The Master of Arts in Biology degree program was launched in 1993. It is available only to Pfizer employees and contractors.
CurriculumThe curricular requirement for this track to the Master of Arts degree in Biology will be the completion of eight courses for graduate credit. Six of these courses will be offered by the Division of Biology and Medicine and must be passed with a grade of "B" or better. In addition, two other courses for graduate credit offered by the Division or in related sciences, with prior approval, must be completed satisfactorily. Two courses must be from core areas (cell biology, genetics, pharmacology and biochemistry). Academic oversight of students in this track will be provided by the Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
In addition to coursework, a final paper or proposal is required as a culminating experience for completion of the degree (see below).
The quality of student performance required is at least as rigorous as for the Master of Arts degree within any Graduate Program in the Division. The basic difference is to make it easier for a student to obtain breadth in Biology in more than one graduate area by not imposing strict requirements for specific courses. When teaching to such a heterogeneous student population, this flexibility in curriculum is critical. In addition to pedagogic merits for breadth in Biology, the track to the Master of Arts will avoid the constraint on students that might arise when a specific course is offered only every four years.
ProcessEmployees and contractors enroll in courses via the Brown University Office of Continuing Education website. Questions regarding registration should be directed to Summer and Continuing Studies at 401-863-7901. Students are initially enrolled as Post-Baccalaureate Special Students. Following successful completion of at least two courses, students may apply for admission as Master's students in the the Graduate School. Students who intend to pursue the Masters degree should contact the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at (401) 863-3281, or send an email for application information.
Pfizer Final ProjectAs a culminating experience for the Brown-Pfizer Master of Arts in Biology Program, there are two options:
- an NIH style research proposal based on an original hypothesis
- a final paper which, based on the course work taken by the student, represents an original in-depth analysis and literature review of a problem in modern biology
Topics for the final project must be discussed with, and approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The final project may be undertaken following completion of seven courses but must be completed no later than one semester following completion of the eighth course.
The research proposal will include a project summary/abstract, specific aims, research strategy, and bibliography/references cited sections according to the new SF 424 grant forms application package as though you were preparing an R01 application.
The final paper will include an introduction, discussion, conclusion, and literature cited section and will be 10-15 pages in length (figures and references additional). 2012 Pfizer Guidelines for Final Paper
Both projects are designed to demonstrate the student's ability to master and integrate the knowledge gained in the prior course work and to apply that knowledge to a specific problem in modern biology.