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Undergraduate Majors: (click on the title to visit the home page)


Course 7 and 7A

The biology program leads to sophisticated understanding of fundamental processes and current approaches in Biology, with emphasis on molecular and cellular biology. All majors participate in laboratory research, with focus on experimental design and data evaluation. The Department contains more than sixty diverse research groups including four Nobel laureates.

Biological Engineering

Course 20

The Department of Biological Engineering is defining a new discipline in which engineering principles of analysis, synthesis, and design are fused with biology at the molecular and cellular level, toward improved understanding of biological systems and application of biological technologies. The undergraduate program in Biological Engineering was launched in 2005, and is the first new major course of study to be approved at MIT in 39 years. Students learn how to integrate molecular and cellular biosciences with a quantitative, systems-oriented engineering approach to address a wide spectrum of societal needs including diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, design of novel materials, devices, and processes, and protecting the environment.

Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Course 9

The mission of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is to understand neural mechanisms and computational principles underlying diverse abilities such as perception, learning, language and cognition. The degree program provides comprehensive training in experimental and computational neuroscience, with rich opportunities for the students to engage in cutting-edge laboratory research in both basic and applied domains. The Department has forty seven faculty members, organized in four overlapping tracks: Cell and molecular, systems, computational and cognitive neuroscience.

Chemical Engineering

Course 10B

The Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering is intended for the student who is specifically interested in applying chemical engineering to biological technologies. The degree requirements include a strong chemistry and biology foundation, core chemical engineering subjects, and additional subjects in applied biology. This degree is excellent preparation for students also considering the biomedical engineering minor or medical school.


Course 5

Chemistry students working at the interface with biology investigate the synthesis, properties, structures and chemical transformations of living systems. Through UROP, majors participate in the synthesis of biologically active molecules, some of which could become next generation therapeutics, probe the mechanisms of biochemical reactions, and use chemical genetics to probe systems-level regulation of biochemical networks. The department is comprised of thirty diverse research groups including 3 present and former Nobel Laureates.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Course 1

The study of Civil and Environmental Engineering integrates the physics, chemistry and biology of natural and man-made environments, with special emphasis in the Life Sciences on environmental microbiology. Introductory subjects include Ecology, Systems Microbiology, branches of the Life Sciences that examine the co-evolution of organisms and environment. Many CEE faculty are involved in Life Sciences research, from the genomic to ecosystem level, and some have joint appointments in Biology and Biological Engineering.

Computer Science and Molecular Biology

Course 6-7

Joint degree program that combines rigorous training in both molecular biology and computer science.

Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Course 12

The Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Department offers undergraduate preparation for professional careers in a wide range of fields, including environmental science, with a focus on geobiology and biogeochemistry. Students learn the geologic context for the origin of life and the history of life's reciprocal interactions with the Earth's surface environment including controls on climate and the chemistry of the oceans and atmosphere. Studies of life in extreme environments can be applicable to determining habitability zones for life on other planets. Students are required to take a field and/or laboratory subjects, and to complete an independent research project as part of the degree requirements.

Electrical and Computer Science (Bioelectrical Engineering)

Course 6

EECS provides a rich set of opportunities to measure, model, and build systems to understand and manipulate complex biological systems. Applications range over all scales -- from micro and nanoscale systems to study biomolecules and cells, to genome and proteome scale systems to study computational molecular biology, and to the organism and societal scale systems for imaging and bioinformatics.

Materials Science and Engineering

Course 3

The discipline of Materials Science & Engineering intersects with the life sciences through the development of new materials for medicine, the design of new tools for basic biology, and the application of MSE principles to understanding structure-property relationships in natural biological materials. Examples of such intersections include the design of new materials for diagnostics (such as nanoscale DNA arrays for transcriptional profiling), medical devices (such as multifunctional optical fibers for surgery), drug delivery (such as nanoparticles for vaccines or siRNA delivery), and tissue engineering scaffolds, and in the analysis of how the structure of native biological materials dictates their fascinating properties. Course 3 students are exposed to these application areas both within the core curriculum (particularly within 3.034 Organic and Biomaterials Chemistry) as well as via electives such as 3.052 Nanomechanics of Materials and Biomaterials, and 3.053 Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Biomechanics, and 3.051 Materials for Biomedical Applications. UROPs in Course 3 laboratories provide opportunities to explore the intersection of MSE with the life sciences first hand. Course 3A provides curriculum flexibility for students interested in pre-medicine.

Mechanical Engineering

Course 2A

This program is designed for students whose academic and career goals demand greater breadth and flexibility than are allowed under the mechanical engineering program. Students have the opportunity to combine a rigorous grounding in core mechanical engineering subjects with an individualized course of study focused on a second area. Potential concentrations include biomedical and premedicine. This program allows students an opportunity to tailor a curriculum to their own needs, starting from a solid mechanical engineering base. The overall program must contain a total of at least 144 units of engineering topics appropriate to the field of study and an apparent relationship between the concentration subjects and the concentration itself.

Physics, Flexible Option

Course 8

MIT Physics offers two tracks in its undergraduate major. One of them, the flexible option, can be used to design a program for students also interested in the life sciences. This option provides a strong background in the fundamentals of physics while at the same time including a three-course focus requirement that can be satisfied with subjects in the life sciences.

Science, Technology, and Society

How do the life sciences reflect and reshape their social, economic, and political contexts? How do they affect individual lives? What ethical questions do they raise? The STS curriculum includes a cluster of subjects that consider the social relevance of the life sciences from historical and contemporary perspectives. Students majoring in the life sciences may pursue a double major in STS, which has a 14-subject requirement, or they can do a six-subject minor. Alternatively, students may integrate studies in STS and life sciences in the context of a single degree (via course 21S)

Life Sciences at MIT

for Undergraduates

The expansion of Life Sciences has been enormous over the last decades. Today, biological topics and methods can be found in almost all Science and Engineering disciplines. At MIT many departments offer majors or minors that have a Life Sciences focus. Undergraduates will encounter Life Sciences in courses, in undergraduate research (UROP) and in future careers. Look at the offerings collated here to find the important and exciting opportunities open to MIT undergraduates.

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