Division of Biology and Medicine
Biology Undergraduate Education

Writing Requirement

Students in biology must work toward developing writing skills at least twice during their undergraduate studies.

As part of the writing requirement, all Brown undergraduates must demonstrate that they have worked on their writing both in their general studies and their concentration.

Students in their first two years of study are required to take an approved course in English, Comparative Literature, or Literary Arts, or any "WRIT" designated course across the disciplines. In their final two years, students are encouraged to explore writing in the concentration.

Students concentrating in the Biological Sciences, including the Biology AB/ScB, Health and Human Biology, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Computational Biology, Applied Math Biology, and Biomedical Engineering may satisfy the second writing requirement in two ways:

  1. By taking a WRIT designated course offered by a faculty member in the Biological Sciences. These courses can found in the course list.
  2. Many Biology students produce significant written work during independent study associated with their concentration, for example during BIOL 1950/1960, during the development of a thesis, or in advanced courses and capstone courses with major paper/project assignments. Concentrators may fulfill the second writing requirement by submitting, to the concentration advisor via ASK, a substantive written assignment focused on a specific topic in Biology. While the assignment type can vary, substantive WRIT 2 submissions will demonstrate a clearly articulated purpose, clarity in writing, unity, and coherence. Students will demonstrate the ability to write clearly, precisely, and accurately about a specific biological topic at an advanced and deep level.

Students choosing this option should discuss their WRIT intentions with the concentration advisor prior the semester during which the writing will take place. The student and mentor should work together to develop project specific expectations for the written work. The Check List for a Scientific Paper may be used as a guide.

**Students planning to submit a writing sample to satisfy the WRIT requirement must do so by the end of the 7th semester. It is strongly encourage that the student and concentration advisor agree on a specific date by which the WRIT option will be submitted via ASK so there is time for review in time for the close of the semester – especially for those submitting work in semester 7.**