Health & Human Biology

Health and Human Biology is an interdisciplinary concentration that provides 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, 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, which is comprised of a flexible menu of intermediate and advanced courses. A required portion of the Biology core is Genetics, a cornerstone of human biology and its interface with other fields. The Biology core underscores the related coursework within the Health and Disease Theme. The Theme courses are social science and humanities courses that form a cohesive, thoughtful grouping. Theme groupings must be approved by the advisor. A required senior capstone course or activity builds on the program's focus.

Program Requirements

Four (4) courses including:
MATH 0090Introductory Calculus, Part I (or equivalent placement)1
CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure1
BIOL 0200The Foundation of Living Systems1
Statistics course chosen with advisor's help.1
In addition to the stated background in Chemistry, Math, Biology and Statistics, five (5) Biology plus four (4) coherently-grouped Theme courses, plus a Senior-Year Capstone course or project. (See description of Capstone at link below this table).
Five (5) courses, including:5
Genetics, which can be fulfilled in the following ways:
Evolutionary Biology
   and Cell and Molecular Biology
Evolutionary Biology
   and Introductory Microbiology
Select one course in structure/function/development such as:
Vertebrate Embryology
Biological Design: Structural Architecture of Organisms
Principles of Physiology
Developmental Biology
Animal Locomotion
Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates
The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience
One course in organismal/population biology such as:
BIOL 0370 - Experimental Evolution
The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease
Vertebrate Evolution and Diversity
Biological Design: Structural Architecture of Organisms
Invertebrate Zoology
Microbes in the Environment
Principles of Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
Conservation Biology
Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates
Environmental Science in a Changing World
c) Two Biology or Neuroscience courses that relate to and support the chosen theme course grouping. At least one must be at the advanced level.
THEME: (see examples below)
Four (4) appropriate and cohesively grouped courses from non-biology and non-neuroscience offerings.4
The unifying theme in this program is Human Health and Disease. With advisor's assistance, a subfocus is chosen from departments such as: CLPS, PHP, EDUC, GNSS, SOC, ANTH, HIST, SCSO, ETHN, ENVS, AFRI, PLCY, BIOL 0920 series of topics courses; BIOL 1920 series of topics courses; BIOL 1070; others by approval or suggestion of the advisor. Approved courses must be suitable for concentrators, and at least one must be advanced (>1000 level in the discipline).
1) The Capstone activity must be approved by the concentration advisor and span all or part of the Senior year.
2) Honors in Health and Human Biology is based on approved Capstone Research that yields a thesis and oral presentation, plus quality grades (see more information about Honors at the Biology website).
Total Credits14

CAPSTONE: See description of Capstone at  May be fulfilled by an independent activity such as an approved relevant advanced course, or seminar, or Directed Research (e.g., BIOL 1950/BIOL 1960, or an independent study in another Department if approved or an appropriate internship accompanied by a scholarly analysis mentored by a Brown faculty member.   

THEME: Examples of thematic subfoci that may describe a course grouping include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Health Behavior (Brain & Behavior)
  • Health Systems, Structure and Policy
  • Environmental Health
  • Global/International Health
  • Women's/Children's Health
  • Social Context of Health and Disease

HONORS:  See more information about Honors at