The Frequently Asked Questions are designed to answer any common questions that you might have about the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics and what we offer. If you can't find your answer here, please Contact Us.

By default, questions are sorted by Category. There are 5 Categories: GENERAL, GRAD-Biology @Princeton, QCB Graduate, QCB Certificate and ISC. Within each category, questions are sorted alphabetically in ascending order (from A to Z).

GENERAL • I am a Princeton University member. I am using Internet Explorer. The Website does not display properly and does not seem to work.

This Website is tested to work properly on IE9 version and newer.

In October 2013, Princeton University upgraded all computers from IE8 to IE9. But the browser´s default is set at: Browser Mode: IE9 and Document Mode: Internet Explorer 7 standards. However, for this Website to work properly, the Document Mode: should be set to Internet Explorer 9 standards.

In other words, by setting the Document Mode: to IE7 standards the IE browser behaves as if it is version7. Document modes are deprecated.

In your Internet Explorer browser, go to Tools (Alt +x) then go to F12 developer tools. In F12 developer tools, at the bottom of the screen, make sure to set the Document Mode: to Internet Explorer 9 standards. See image below:

proper IE9 settings

Update: On 8/1/2014: added code to this Website to force Internet Explorer (IE10 and older) to set the document mode to the newest standards available for the browser. However, if this does not work in your case, then you can change the settings manually.

GRAD-Biology@Princeton • How do I Apply?

All applications must be made online through the Graduate School. For more information, please visit the How to Apply page.

QCB Graduate • How do I Apply?

All applications must be made online through the Graduate School. We do not accept applications through the Institute or our own labs. For more information, please visit the How to Apply page

QCB Graduate • What is QCB@Princeton?

QCB @Princeton is a degree granting Ph.D. Program. The Program in Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB) is intended to facilitate graduate education at Princeton at the interface of biology and the more quantitative sciences and computation. 

QCB Graduate • When is your application deadline?

December First.

QCB Graduate • Where should I go if I have more Questions?

Please visit the QCB @Princeton - Admission FAQ page. If you don't find your answer, please contact us.

ISC • Am I committing myself to any specific major if I sign up?

Although the Integrated Science Program was conceived with students who are interested in a career in science in mind, taking it is by no means a commitment to any major (quite the contrary). Although most of the students have in the end chosen to major in a science or engineering, we have had many choose to major in fields other than science, including the social sciences and the humanities.

ISC • Can I take Integrated Science if I am interested in studying engineering?

Yes. Many of our students end up majoring in engineering disciplines. Over the past few years this has included CBE, CEE, MAE, COS, and ORFE. For some of the majors you maybe need to take additional pre-requisites. For more information, please check in with the Dean for Undergraduate Affairs in Engineering Peter Bogucki at

ISC • Can I take ISC as a pre-med?

Many past ISC students have gone onto MD and MD-PhD programs. ISC is surely not the easiest path to medical school. On the other hand, our students are armed with a much broader and more quantitative grasp of the sciences than they would otherwise have had. We suggest that you talk to the Health Professions Advising office if you are considering ISC as a premed.

ISC • How much prior exposure to math do I need for ISC?

ISC is taught using the language of mathematics and, as such, familiarity with 1D Calculus is a must going into the program. We will teach you many of the mathematical concepts you need to understand the science topics, but we assume knowledge of calculus up to what is traditionally taught in AP Calculus BC courses. In "Princeton Speak", this translates to a prerequisite of “MAT104 or equivalent.” If you have been placed into a 200-level math course or higher you should be well prepared to take ISC. If you feel that your grasp of 1D Calculus is at a lower level, you are strongly encouraged to talk with one the of the ISC teaching faculty before enrolling.

ISC • How much time will I have to commit to this course in my freshman year? Will I be able to take additional courses my first year?

Integrated science is challenging and time consuming. Ours is a double-course that will account for roughly half of your workload for the whole first year. It might just be the hardest academic experience you've every had. However, if you stick with it, you will gain proficiency in introductory Chemistry, Computer Science, Molecular Biology, and Physics, allowing you to major in any science or engineering discipline.
The course includes a 50-minute lecture five days a week, as well as one three-hour laboratory session, one three-hour computational precept and one required evening problem session each week.

ISC • I have no computer science experience. Am I still able to sign up?

