When is my graduation application due?
Where do I get an Undergraduate Graduation Application?
Who has to sign my graduation application?
What is the minimum number of credit hours required for graduation?
If I’m not going to graduate until May, can I walk in December?
Do I need to have a "C-" or better in all my classes for my major or minor in biology/biotechnology? 



When is my graduation application due?

You should begin working on your graduation application at the start of the fall semester in your senior year.  For May graduation, applications are due in the department office around October 15. You should fill it out and make an appointment with your academic advisor no later than October 1 in order to meet this deadline.  YOUR ADVISOR IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR REVIEWING YOUR APPLICATION IMMEDIATELY WHENEVER YOU HAND IT TO THEM.  While in some cases it might be possible for it to be reviewed immediately while you are there, generally it will take several days to a week for it to be ready to be picked up and forwarded to the biology office. The world will not end if it is a few days late, but it is your responsibility to be on schedule.  The reason that it is important to complete this procedure on time is that by doing so, you can identify courses that you may need to take in the spring semester before registration begins around October 30.   If you delay and do not complete the application for graduation in time to make use of your top priority for registration as a graduating senior, there is no assurance that you will be able to get classes that you need. It is possible that you may need to extend your time at JMU to meet graduation requirements if you don't take this responsibility of applying for graduation on time.  (Other deadlines apply for August and December graduation.)
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Where do I get an Undergraduate Graduation Application?

These can be downloaded from the JMU Registrar's site.
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Who has to sign my graduation application?

You should first take your application to any minor departments that need to approve it. Once you have the appropriate signatures for minors, hand it with your current degree progress report to your advisor. (DO NOT JUST LEAVE IT UNDER THE DOOR OR IN A MAIL BOX.  MAKE SURE THE ADVISOR RECEIVES THE FORM.) They will look it over closely and sign it if the requirements will be met in time.  You should then take it to the Biology office.  Please give your advisor at least a day or two to look it over.
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What is the minimum number of credit hours required for graduation?

You must have 40 credit hours of approved BIO courses, all of the required cognates, and 120 credits total in order to graduate.  Of the 40 hours of biology, 20 must be at the 300 or 400 level.  Of those 300- and 400-level courses, three must be laboratory courses and one must be on the list of organismal courses.  Courses on both lists will count towards both requirements.  It is important that your Degree Progress Report shows that these requirements are met.  If this is not the case, discuss it with your advisor and it may be necessary to contact the Biology Academic Coordinator (Bioscience 1028F) to obtain special paperwork.
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If I’m not going to graduate until May, can I walk in December?

You must contact the JMU Registrar (Student Success Center room 5300, (540) 568-6281) to make special arrangements.  There are several variables that are involved and each case is handled individually. The Biology Department does not play a role in the approval of this policy.

This is the stated policy, from the JMU Registrar's Graduation web page:

All graduation requirements must be met in the semester for which you have applied to graduate. Students may not participate in the December commencement if their requirements will be met in the coming spring semester, nor may students who will complete their requirements in the coming fall semester participate in the previous May commencement. Students are permitted to participate in the May ceremony if all requirements for graduation will be completed during the subsequent summer session, but the diploma will not be awarded until the end of the summer term and will be given an August confer date.


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Do I need to have a "C-" or better in all my classes for my major or minor in biology/biotechnology? 

No.  As long as you have a 2.0 or greater GPA in all BIO courses that could be applied to the major you can graduate.  (You cannot take more hrs than required and only use the high grades.)  However, to be used as prerequisites, a grade of C- or better much be earned in chemistry and core biology courses.  See the catalog for details.  Cognate courses are not used in the calculation of your BIO GPA.
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