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We in Biological Sciences believe that regular advising within a major is an important aspect of a student's undergraduate experience. Major advisors are assigned to undergraduates in biological sciences to give your academic career the benefit of expert guidance. Your major advisor will assist you with tailoring your major coursework to suit your Northwestern direction and career trajectory. Further, your major advisor will help you navigate your graduation requirements within the major.  

On this page you can find information on:

Declaring the major

Instructions for Biological Sciences Majors

  1. Download the declaration form and fill out the student and major/minor information sections, including one of our Biological Sciences Concentrations.
  2. Save the pdf named as: “<Your Last Name>_<Your Student ID>”.
  3. Submit the form to for department approval. You are welcome to request an advising appointment in advance of declaring. 
  4. The department approver will submit the completed and signed petition to:

The major will have been formally declared when: a currently valid concentration has been noted on the declaration form, we have signed that form, and the form has then been submitted to the WCAS Offices of Studies.

If you have questions before filling out the declaration form, you are welcome to contact our Associate Director, Professor Galbreath, for advising. After declaring the major, you will be assigned an additional advisor who will help you navigate our requirements during your years at Northwestern. Our Program Assistants are also available to answer questions. We encourage you to meet with your adviser at least annually, and indeed whenever you have questions or uncertainties.

Degree Requirements & Concentration Checklists 

Below are some checklists to assist you with planning your courses. These checklists do not take the place of your major advisor, but they are intended to assist you in preparing to meet with an advisor, keeping track of your degree progress, and planning future terms. Please use the individual concentration checklists for concentration requirements. 

Degree Requirements Checklist

Degree Requirements Checklist

Concentration Checklists

Please note that the Interdisciplinary Biology Concentration does not have a checklist, as students must have their proposed set of courses approved by our Associate Director, Dr. Galbreath before declaring with an Interdisciplinary Biology Concentration.

Biochemistry & Biophysics Concentration Checklist

Cell & Developmental Biology Concentration Checklist

Computation and Systems Biology Concentration Checklist

Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology Concentration Checklist

Human Health & Disease Concentration Checklist

Molecular Genetics & Genomics Concentration Checklist

Molecular Neurobiology Concentration Checklist

Petitioning To Graduate

Graduation from the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences requires a petitioning process. A new online petition to graduate is now available. This online petition is run securely through an outside vendor, Frevvo.

How to use the new online petition to graduate:

  1. If your home school is the School of Education & Social Policy, Medill, WCAS, Bienen, or the School of Communication, you will click on the following link to begin a new petition to graduate:
    1. Petition to Graduate
    2. You must have an active NetID to fill out this online petition to graduate. To reactivate your NetID for this purpose, please send an email to
  2. You will be able to add up to five majors, minors, and certificates to a single petition. You can watch a video about using the online portal here.
  3. If your home school is McCormick, please submit your primary petition to graduate through MAS.
  4. If your home school is McCormick or you have already completed a petition to graduate and wish to petition for additional majors, minors, or certificates, please use this supplementary petition.
  5. Any questions specifically about this petition to graduate form, please reach out to
  6. You may need to meet with an advisor before your submitted petition to graduate can be approved. Please consult this PDF Document before and after you submit your petition, then reach out to your school or department advisor to schedule a meeting if necessary.
  7. Give consideration to which Catalog you wish to use in determining your graduation requirements (any Catalog in existence while you were a student in WCAS may be used). Note that aspects of various graduation requirements changed for our major, between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Catalogs. 

After you petition

A degree auditor will send a message to your NU email address confirming your petition has been processed. This can take several weeks depending upon when you submit your petition (the closer to the deadline, the longer the review will take). You must review your degree progress report in CAESAR to ensure you understand your remaining requirements, and contact your degree auditor if questions arise. Any substitutions or exceptions must be approved by your adviser and sent to your degree auditor at All incomplete grades, including “K” grades, must be resolved before graduation.


 *For college advising information, please refer to the WCAS website here: