The major in natural science is intended for the science-oriented student who wishes to acquire a broad background in the fundamentals of science and mathematics while concentrating in one of the specific disciplines. The program is particularly well suited to students who desire preparation for graduate work or careers in interdisciplinary sciences such as biostatistics and biophysics. Examples of other students who might find this program suited to their needs: (1) those preparing for further study in the philosophy of science, (2) those interested in a career as a scientific or technical librarian, (3) students oriented towards a business career in a science-oriented industry, and (4) those with a general interest and ability in science who have not clearly determined in which area or discipline they wish to specialize. Students interested in graduate studies should arrange their programs toward this end with the help of their advisers.
Declaring a Major in Natural Science/NS Major Committee
The program is directed by a committee composed of the chairs of the participating departments or their designates. A student may either elect one of the ten approved standard programs listed below or, in cooperation with the adviser, design an individual program. The committee must approve the standard program or the individual program before the student can officially declare a Natural Science major. A student who opts for an individual program must develop a detailed proposal and submit it to the natural science committee. All such programs need to be approved by the natural science major committee described above.
The standard approved programs are the following:
- Biology: Computer Science
- Biology: Mathematics
- Chemistry: Biology
- Chemistry: Computer Science
- Chemistry: Mathematics
- Chemistry: Physics
- Computer Science: Physics
- Mathematics: Biology
- Mathematics: Physics
- Physics: Computer Science
Information containing the course requirements for the standard programs is available in the administrative office of Schaefer Hall.
Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the natural science major, it can be part of a double major only if neither the primary nor the secondary area of concentration in the natural science major overlaps with the requirements for the other major.
Degree Requirements for the Natural Science Major
General College Requirements
General College Requirements (see “Curriculum” section and the paragraph titled “ St. Mary’s Projects” below).
- MATH 151, 152: Calculus I and II
- Two of the following three sequences:
- BIOL 105, 105L, 106, 106L: Principles of Biology I and II
- CHEM 103, 106: General Chemistry I and II
- PHYS 141-142: General Physics I and II or PHYS 151 – 152: Fundamentals of Physics I and II
- Primary Area: 20 credit hours in one of the five disciplines of biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics.
- Secondary Area: eight credit hours in another one of the disciplines above.
Note: All concentration courses except COSC 120 and COSC 130 must be at the 200-level or higher
St. Mary's Project
Every natural science major must complete a St. Mary’s Project. This project may be in the discipline of primary concentration or in another major discipline or a study area. The guidelines established in the selected area apply. The project must be proposed to a mentor and to the chairperson of the natural science committee least three weeks before the last day of classes of the second semester of the student’s junior year, and it must be approved by the mentor and the natural science committee chairperson.
Minimum Grade and GPA Requirements
Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all courses listed above.