Brown University offers graduate-level education in Biology on-site at the Pfizer Center for Discovery and Development Sciences in Groton, CT and online via WebEx to colleagues at remote sites. This program is a unique benefit for Pfizer colleagues and contractors who wish to extend their knowledge within the biological sciences and potentially gain the Master of Arts in Biology. The only prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree in any field.

Students take 1 graduate biology course per semester (fall, spring). After the successful completion of 2 such courses, students may apply to the Brown Graduate School for admittance. The Brown-Pfizer MA Program requires 8 courses - 2 being “core” subjects which are Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, or Pharmacology. Additionally, a final research paper on a pre-approved topic is required for graduation.

Learn more about the Brown/Pfizer Masters of Arts in Biology Program

View slides from the recent Brown/Pfizer Master of Arts in Biology informational session, including presentations on upcoming courses.

Download slides

Enrollment

Enrollment in courses must be approved on a semester by semester basis. All course enrollments are processed by the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Enrollment confirmation, fee payments and change of status requests (dropping a course, change of grade option) are processed by this office. Grades and transcripts are processed and mailed to students by the Brown Registrar's Office.

The following materials should be submitted as part of your application for the Pfizer Program course enrollment at least one month prior to the start of the term:

  1. Registration Form
  2. Statement describing your interest in taking coursework at Brown University. Note: This letter of intent need only be filed once unless the student has a change in plans of which we should be informed.

Pfizer employees should also consult with the Pfizer Human Resources Department to ensure that they have complied with all procedures required by their employer.

The deadline for enrollment in a course is the end of the week after the first class meeting.

Earlier enrollment than this is encouraged, although students are welcomed to visit the class once before making their enrollment decision.

The deadline to drop a course is the end of the second class week.

To drop a course you must submit an email to [email protected] by this deadline. A full refund of your fees will be made if you drop within the deadline.  Refunds will not be given for any requests made after this deadline.

 

Academic Policies

Taking a course for credit means that the student must meet all the course requirements as specified by the instructor. Students are also subject to the same academic policies regarding course prerequisites, grading options and extension of work as any other Brown student. (These policies are outlined in the University Course Announcement Bulletin and are available for the summer term through the publications of the Office of Continuing Education.)

Enrollment does not imply admission to candidacy for a degree. Individuals interested in admission as a graduate student should contact the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.  No financial aid is available for visiting students through Brown University.

Students should consult employer policies regarding tuition reimbursement.

Degree Requirements

To satisfy degree requirements for the Master of Arts in Biology, students in the Brown-Pfizer program must: Complete 8 Graduate courses 2 of the 8 courses must be in “core” subjects which are: Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, and Pharmacology

  • 6 of 8 courses must be completed with a grade of “B” or better

Successfully complete a “culminating experience” on topic approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. There are two options for the culminating experience: An NIH style research proposal based on an original hypothesis OR A Final paper which, based on the course work taken by the student, represents an original in-depth analysis and literature review of a problem in modern biology. Students will receive notification about specific paper requirements and deadlines at the beginning of the academic year.

How to Apply

Admission

Students interested in pursuing the Master of Arts in Biology program must apply for admission to the Graduate School after the successful completion of at least two courses.  This application indicates serious intent to complete requirements for the Brown AM (Master of Arts) degree in Biology.  To apply to the Graduate School, you must submit a completed application on line. 

The Graduate School application can be found here:  http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/application-information

Applicants should select "NON-DEGREE" and choose DIVISION OF BIOLOGY. 

You will need to indicate the term in which you plan to enroll (typically, this will be the beginning of the next semester - Spring or Fall).

You must complete the application with the necessary information and be sure to include:

  • College transcript showing conferral of Bachelor's Degree
  • A Personal Statement
  • Identify at least one person who will submit a letter of recommendation for you - the required letter should be from your supervisor at Pfizer.
  • GRE Scores are not required and do not have to be submitted.

You must submit your application electronically.  At least 2 weeks prior to submitting, please contact the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies ([email protected]) to notify us that you plan to submit your application.  We will provide you with an application fee waiver code.  

Once your application has been submitted and the Associate Dean reviews and decides that the applicant is sufficiently qualified, the Associate Dean will recommend the student for admission to the Graduate School.  You will be notified via email once your decision has been posted. 

