Advising in the Sciences

Many Brown students intend to concentrate in math, science, or engineering. A number of these students, along with students interested in the social sciences and humanities, plan on attending medical, dental, or veterinary school after completing their Brown degree. An even larger number of students are interested in sampling courses in the sciences as part of their liberal education at Brown. All of these students need accurate, early information about course requirements in our science programs as well as the many advising resources at Brown devoted to science, math, and engineering.

In addition to the information below, visit the Science Center website for more about advising and mentoring, research opportunities and interest groups, and faculty and administrators in the sciences.

Biological Sciences

Contact: Professor Kate Smith, Associate Dean of Biological Sciences, 863-3814

Dean Smith oversees the Biology Undergraduate Affairs Office, which is the key resource center for information and advising for students concentrating in the biological sciences as well as for students taking elective course work in the area. If advisees express interest in the biological sciences, please encourage them to visit the Biology Undergraduate Affairs Office website. Students may also join the biology listserv through the site. Dean Smith holds weekly open hours, and students may email her directly for answers to quick questions.

Computer Science

 Contact: Professor Thomas Doeppner, Vice-Chair of Computer Science, 863-7633

The CS Department offers a number of introductory courses for students concentrating in computer science and for students with a general interest in the subject. CSCI 0150 is a serious introduction to the field that is intended for both potential concentrators and those who may take only a single course in CS. Students planning to concentrate in computer science should take either CSCI 0150/0160, CSCI 0170/0180, or CSCI 0190, which is a one-semester version of CSCI 0150/0160. Information about all CS introductory courses is available at


Contact: Rod Beresford, Sr. Associate Dean, 863-1407

All incoming students who indicate a primary interest in engineering on their student information form are paired with an advisor in engineering. If you have an advisee who expresses a desire to concentrate in engineering, please refer him or her to the School of Engineering Undergraduate Programs Guide.


Contact: Professor Richard Schwartz, Math Director of Undergraduate Studies, 863-1867

To assist incoming students in choosing the right math course, the math department has a math placement guide. Math placement tests are also available at the beginning of the academic year. Students who want a taste of mathematics outside of the traditional calculus sequence may take MATH 0420: Introduction to Number Theory.

Physical Sciences

Contact: David Targan, Associate Dean of the College for Science, 863-2314

For any issue related to the physical sciences, including computer science, engineering, and math, you and your advisees may contact David Targan in the Dean of the College office. Dean Targan is Director of Science Education and is thoroughly familiar with science curricula at Brown. 

Pre-Med Advising

Contact: George Vassilev, Associate Dean of the College, 863-2781

At Brown, “pre-med” is not a concentration. Rather, it is a set of course requirements dictated by and agreed upon by most medical schools. Brown students can concentrate in just about anything and also fulfill pre-med coursework. The same is true for students interested in dental school, veterinary school, or other health careers. Dean Vassilev holds a pre-med Orientation session every year that provides students with essential information on planning a pre-med sequence. The Health Careers website contains comprehensive information about course selection and planning for students interested in health careers.