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 for an administrative position in science-related industries or law, or for 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 good choice as a second major or a second degree for students whose primary major or degree is outside the College of Natural Sciences, such as journalism, or as preparation for teaching certification.

Each student is advised by the Science major adviser in the CNS advising office (220 Morrill II) in consultation with the Chief Undergraduate Advisor in the student’s concentration. The Science major adviser will be responsible for academic advising, approval of the program, and certification of completion of graduation requirements.


A total of 60 science/mathematics credits must be completed, primarily from departments in the College of Natural Sciences. The 60 credits must be distributed as follows:

Foundation Requirement (9 courses)


  • BIOLOGY 151, 152 and 153 Introductory Biology I and II and Intro Biology Lab

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 101 The Solar System
  • ASTRON 223 Planetary Science
  • GEO-SCI 101 The Earth
  • GEO-SCI 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
  • CMPSCI 121 Introduction to Problem Solving and CMPSCI 187 Programming with Data Structures
  • Two approved Statistics courses numbered 200 and above


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

  • PHYSICS 131 and 132 Introductory Physics I and II
  • PHYSICS 151 and 152 General Physics I and II
  • PHYSICS 181 and 182 Physics I and II.

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), Environmental Science (ENVRSCI), Geology (SCIGEL), Mathematics (SCIMTH), and Physics (SCIPHY). The concentration consists of at least 18 credits in courses numbered 200 and above. These should include courses fulfilling the Junior Year Writing and Integrative Experience requirements, and at least nine credits in other upper-division courses (courses numbered 300 and above - the Jr Writing and IE courses do not count toward these 9 credits). Independent study and practicum courses may not be used to fulfill concentration requirements.

Additional Courses

If courses taken to meet all above requirements do not amount to 60 credits, the remaining credits must be from courses in the College of Natural Sciences or other approved courses. Additional information about courses that may be used to fulfill this requirement can be found on the college website (requirements for a BS degree).

Notes and Restrictions

  1. 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. Independent study and practicum courses may not be used to fulfill concentration requirements.
  2. Science majors must maintain at least a C average in the courses used to satisfy major requirements.
  3. Although the Science major might usefully be part of a double major degree, the second major must be outside the College of Natural Sciences.