Campus & Community

Stevens Announces Changes to Its Undergraduate Biology, Chemical Biology and Chemistry Curriculum

Five things to know about these modern revisions to the school’s biology, chemical biology and chemistry degree requirements

Stevens Institute of Technology recently approved its new curriculum study plans for undergraduates majoring in biology, chemical biology and chemistry for implementation in the 2023/2024 Academic Catalog.

“Reflecting the department’s mission, the goal was to transform our undergraduate curriculum to educate tomorrow’s leaders who will make innovative contributions in biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors,” said Patricia Anne Muisener, Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CCB) teaching professor, associate chair for undergraduate studies in the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science and chair of the CCB Undergraduate Education Committee.

For the past year, the CCB’s Undergraduate Education Committee has benchmarked  curricula at peer institutions, evaluated program objectives and learning outcomes and revised the curriculum for each degree. The changes also reflect input from current students, alumni, the External Advisory Board and Stevens’ Undergraduate Advisory Board.

Here are five things to know about the new curriculum offerings.

What are the new program objectives?

The new curriculum aims to prepare students to create and evaluate scientific solutions to important problems and articulate their impact on society, collaborate with peers from a variety of cultural and scientific backgrounds, promote an inclusive and supportive professional environment and become life-long learners to further their careers, embrace technology and impact society. 

Who will follow the new curriculum?

The changes are effective with the Fall 2023 semester:

  • Students beginning their studies in the Fall 2023 semester will follow the new curriculum entirely. Incoming students will be advised of the new study plan and have opportunities to learn more during admitted student events and orientation.   

  • Current students who have not completed more than around 50 percent of their total degree credits may be able to opt in to the new curriculum. Interested students should check with their advisor.

  • Current students who are not able to adopt the new curriculum will be able to consider taking new technical and general electives including Clinical Research Methodology and Design, and Biostatics and Bioinformatics. In addition, students majoring in biology and chemical biology will have the option to take the biology-oriented version of the Senior Capstone Research Project I and II and Research Proposals for Undergraduate Research courses.  

What are the key changes to the biology curriculum?

The new curriculum incorporates at least one biology course every semester. The updated core course requirements include the Biology and Biotechnology lecture and lab, Microbiology lecture and lab, Immunology, Intro to Entrepreneurial Thinking, Engineering Statistics and Data Science, Senior Innovation I and II, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Clinical Research Methodology and Design, and the student’s choice of Advanced Physiology or Computational Biology. 

In addition, the Biology lecture and Biology and Biotechnology lab are now incorporated into the first semester, immediately exposing new students to biology and related hands-on laboratory experiments including virtual reality.

The schedule also adds flexibility by adjusting the humanities and technical and general elective requirements and shifting some required math and physics courses to general elective options.

What are the key changes to the chemical biology curriculum? 

The program follows the American Chemical Society’s latest revised guidelines, allowing for more flexibility within the degree. The sequence of the first three semesters is now identical to the biology major requirements, including the addition of the Biology lab. Students are now required to take Intro to Entrepreneurial Thinking, Engineering Statistics and Data Science and Senior Innovation I and II. The humanities, technical and general electives have been adjusted, and some required math and physics courses were shifted to general elective options to enable students more flexibility to select courses based on interest

What are the key changes to the chemistry curriculum? 

This program also follows the American Chemical Society’s latest revised guidelines. The first three-semester sequence is now similar to the biology curriculum, including the addition of the first-semester Biology lab as well as the Intro to Entrepreneurial Thinking, Engineering Statistics and Data Science and Senior Innovation I and II courses. To further incorporate flexibility, adjustments were made to the humanities, technical and general elective options, and a few previously required math and physics courses were switched to optional general electives.

All three programs now incorporate the department’s research spine, which is designed to educate and prepare students with the knowledge, experience and tools to explore transformative scientific ideas. This sequence of nine seminars and courses spans Career Pathways in Biological and Chemical Sciences in the first semester to Senior Capstone Research. It also ties the department’s innovation curriculum directly to the university’s mission as a leader in technology education and research.

"The Undergraduate Education Committee was proud to be able to help modernize and align our curriculum with our department’s strengths,” Muisener said, “including our groundbreaking research, emphasis on technology and focus on the contemporary societal context of the work our professors and students will undertake, with a focus on the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors.”

Learn more about academic programs and research in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology: