuro/biochem core sequences) until their junior year (or they will need to take a lot of chemistry over the first summer) – this is a major setback for them.
  2. Students who are interested in pre-medical studies should attend the session offered by the medical studies committee ( 8/30 at 10:30 am in Keck)  and consult the premed requirements web page.
    1. It is not necessary to finish all the pre-reqs for any health field within the first year or even the first two years. These can be spaced out within the student’s schedule.
    2. Pre-meds who are NOT science majors may put off Chem 107 to their sophomore years. Pre-med and health majors unsure of their majors should register for Chem 107 A.
  3. Students who have questions about placement into an advanced chemistry course or credit for AP etc.  scores should contact the chair of the Chemistry Department, Prof. Jennifer Koviach-Côté at

Students who have a lab and calculus course their first semester in college might find it helpful to use their FYS to explore other parts of the curriculum.

Students who wish to take Math courses their first year should:

    • Take the online math placement test under “Academic Information” on the Entering Student site at:
    • Math: Students who took calculus in high school and received a B or better should skip Math 105 (Calculus I) and enroll in 106 (Calculus II). At the Request of Mathematics, the Registrar has put in place a system in which students who have taken calculus in high school and received a grade of B or higher CANNOT register for Math 105 (unless they obtain an override from Mathematics). They can register for Math 106.
    • For details on math, see the recommended Entry Courses at

Students who wish to take Physics courses their first year should:

  • Students with the “Prior Calculus” course in high school but without official Math 105 credit from AP, IB, or A-level scores are not permitted to register for Math 105. They will, consequently, not be able to register for Physics 107 and will receive a prerequisite error. They should email Hon Lin to ask for a prereq override. Alternatively, students can attend the first class and request permission to enroll.