Places to study  Studying strategies  Tutoring  Academic Improvement Plan 

In addition to the resources included here, please visit our Health & Wellbeing Resources page and our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Resources page.

Student organizations of interest to MCB undergrads

The MCB Leaders have created a Google doc which lists student organizations that may be of interest to biology students. Additional student groups and volunteer opportunities can be found via the Student Engagement Office of Student Affairs.

Biology library

The Biology Virtual Library serves the Schools of Molecular & Cellular Biology and Integrative Biology. Subject areas include all aspects of the biological sciences, biochemistry, and other interdisciplinary areas. The print collection is housed in the Funk/ACES Library.

Library guides for each department:

Biology librarian Kelli Trei and other Funk Library librarians and staff are available to provide reference services and to support your research, teaching, and learning. Contact or for support.

Schedule an appointment with the biology librarian

Places for quiet study and group meetings

MCB Learning Center

The MCB Learning Center is available to students for individual or group study sessions.

Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM CT and Thursday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM CT. Closed during campus breaks and summer sessions.

Location: Room 101 Burrill Hall

Most MCB teaching assistants, and some instructors, host office hours in the Learning Center. Specific course and instructor hours will be posted at the entrance. Students are allowed to meet with any TA assigned to their specific MCB course, regardless of the discussion they are enrolled in. The room is equipped with Apple computers for student use.

Integrative Biology Learning Center

The IB Learning Center, located in 2092 Natural History Building, is available for individual or group study during all NHB Open Hours.

Chemistry Learning Center

The Chemistry Learning Center (2120 Chemistry Annex) offers a variety of services to assist you with your chemistry courses.  Free drop-in tutoring is also available during the hours posted on their website. For more information call 217-333-2998.

Check out the online tutorials for CHEM 102 and 104.

In our experience, students who struggle in biology generally struggle because of the chemistry behind the biology, especially if you are beginning in MCB 150. The University of Illinois Department of Chemistry has put together some helpful online resources which are likely to help you in both your biology courses and your chemistry courses.

Funk ACES Library

The Funk ACES library has lots of study space and also has rooms that can be reserved for group or individual study:


Studying strategies & resources

MCB and Campus Resources


Maintenance Studying - How to study and be successful in a science course, by Brad Mehrtens, instructor for MCB 150

The Storytelling Strategy - Explaining what you think you know about a topic, by Brad Mehrtens, Instructor for MCB 150

Concept Mapping by Brad Mehrtens

Succeeding in the MCB Core, video by Alejandra Stenger


LAS Success Workshops: Open to all students, these sessions are appropriate for students wanting to improve their performance in or understanding of a particular course or subject area or to enhance their understanding of a specific major or minor.

The Writers' Workshop provides free writing assistance for University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff from all disciplines and levels. Discuss your writing with consultants who are experienced writers and teachers of writing. Consultants are available to meet at the MCB Learning Center for 50-minute appointments.


The Division of General Studies Tool Kit includes tips on time management, organization, learning styles, note-taking, and much more.

    Tutoring Services

    School of MCB Tutoring

    The School of MCB offers free peer-tutoring for the following courses.

    MCB 150, MCB 250, MCB 251, MCB 252, MCB 253, MCB 354, MCB 244 & 245 (fall only), and MCB 246 & 247 (spring only).

    If you are interested in being matched with a tutor please reach out to your course coordinator or academic advisor. You can also email Dara Lawyer ( directly to be matched with a peer tutor based on your schedule.

    Please note, peer tutoring not intended to replace meetings with your instructors or teaching assistants. Your first resource for all MCB courses should be the instructor. Our tutors do not have access to course materials, so you will need to bring those with you to the appointment. Tutors facilitate tutees’ understanding of course content and its applications to and implications for tutee’s lives. Tutors provide academic direction by modeling effective learning and study strategies and facilitating independent, competent student behaviors.  

    Student Expectations for SMCB Tutoring Appointments

    Students are expected to: 

    • attend class regularly, arrive to class prepared, and communicate with instructors about difficulties being experienced. 

    • be prompt for tutoring sessions. The tutor is not required to wait longer than 15 minutes past the appointed time. Tutors are not required to extend sessions due to lateness. 

    • come prepared for each session by reading class materials, attempting homework assignments ahead of time, and preparing questions for the tutor. Your tutor WILL NOT do assignments for you. 

    • stay in touch with your tutor and confirm scheduled sessions. 

    • notify your tutor at least 2 hours in advance of any changes or cancellations. Missing two (2) sessions in a row (unexcused) may end tutoring services. 

    • notify the tutor coordinator if tutoring is no longer needed, or if the arrangement needs to be changed. 

    • Up to 2 hours of tutoring per week is permitted 

    • Tutoring must take place in a public area that is mutually agreed upon by student and tutor.  

    • Virtual tutoring sessions are by request only (as a tutor you can decide to offer). Optional. 

    • Tutoring will end on Reading Day.  

    • Violation of the Student Conduct Code (see Student Handbook) may end tutoring services. 

