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How to Declare

Declaration Policy: Students are encouraged to start the declaration process in SFACT after successfully completing two of the core courses. Students are eligible to officially declare after successfully completing four of the core courses. 

You can always get started by meeting with one of our student advisors. Check out the advising schedule on the Advising page

1. Develop a Course of Study in SFACT & Meet with an SA for Your First Approval
  • Compile a list of courses: Consider what you have learned throughout the Core, what you are interested in, and what you want to know more about. Your first step is to compile a list of classes that you want to take. The Eight Areas of Emphases Course Lists within HumBio can help you gain a sense of the general focuses and different types of courses you can take. 
  • Divide your courses among the requirements: Once you have a list of courses, it is time to think about HumBio’s Major Requirements and how your courses fit into them. You will need to divide your classes into three main areas: Breadth, Depth, and Upper Division. HumBio uses an online Course of Study tool called SFACT  to organize your major. After reading and understanding the requirements, you can start inputting classes into SFACT. Students who have taken two core classes have access to the portal and a guide to SFACT is located here. The HumBio advising team is happy to meet with you if you need help with this step.  
  • Create your own Area of Concentration: You will need to create an Area of Concentration title that communicates what that the focus of your Human Biology degree is. Breadth courses allow you to explore your concentration with a broad focus. Depth courses allow you to gain expertise on your chosen concentration. If you need inspiration for coursework or Area of Concentration titles, you can find past students’ Course of Study Examples here.  
  • 1st SA Approval: Meet with an SA after you have inputted your Course of Study (COS) into SFACT (electronic course of study tool). They will approve it or ask you to make changes if you have not met all the Human Biology requirements. Changes can be made to your COS later. However, they require approval by an SA or Student Services Coordinator. 

SFACT Course of Study Tool

2. Write your Cornerstone Essay
  • Write your Cornerstone Essay (minimum 3 pages) explaining why you chose your Area of Concentration. Please view below the guidelines, a sample Cornerstone Essay, and our set of pre-writing exercises to help you get started:
  • 2nd SA Approval: Give your proposal to an SA to read (if the office hours are busy they may have to get back to you later).  They will let you know if any revisions are necessary.  When the proposal is in its finished form it can be uploaded to your SFACT COS and approved by the SA.
3. Identify a HumBio Faculty Advisor & Meet with a Different SA for your 2nd Approval
  • Your Faculty Advisor should be someone with experience related to your Area of Concentration. You can search for HumBio advisors in SFACT using the Browse Faculty Advisors after receiving your 1st approval. If you need help finding a suitable FA, meet with an SA to discuss different HumBio faculty.   
  • Faculty lunches are a great opportunity to meet HumBio faculty. They are announced through the Core Canvas site. If you are not currently in the core, talk to an SA about signing up.  
  • Make an appointment with your potential Faculty Advisor to discuss the proposed coursework for your HumBio major and area of interest. You can attend their office hours or send a simple e-mail requesting a time to meet that explains that you are looking for a faculty advisor. Confirm their ability to be your advisor.  Read best practices for emailing faculty.
  • Add Faculty Advisor to SFACT: Once a faculty member agrees to be your HumBio major advisor, ask an SA to add them to your SFACT Course of Study page. This will automatically send an email asking the Faculty Advisor to approve your COS in SFACT and sign on as your major advisor. 
4. Final Check with Student Services Staff & Apply for the Major in Axess
  • Apply for the Major: In Axess, add the Human Biology major. Instructions and screenshots are available on the student services website
  • Grade Check: A Human Biology Student Services officer will do a grade check, confirm your degree option and process your major declaration in Axess. Congratulations! You are now a "declared major" with HumBio and the University. 
5. After Declaring
  • Continue to meet with your Faculty Advisor: Be sure to meet at least once in your Junior year and once in your Senior year with your Faculty Advisor. In these meetings, you should inform them of any changes to your COS.
  • Course changes are allowed but require approval: All changes to your COS must be approved in advance by either an SA or the Student Services Staff. If you both agree on a suitable substitute, the change/s can then be entered and approved via SFACT. More than one change to the Depth courses requires writing an addendum to your original Cornerstone Essay which includes the added courses that need approval.
  • If you decide to revise your entire Area of Concentration, you must discuss these changes with an SA before you begin taking the classes. After the SA approves the new Area of Concentration, you must rewrite your Cornerstone Essay to reflect this revision and submit it for SA approval. Then, set up an appointment with your Faculty Advisor to discuss the changes and show them your new Cornerstone Essay. As stated before, they may have additional suggestions that would enhance your COS. Depending on the scope of the changes, you may want to consider searching for additional mentors in your new concentration or even officially switching to a Faculty Advisor who is an expert in your new area.