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The Major

The Science major is intended for students with a general intellectual interest in natural sciences who do not wish to specialize or to go on to graduate work in a specific area of science. It can provide a valuable broad science background to an administrative position in science-related industries, or to a career as a science writer or illustrator. It is especially appropriate for students who intend to teach general science at the middle school level, or for those who want to pair a degree in Science with a program in Education to teach at the elementary school level. The Science major is not designed for students who wish to do graduate work in a specific area of science (for which a traditional departmental major would be appropriate), but is a very good choice as a second major or a second degree, or as preparation for teaching certification, graduate school, or professional school.

Each student is advised by the Science major adviser in the student's concentration area (usually the department's chief undergraduate adviser). The Science major adviser in the concentration area will be responsible for academic advising, approval of the program, and certification of completion of graduation requirements within the guidelines established by the Science major coordinating committee. This committee consists of the chief undergraduate advisers of the College departments, a representative of the Pre-Medical committee, and College Associate Dean for Advising (Arts and Sciences Advising Center, E24 Machmer Hall).


A total of 60 science or mathematics credits must be completed, primarily from departments in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. (These departments are Astronomy, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics.) The 60 credits must be distributed as follows:

A. Foundation Requirement (9 courses):

Plant and Animal Biology: One of the following two-course sequences:

BIOL 100 and 101 Introductory Biology I and II

BIOL 102 and 103 Introductory Animal Biology and Plant Biology

General Chemistry: One of the following two-course sequences:

CHEM 111 and 112 General Chemistry for Science and Engineering Majors

CHEM 121 and 122 General Chemistry for Chemistry Majors

Earth/Planetary Science: One of the following courses:

ASTRON 113 The Solar System

ASTRON 223 Planetary Science

GEO 101 The Earth

GEO 103 Introductory Oceanography

Mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science: One of the following two-course sequences:

MATH 127 and 128 Calculus I and II for the Life and Social Sciences

MATH 131 and 132 Calculus I and II for Science and Engineering

MATH 135 and 136 Calculus I and II with Computers

CMPSCI 121 Introduction to Problem Solving and CMPSCI 187 Programming with Data Structures

Statistics sequence approved by the Mathematics Department

Physics: Two-course introductory physics sequence with accompanying laboratories chosen from:

PHYSIC 131/133 and 132/134 Introductory Physics I and II/Laboratory I and II

PHYSIC 151/153 and 152/154 General Physics I and II/Laboratory I and II

PHYSIC 171/173 and 172/174 Physics I and II/Laboratory I and II.

B. Concentration Requirement

Each student selects a concentration area from among the programs offered in the College, which becomes part of the major designation. The permitted concentrations (and major designations) are: Astronomy (SCIAST), Biochemistry (SCIBCH), Biology (SCIBIO), Chemistry (SCICHM), Computer Science (SCICS), Geology (SCIGEO), Mathematics (SCIMTH), and Physics (SCIPHY). The concentration consists of at least 15 credits in courses numbered 200 and above. These should include the Junior Year Writing course for that area, and at least three other upper-division courses (courses numbered 300 and above). Some programs specify that particular courses must be taken, so it is important that each student consult with the departmental Science major adviser when planning the concentration.

C. Upper-Division Requirement

If the courses taken to meet the Concentration Requirement do not include at least 15 credits of courses numbered 300 or above, additional upper-division credits must be taken to reach at least 15 credits.

D. Additional Courses

If courses taken to meet all above requirements do not amount to 60 credits, the remaining credits must be from courses numbered 200 or above in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and may not include courses specifically intended for non-science majors.

Notes and Restrictions

1. The 60 required credits may include a maximum of six credits in courses numbered 200 and above from science-related fields in other schools or colleges on campus (Humanities and Fine Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Education, Engineering, Food and Natural Resources, Management, Nursing, and Public Health and Health Sciences). The acceptable courses must be approved by the Science major coordinating committee. Some less obvious examples of such courses are HIST 432 and 433 U.S. Science and Technology I and II; PHIL 310 Intermediate Logic; PHIL 382 Philosophical Approaches to Science; PHIL 513 and 514 Mathematical Logic I and II; PSYCH 310 Sensation and Perception; and PSYCH 330 Physiological Psychology.

2. No course taken to satisfy the requirements of the major may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Colloquia and seminars that are offered as mandatory Pass/Fail may not be applied to the requirements of the major.

3. Individual departments may have minimum acceptable grades and/or averages for the concentration. Science majors must maintain at least a "C" average in the courses used to satisfy major requirements.

4. Although the Science major might usefully be part of a double major degree, the second major must be outside the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.