Changes to the Biology major

The undergraduate degree programs in Biology at Brandeis will undergo substantial changes in curricula and in the requirements for the majors. The new rules will take effect for students matriculating in Fall 2013 or later.

A meeting to discuss the new changes in, and to answer questions students might have about, the Biology major will be held on Tuesday April 9 from 5-6 pm in Gzang 122.

The cornerstone of the new curriculum is the introduction of a new three semester set of courses: BIOL 14a (Genetics and Genomics), BIOL 15b (Cells and Organisms) and BIOL 16a (Evolution and Biodiversity). This sequence replaces the existing two semester sequence BIOL 22a/22b, and follows new pedagogical principles for teaching Biology.  At the same time, the expanded course sequence will help cover additional material that premedical students will need for the new MCAT exams that was not covered in core courses in the past.

The new set of courses can be taken in any order and is designed to be accessible to freshmen. By providing more flexibility and encouraging majors to take these courses early in their stay at Brandeis, students (and especially midyear entrants) will have greatly increased opportunities to take more advanced, specialized courses and to do research in their junior and senior years. BIOL 22a/22b will not be offered in 2013-2014, rather the new courses will commence in the fall.

There are two different degrees offered. The Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology provides students with a general background in biology and provides flexibility with fewer requirements for quantitative and physical science courses. The Bachelor of Science degree in Biology is an intensive biology option that provides students with a strong background in several areas of biology and is recommended for students pursuing a career in research.

Some changes of note: Physics I, II lecture and lab are required only for the BS, not for the BA.  BCHM 100 is no longer required for the BS.  The number of electives needed for the BA is 5, for the BS, it is 6;

Currently declared Biology majors will have the choice whether to pursue a degree under the old rules or the new rules – there is an online form to declare a choice, between current rules [the ones in effect when you matriculated] or the new rules, but there will be no mixing of rules.

With a new set of rules, advisors and students alike are grappling with how to handle the changes. Some documents prepared by the faculty may help:

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