- I am confused looking at Banner. What is the difference between the "Schedule" and the "Catalog"?
- What is an easy way I can back up files and precious information on my computer?
- I want to change my concentration. What is the procedure?
- I have various AP credits that have contributed to placement credit in my concentration (eg AP Bio score of 4 or 5 = BIOL 20). However, this placement does not appear on my record. What do I do?
- How are GPAs computed if coures have been taken away from Brown?
- I am applying for special programs (eg, summer, study abroad, research). Most require two or three letters of recommendation. I don't feel I know anyone that well who can speak to my strengths. What should I do? Who should I ask and how should I ask?
- WHEN should I take research for CREDIT BIOL 1950/1960? How early is too early?
For students majoring in the Biological Sciences, most programs require research as a "capstone". It is important that a foundation of solid coursework and provide a springboard for a thoughtful, sophisticated project that is useful to the student as well as to the Faculty sponsor.
Also, good research means not only depth and understanding, but TIME availability. Until the program and outside time permit, it might be best to wait until the time is actually AVAILABLE, in consideration of other commitments and course activities.
For many (most) students, this occurs senior year; for some, junior year; occasionally frosh and sophs find their way to meaningful projects. Summer is also an excellent time to test the waters in any of a plethora of programs that invite application. (See our Internship collection)
There are copious non-Brown summer programs that offer summer research and a wide variety are listed at
The Brown database of opportunities is here:
- How do I approach Brown faculty about collaborating on a research project, or becoming a mentee? Any tips?
- Is it allowable to take courses toward the concentration for "S"? And,is the decison permanent once made?
General advising and GOOD information
- How do I approach faculty (or advisors or deans) about seeing them for a consultation?
- I hear a lot of well-meaning advice (about courses, rules, opportunities, what is needed for this or that, when to be scared, what can or cannot be done, etc.) from "the grapevine." How can I be sure what is correct, and more importantly, what is right for me?
- Where can I find factual information that will dispel rumors, and clarify many points of general confusion?
- What are the career paths for students who concentrate in the Biological Sciences?
Stuff about concentration programs, credits, and courses
- If I double concentrate, how many courses can overlap programs?
- When I file my concentration form, are the courses I list there set in stone, or can they be changed?
- I wanted to take BIOL 1950/1960 this year. Is there a separate process for Honors and a capstone? And, what is the difference between these projects, Honors, and Capstones?
- Which is better, an AB or ScB?
- What is meant by "advanced course"?
- Will AP credits appear on my transcript?
- Is it possible to do two (2) concentrations, one an ScB and one an AB, in four years, and for no extra tuition cost?
- Once I become a 4th semester sophomore and have declared my concentration, do I still need a PIN to preregister for courses?
- In general, courses numbered at the 1000- level and up, are "advanced", meaning that they have some introductory and intermediate level prereqs. Also, they are more focused in the discipline, and may deal with primary literature. The fact that they are advanced does not necessarily mean they are lots HARDER than some intermediate level courses, only that they are more focused on a subtopic of the discipline. MANY intermediate level courses are plenty challenging (eg, Genetics (BIOL 0470) and Biochem (BIOL 0280), for examples!). Intermediate level courses are number below "1000."
- TWO PART QUESTION: 1) In the Biology concentration programs, can BIOL 1950/1960 (research for 2 semesters) count as ONE lab course, and as one 1000-level course, at the same time? 2) Can other stipulations overlap? For example can the same biology course be "area 1" and a lab credit?
- What courses count for concentration credit as BIOLOGY courses?
- Can the Lab requirement be met by courses other than BIOL or NEUR courses?
- Can the Research Project count in the Advanced cluster (three courses) for the ScB?
Stuff about study abroad or away
- If I study abroad or away from Brown, is there a limit on how many courses can be transferred and count towards my concentration program?
- Can I take a summer course elsewhere, and transfer it back to Brown for credit, and towards my concentration program?
- Can I study abroad or away, and transfer some of these courses toward my concentration program?
- What about grades for study abroad/away courses? Do they appear on my transcript once I transfer the courses?
Stuff about Grades
- Can I take courses in my concentration for "S"? Is there a limit?
- If I take a course for "S/NC" and feel that I would have received an "A" if the grade option were selected, is there any recourse?
- Is there such a thing as "A with distinction"?
- How do I calculate a GPA, if this is requested by some external party (employer, school, internships, etc.)?
- If I get a C in a science class, will it still be possible for me to get Honors in Biology?
- Is there a restriction on taking Concentration courses for S/NC?
- GRADES!! Am I allowed to take courses for S/NC in my concentration? Are there ANY restrictions on taking courses for S/NC?
Stuff about Research
- How do I approach faculty about research opportunities?
- Where can I find information about clinical opportunities,
especially good for students aiming at health careers?
- If I select a concentration program that requires a research project, is it required that I do a full year of research, (both BIOL 1950 and BIOL 1960), or is one semester sufficient?
- How do I go about setting up a research project as a course? Do I have to use the procedure for University ISPs, or does Bio do it a different way?
- Where should I search for research opportunities in Biomedical Sciences, at Brown?
- When I do research via BIOL 1950/1960 (fall plus spring), does each semester count as a whole course toward my concentration, so that a full year's worth would provide two (2) courses (credits) towards my program?
- When I do research via BIOL 1950/1960, does each semester count as as whole course toward my concentration?
- I've been hearing a lot about UTRAs. How can I find out information about faculty whom I can approach regarding sponsoring me for a project?
- The word THESIS is scary. Where can I find more information on what this entails, and even allay my fears?
- How can I find out more about finding and approaching faculty about setting up research projects?
- Where can I find out about Biology summer research programs and internships AWAY from Brown?
- I am confused about the difference between a Degree and a Concentration; also, what does the Brown diploma actually say?
- What is the appropriate way to address (in writing or verbally) a faculty member or a person (future employer?) in an official capacity to whom an inquiry is being made?
- Is it possible to get both an AB and an ScB in four years, OR is a fifth year required ?
- Can a summer UTRA be used to get academic credit?
- I have AP scores* that exempt me from, or replace, certain courses in my concentration program. How can this credit be made"official"?
*example: an AP score of 4 or 5 replaces BIOL 0200 in Biology concentration programs.
- There is a new designation listed for certain courses: "WRIT." What does this mean, and does it have anything to do with fulfilling pre-med English requirements?
- Where can I get some preview information about Biology courses that would help me make more informed course selections?