Please note that the Brown / Pfizer Master of Arts program is available ONLY to Pfizer employees and this is why we ask you to apply as a "non-degree" student.  However, if you are accepted, you WILL become a matriculated student in the Master of Arts in Biology program.  Continuous enrollment is expected until you complete degree requirements.

Dates and Fees

Tuition Rate for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021

Tuition (per course):  $7406.75 

All fees must be paid prior to the start of classes.

Send fee payments to:

Brown University Cashier's Office
164 Angell Street
Box 1911
Providence, RI 02912

Check Conversion Notification: When you provide a check for payment, you authorize Brown University to either use the information from your check to make a one-time electronic funds transfer from your account or to process the payment as a check transaction.

When we use information from your check to make an electronic funds transfer, funds may be withdrawn from your account as soon as the same day we receive your payment and you will not receive your check back from your financial institution. For questions, please contact the Cashier's Office at 401-863-1280 or email [email protected].

Brown's standard tuition per class charge applies to the Brown-Pfizer program.  

Courses

Fall 2020

Histology  (BIOL 1890)  

Instructor: Professor Sonja Chen and Professor Ali Amin
Course Location: Due to COVID 19 concerns,  This class will be online (via Web-ex) 
Time:  Wednesdays 3pm - 6pm  (classes recorded)  First Class:  09/09/2020

Registration opens June 16, 2020

Course Description:   This course will provide an in-depth treatment of the "stuff we are made of" and the wonderful logic of its organization.  The basic architecture of the body is of primary significance in gaining an understanding of what we as human are made of, and how human body works.  Fundamental to such an understanding is the basic unit of life, the cell.  During early development, cells in the aggregate undergo specialization as tissues, which are the building blocks of the body.  This course focuses first on the biology of the four basic tissues (epithelium, connective tissue, muscle and nerve) and second, how they contribute to the functional anatomy of all organs and systems.  We will emphasize characteristic developmental, structure-function and regulatory relationships many of which are the foundation for the understanding of pathologic alteration.

 

Syllabus  (note --course will be held on line but will cover all the material listed on the syllabus)

 

Spring 2020

Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell  (BIOL 2050)  

Instructor: Professor Richard Freiman
Course Location: Pfizer Inc. (Groton, CT Main Campus).
Time:  Thursdays 3 - 6pm.  First class will be January 23, 2020

Registration opens December 1, 2019

Syllabus

This course will cover both fundamental and applied aspects of cell and molecular biology. In this course, we will review the basic molecular pathways that ensure that the eukaryotic genome is properly packaged, replicated and expressed and repaired in healthy cells. We will also explore the structure and compartmentalization inside an outside of the eukaryotic cell that help determine how cells respond to their environment and communicate with each other. In addition to covering fundamental cell biological principles and mechanisms emphasis of the material will examine how the disruption of such exquisite regulation leads to disease states and apply this mechanistic knowledge towards improving human health. 

 

Fall 2019

Molecular Targets of Drug Discovery (BIOL 2145)  

Instructor: Professor Diana Horrigan
Course Location: Pfizer Inc. (Groton, CT Main Campus).
Time:  Tuesdays 3 - 6pm.  First class will be September 10, 2019

Registration opens July 3, 2019

Syllabus

This course focuses on the identification of drug targets and the development of novel drugs. Students will also be exposed to experts in the field of drug discovery. Pre-requisite knowledge: some background knowledge in biology, physiology or cell biology would be helpful, but is not required.

Spring 2019

Biotechnology & Global Health, (BIOL 1070)  

Instructor: Professor Toni-Marie Achilli
Course Location: Pfizer Inc. (Groton, CT Main Campus).
Time:  Thursdays - 3:00 - 6:00.  First class starts January 24, 2019

Syllabus      

This course examines the issues pertaining to worldwide problems in human health and the technologies to combat these issues. Global health will be addressed primarily from the scientific and engineering perspectives. Topics include the pathophysiology and epidemiology of major human health issues, highlighting the differences between the developed and developing world. Building from the basic biology, we will analyze how disparities in the burden of disease affect the course of scientific research and how new medical technologies influence public health policies. We will consider how research and engineering approaches are tailored to address different geographical, cultural, and economic challenges, through modern case studies. Medical and research ethics will also be discussed.