» Recommended Classes for First-Year Biology Majors

Here are the classes that we recommend you take during your first year as a Biology major at Chapman. 

For your first semester, we recommend taking 12-15 credits (most classes are 3 credits; those with labs are 4). You must be enrolled in 12 credits to be considered a full-time status student. The recommended courses below will put you at 14-16 credits per semester (fall and spring). 

Introductory Math Requirement

As an incoming first-year student, you must take a math assessment. If you place into Math 101 (Developing Mathematical and Study Skills for STEM), then you must enroll in this course in your first semester. For more information, visit our Math Assessment webpage

General Education Classes

You can choose a General Education (GE) class from any GE category – it’s your choice. In general, the following GE areas are recommended to begin/complete during your first year:

  • GE Language Study (strongly recommended)
  • GE Quantitative Inquiry (satisfied with MATH 110, MATH 111, or appropriate AP credit)


Note: Some GE courses may “double count” with your major or minor. Students can share up to 9 credits between major and GE requirements and can share up to 6 credits between minor and GE requirements. Visit the General Education Program site to review the GE policies and see a list of approved courses for each GE area.

You can learn more about general education on our General Education: How it Works page.


The department does not recommend taking BIOL 204/204L if you have received AP credit, and instead taking BIOL 208/208L.  However, it is recommended that students still take CHEM 140/140L even if receiving AP credit. Some medical schools require college level courses with a letter grade and will not accept AP credit. It is the student's responsibility to check the requirements from the medical schools they are interested in. 

AP Scores

AP Biology: If you received a 4 or higher, take BIO 208/208L in the fall instead of BIO 204/204L.

AP Chemistry: If you received a 4 or higher, take CHEM 140/140L. 

AP Calculus AB: If you received a 4 or higher, take MATH 111 in the fall instead of MATH 110

AP Calculus BC: If you received a 4 or higher, take CPSC 292 in the fall instead of MATH 110. 

Fall Semester

BIOL Majors are part of the Block Scheduling program for first-year students in the Fall 2023 semester. You will be pre-registered by the department in your major courses listed below in May/June. You can then build the rest of your schedule around these required major courses.

FFC 100B - Grand Challenges (Block Scheduled)
Credits: 3

Note: All first-year students at Chapman have to take First Year Foundations. The class will introduce you to college and there is a different topic for every major. As a biology major, you must take an FFC 100B option from the Schmid and Fowler Colleges’ Grand Challenges in Science and Engineering category. You will be pre-registered into this class along with your other major courses.

MATH 110 - Single Variable Calculus I or MATH 101 - Developing Mathematical and Study Skills for STEM (Block Scheduled, after Math Assessment completed)
Credits: 3 or 4

As an incoming STEM major, you will be pre-regsitered into your Math class depending on where you place after taking the Math Assessment.

BIOL 204/204L - From Molecules to Cells (Block Scheduled)
Credits: 4

CHEM 140/140L - General Chemistry (Block Scheduled)
Credits: 4

Please utilize this additional information provided by the Biology department for your Fall schedule.

Spring Semester

SCI 150 - Grand Challenges cont. 
Credits: 1

MATH 111 - Single Variable Calculus II (if MATH 110 was completed in fall)
Credits: 3

BIO 205/205L - Evolution and Diversity of Multicellular Organisms (Gen Bio II)
Credits: 4

CHEM 150/150L - General Chemistry II
Credits: 4

BIO 101 - Introduction to the Biological Sciences Major (required, offered in Spring only)
Credits: 1, P/NP

GE class or minor exploration
Credits: 3

If you have questions about specific courses within the major, please contact the biology faculty program advisor, Dr. Carolyn Sherff at sherff@chapman.edu.  ​