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Undergraduate Program

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Undergraduate students in BBE have the ability to enroll in one of three undergraduate options—bioengineering, biology and Computation & neural systems.
 
The undergraduate option in biology is designed to build on a solid foundation in mathematics and physical science by providing an introduction to the basic facts, concepts, problems, and methodologies of biological science. The options serves as a basis for graduate study in any field or for admission to the study of medicine.
 
The undergraduate option in bioengineering, provides a foundation for graduate studies in the application of engineering principles to the design, analysis, construction, and manipulation of biological systems, and in the discovery and application of new engineering principles inspired by the properties of biological systems.

How does the brain compute? Can we endow machines with brain-like computational capability? Faculty and students in the computation & neural systems program ask these questions with the goal of understanding the brain and designing systems that show the same degree of autonomy and adaptability as biological systems. Disciplines such as neurobiology, electrical engineering, computer science, physics, statistical machine learning, control and dynamical systems analysis, and psychophysics contribute to this understanding. The unifying theme is the relationship between the physical structure of a computational system (molecular, neuronal, or electronic hardware), the dynamics of its operation, and the computational problems that it can efficiently solve.
 
Instruction in both undergraduate programs is offered in the form of participation in the ongoing research programs of the division, as well as in formal course work. Course work emphasizes the more general and fundamental properties of living organisms, and areas of current research interest, rather than the traditional distinct fields within the life sciences.
The division encourages undergraduate participation in its research program and believes that research participation should be a part of each student's program of study. Students may elect to prepare an undergraduate thesis (Bi 90). Research opportunities may be arranged with individual faculty members, or guidance may be obtained from a student's individual faculty adviser in the division or from the biology undergraduate student adviser.
 
Flexibility to accommodate varied individual scientific interests, within the broad scope of biology and biological engineering, is achieved through the provision of elective courses, arrangements for individual research (Bi 22), and tutorial instruction (Bi 23). In addition, arrangements may be made to take courses at neighboring institutions in fields of biology that are not represented in our curriculum.

Premedical Program

The undergraduate course for premedical students is essentially the same as that for biology students and is intended as a basis for later careers in research as well as in the practice of medicine. It differs in some respects from premedical curricula of other schools; however, it has been quite generally accepted as satisfying admission requirements of medical schools.

It is recommended that all students contemplating application to medical school consult with David Chan, the BBE premed adviser, and with James Berk, the premed advisor at the Career Development Center.