Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


How does life work at the molecular level? This question is at the core of the concentration program Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In earlier years of this discipline, the focus was on structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and small molecules such as vitamins. Today the logical approach and tools of biochemical science are being expanded to new areas in neuroscience, developmental biology, immunology, pharmacology and synthetic biology (the design of analogs of biological systems). Training in biochemistry begins with a foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Some courses offered in other departments, including engineering, geology and computer science, are also useful. A key component of this program is the year of hands-on research carried out in collaboration with a faculty member here at Brown. Faculty sponsors are drawn from both the Chemistry Department and the Division of Biology and Medicine, and include basic science and clinical faculty.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Develop a foundation in physics, chemistry and biology
  • Know how to handle and interpret scientific data
  • Demonstrate competence in quantitative methods
  • Conduct one year of research in collaboration with a basic science or clinical faculty member


Click here for a list of requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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Each concentrator is required to enroll in two semesters of independent research approved by a concentration advisor. Students aspiring to receive Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology must complete a thesis project representing the culmination of two or more semesters of research. An oral presentation is also required. Upon completion of the research, the faculty advisor and a second reader provide an evaluation in which the student’s work must be assessed as satisfactory or better in order for Honors to be awarded. Quality grades (A, B, and/or S with distinction) within the concentration are also required for Honors. Please see the department's website for a complete description of program requirements.

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Experience scientific inquiry

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors
201313 13 
201422 22 13 
201518 18 13 
201618 18 16 
201713 13 11 

Alumni Pathways

This program provides excellent preparation for future careers in research (academic, government, or private industry) health careers, education, technical law, or business.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Student Leaders:

  • Douglas Shea
  • Margaret Rowe

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.