Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What are the admission requirements to Biology for Grade 12 students?  All students are required to meet the University admission requirements. Questions about getting admitted to SFU should be directed to an Admission Advisor.
  2. I am currently in a different faculty and would like to switch to the Faculty of Science. What is the procedure?  See Faculty of Science Advising website for information.
  3. I am a second degree student.  Where do I go from here?  Second degree students are required to see the advisor to discuss their academic goals.  It is important that the students bring all of the transcripts from the previous degree(s) to this meeting.  Waivers may need to be obtained from various departments prior to registration period in order to help make the registration process more seamless.

Registration/Course Enrollment

Visit SFU's enrollment page for information on how to enrol in courses. Questions about using SIS/goSFU should be directed to the SIS/goSFU team:

Phone:  778.782.6930
Online help: www.sfu.ca/students/enrollment

Livehelp:  www.sfu.ca/students/livechat.html

  1. I need help with registering in a BISC course.  Whom do I contact? Contact the Biology undergraduate program assistant (biscugra@sfu.ca).
  2. I am new to SFU.  Could you tell me what courses I need to take? Your first semester can be tailored to your needs and ability, but, in order to complete the requirements of the first and second year by the fourth semester,  a certain number of courses per semester have to be taken, and, because of the prerequisites,  they have to be taken in a specific order.  Here is an example for students beginning the BISC major or honours in 2023 or later.
  3. When I registered in a BISC course, I see spaces in the lecture, but the system put me in the waitlist.  Why? Our registration system is based on placement in the tutorial/lab.  If the tutorial that you chose is full, you will not be able to enrol in the lecture regardless of the number of spaces that are available in the lecture.  In this scenario, there is a likelihood that there are spaces still available in other tutorials, and depending on the circumstances, it may make sense to choose an open tutorial/lab which enables you to secure a seat in the lecture.
  4. I am on the waitlist and I see that there is an available space in a different lab/tutorial.  How do I switch to the tutorial/lab?  You must drop yourself from the waitlist and re-enrol in the course.  Before you enrol, make sure that there is no waitlist in the tutorial/lab.  If there is no waitlist, you should be able to enrol in it.  However, if there is a waitlist, you will be placed in the waitlist.  This is to ensure that students are enrolled on first-come, first-served basis.
  5. I am still on the waitlist and the class is full.  What can I do so that I can register in the course? For first year courses, once the courses are full, there are no more spaces that can be made available.  The only way to get into the course is to wait for other students to withdraw from the course.  The waitlist engine runs every night.  It will automatically transfer the first student who is on the waitlist to the tutorial and lecture when a space becomes available.  The waitlist engine continues to fill spaces from the waitlist until the end of first week of classes (day 5).  For information on how to enrol in the second and third week of classes, please see "Can I register in a course during the second and third week of classes?".
  6. Will there be additional tutorials/labs for courses that are full? Opening additional tutorials/labs will be considered only if there is enough demand, and there is available resources, such as lab space, TA's.
  7. I am in position number 18 on the waitlist for a BISC lecture and position number 1 in the tutorial.  Will I still have a chance to get into the course?  For courses in which there are tutorials and/or labs, the waitlist position for the lecture does not matter, only the waitlist position for the tutorial/lab matters.  In the above example, your chance will depend on whether or not there will be a student who drops the same tutorial in which you are waitlisted.  When another student drops from the course, the waitlist engine will place the first student on the waitlist into the course.  The placement of students from the waitlist to the tutorial/lab only happens once a day, and it is done around midnight.
  8. I have the prerequisite for the course for which I wish to register but the system tells me I don't.  Why? Unless otherwise stated, all of our courses require a minimum grade of C- for all BISC and MBB prerequisites.  Students who transfer from other post-secondary institutions may receive unassigned transfer credits (BISC 1xx and/or BISC 2xx).  For instance, students who took BIOL 1110 from Douglas College will receive BISC 1xx transfer credits.  If the same student did not take BIOL 1210, BIOL 1110 cannot be used as a prerequisite for BISC 101 or 102 at SFU.  Please contact the undergraduate advisor at ekirkwoo@sfu.ca for assistance.  Note - If you are a second degree student from outside SFU, none of the courses taken outside SFU are entered into your record, consequently, the system does not recognise any of the prerequisite courses.  In this case, you will need to show your transcript to the advisor.  The advisor may also ask to see the course outlines/syllabi for the courses that you took in your first degree.
  9. Can I enrol in a course during the second and third week of classes? Enrollments during the second and third week of classes are subject to space availability and permission from the instructor of the course.  Follow these steps:
    1. Check for space availability in the specific tutorial/lab and for possible scheduling conflicts on gosfu or on myschedule.
    2. Complete the 'Undergraduate Course Change Request' form, available online.
    3. Obtain a signature from the instructor. For courses with lab components, also seek permission from the lab instructor. The Chair's signature is not necessary.
    4. Submit the form to the Biological Sciences general office (Room B8255) or email the attachment to biscugra@sfu.ca.
    5. The office will organize forms based on their submission time. Please note that due to possible simultenaous submissions, the office will enrol students on first-come, first-served basis.  Therefore, although there were spaces at the time the instructors signed the form, there is no guarantee that the space will still be available by the time the enrollment is processed.  You will be notified when there is no space.
  10. May I swap my classes during the second and third week of classes? We will gladly swap your courses during the second week of classes.  For the course that you plan to add, please follow the above instruction on how to add courses.  While we do not require a signature from the instructors of the courses that you drop, we recommend that you inform the instructors.  To swap a course during the third week of classes, you must drop the course that you no longer wish to take using gosfu, then, submit the undergraduate course change form to add the course that you would like to take.
  11. I would like to register in a Biological Sciences (BISC) course, but I don't have the prerequisite.  What do I need to do? Prerequisite waiver applications are considered only under extenuating circumstances, and are rarely approved.  To apply for prerequisite waiver, you need to fill out the "Prerequisite Waiver Application Form", and submit the form to the instructor.  Then, submit the form to the Undergraduate Advisor for final approval.  Students receiving approval may enrol starting the fourth week of enrollment period, but access may be postponed to beginning of the second week of classes if courses are full or have wait lists.
  12. I would like to enrol in a Biological Sciences (BISC) course, but I have a scheduling conflict with another course.  How do I seek for a permission to take both courses? Please fill out the "Permission to Take a Course with Conflicting Schedule" and follow the procedure that is outlined on the form.
  13. I tried to enrol in BISC 101/102 and I have successfully completed BIO 12, but according to SIS I did not meet the requisite.  Please email the undergraduate advisor (ekirkwoo@sfu.ca) and attach your high school transcript. Then contact the Admissions office to ensure that the grade 12 Biology course is entered in the system.
  14.  I have taken BIOL 1xx from a post-secondary institution in BC, can I enrol in BISC 102? In most cases, the transfer credit agreements for first-year biology courses require students to complete the full set in order to receive credits for BISC 101 and 102.  Please check the transfer guide (www.bctransferguide.ca) for the courses that you must have completed in order to receive credits for BISC 101 and BISC 102.  Please see the undergraduate advisor for further explanation, and possible options.
  15. How do I enrol in an undergraduate research course (e.g. BISC 298, 498)? Visit the Research Courses page for details

