CPB Concentration Requirements
Honors Info
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  • CPB Concentration Requirements

    CPB Concentration Requirements

    *MCB 65 cannot double-count as both an intermediate biology course and as a physical chemistry course

    **Students who do not take at least one course at the level of Physics 15 or 16 or Physical Science 12 must take a computational course as one of the upper level courses chosen from CS 50 or 109; Applied Math 111, 115 or 126; MCB 111, 112, 131, or 199; or other computational class approved by the Head Tutor.” shifted to the bottom, after the table.

    REQUIREMENTS

    Foundational courses
    2 half courses

    Intermediate biology
    2 half courses

    General or Inorganic Chemistry
    1 half course

    Physical Chemistry
    1 half course

    Organic Chemistry
    2 half courses

    Mathematics
    1 full course

    Physics
    1 half course in mechanics

    Physics
    1 half course in electricity and magnetism

    Upper level natural sciences
    3 half courses

    Research
    1 semester

    Tutorial

    SELECTIONS

    LS 1a (or LPS A) AND LS 1b

    MCB 60 AND

    MCB 63, 64, 65 or 68

    PS1, PS10, PS11, Chem 40, or Chem 160

    MCB 65*, MCB 199, CHEM 60, or CHEM 161

    Chem 17 AND Chem 27 or

    Chem 20 AND Chem 30

    Math 19a AND 19b or

    Math 21a AND Math 21b or

    Applied Math 21a AND Applied Math 21b

    PS 2**, PS 12a, Physics 15a or 16, or Applied Physics 50a

    PS 3**, PS 12b, Physics 15b, or Applied Physics 50b

    3 courses in the natural sciences, engineering, and/or math (e.g., 100-level CHEM, MCB, or Physics)

    A full list of courses that fulfill this requirement is posted here.

    At least one upper level project lab course chosen from: LS 100, CHEM 100, CPB 91, and CPB 99.
    For more information on getting started in research, click here. For a list of MCB faculty and their research interests, click here.

    Click here for more information.

    REQUIREMENTS
    SELECTIONS

    Foundational courses
    2 half courses

    LS 1a (or LPS A) AND LS 1b

    Intermediate biology
    2 half courses

    MCB 60 AND

    MCB 63, 64, 65 or 68

    General or Inorganic Chemistry
    1 half course

    PS1, PS10, PS11, Chem 40, or Chem 160

    Physical Chemistry
    1 half course

    MCB 65*, MCB 199, CHEM 60, or CHEM 161

    Organic Chemistry
    2 half courses

    Chem 17 AND Chem 27 or

    Chem 20 AND Chem 30

    Mathematics
    1 full course

    Math 19a AND 19b or

    Math 21a AND Math 21b or

    Applied Math 21a AND Applied Math 21b

    Physics
    1 half course in mechanics

    PS 2**, PS 12a, Physics 15a or 16, or Applied Physics 50a

    Physics
    1 half course in electricity and magnetism

    PS 3**, PS 12b, Physics 15b, or Applied Physics 50b

    Upper level natural sciences
    3 half courses

    3 courses in the natural sciences, engineering, and/or math (e.g., 100-level CHEM, MCB, or Physics)

    A full list of courses that fulfill this requirement is posted here.

    Research
    1 semester

    At least one upper level project lab course chosen from: LS 100, CHEM 100, CPB 91, and CPB 99.
    For more information on getting started in research, click here. For a list of MCB faculty and their research interests, click here.

    Tutorial

    Click here for more information.

  • Honors Info

    Concentrations make “English honors” (Honors, High Honors, and Highest Honors) recommendations to the College. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences makes Latin honors (cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude) recommendations based on the overall record. A complete description of the Harvard College honors process is described in the Student Handbook (see “Academic Information: Requirements for Honors Degrees).

    We encourage students to remember that distinctions among levels of Honors in fact make little difference in the outside world. The biggest difference between a “summa” and a “cum” may be in the reaction of family and friends on commencement day, and some of our most promising students graduate “cum”. So please do not design your plan of study with distinctions of honors in mind. A sensible and exciting program of courses and research is what matters – not a bit of Latin on your diploma.

    The most important advice we can give is to construct a creative and challenging academic program based on your interests and the concentration requirements, engage in laboratory research so that you can experience the excitement of contributing to the discovery of new knowledge in the field, and take tutorial seriously as an opportunity to be mentored by a senior scientist.

    With that in mind, the following outlines how honors recommendations are made for CPB concentrators:

    1. A preliminary ranking is established, based on a numerical average of courses accepted for concentration credit that is calculated as follows:

    2/3 average of all concentration course grades + 1/3 average of the three thesis grades

    1. A concentration honors committee meets and considers each candidate. Precise numerical cutoffs are not established in advance. Moreover, a student whose numerical average is a bit lower than a classmate’s may receive a higher recommendation if their record shows more rigorous courses, improvement over four years, and a strong recommendation for performance in tutorial. Although assessing the rigor of each student’s course selections is inevitably a bit subjective, we believe that individual consideration of each student’s overall record is fairer than a purely computerized approach. The quality of the thesis project and the strength of the tutor’s recommendation are given due consideration.
    2. In recommending Highest Honors, we look both for a first rate thesis and an interesting program of challenging courses. Rarely have we recommended Highest Honors with a numerical average of less than 3.9, but a ranking above 3.9 in no way guarantees such a recommendation.
    3. In recommending High Honors, we again look for more than “just grades”, and we try especially hard to reward good theses, challenging courses, etc. The lower limit for a High Honors recommendation varies a bit from year to year, but in general is around 3.7.
    4. The lower limit for an Honors recommendation is generally around 3.5. Again, a good thesis, strong participation in tutorial, and the rigor of the plan of study are important factors in our final recommendations.
  • Board of Tutors

    CPB students are assigned a Tutor from the Board of Tutors in Biomedical Sciences to provide both intellectual support and professional mentorship. A CPB student typically meets with his or her assigned Tutor regularly throughout the semester, either individually or in small groups, to read and discuss primary literature or relevant texts tailored to the student’s interests.

    Click here to view a handout that describes the history, goals, and format of the tutorial program.