Biological Sciences at Brown University
It is an exciting time for the biological sciences. Since the turn of the century biologists have mapped the human genome, assembled the first synthetic virus, and discovered that mature cells can be reprogrammed to give rise to several different cell types. Our understanding of how living systems operate and integrate from the level of molecules to ecosystems continues to grow at a rapid pace. Brown’s program in Undergraduate Biology arms students with the knowledge, skills, and collaborative spirit required to tackle some of society’s more pressing issues – from disease prevention to preserving Earth’s natural heritage.
Undergraduates in the Biological Sciences can choose from more than nine concentrations. Biology students take courses and pursue research with faculty spanning six departments within the Division of Biology and Medicine. Partnerships with departments outside of the Division support interdisciplinary concentrations in Applied Mathematics-Biology, Computational Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering.
The program in Biology strives to place students in the role of the scientist. A growing number of first-year and sophomore seminars, inquiry-based, research and field courses in Biology allow students to engage with learning material in innovative ways that promote independent thinking.
With support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Biology is working with other programs on campus to use well established teaching methods that broaden participation and increase retention in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. Our goals are to bring authentic research projects into STEM courses, facilitate collaborative problem solving in large introductory courses such as Genetics, and build learning communities within courses. Learn more about the Brown-HHMI Gateway STEM Course Initiative here.
More than half of students in Biology pursue independent research. Over one-third complete a senior thesis and graduate with honors. Many students study abroad, pursue internships off campus, and work with clinical faculty in the Medical School. Over 50 percent of students in Biology pursue careers in the health sciences and work with Health Careers Advising to meet their goals. More than 20 percent of students in Biology pursue graduate studies, and others go into business, education, government and non-profit sectors.