This FAQ has been created for undergraduate students in the Departments of Plant Biology (PLB) and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BMB) advised by Kendra Pyle Kanaboshi. Kendra encourages you to review the College of Natural Science Advising Syllabus and Objectives to prepare for your advising meeting.
Overrides are handled by the department or program that administers the course. If you look up the course on the Schedule of Courses, the department or program contact information (phone number and webpage) will be in the upper right corner of the page. Many departments have an online override request form, or more information about overrides, on their webpage (these are usually under an Undergraduate tab).
If the webpage doesn't have an override form, please call the number listed on Schedule of Courses. Many departments require that you contact the professor first. If the professor isn’t listed on theSchedule of Courses, you can ask who is teaching the course when you call. You can find a professor’s contact information on the Find People link in the upper right hand corner on the MSU homepage.
You will need to set an “alert” for the course. Look up the course on the Schedule of Courses. Click on the black X next to the section that you want to add. This section of the course will now show up on your Schedule Builder screen under Planned Courses for the semester. Click on the Alert button that shows up next to the course.
This will open up another page, the Open Seat Notifications, where you can choose if you want an email and/or text message alert. You can choose alerts for that specific section of the course or all sections. If a space opens up in the class, you will be sent a notification. If you chose “all sections” and the notification is for a different section than is already on your Planned Courses on Schedule Builder, you will need to add that section to your Planned Courses. If you are already enrolled for the course in a future semester, you will need to drop the course from the future semester before enrolling.
You need to make sure that you keep your Alert active. After you have received 5 alert notifications, your alert will be cancelled, so if you haven’t been able to add the class, you’ll need to reset your alert. You can check if your alert is active by going to the Open Seat Notifications page. It’s on the Schedule of Courses, under the Schedule Tools tab. If the alert is not listed as “Active”, you’ll see to reset it.
Most courses can be dropped with a refund during the first 3 weeks of the semester, and with no grade reported (but no refund) through the middle of the semester.
Specific add and drop deadlines for courses can be viewed by clicking on the course’s section number (the three-digit code, i.e. 001) in the Schedule of Courses or in your planned courses in Schedule Builder. This opens up the Textbooks and Supplemental Material page, which also lists textbooks for the course.
Students can add classes during the first week of the semester. The add deadlines or courses can be viewed by clicking on the course’s section number (the three-digit code, i.e. 001) in the Schedule of Courses or in your planned courses in Schedule Builder.
Late adds (after the add period for the class has ended) are handled by the department or program that administers the course. If you look up the course on the Schedule of Courses, the department or program contact information will be in the upper right corner of the page. You usually need to contact the professor to get permission to add the class, and if it’s approved, the department or program administrative staff will process the enrollment. If the professor isn’t listed on the Schedules of Courses, you can call the department and ask who is teaching the course. You can find a professor’s contact information on the Find People link in the upper right hand corner on the MSU homepage.
The course prerequisites are listed on the course description, which you can access if you look up the course on the Schedule of Courses. Click on the course number and the course description will open in another window.
You can also access the Course Descriptions webpage through StuInfo (Choose Academics and then scroll down under Calendars, Programs and Courses).
You can only repeat a course if you receive a course grade less than a 2.0. If you repeat a course, the original grade will be removed your GPA calculation. You can repeat a maximum of 20 credits at MSU.
If you have completed less than 56 credits at MSU, then you can complete classes at a 2-yr college to transfer to MSU. Once you have completed 56 credits at MSU (this includes transfer credits), then you can only transfer credits from a 4-yr university to MSU. To receive transfer credit at MSU, you must receive at least a 2.0 in the course. After completing the course, send the transcript to MSU Office of Admissions.
To check to see if courses at another college are equivalent to courses at MSU, go to www.transfer.msu.edu. Choose the course code at MSU and the college where you want to take the course. Equivalent course numbers at the other university will be listed. It is also possible that another college may have a similar course to a course at MSU, but it hasn’t yet been evaluated for credit.
If you check the other university’s website and you see a course with a similar name to the course you are interested in at MSU, you can request a copy of the syllabus from that university. You will then submit the syllabus to the department that would administer the MSU course to have it evaluated for credit.
To find the appropriate department, look up the MSU course that you are interested in taking for transfer credit on Schedule of Courses. The department or program contact information (phone number and webpage) will be in the upper right corner of the page.
To enroll at another Michigan institution, students fill out the Michigan Uniform Undergraduate Guest Application form, which is available here.
For elective credits, you are welcome to take whatever any courses that you are interested in. Some students decide to use their elective courses to fulfill credits toward a minor. This is a list of Health-Related Elective Courses for preprofessional students that might be helpful.
Major and Minor Requirements
If you are a freshman or sophomore (you have completed less than 56 credits), please request your major change through the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative. You can visit any one of the Neighborhood Engagement Centers or change your major online.
If you are a junior or senior (56 credits or above), please request your major change through the College of Natural Sciences office in 106 Natural Sciences or call the office at 517-355-4470. An academic advisor in the college can also request the major change for you.
NOTE: To change your major to one outside of the College of Natural Science, you need to go to the Academic Advising Office for that college or meet with the new major academic advisor. Contact information for different colleges can be found here: MSU Colleges Undergraduate Advising Offices.
If you are in the College of Lyman Briggs, go to the Lyman Briggs Office at E-35 Holmes Hall to complete a major change form. If you plan to declare a major outside of Lyman Briggs, you need to visit the Briggs office first.
