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Courses of Study at Briggs
At Lyman Briggs College, faculty provide a science education grounded in the humanities. Courses are offered in a typical natural science curriculum including biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, as well as in the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of science (HPS). Class size is generally smaller than a standard university setting, and many labs operate on a free schedule/open lab basis for ease of access. For more information about courses at Briggs, please use the buttons in the right-hand menu to navigate through the different disciplines.


Biology at Briggs
The biology curriculum at Briggs begins with two main undergraduate courses: LB144 (organismal) and LB145 (cell and molecular). These two introductory courses allow students to master diverse concepts like evolution, ecology, genetics, photosynthesis, respiration, and many more. In addition, Briggs biology faculty offer advanced studies in LB346 (organismal field studies), LB347 (advanced molecular biology), and a section of LB492 (a senior seminar in biological science and society).

Biology at Briggs also includes opportunities for independent study and undergraduate research, to encourage students to experience the complexity of life and biology and to create their own knowledge. Briggs biology students are able to communicate discovery and hypotheses to others, are open to debate, and are capable of applying knowledge to create further hypotheses to test. With continually refined course content and teaching approaches, you are sure to engage and enjoy biology study at Briggs.


At Briggs, we know that chemistry provides a connection between the small and the large. The Briggs chemistry curriculum takes full advantage of the role chemistry plays, and our integrated physics-chemistry curriculum (one semester of physics followed by two semesters of chemistry, ending with a second semester of physics) allows you to master the basic rules of nature before you apply that knowledge to learning why atoms and molecules act the way they do.

In LB171 (Introduction to Chemistry and Physics I) and LB172 (Introduction to Chemistry and Physics II), you will learn all the basics as well as some applications of chemistry (such as superconductivity, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry). Briggs faculty will also provide you with an introduction to organic chemistry in LB172 (*many students who have taken this course say this is extremely helpful when taking the regular organic chemistry course offered through the department of chemistry*). Briggs chemistry labs help you learn lecture material, develop lab techniques, become proficient at scientific writing, and begin your own experiments.


Mathematics at Briggs
The Briggs history, philosophy, and sociology of science (HPS) curriculum is one of the major factors that helps define the Briggs experience. Based on bridging the two cultures (science and the humanities), HPS courses look at the natural sciences in relation to (and interaction with) society. Briggs faculty help students in HPS courses to examine important real-world issues while learning new skills and methods of inquiry.

Freshmen in Briggs take an "Introduction to History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science" which is designated as LB133 (and satisfies MSU's Tier I writing requirement). Students will then take two 300-level LB courses, which may fulfill students ISS 300 or IAH B requirements, as well as a senior seminar/capstone experience (LB492) in a topic area of their choosing.


The INQUIRE Program is designed for students who will begin their academic career with Lyman Briggs in a Math Placement of MTH 1825 or MTH 103. The program offers the opportunity for you to take your science courses with a cohort in an encouraging and supportive environment. You can be a part of this program while also participating in the ESSA, DOW or other programs.


Mathematics at Briggs
The mathematics curriculum at Briggs consists of one accelerated college algebra and trigonometry course and three calculus courses. A freshman enters the four-course sequence at their own placement level, and develops to their preferred capacity (generally the capacity required by your major). Mathematics students at Briggs enjoy a more comprehensive look at calculus (including both differential and integral) in a single semester of LB118, and (if electing to take the full sequence) can complete study in three semesters rather than the standard four. Additionally, we provide support in the form of teaching assistants, special review sessions, and more extensive faculty office hours—all conveniently located in Holmes Hall.

Mathematics at Briggs is special and very highly-rated by graduates. In terms of grades, students who have no background in calculus do equally well in our courses. Our commitment to prepare each student for a career in the field of their choice is dependent on providing the necessary skills and tools to understand more complex matters through a basic understanding of mathematics. If you are unsure how to get started with your goals, contact our advising staff and find out how Briggs mathematics can work for you.


The LBC physics course sequence has been re-titled "Physics of the Life Sciences," and one of the most important goals of the sequence is to leave you with an overarching conceptual understanding of physics and the interconnectedness of physical phenomena, and how the laws of physics affect living organisms. For example, Briggs faculty will explain to you why Godzilla simply could not exist, and why bugs don't need lungs, but humans do. Lyman Briggs College offers a two semester, calculus-based physics course sequence: LB 273 and LB 274, Physics I and II. In Physics I, we focus on Newton's laws and kinematics (why objects move and how they move), thermodynamics (how heat and energy affect physical systems), and fluid dynamics (how objects are affected by air and water). In Physics II, we focus on electricity and magnetism, interference and diffraction, and "modern physics," which really means a discussion of nuclear and particle physics. How are they different than similar Physics department courses?

The most comparable courses offered by the physics department are PHY 231 and 232, Physics I and II. These courses are algebra-based, whereas LB 273/4 are calculus-based. The two course sequences cover relatively similar material. However, the Lyman Briggs physics sequence is strongly oriented toward the needs of life science students, and thus emphasizes topics that are likely to be relevant to students who are interested in life science and health-related professions. In addition, LB 273 and 274 include both a lecture and hands-on (recitation/laboratory) component, which are tightly integrated together and approach the course material in complementary ways.
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