Health and Human Biology
Health and Human Biology is an interdisciplinary concentration whose goals are to provide a rigorous foundation in the biological sciences with substantive course work in humanities and social sciences within a subfield of Human Health and Disease.
The program includes: background courses, a biology core courses, a set of theme courses, and a Senior Capstone activity. Background courses provide the essential foundations in chemistry, mathematics, methods, and basic biology. These support the Biology core comprised of a flexible menu of intermediate and advanced courses. A required portion of the Biology core is Genetics, which is considered a cornerstone of human biology and its interface with other fields.
The Biology core underscores the related coursework within the Health and Disease Theme. This course grouping is comprised of social science and humanities courses and must form a cohesive, thoughtful cohort. Suggested theme subfoci must be discussed and approved by an advisor. It is expected that these course selections will evolve over the course of the student's college career, as each semester's experience builds on the previous one.
Finally, the human biology program requires a senior year capstone course or experience, which should build on the program's theme.
What is a CAPSTONE?
The culminating requirement for the Health and Human Biology concentration program is the Capstone. The Capstone should capture the spirit of the program in the form of either an original research project; an advanced seminar; or (occasionally) an internship activity. For this reason, it must be carried out during the senior year (the summer prior plus Semester 7 and/or 8 are acceptable.)
What constitutes a sophisticated, integrative experience will vary with each student, since the coursework and subtheme undertaken are individual. The concentration advisor should be consulted for ideas about suitable course or seminars; if a research project is intended, planning for this should occur during the prior academic year and with the consultation of the concentration advisor. In general, students develop ideas for their capstone based on previous course work. Many student in the AB program will opt for the Human biology Senior Seminar BIOL 1920C "Social Context of Disease," but there are many other individual options.
Students seeking research opportunities may explore these via the Biomed Research Projects collection at biology.brown.edu/bug/ugres; via conversations with course instructors in related areas, and also from the Capstone Samplers (biology.brown.edu/bug/human-biology) that list past Human Bio projects, organized by theme.
If the Capstone chosen is a research project, it MUST be advisor-approved, carried out under the supervision of a Brown faculty member (including those at a Brown-affiliated hospital). Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, research mentors may be drawn from faculty of other disciplines including Anthropology, Africana Studies, Gender Studies, Sociology etc. Students may either work on an aspect of a faculty member's ongoing or new research, or pursue own original idea, if there are resources and a faculty able and willing to mentor such a project.
Some senior research projects may be intended and suitable for Honors in the concentration. For information about the stages in planning, requirements, timelines and deadlines for Honors in Human Biology (requiring a primary advisor, thesis, oral presentation, second reader and excellent grades), please refer to: http://biology.brown.edu/bug/honors.