    Integrative Biology Tutoring

    Students enrolled in IB courses are encouraged to utilize the course instructors as their best resource for help, but if you are interested in finding a personal tutor please contact Integrative Biology Advising ( for alternative possibilities .

    Chemistry Learning Center & Tutoring

    The Chemistry Learning Center (230 Davenport Hall) offers a variety of services to assist you with your chemistry courses.  Free drop-in tutoring is also available during the hours posted on their website. For more information call 217-244-5581.

    Check out the online tutorials for CHEM 102 and 104.

    In our experience, students who struggle in biology generally struggle because of the chemistry behind the biology, especially if you are beginning in MCB 150. The University of Illinois Department of Chemistry has put together some nice online resources which are likely to help you in both your biology courses and your chemistry courses.

    Mathematics Tutoring

    The Department of Mathematics offers free tutoring for students in select math courses.  Consult the math website for the schedule for each specific course and to find a list of private tutors. Tutoring hours may change during exam weeks or due to special circumstances; students should check their course webpage for up-to-date information. Tutoring is MOST effective when students seek it little by little throughout the semester. The tutoring rooms are usually packed right before exams, but cramming may not lead to success on math exams.

    The Math and Statistics Student Support Center (SSC) provides walk-in academic support and tutoring for students enrolled in a set of core introductory mathematics and statistics courses. The center is staffed by qualified teaching assistants and course assistants.

    Physics Tutoring

    Fee-based tutoring is available through the Physics Department (from $5 to $40/hr).  Visit the Physics course web site for more information.

    Economics Tutoring

    The Department of Economics Tutor Center is located in room 21 (basement) David Kinley Hall and is open Monday-Thursday, 1-5PM . This tutoring service is free and available to any and all undergraduate students taking econ courses, as well as CALC I and CALC II. More information on this center, as well as additional information on additional academic assistance, can be found on the Economics website. Tutors are able to assist with general questions and concepts. Specific questions about homework or tests should be directed towards your TA or Instructor during office hours.

    Office of Minority Student Affairs Tutoring

    The Office of Minority Student Affairs offers a variety of services including tutoring, review sessions and supplemental instruction.

    Residence Halls Tutoring

    Many residence halls on campus offer free drop-in tutoring in Math, Chemistry, Physics and Writing.  Check with your Resident Director for more information.

    Academic Improvement Plan

    Probation serves as a warning that poor academic performance or failure to complete requirements in a timely fashion may jeopardize future enrollment status at and graduation from the University of Illinois.

    Once notified of your academic status, you will be asked to meet with an advisor and sign an advising contract to participate in our probation program. Through this program you will be required to meet with an advisor (ideally the same one) at least three times during the semester. Once you have completed your required three meetings you may continue to meet with your advisor should you find it necessary and/or beneficial. If you miss any of the three required meetings a hold will be placed on your account until a meeting is scheduled.

    Getting help

    Seek advice from your academic advisor as soon as you know of your academic status or are notified by an advisor. We are here to help you get back on track. Advising staff will discuss with you what went may have gone wrong and help strategize a new plan and help set new and attainable goals.

    If you are struggling with a particular class; see the professor or TA during his/her office hours.  Even seek help from your fellow students who may have a better grasp of the class and form a study group. Collaboration and perseverance will help you prevail.

    Types of probation

    Types of Academic Probation


    Beginning freshman

    Code 1 Beginning freshman who does not earn at least a 2.00 (C) University GPA in the first semester is placed on a 2.00 probation for the next term.


    All other students



    Code 1A

    A student whose cumulative university GPA is < 2.00 and who does not earn at least a 2.00 in any semester or summer session is placed on a 2.00 probation for the next term.
    Code 1B A student whose cumulative university GPA is 1.75-1.99, inclusive, is placed on a 2.25 probation.
    Code 1C A student whose cumulative university GPA is < 1.75 is placed on 2.33 probation
    Codes 1G, 1H, 1P, 1T College-determined probation levels assigned at grade audit.

    Biology majors

    Low core grades If you have received a C- or lower in one or more MCB core courses, it is recommended that you meet with an advisor. Previous experience has shown that students who do poorly in a core course tend to struggle with future MCB courses.
    Low major GPA MCB majors are required to have a major GPA of 2.00 or better.  If your major GPA is <2.00 you will be required to meet with an advisor and a hold will be placed on your account until you do.


    Advising agreement, progress reports, time management forms

    MCB Advising Agreement (Word Doc)
    To be filled out with your advisor.

    Advising Self-Assessment Online Survey
    Log in with your netid and AD password
    Complete prior to your first visit with advisor.

    Course and Exam Progress Report (Fillable PDF) (Word Doc)

    To be updated during visits with your Advisor throughout the semester
    Includes a listing of all current courses, instructors, contact information for instructors, office hours, dates of exams & major assignments and grades earned thus far.

    Time Management Form (Fillable PDF) (Word Doc) 
    Used to set a consistent study schedule for the semester. Allows student to set aside time for reading, reviewing notes, attending office hours, etc. Can be updated as needed.