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Advanced Placement in Biology

Biology Professor Dan CristolEntering students interested in receiving academic credit and/or advanced placement for college level work undertaken before entering William & Mary should take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. Credit received through the advanced placement program may be applied toward degree requirements. A score of 5 on the biology examination is awarded 4 Biology major credits and exemption from Biology 203/203L and 204/204L. If, however, the student chooses to enroll in Biology 203/203L and/or 204/204L, the 4 credits will be converted to Biology 'elective' credits that apply toward graduation, but not applicable toward the minimum requirements for a major or minor in Biology.

Students who choose to use their exemption to move directly to sophomore-level courses do so because they are interested in moving more quickly into specialized topics. We caution that our experience is that significant numbers of these students are not as well prepared in upper-level courses as students who have completed Biology 203/203L and 204/204L. Students who choose NOT to use their exemption, and therefore take Biology 203/203L and 204/204L, do so because they want to ensure a strong basic background at the level we expect in later courses. We encourage students to consider these options carefully and to discuss it with their pre-major advisor. Pre-medical and pre-dental students should consult with the Chief Health Professions Advisor, Dr. Beverly Sher, to ensure that taking the Biology 203/204 exemption does not impact their application to medical  or dental school later. Our experience is that when students are well informed about the advantages and disadvantages of both options they choose wisely for themselves.