How does life work at the molecular level? This question is at the core of the concentration program Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In earlier years of this discipline, the focus was on structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, carbohydrates and small molecules such as vitamins. Today the logical approach and tools of biochemical science are being expanded to new areas in neuroscience, developmental biology, immunology, pharmacology and synthetic biology (the design of analogs of biological systems). Training in biochemistry begins with a foundation in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Some courses offered in other departments, including engineering, geology and computer science, are also useful. A key component of this program is the year of hands-on research carried out in collaboration with a faculty member here at Brown. Faculty sponsors are drawn from both the Chemistry Department and the Division of Biology and Medicine, and include basic science and clinical faculty.
Standard program for the Sc.B. degree
Students must take twenty courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, including the following core requirements, some of these may be fulfilled with AP credits. Students are expected to take courses that will count toward the concentration ABC/NC. Students should discuss the S/NC option with their concentration advisor if circumstances warrant consideration. Students should not register S/NC for a concentration course without advisor pre-approval.
|Three courses in mathematics, statistics and/or computer science, typically including MATH 0090, MATH 0100, or equivalent) 1||3|
|Two courses in physics, typically: 1||2|
|Basic Physics A|
or PHYS 0050
|Foundations of Mechanics|
or ENGN 0030
|Introduction to Engineering|
|Basic Physics B|
or PHYS 0060
|Foundations of Electromagnetism and Modern Physics|
or ENGN 0040
|Dynamics and Vibrations|
|Three courses in physical and organic chemistry:||3|
|Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure|
|One course in biophysical or related chemistry:||1|
|Instrumental Analysis with Environmental Applications|
|Four courses in biochemistry: 2||4|
|Inquiry in Biochemistry: From Gene to Protein Function|
Plus two of three upper level biochemistry courses:
or CHEM 1230
or CHEM 1240
|Select two semester courses of independent research approved by a concentration advisor:||2|
|Directed Research/Independent Study|
|Suggested Elective Courses:|
|Students are required to take five courses from the chart below or, with approval from a concentration advisor, from any science or mathematics course relevant to biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. 3||5|
|The Foundation of Living Systems|
|The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease|
|Microbes in the Environment|
|Cell and Molecular Biology|
|Principles of Immunology|
|Principles of Physiology|
|Biology of the Eukaryotic Cell|
|Polymer Science for Biomaterials|
|Cell Physiology and Biophysics|
|Topics in Signal Transduction|
|Protein Biophysics and Structure|
|Synthetic Biological Systems|
|Biology of Reproduction|
|Development of Vaccines to Infectious Diseases|
|Drug and Gene Delivery|
|Neuroscience Electives: 4|
|The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience|
|Biology of Hearing|
|Principles of Neurobiology|
|Introduction to Neurogenetics|
|Neuropharmacology and Synaptic Transmission|
|Physical Chemistry: Quantum Chemistry|
|Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics|
|Computational Tools in Biochemistry and Chemical Biology|
|Advanced Organic Chemistry|
|Computer Science Electives:|
|Computational Molecular Biology|
Note that the mathematics and physics requirements may be satisfied by Advanced Placement credit.
Students in the classes of 2019-2021 are required to take six electives. The five elective requirement applies to the class of 2022 and after.
or any NEUR course in Cell, Genetics, Molecular Biology, or Development.
Honors Requirements for Biochemistry
All ScB Biochemistry concentrators are candidates for Honors; no separate application is necessary.
The requirements for Honors in Biochemistry are:
* A strong grade record in concentration courses. This means a grade point average for the concentration that is higher than 3.25.
* Two semesters of Independent Study (CHEM 0970, CHEM 0980 or equivalent. Guidelines and requirements associated with Independent Study are in the Undergraduate Concentration Handbook which can be found at the department website.
* A Thesis in a form approved by the research advisor, and recommended by the research advisor. Additional information about thesis guidelines will be provided by the Concentration Advisor in the first half of the fall semester.