It is important that students understand the natural processes that govern Earth and its inhabitants, as well as the universe, through systematic observations and experimentation, formation and verification of theories, and computational methods in a laboratory setting. For graduation, all students must take one laboratory science (Division III) course from the following departments: Anthropology 100, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, Physics, Psychology 125, or Science. In this course, students will demonstrate:
- the ability to use scientific methods as a way of understanding the world;
- knowledge of content and principles within the natural sciences;
- the ability to critically evaluate claims from a scientific perspective.
Note: Not all courses in the natural and mathematical sciences (Division III) meet the definition of a lab science; Calculus courses (MATH 151, 170, 171), which include a lab component, do NOT count towards the laboratory science requirement.
Advice for First-Year students
A. Students who plan to pursue a science major.
If you have a strong background in the sciences and are highly motivated to study science you should select at least one science course in your first semester.
Majors in the sciences are sequential and the introductory courses need to be taken early. Please be aware that science majors also require courses in other sciences and/or calculus.
If you are considering a major in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biology and/or a pre-health program, CHEM 141 or CHEM 131 (depending upon your placement) is strongly recommended. Refer to the requirements for each of these majors in the Academic Bulletin. In addition, you must take the Chemistry placement exam and the Math placement exam. You will find up-to-date information about those exams on the Orientation web site.
If you are considering the 3:2 Engineering program, you must select Calculus and the introductory course in your science major. Refer to the Pre-Engineering section of this handbook for more information.
It may also be wise for you to select a second lab science your first semester. You should discuss this with your advisor during your advising session.
B. Students who might major in a science.
If you are unsure of your major, but are considering majoring in a science, you should seriously consider beginning that exploration in the fall with a lab science course.
Refer to the requirements for each of these majors in the Academic Bulletin. In addition, you must take the Chemistry placement exam and the Math placement exam. You will find up-to-date information about those exams on the Orientation web site.
C. Students who are interested in a non-science major OR are unsure of your major but expect it will not be a science.
Even if you do not expect to major in science, you should select the required laboratory science course during your first year. We recommend that you complete the Division III laboratory science requirement no later than the end of your sophomore year. It becomes difficult to schedule the course and the choices are more limited. Moreover, you may discover you have talent and interest in a science but delay has made it nearly impossible to pursue a science major or minor. Students who are non-science majors and plan to study abroad in the junior year will find that it is not practical to attempt an introductory science at a foreign university. Seniors find it difficult to schedule laboratory sciences as the blocks of time they require often conflict with upper-level courses in their majors. In addition, choice of laboratory science spaces available to juniors and seniors is extremely limited.