For the Biochemistry program lists, please visit this page:
For the Plant Biology program lists, please visit this page:
Please use Degree Navigator (https://degnav.msu.edu/index.asp) to track your progress towards completing your graduation requirements. To review your outstanding requirements, click on the name of your program on the right-hand side of the page after you login in. In the pulldown menu next to Degree Description, the Audit– Full Report with Course Status will show you which requirements are fulfilled. Some requirements may need updates from advisors, such as major specific electives, which may need to have course choices added manually. The Audit– Outstanding Requirements Report will show you the requirements that you still need to complete. More on how to use Degree Navigator: https://degnav.dev.ais.msu.edu/MSUDN4/GettingStarted.asp.
Some minors have information about how to declare the minor online, so I suggest that you do a search for the minor on the MSU homepage. Type in the name of the minor (i.e. bioethics minor) in the search box (upper right corner of the page). If you get a search result for a website for the minor, check the website to see if there are instructions on how to declare it.
If you can’t find any information on declaring the minor online, then you’ll need to declare the minor through the college that administers the minor. Visit the Academic Programs – Undergraduate Minors and click on the minor that you are interested in. The college that administers the minor will be listed, along with the minor requirements. Next, you’ll want to do a search (go back to the search box on MSU’s homepage) for this college. From that college’s homepage, there is usually a “Contact Information” link at the bottom of the home page. Call the number listed an ask how to declare the minor. The College may refer you to meet with the advisor for the minor.
Many students at MSU choose a minor to complement their degree program, although minors are not required for graduation. There a large number of minors available to MSU students! Many students pursue minors in languages. The options below are some minors chosen by BMB and PLB majors or preprofessional students, often because they overlap with major requirements or complement the field of study.
Some minors or interest for BMB or BMB/Biotech majors:
Minor in Anthropology (ANP 441 can count toward adv biology/biotech requirements, good fit with interest in forensic science)
Minor in Cognitive Science (NEU 301 and 302 can count toward advanced biology/biotech requirements)
Some minors of interest for PLB and Environmental Bio/PLB majors:
Some minors of interest for either BMB or PLB majors:
Minor in Conservation, Recreation and Environmental Enforcement (includes CJ 110 and CJ 210, common electives with interest in forensic science)
Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation(for students with interest in business)
Minor in Leadership in Integrated Learning (student-designed minor, strong focus on leadership)
Some minors of interest for preprofessional students:
For information relating to pre-professional resources, please visit: https://natsci.msu.edu/students/preprofessional/.
Pre-professional advisors at MSU meet with any students that are pursuing health career professional programs. They can talk with you about specific requirements for professional school that aren’t part your major, extracurricular requirements to be a successful applicant, and the application process: https://natsci.msu.edu/current-students/preprofessional-resources/advising/.
You can declare your pre-professional track by contacting Carolyn Sekedat in the College of Natural Resources in 108 Natural Science Building, (517) 355-8419.
Office of Admissions Merit-based Scholarship
College of Natural Science (CNS) Scholarships
CNS Undergraduate Research Awards
You can apply for CNS Undergraduate research scholarships until September 15th for fall semester and January 15th for spring semester. For the summer, applications are due April 1. Applicants will be notified approximately 4 weeks after the deadline of the award status. For these awards, you typically need to have been involved in a research for at least one semester: https://natsci.msu.edu/current-students/undergraduate/research/scholarships-and-grants/.
Lyman Briggs College Scholarships
Lyman Briggs College Undergraduate Research Awards
Grants for individuals (from MSU library)
Department of Biochemistry Undergraduate Awards
These awards are announced early in the fall semester. Watch your email for updates and/or visit this webpage: https://bmb.natsci.msu.edu/dept-resources/awards-forms/.
Department of Plant Biology Norman Good scholarship
This award is announced during the spring semester. Watch your email for updates. These funds may be used for support for coursework at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), summer research, travel to scientific meetings, study abroad related to the major, or for internships. The scholarships usually range from $250 - $800.
Visit the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative Academic Support page for a list of topical, college-based, and other academic support programs at MSU.
Free tutoring resources on campus:
- The Math Learning Center (MLC) has free tutoring, problem sessions, and exam reviews in C-125 Wells Hall and free tutoring in the Neighborhood Engagement Centers:
- The Chemistry Help Room offers tutoring in rooms 81 and 83 in the Chemistry Building. The hours will be posted outside the help room door.
- The BioSci Help Room, located N202 North Kedzie, offers free tutoring for BS 161, 162, 171, and 172.
- The Statistics Help Room is located in A102 Wells Hall.
- The Writing Center has free help with writing assignments.
- The Physics Help Room for PHY 183 is 1248 Biomedical Physical Sciences. The hours are posted outside the door.
- Social Science Help Room offers tutoring for ISS, IAH, EC, HST, PLS, and SOC courses.
- The English Language Lab for non-native English speakers.
Research and Summer Opportunities
Please follow these guidelines to find an on-campus undergraduate research position.
This list is a good starting point for finding summer research opportunities at MSU and other universities, internships in industry, and ecology and environmental opportunities, including field positions. There are also opportunities open to students underrepresented in the sciences.
The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station is Michigan State University’s largest off-campus education complex and one of North America’s premier inland field stations.
For more information, please visit: http://www.kbs.msu.edu/.