School of Science
Course VII -- BiologyBiology is currently the third most popular major among undergraduate students at MIT, with numbers increasing rapidly each year.
The department prides itself on its many Nobel Laureates, eminent researchers, and excellent teaching faculty. In contrast to programs at other universities, the MIT Biology department has a strong focus on the molecular and cellular aspects of biology.
Currently, there are 57 faculty members in the biology department including those holding joint appointments with other institutions. Of these members, 39 are professors, seven are associate professors, and 11 are assistant professors. There are eleven women faculty members.
Many biology students decide to participate in UROPs for credit during the school year. The biology department itself only funds UROPs in the summer with grants from Howard Hughes Medical Institute; students are also funded by grants from professors either during the school year or in the summer.
For students who do not desire to pursue biological research or cannot fit all Course VII requirements into their schedule because of another major, the biology department offers a special program, VII-A. This program is identical to the course VII curriculum in all respects without the project laboratory requirement.
Biology students and faculty truly enjoying studying their major. Biochemistry (7.05) Professor Gene M. Brown likes not only “studying the chemistry of life,” but also enjoys “teaching and dealing with students.”
Tracy C. Huang ’01 likes the major because there are “good professors and optional problem sets. There are awesome labs to work in.”
Biology students did express complaints about the large size of the department.
The Biology Undergraduate Student Association (BUSA) enables students to get help in core biology classes through its tutoring program.
In addition, BUSA sponsors many events including faculty student socials, lectures, and a student poster session over IAP. It also sponsors an annual Howard Hughes Lecture featuring a distinguished speaker at the forefront of his field.
Among the students who graduate with a degree in biology, roughly 80 percent pursue a higher degree by attending either medical or graduate schools.
Of those entering employment directly following graduation, popular jobs include research assistants as well as positions within the biotechnology industry. --Jane Yoo