At Princeton, courses in the biological sciences are offered in two departments. Students with interests in molecular, cellular, and developmental processes should enroll in the Department of Molecular Biology(link is external). Those with an evolutionary orientation and interest in organismal, population, and community processes should enroll in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Students considering a concentration in molecular biology are encouraged to attend a departmental sophomore open house that is held in the spring term to introduce them to the departmental requirements, courses, faculty, and research topics.
General requirements. The following courses are required:
Organic Chemistry CHM 303 and 304/304B, or ISC 335. Courses taken at other institutions can be used toward fulfillment of the organic chemistry requirements with prior approval from the Department of Chemistry. The organic chemistry requirement must be completed before the beginning of the junior year.
Quantitative Students without AP credit in calculus can satisfy the quantitative requirement for the MOL major by taking SML 201 (recommended), ORF 245, or NEU 314 and either COS 126 (recommended) or MAT 103. For students with AP credit in calculus, the quantitative requirement for the MOL major can be met by taking SML 201 (or an approved alternative) and either COS 126 (recommended) or a higher-level math course. Neither AP credit nor courses taken at other institutions can substitute for SML 201. Courses in computer science or mathematics taken at another institution can be substituted for the second required course, if pre-approved by the corresponding department.
Physics Physics 108 (strongly recommended), or PHY 103 and 104, or PHY 101 & 102. PHY 108 is a one-semester, biologically oriented alternative to the traditional full-year sequences. Pre-medical students needing two semesters of physics can combine PHY 108 with PHY 101 or PHY 103. Neither AP credit nor courses taken at other institutions can be used toward the fulfillment of the physics requirement.
Departmental core courses. The following core courses are required: MOL 342, MOL 345, MOL 348, and MOL 350. Except under very special circumstances, these courses must be taken before senior year. All count toward departmental credit. No substitutions are allowed except in the case of integrated science courses (see below) and study abroad which, if it entails intensive research and with advanced permission, can substitute for MOL 350.
Other departmentals. All students must take a total of at least eight departmentals. In addition to the four departmental core courses, students must take at least one 300, 400, or 500-level course with MOL as the primary listing. The remaining three departmental courses can be chosen from among all 300-or-higher-level MOL, MOL-crosslisted, or other approved courses (see list on department website). Note that CHM 303, CHM 304/304B, and ISC 325 qualify as departmentals. Only Princeton courses count as departmentals; there are no exceptions to this rule.
All prerequisites, required courses, and departmentals must be taken for a letter grade (no P/D/F).
For the Classes of 2017 and 2018: For those subjects in which the general requirements have changed (physics, math, ecology and evolutionary biology), students can fulfill either the current or former requirements. Please consult the 2014-2015 Undergraduate Announcement regarding the former requirements.
Students in the Class of 2018 must follow the new requirements for "Other departmentals" as specified above.
Junior Independent Work. In the fall semester of the junior year students participate in tutorials in which they read papers from the original literature and prepare two short papers on assigned topics. In the spring semester, students carry out independent work with a faculty adviser with whom they will eventually do their senior thesis research, culminating in a paper in the form of a grant proposal.
Senior Independent Work. During the senior year each student, with the guidance of a faculty adviser, undertakes a major research effort. This research project can be a laboratory or non-laboratory-based study that will be written and presented as a senior thesis.
Students are required to present their work to two faculty thesis readers during an oral exam at which the adviser is not present. The exam usually takes about 30 minutes and students should be prepared to describe the background of the thesis, defend its contents, and propose future directions.
Juniors who wish to study abroad must fulfill chemistry requirements, and if possible MOL 345, beforehand.
While abroad, students must complete the equivalent of the fall semester junior paper. This requirement may be fulfilled by completing an independent scientific literature reading program, including weekly communication with a molecular biology faculty member and written reports. Alternatively, students may join a journal club in a research laboratory abroad, with close monitoring by a molecular biology faculty member.
Study abroad that entails intensive laboratory research can, with advance permission, substitute for MOL 350. None of the other departmental core courses can be completed abroad.
An alternative path into the department is through the integrated science curriculum. ISC 231-234 (a full-year, double-credit course) can be taken in the freshman year and substitute for MOL 214/215, CHM 201/207 and 202, COS 126, and PHY 103 and 104. Students who complete this sequence will not be required to take SML 201. ISC 335 offers an alternative to CHM 303 and 304/304B. ISC 326 offers an alternative to MOL 342. Students cannot receive credit for both an ISC course and its alternative. For full course descriptions and more information, see the integrated science website(link is external).
Approved Courses for Departmental Credit. See the departmental website(link is external) for an up-to-date list of approved departmentals. Other courses may be approved upon consideration by the departmental undergraduate committee.
Program in Biophysics. The biophysics certificate program is designed for students with strong interests in molecular biology and physics who wish to combine these two subjects in their junior and senior independent work. The program offers a combination of courses and interdisciplinary research that meet the requirements of the physics or molecular biology departments, and entry requirements of graduate schools in both physics and molecular biology. Courses are chosen with the help of advisers in the Departments of Physics and Molecular Biology. Students are admitted to the program once they have chosen their field of concentration and consulted with the program director, who will assign them an adviser.
Program in Global Health and Health Policy(link is external). The global health and health policy certificate program is an interdepartmental program in which undergraduates can study the determinants, consequences, and patterns of disease across societies; the role of medical technologies and interventions in health improvements; and the economic, political, and social factors that shape domestic and global public health. In addition to the core departmental courses, molecular biology concentrators should take GHP 350 by the end of junior year and GHP 351 by the end of senior year. Most upper-level MOL courses fulfill the requirements for the global health and health policy certificate.
Program in Neuroscience(link is external). The neuroscience certificate program is designed for undergraduates with strong interests in neuroscience who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary study of the brain in their senior independent work. The program encourages the serious study of molecular, cellular, developmental and systems neuroscience as it interfaces with cognitive and behavioral research. The program offers a combination of courses and interdisciplinary research that meet the requirements of the molecular biology and psychology departments. Students in the neuroscience certificate program will be prepared to meet the entry requirements of graduate schools in neuroscience, as well as molecular biology or psychology.
Program in Quantitative and Computational Biology. The quantitative and computational biology certificate program is designed for students with a strong interest in multidisciplinary and systems-level approaches to understanding molecular, cellular, and organismal behavior. The curriculum introduces the students to experimental and analytic techniques for acquisition of large-scale quantitative observations, and the interpretation of such data in the context of appropriate models. Strong emphasis is placed on using global genome-wide measurements to understand physiological and evolutionary processes. The required courses provide a strong background in modern methodologies in data analysis, interpretation, and modeling.
Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100.
After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department.
Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.
The full need of all admitted international students is met the same as it is for students from the United States. Your family’s ability to pay for your university education is not a factor in our admission decision. Students who qualify for financial aid will receive a grant, rather than a loan that has to be repaid, and a term-time job (8-9 hours per week) to meet their need as determined by the Financial Aid Office.
Our financial aid program is entirely based on need. Princeton does not offer academic or athletic merit scholarships. Financial aid awards cover the difference between Princeton’s costs and the amount your parents are expected to contribute to your education. The parental contribution is based on our evaluation of your financial aid application.