Student and instructor working in lab

Biology for MIT Undergraduates

The MIT Biology Undergraduate Experience

Students in the MIT Department of Biology thrive in an atmosphere that promotes exploration and collaboration across all areas of research and study. The department’s strong faculty rankings reflect that MIT Biology professors have a passion for instruction and strive to teach each course better than it’s ever been taught before. This mindset is infectious. Undergraduates and teaching assistants enhance the quality of the department with their research, knowledge, and creativity. Rigorous standards and a supportive culture combine to foster a powerful environment for learning at MIT.

Undergraduate study in the department provides a strong foundation for research and careers in the biomedical industry, medicine, pharmaceutical and biotech management and finance, intellectual property law, bioethics, forensics, and teaching.

Degree Options

The undergraduate program offers four biology degree options. 

  • Bachelor of Science in Biology/Course 7
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology/Course 7-A
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology/Course 5-7 (offered jointly by MIT Biology and Chemistry)
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Molecular Biology/Course 6-7 (offered jointly by MIT Biology and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)

Biology majors may also choose to focus their study on one of nine specific tracks or subfields within the biology curriculum:

  • general biology
  • biochemistry
  • bioengineering
  • biophysics
  • cell, developmental, and molecular biology
  • computational biology
  • human biology
  • microbiology
  • neurobiology

In addition to its three undergraduate majors, the department offers a minor in biology. Learn more about areas of study and requirements.


The undergraduate curriculum is designed to give students a sophisticated understanding of the fundamental principles and prevailing and emerging approaches to biology with particular emphasis on molecular and cellular biology. MIT’s distinct General Institute Requirements (GIR) give biology students an exceptionally high competency in the foundational knowledge essential to scientific inquiry. Coursework emphasizes methods and logic rather than a particular set of facts. 

All undergraduate majors participate in laboratory research to gain a working knowledge of experimental design, data evaluation, and scientific presentation. The department conducts research in the following fields, and undergraduates are exposed to a broad range of these activities:A student purifying genomic DNA from unknown bactetiophage

  • biochemistry and biophysics
  • bioengineering
  • cancer biology
  • cell biology
  • computational and systems biology
  • developmental biology
  • genetics
  • human genetics
  • immunology
  • microbiology
  • molecular medicine and human disease
  • neurobiology
  • plant molecular biology
  • structural biology

Studies in these areas employ theoretical and computational approaches as well as experimental model systems, including human, mouse, frog, fish, fruit fly, worm, plant, yeast, bacteria, and cell culture in vitro. 

MIT Biology’s five affiliated labs and research centers afford unprecedented opportunities for undergraduates to participate in groundbreaking projects and interdisciplinary collaborations with clinical and therapeutic applications. Learn more about MIT Biology’s research locations. Students also can pursue independent research projects through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).


Course 7 Highlights

Contact the Undergraduate Program

Email: undergradbio [at]

Phone: (617) 253-4718
Fax: (617) 258-9329

Undergraduates in Biology conduct research. One way is through UROP

What's it like to be a Biology major at MIT? Life as a Biology Undergrad

Thinking about applying? MIT Admissions

Explore MIT Biology research opportunities for undergraduates