ScB in Biology


{return to Biology}

(20 courses)

The concentration program for the ScB in Biology consists of 20 courses consisting of Background courses in math and chemistry (Part A) and ten Core courses in biological sciences (Part B), including at least ONE from each of these three Areas: Area 1: Cell/Molecular Biology, Area 2: Structure/Function/Development, and Area 3: Organismal/Population Biology, and a TRACK (Part C), a three-course grouping.  Part B also requires research (BIOL 1950/1960). There are seven tracks offered, with flexibility as to the courses that may be included in each: CEMB (Cell and Molecular Biology); EBIO (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology); IMMU (Immunobiology); NBIO (Neurobiology); PHBI (Physiology and Biotechnology); MAR (Marine Biology); and PHSC (Physical Sciences):

  • PART A: Prerequisites in math, chemistry and physics
  • PART B: Ten CORE courses in biological sciences, including Research (BIOL 1950/1960); and fulfillment of the AREA requirements
  • PART C: Three courses for the Track

Part A: Background Courses (7 courses)

Students are required to take the following courses or have AP or IB equivalents:

  • Calculus (MATH 0090 and 0100; or MATH 0170)
  • Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure (CHEM 0330); Organic Chemistry (CHEM 0350); Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 0360)
    (for the MAR track, CHEM 0360 may be replaced with approved courses in Geology)
  • Physics 0030 (or 0060 or ENGN 0030)
  • Physics 0040 (or 0060 or ENGN 0040)

Part B: Core Courses (10 courses), including research courses:

  • The Foundation of Living Systems (BIOL 0200) or equivalent (4 or 5 AP score or similar IB or A-levels)
  • At least two BIOL or NEUR courses (numbered at the 1000 or 2000 level; unless otherwise noted
  • At least three BIOL courses with laboratory
  • No more than one FYS course (BIOL 0190 series) or one Sophomore Seminar (BIOL 0940) may be used towards the core
  • Approved research projects (BIOL 1950/1960) may be included in the Core, and will carry credit as ONE lab and ONE 1000-level course
  • At least one course in each of three broadly defined Areas of biology (see Area course list, below)
  • Research, via an approved project for credit (BIOL 1950/1960); an approved summer UTRA project at Brown; an approved project equivalent to at least a semester of work conducted at an institution away from Brown. Away- or summer projects do not count towards the number of courses required for the Core, so must be replaced by tuition- bearing courses to make up the difference. The content of the research should be conceptually and/or methodologically relevant to the track, and be advisor-approved. Typically, at least two semesters of research is expected. For information, refer to the Research Projects Collection a searchable database offered by the Office of Biology Undergraduate Education. For the Marine Track, research at an approved marine lab or field station is encouraged, for a summer or semester.


Besides BIOL 1950/1960, these other experiences can be used to fulfill the ScB research requirement:

  • UTRA-sponsored research, that is Brown faculty-supervised/sponsored
  • REUs or other 10-week summer research fellowship programs, conducted away from Brown
  • Approved research* conducted during the academic semester at another institution, which requires review of the project by a Brown faculty member conversant with the research area, as well as concentration advisor's approval. Written documentation will be expected for these reviews.
    *These categories require review of the project by a Brown faculty member conversant with the research area, as well as advisor's approval. Detailed written or oral documentation will be expected from the student for this review.
    Note: The ScB requires 13 courses in the Core plus Track, regardless of how the research requirement is fulfilled. For example, approval of a summer project may waive the need for BIOL 1950/1960, but other courses must then be submitted to make up the total of 13 courses.

The AREA REQUIREMENTS: fulfilled by taking at least ONE course in each of three Areas listed: Area 1: Cell/Molecular Biology; Area 2: Structure/Function; and Area 3: Organismal/Population Biology

Area 1 - Cell/Molecular

Introductory Biochemistry (BIOL 0280), Genetics (BIOL 0470), Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOL 0500), Introductory Microbiology (BIOL 0510), Principles of Immunology (BIOL 0530), Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell (BIOL 1050), Cell Physiology and Biophysics (BIOL 1100), Analysis of Development (BIOL 1310), Principles of Neurobiology (NEUR 1020)

Area 2 - Structure/Function/Development

Vertebrate Embryology (BIOL 0320), Biological Design: Structural Architecture of Organisms (BIOL 0400), Plant Organism (BIOL 0440), Principles of Physiology (BIOL 0800), Cell Physiology and Biophysics (BIOL 1100), Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates (BIOL 1880), The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR 0010)

