Distribution requirements which engage students in the full breadth of liberal learning are presented by three fundamental branches of the academic curriculum in the Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, and Laboratory Science. Laboratory Science aims at understanding the character of the natural order through investigation of the basic structure and regularities in the planet Earth and universe. For graduation, all students must take two Division III laboratory science courses from the following departments (these may be from the same department, but is not required): Anthropology 100, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science, Physics or Science.
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 must select one of the two required laboratory science courses during your first year. It is important for you to complete the Division III laboratory science requirement no later than the end of your sophomore year. It becomes difficult to schedule these courses 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.