Overview of the Curriculum
Promoting a culture of exploration and collaboration across all areas of research and study, the undergraduate programme in Biology is targeted at students with strongly developed interests in Biology. Courses will also be offered for non-majors interested in learning more about Biology or for meeting their scientific temperament needs.
Courses for Biology majors will provide a strong foundation for research and as well as for careers in the biological sciences, medicine, pharmaceutical and biotech industry, teaching and other related fields. A prospective Biology major student is required to complete 12 core courses in Biology and suggested optional courses in Science and Biology along with the mandatory requirement of 12 foundation courses.
Students who wish to enhance their research pursuit beyond the institutional requirements of B.Sc. in Biology can pursue the 4th year in Biology, which will include courses in Physiology, Computational Biology & Bioinformatics, Landmark studies in Biology, Plant Biology and project work.
Click Here for a detailed syllabus.
How many courses will I need to take for a Biology Major?
For a Biology major, students will need a minimum of 14 courses, of which 11 are core (7 theory + 4 labs) and 3 are optional. The list of core and optional courses and the expected timeline over which they are taken relative to the core requirements of 7 Foundation courses, 2 Critical Thinking courses, and 2 co-curricular courses is charted in the Curriculum Spreadsheet.
How many courses will I need to take for a Biology Minor?
For a minor a student will need to take 6 courses, of which 4 are core courses (specified in the Curriculum chart) and 2 are selected from any of the other courses offered in Biology.
Will the labs be independent of the theory courses - in terms of number of credits (and hours)?
All labs are stand-alone courses and mandatory for Biology major students. They each count for the same number of credits as theory courses.
I am an incoming 2nd/3rd year. I don’t see any courses being offered for Biology in the undergraduate course catalogue for the upcoming semester. When can we start taking courses in Biology and can we still minor/major in Biology?
The Biology program only begins offering courses in the Spring of 2018. Some courses like the Neuroscience/Biological Psychology course for Psychology students, will be cross listed with Biology and those will be offered even in the coming semester. For a minor, you would need 6 courses, four core and two optional. The four core will be taught with one in Spring 2018 and 3 in Fall 2018. There will be optional courses also offered from Spring 2018 to 2019, with plenty of scope for a minor. Incoming third years who are considering a 4th year will also have an easy time completing a minor in Biology. If there is considerable interest in a Major for incoming 2nd/3rd years, we could consider offering some core courses like Ecology and Bioinformatics & Biostatistics earlier than planned. Please write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org if you are an incoming 2nd/3rd year who wants to do a Biology major so that we can assess the interest in this option.
I am a Psychology/Math/Physics/Computer Science/Environmental Studies student and I would like to minor in Biology. Will any of those courses be cross listed with Biology and count towards my Biology credits?
We are aiming for the Biology department courses on Neuroscience (3 in total), Environmental Science (3), Math/CS (2), and BioPhysics (1) to be cross listed with those departments so that they can count towards majors/minors in either department.
Are Physics/Maths/Biology required subjects in the 11th and 12th standard for me to take Biology?
There are no barriers or high school requirements to access a degree in Biology at Ashoka. However, bear in mind that during the degree students are expected to take courses in Mathematical Biology/Biophysics. The course ‘Mathematical and Computational Toolkit’ is strongly recommended for those who would want to prepare themselves while at Ashoka.
What about course material that is not covered in the syllabus?
We will be offering summer workshops in a number of areas of potential further interest: Cognitive neurosceince, Disease Biology, Biotechnology, Genomics/Proteomics/metabolomics, Big Data analysis, Nutrition and health, and so on. If you have ideas for other in-depth workshops in which you have an interest, please write to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
What about research opportunities? Are Biology students expected to learn from hands-on experience or in the classroom?
We are investing in the idea of the 4th year as a time when undergraduates delve into research in a serious year-long way. In addition there are several summer opportunities for science and undergraduates can approach labs of their interest in Ashoka in order to start doing research whenever they would like as their undergraduate degree progresses. We aim to have students learning as much, if not more, by doing research and interacting with faculty as class-room based learning.
In what research areas will the Ashoka Biology program specialize?
We are interested in specializing in areas of Biology that will benefit from strong interdisciplinary thinking. Cognitive neuroscience, ecology, evolution, systems immunology (focusing on infectious diseases) are some of the areas in which we have already begun expanding, and we hope to also focus on questions like climate change which would require focussed thinking from across multiple discipline.
Would I get a B.Sc. or a B.A. in Biology?
The 3 year degree you get if you specialize in Biology would be a B.Sc. However, the additional qualification you get for the fourth year would be named as per the norms of the State Government.
Does the curriculum at Ashoka for Biology allow students to pursue higher studies in Genetics or Bioinformatics in other countries? Does Genetics require an Engineering degree such as Bio-Technology?
Genetics is part of most courses in the Biology curriculum. The course titled ‘Genetics’ gives students a strong foundation in genetics, both in theory and in the lab. Subsequently in each course, some component of genetics (at various levels of complexity and detail) will be part of the course structure. This is because at the mechanistic level, all biological phenomena are mediated by genes. An engineering degree such as one in biotechnology will not prepare you better for a post-graduate focus in genetics.
Bioinformatics as a specialty deals with biological information or data at large scale, but many methods of bioinformatics are the same, be it with small data or big data. Each course has its own component of Informatics, Computational Methods and Data Mining. Thus, one specialized course in Bioinformatics is good at the undergraduate level. Computational methods are also taught as a standalone course (with the Computer Science department). Additionally, there are courses on Computational Biology and Mathematical Biology, which are advanced Bioinformatics courses.
According to the curriculum, several courses are being offered as electives/optional. Will it be definitely offered or is it subject to how many students opt for it?
Courses that are offered as electives will definitely be offered, though a few might be offered every alternate year (eg: Neurobiology II and Evolutionary Psychology alternate every year)
What are the career options/ career path available post a major in Biology at Ashoka?
Depending on the interest of the student, s/he can:
– Pursue a Master’s degree in basic science and then a PhD, and take up an academic career (lecturer/professor; scientist etc.)
– Pursue Applied Science – Biotechnology, Translational Biomedical Science, and take up a job in the government or in private research units
– Add Management Skills and take up a career in science administration and management – in government or private sector
– Add Finance/Entrepreneurial skills and become a technology and innovation expert in a company or start one’s own company
– Gain knowledge and skills in Science Policy and become a policy advisor to various companies or government agencies
– Irrespective of the career choice, it is better to pursue a Master’s and PhD in relevant areas as stated above
For other general FAQs, Click Here.