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Four-year plan

Students can complete the seven majors offered through the College of Biological Sciences in four years. CBS academic advisors have experience helping students stay on track for graduation, as well as choose classes for their major, keep a balanced course load and plan ahead. Our Coordinator of Pre-Health Initiatives, Undergraduate Research Coordinator and Career Coach, can support you as you identify experiences you need for your plans after graduation. In addition to these resources, the following guide lists a few key areas CBS students should consider at each step along the way. Remember, academic and career planning involve getting experience in and out of the classroom!

First year

Academic To-Do List

Career Preparation and Co-curricular Activities

Complete any missing high school preparation requirements. These are listed on your APAS report, e.g. Missing one year of visual/performing arts.

Attend the CBS Resource fair and join a student organization!

Complete the freshman composition requirement.

If you are interested in the health sciences:

If you are interested in medical school

  • Complete the planning for medical school online workshop or
  • Take AHS1600: The Future Physician during the fall semester
  • Consider taking Psy1001 and/or Soc1001 to fulfill liberal education requirements and in preparation for the MCAT

Keep ahead in chemistry and math coursework these courses are the foundation of all CBS majors.

Meet with the CBS Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Coordinator of Pre-Health Initiatives or Career Coach.

Make your first-year check-back appointment with a CBS academic advisor by the end of October. Attend your appointment and bring a list of questions.

Select an interest or career from your exploration and identify a summer experience to gain exposure to that work environment.  

Complete Nature of Life follow-up activities and assignments.

Visit a First Step Meeting at the Learning Abroad Center.

Choose one or more potential majors and investigate them. Declare your major when you receive an email prompt from CBS Student Services in the spring.

Create two lists of your skills, one of current (Strengthsfinder or other abilities) and one you want to develop (lab techniques, communication skills, etc.) 

Sophomore year

Academic To-Do List

Career Preparation and Co-curricular Activities

Make an appointment with a faculty member to discuss your major and research interests.

Participate in an activity that is new to you, (ex: taking an art class), and reflect on the skills or knowledge you developed as a result of this experience.

Make certain all AP, IB, or transfer credit has been added to your academic record check your APAS.

Explore Learning Abroad programs and scholarships. Get ready to apply for a program.

Start searching for a research mentor, consider the upper division CBS Honors program.

Take on additional responsibility in a student organization. Volunteer to help coordinate an event or serve on a committee.

Prepare an updated résumé that includes your college experiences and join GoldPASS. CBS Student Services can help you with this process.

Schedule and attend your required sophomore check-back appointment with a CBS academic advisor.

Decide when you will take entrance exams (MCAT, DAT, PCAT, GRE, etc.) These are often scheduled for your junior year. Look at the subjects you will be tested on and ensure you take courses to prepare for these exams.

Attend at least one U of M Career Fair.

Consider additional career-related summer opportunities (ex: volunteering in a research lab or in a career field you are considering).

Junior year

Academic To-Do List

Career Preparation and Co-curricular Activities

Register for Directed Research in your major.

Gather information about specific graduate or professional programs and prepare for application.

Apply to the CBS Honors Program and/or submit a UROP grant proposal.

Complete the Health Career Center online workshops on writing personal statements and interviewing skills or consider enrolling in AHS2400: Personal Statements for Health Programs.

Schedule an appointment to see your CBS advisor now is the time to plan out courses through graduation!

Use CBS Student Services resources to post your résumé, learn how to write an effective cover letter, practice your interview skills and join GoldPASS if you did not last year!

Apply for CBS Scholarships.

Continue volunteering, working or your involvement in student organizations to build experience.

Participate in an internship or learning abroad experience.

Line up letters of recommendation from three or more professors who know you well.

Meet with non-CBS department to declare second major or minor if one is being pursued outside CBS.

Get a summer job related to your career field of interest. If you currently have a biology-related internship, consider registering for BIOL 3610.

Apply for graduation by filling out the Application for Degree after all majors and minors are finalized.

Take entrance exam(s) in your chosen field(s). Apply for admission to graduate or professional school(s).

Senior year

Academic To-Do List

Career Preparation and Co-curricular Activities

Participate in an internship or service learning course.

Update your résumé, create tailored cover letters and secure professional references. 

Review your APAS report and make certain you understand your final requirements.

Conduct a mock interview with the Coordinator of Pre-Health Initiatives, Career Coach or your mentors.

Meet with your CBS academic advisor and discuss remaining requirements.

Interview for graduate and professional programs.

Prepare a research poster and participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Explore programs such as Peace Corps, Americorps, post-baccalaureate internships or English teaching abroad.

RSVP to participate in the CBS Commencement program (all seniors eligible to participate).

Join CBS Alumni Society