Absolutely! Students involved with the course have varying levels of experience, and we find that most do not have a strong computer science background. The integrated science course is taught concurrently with COS 126 for the first six weeks of the Fall Term so that you will get the same introduction to computer science as a student who takes COS126 as a stand-alone course. In the spring semester you will diverge from COS126 somewhat, focusing on topics that relate to topics in interdisciplinary bioscience.

ISC • Should I take a math course along with ISC?

As ISC takes up two of your four potential courses in the fall semester, we understand that our course narrows your options. Ideally, we suggest that students enroll in MAT203 in the Fall and MAT204 in the Spring as these both further your math education and are relevant to topics we teach in ISC. However, because of the need/desire to take a language, a writing seminar, and amazing freshman seminars, we understand that many students will not be able to take a math course concurrent with ISC. This is ok and many of our students fall into this category. As long as you satisfy the MAT104 prerequisite you should be ok in ISC.

ISC • What course equivalencies does ISC satisfy?

The first-year, four-course sequence, provides course equivalency for the introductory courses in Physics (PHY103/104), Chemistry (CHM201/202), Computer Science (COS126), and Molecular Biology (MOL214). If only the fall semester is completed, equivalency is given for PHY103 and CHM201 but not PHY104, CHM202, COS126, or MOL214.

ISC • What courses should students enroll in if they drop ISC in the fall semester?

If they want to stay in the sciences, any two of PHY103, CHM201, COS126, or MOL214 would be appropriate. PHY103 and COS126 are the easiest to join as ISC closely mirrors them in the very beginning of the fall semester.

ISC • What is Integrated Science (ISC)?

ISC is an integrated, mathematically and computationally sophisticated immersive introduction to physics, chemistry, molecular biology, and computer science. By teaching these disciplines within a unified framework, we hope to educate a new generation of scientists who can appreciate the connections between the traditional academic disciplines and for whom interdisciplinary science is natural rather than forced. Our course is team-taught by faculty in the departments of Physics, Chemistry, Molecular Biology, and Computer Science. This year-long, four-course sequence typically involves five hours of lecture, one three-hour lab, one three-hour precept, and one required evening problem session per week.

ISC • What will be different for Fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

We recognize that the traditional immersion experience that we offer first year students is not well-suited to online teaching. As such, we have implemented the following changes:

  • The overall amount of material and pace of the course will be reduced. The weekly problem sets will also be shortened.
  • Precepts will be used for guided homework solving sessions rather than introducing new concepts, thus further reducing the total amount of material you will have to master and increasing the chances of you learning key problem-solving skills.
  • The laboratory will be fully online. You will watch pre-recorded videos of the lab instructors performing the experiments and then analyze the resulting data using guided programing exercises. While not a hands-on experience, you will still gain the key skills of data analysis and scientific report generation.
  • Students no longer need instructor permission to register for ISC231/232. Rather, we have added a prerequisite “MAT104 or equivalent.” Any student who has been placed into for a 200-level math course or higher is able to take ISC. Note, you do not have to take a math course while taking ISC.
ISC • When are the Academic Expo Office Hours for Fall 2020

Then Expo office hours for ISC are:

  • Office Hours #1 Monday August 17, 6-7pm (EDT)
  • Office Hours #2 Tuesday August 18, 10-11am (EDT)

You can can find more information and Zoom links in the ISC page of the Academic Expo CANVAS course (link).

ISC • Who should take ISC?

ISC is geared towards any prospective science or engineering major. The curriculum is especially valuable for students interested in bridging the traditional barriers between the biological and the physical sciences, e.g. students with interests in chemical and biological engineering, neuroscience, biophysics, or quantitive and computational biology.

ISC • Why did you develop the Integrated Science Curriculum?

In high school you were probably introduced to different subjects of science: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, maybe more. While the way these disciplines were taught might have made them seem very different, it doesn’t take much digging to conclude that the boundaries are much fuzzier than they are made out to be. When thinking about atoms and molecules, where does physics end and chemistry begin? Biological organisms use chemical and physical processes to produce all the phenomena of life from cellular metabolism to organismal development to the function of the brain. If you want to learn about these fascinating topics, which department should you turn to? The ISC curriculum is founded on the expectation that much of the most important science of the future, though based on the classical disciplines, will lie in areas that span two or more of them. As such, we see a need to educate students with a unified view of the scientific endeavor who seek out, rather than shy away from, cross-disciplinary topics of research.