Principles & Goals

The guiding principles of the Life Sciences Education Committee:

  • To offer an introductory course experience that reflects currently important and exciting questions in the life sciences.
  • To present students with essential knowledge and habits of mind drawn from the life sciences.
  • To teach students essential scientific knowledge and skills in the context of an integrative, question-oriented approach.
  • To promote insightful research and problem-solving skills rather than just rote memorization through extensive laboratory experiences.
  • To facilitate appreciation of the interdisciplinary connections between fields and to associate these connections with emerging new directions of science.
  • To recognize and express the diversity of intellectual and methodological approaches in the life sciences.

The following goals are being addressed in the subsequent steps of the curriculum revision:

  • To ensure the sustained coordination of content across the various LS courses and relative to concentration requirements. The Life Sciences Education Committee, which includes the relevant concentration head tutors, continues to work closely with the faculty instructors.
  • To facilitate the revision of intermediate-level courses that will capitalizes on the foundational courses.
  • To ensure that freshmen with interests in the life sciences have access to effective pre-concentration advising. A cluster of closely coordinated concentrations in the Life Sciences includes a pre-concentration advising structure that assists students in their concentration choice. Furthermore, the concentration cluster shares a common foundation of required introductory courses, including LS 1a, LPS A, and LS 1b, which facilitates easy switching between concentrations as personal interests develop.
  • To ensure that all students in the Life Sciences have at least one course during their career at Harvard where they do original research with a faculty member in the context of a course.
  • To ensure that all students in the Life Sciences have the opportunity to work in a Harvard research laboratory or field site for one summer.