Area 3 - Organismal Biology/Population

Diversity of Life (BIOL 0210), The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease (BIOL 0380), Experimental Evolution (BIOL 0370), Vertebrate Evolution and Diversity (BIOL 0390), Biological Design: Structural Architecture of Organisms (BIOL 0400), Invertebrate Zoology (BIOL 0410), Microbes in the Environment (BIOL 0415), Principles of Ecology (BIOL 0420), The Evolution of Plant Diversity (BIOL 0430), Insect Biology (BIOL 0460), Conservation Medicine (BIOL 0475), Evolutionary Biology (BIOL 0480),The Computational Theory of Molecular Evolution (BIOL 1430), Human Population Genomics (BIOL 1465), Animal Locomotion (BIOL 1800), Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates (BIOL 1880), Environmental Science in a Changing World (ENVS 0490)


The Core may include up to two RELATED courses from the approved list below. These must be above prerequisite level, and suitable for science concentrators.

  • Applied Mathematics: Methods of Applied Mathematics I, II (APMA 0330), and above (except APMA 0420)
  • Chemistry: CHEM 0360 and above
  • Cognitive Linguistic and Psychological Sciences: Brian Damage and the Mind (CLPS 0470), Perception and Mind (CLPS 0500), Principles of Behavioral Neuroscience (CLPS 0410), Psychophysiology of Sleep and Dreams (CLPS 1140), Laboratory in Genes and Behavior (CLPS 1193), CLPS 0110, Mechanisms of Animal Behavior, and others with advisor approval
  • Computer Science: Introduction to Scientific Computing (CSCI 0040), and above
  • Engineering courses above ENGN 0040 except ENGN 0090 and 0900
  • Environmental Sciences: 0450,1455
  • Geology: Physical Processes in Geology (GEOL 0220), and above
  • History or Philosophy of Science: Nineteenth-Century Roots of Modern Science (HIST 1190); others by permission of advisor
  • Mathematics: Intermediate Calculus (MATH 0180), and above
  • Physics: PHYS 0470 and above
  • Statistics - e.g., SOC 1100, CLPS 0090, BIOL 0495, APMA 0650, EDUC 1100; PHP, and others with approval
  • Social Studies in Biology: BIOL 0920; BIOL 1920--all sections. These courses provide related credit only.


Part C: Track (3 courses)

The Track requires three additional courses beyond the Core.

  • Three¬†additional¬†biological sciences courses (not including BIOL 1950/1960 research) that form a logical thematic grouping to be approved by the advisor. Note: At least two, and preferably all three, must be above 1000-level.Possible Tracks are: CEMB (Cell and Molecular Biology); EBIO (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology); IMMU (Immunobiology); NBIO (Neurobiology); PHBI (Physiology and Biotechnology), MAR (Marine Biology)
  • (PHSC, Physical Sciences Track): Three additional courses from the following areas, (above prerequisite level): applied mathematics, chemistry, computer science, engineering (except ENGN 0090, 0900), mathematics, physics, geology. Courses should form a cohesive grouping, approved by the advisor.


  • Advanced courses for CEMB: 1270,1050,1310,1330,1540, 1200 (typically, BIOL 0280, 0470, or 0500 would be included in this track)

  • Advanced courses for IMMU: 1520,1550,1560,1600, 1290 (typically, BIOL 0530 would be included in this track)

  • Advanced courses for MPPB: 1090,1100,1110,1190,1200,1120,1140,1150, 1200, 1300 (typically, BIOL 0800 would be included in this track)

  • Advanced courses for EBIO:1800,1880,1470,1475,1465,1430,1420,1410,1440,1500, 1485

  • Advanced courses for NEUR: see NEUR listings 1000 level or above; BIOL 1100, 1100, 1190, 1260 (typically, NEUR 0010 would be included in this track)

  • Advanced courses for MAR: 1440, GEO 1100,1110,1120,1130,1240,1330,1580, ENVS 1445 (typically, BIOL 0410 or ENVS 0455 would be included in this track)

  • Note: Each of the Biology departments also offers graduate seminars (2000-level) that may allow undergraduates, and may be used as an advanced course in the Track.



  1. For double concentrations, no more than two courses may be used to meet requirements of both programs.
  2. A given biology course may fulfill both an Area and lab requirement and or advanced course requirement.
  3. No more than two semesters of directed research (e.g., BIOL 1950/1960) may be used towards the concentration program. Each does count as an individual core towards the program (hence, these are two courses); but only carry ONE lab credit towards the three required, and one "advanced level" course.
  4. A limited number of transfer or study abroad courses may be used within the program, subject to approval of advisor.
  5. These courses DO carry biology concentration credit: ALL BIOLOGY, except <0100, 0920 and 1920 sections, and ALL NEUR.
  6. These courses do NOT carry Biology concentration credit: those numbered <0100; and BIOL 1920 sections. and >3000.