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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
Analytic Geometry and Calculus
and Analytic Geometry and Calculus
Introductory Calculus, Part II
Advanced Placement Calculus
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
Evolutionary Biology
and Biochemistry
Select one course in structure/function/development such as:
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:
The Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease
Invertebrate Zoology
Principles of Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
Conservation Biology
Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates
Environmental Science in a Changing World
Or a course from the NEUR 1940 series
Two Biology or Neuroscience courses. At least one must be at the advanced level.
THEME: With the advisor's assistance, a theme is chosen and a cohesive set of courses ae selected from ourside of Biology. See Notes below:4
SENIOR CAPSTONE ACTIVITY: Must be conducted during the senior year, fulfilled by one of the following, and related to the student's chosen theme: 1
1) Advisor approved senior seminar or advanced course related to the theme
2) One semester of independent research/independent study (BIOL 1950 or BIOL 1960); in the case of a senior honors thesis, both BIOL 1950 and BIOL 1960 can be used as the capstone.
3) An appropriate internship with a scholarly context can be used if coupled with a semester of indpendent study mentored by a Brown faculty member.
Total Credits14


  • Approved courses must be above the introductory level and at least one must be 1000-level or above. 
  • No more than TWO courses from a given department may be included in the theme portion.
  • Students can choose from SIX theme options: 1) Health Behavior, 2) Environmental Health, 3) Global/International Health, 4) Social Context of Health and Disease, 5) Health Systems, Structure and Policy, and 6) Women's/Children Health.
  • NOTE: Beginning with the Class of 2020: Health Systems, Structure and Policy and Women's/Children Health will be eliminated.
  • Students will then select from FOUR theme options: 1) Health Behavior, 2) Environmental Health, 3) Global/International Health, 4) Social Context of Health and Disease. 

CAPSTONE: See for more information on the Capstone Activity.

HONORS:  See more information about Honors at