What is a Biology FIG?

A Biology FIG is a group of freshmen who live together in the residence hall and take two to three sets of selected courses during their first year at UTSA. The Biology FIG is for students majoring in biology that want to get a jumpstart on biology and chemistry content. There are several benefits in joining a FIG.

Biology FIG Benefits

  • Registration process very easy, your classes have been blocked especially for you.
  • Only those students selected for the Biology FIG will be allowed to register for those blocked courses.
  • Living and learning with students with similar interests and your major
  • Built-in study group.
  • Experience a small community within a large university.
  • Peer Mentors crossed trained as supplemental instructors.
  • Build a strong academic foundation.
  • Designated floors within a residence hall, early move in date.
  • Special Orientation

Biology FIG Block Scheduling

Freshmen in their first semester have a great opportunity to take multiple core classes with the same cohort of students. Block schedules help create connections amongst peers both academically, as well as socially within their Academic Studies. A block schedule is a pre-set schedule that includes AIS and two other courses in academic studies.

Enrolling in a block schedule allows first-year students to meet peers who share similar interests, have a built-in study group and support network, and complete classes that apply to their major.

Benefits of Block Schedules Include:

  • Simplifies the registration process.
  • Ensures you are taking the courses for your academic program.
  • Offers the best opportunity to register for a full-time schedule.
  • Creates opportunities to find study partners and make new friends among the students in your block.

Students selected to join the Biology FIG will have the following courses blocked:


BIO 1404 Biosciences I
CHE 1073 Basic Chemistry
AIS 1203 Academinc Inquiry Scholarship
MAT 1703 Algebra for Scientists and Engineering
one Core Curriculum course – student's choice


BIO 1414 Biosciences II
CHE 1103 General Chemistry I
two/three Core Curriculum courses - student's choice

Biology FIG Faculty

Faculty for each Biology FIG Course were selected to support science-loving students who are interested in a biology degree and/or career. They will discuss potential pathways in biology, including academic research, industry, and medicine, and help you explore the different resources on campus that can help you become involved in undergraduate research. You will learn about the research process, professionalism, how to find a faculty mentor, and how to succeed in college. Students will be able to participate in social events with faculty.

Biology FIG Peer Mentors

Biology FIG students will be paired with a Peer Mentor, a dedicated and experienced upper-classmen who has been specially trained to help new students make the transition to university life. They provide support and guidance to students on a variety of challenges and help students get further connected to the university.

The Biology FIG Peer Mentors are crossed trained as Supplemental Instructors. Supplemental Instruction is a series of weekly study sessions offered to students enrolled in historically difficult courses at UTSA. If you attend SI sessions weekly, chances are you'll earn a better grade. In fact, students who attend SI sessions regularly tend to average one half to one full letter grade higher than their classmates who do not attend SI.

In SI sessions, students work together to review lecture notes and text material, prepare for tests and improve learning strategies. SI sessions are guided by students who successfully completed the course and who are trained to facilitate collaborative study groups. SI sessions provide an opportunity for you to learn how to learn while learning what to learn.

Academic Support

Not only do all Biology FIG students benefit from having a Peer Mentor trained as a Supplemental Instructor, they will also have direct access to an Academic Coach. Academic Coaching is the one-on-one process of helping students identify their strengths and weaknesses, then devising a personalized approach to studying. Academic Coaches can help with everything from organizing and managing your time better to overcoming challenges with long term writing projects to enhancing your presentation skills.

Academic Advising

UTSA Academic Advisors offer academic advising and guidance to empower students to realize their full potential. For this reason, each student has an assigned professional Biology FIG academic advisor so the student can establish a strong mentoring relationship with her or his advisor, whom he or she may consult on all academic and curricular issues.


Students selected to join the Biology FIG will be required to live on campus for their first year. Why live on campus? Studies show students who reside on campus report a higher degree of satisfaction with their college experience, have higher retention and graduation rates, and are more likely to achieve a higher grade point average.

The convenience of living on campus is invaluable. Students are within walking distance of the library, classroom buildings, the University Center, dining options, Health Services, and the Campus Recreation Center. They can get to early morning classes without fighting traffic, and participate in a late-night study group at the library or University Center without concern about the drive home. On-campus residents also have the added security of a dedicated university police force that patrols the campus 24 hours a day.

Science Leadership

Employers have identified key skills and traits they seek when hiring a recent college graduate. These skills also lay the foundation for effective leadership which is necessary to advance in most fields, especially for those students interested in academic research and heath profession programs. To help UTSA students prepare for the challenges they will face both during their college years and beyond, Student Leadership Center is offering training in marketable leadership skills. As a member of the Biology FIG, students will have access to this training during your first year. This training is organized in three levels allowing you to advance as far as you choose to go.