Foundational Courses

The introductory Life Sciences course websites 2013-14:

QUESTION: What is the best way to introduce our students to the life sciences (scientific principles and modes of thinking) that best prepares them for a future where science is an increasingly essential component for everyone?

ANSWER: Foundational Interdisciplinary courses: LS1a, LS1b, LSP A

A variety of factors motivated us:

  • Advances in the life sciences and the attendant interest in fostering interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and research supported the call for a revision of the curriculum.
  • We realized that half of the freshmen who identify themselves as future science concentrators when entering Harvard later declare a concentration outside of the sciences.

While a certain percentage of students genuinely realize that science is not their primary interest, we were concerned that others leave science simply because their introductory experience of science in college is not suitably compelling. We saw the potential for remedying this problem by significantly changing our introductory courses so that students could decide on joining a life science concentration based on a freshman experience that genuinely reflects the exciting and important questions of the field today.