Undergraduate Programs

  1. What are the requirements for Biological Sciences major, honour and minor? The requirements are listed in the SFU calendar
  2. What are the minimum requirements for declaring a major in Biological Sciences? Completion of the lower division core requirements (including BISC, MBB, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Statistics) with cumulative GPA of at least 2.00. Normally, students who have more than five duplicated courses will not be accepted into the major program.
  3. What are the minimum requirements for declaring a minor in Biological Sciences?  Completion of the lower division core requirements with cumulative GPA of at least 2.00.  
  4. How do I declare my major or my minor? Once you have completed the lower division core requirements, see the BISC advisor, Emelia Kirkwood, to declare your major.  Arrange an appointment using the online appointment booking system, or contact the undergraduate program assistant at 778-782-3551 or biscugra@sfu.ca. Please bring a copy of your most recent advising transcript.
  5. I want to get involved in the various activities as an undergraduate student. How do I go about it?  See our Student Life pages for details

Co-op Program

  1. Do you recommend that I join the Co-op program?  Yes. The program allows you to have the opportunity to gain job experience while you are working on your undergraduate degree. Many of our graduates obtain jobs after graduation because of their previous Co-op experience.
  2. How do I register for Co-op program? Please contact the Science Co-op Office at 778-782-4716 or via e-mail at scicoop@sfu.ca, or visit their website

Program Completion and Graduation

  1. I am ready to graduate.  How do I submit my application?  You can apply online via gosfu.  Please visit the SFU Convocation page before you submit your application.
  2. I will be completing my degree requirements next semester. When can I apply to graduate? Apply to graduate in the term in which you will be completing your final requirements.  Visit the SFU Deadlines page for details.
  3. When will I know whether or not I qualify to graduate? The Registrar's Office will send an official letter to graduating students once Senate has met to confer the degrees. The Senate meets during the first week of the semester following your graduation semester.