2015-2016 Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2024  
2015-2016 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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The Keck Science Department is shared with Pitzer College and Scripps College.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes of the Keck Science Program

Students completing a major in the W.M. Keck Science Department should demonstrate the ability to:

1. Use foundational principles to analyze problems in nature.
2. Develop hypotheses and test them using quantitative techniques.
3. Articulate applications of science in the modern world.
4. Effectively communicate scientific concepts both verbally and in writing.

Primary Contact: Dean Marion Preest

Keck Science Department Courses for Non-Majors

The natural science courses of the Keck Science Department, numbered in the 30s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, are laboratory science courses specifically designed for non-majors. To meet the general education requirement in science, students must complete one laboratory science course offered by Keck Science or elsewhere in Claremont. Descriptions of the natural science courses can be found under the appropriate fields (astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics).

The natural science courses are designed to:

  • Elucidate the nature of science as a process for exploring and understanding the environment we live in, with particular attention given to understanding when it is appropriate to apply the scientific method to a problem and when it is not;
  • Involve principles of science that increase understanding of some of the fundamental concepts of chemistry, physics and/or biology and the manner in which these concepts interrelate;
  • Involve a college-level laboratory experience that provides practice in confronting problems that can be analyzed by the scientific method;
  • Provide experience in quantitative reasoning and relationships, including basic mathematical concepts, statistical relationships and work with computers; and
  • Explore applications of science and technology that increase understanding of the relationship between basic science and technology, and how that relationship has developed and introduce the complexities involved in the application of science and technology to meet societal needs.

Science Courses at the Other Claremont Colleges

Additional courses in astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics are offered by Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College. Science majors interested in these courses are encouraged to discuss with their Keck Science faculty advisor whether these courses are appropriate for them. Course descriptions and prerequisites may be obtained from the Pomona College and Harvey Mudd College catalogs.

Pre-Health Professions

Students interested in entering medical school, dental, or veterinary school programs should complete the following courses:

  1. BIOL 043L KS - Introductory Biology  or BIOL 040L KS - Introduction to Biological Chemistry  
  2. CHEM 014L KS - Basic Principles of Chemistry  or CHEM 040L KS - Introduction to Biological Chemistry  and CHEM 015L KS - Basic Principles of Chemistry , or equivalent
  3. PHYS 030L KS - General Physics  and PHYS 031L KS - General Physics , or PHYS 033L KS - Principles of Physics  and PHYS 034L KS - Principles of Physics  
  4. MATH 030 CM - Calculus I  (should be taken before Physics), and another semester of calculus or statistics
  5. CHEM 116L KS - Organic Chemistry  and CHEM 117L KS - Organic Chemistry  

Many programs also require or strongly recommend completion of the following courses:

  1. BIOL 177 KS - Biochemistry /CHEM 177 KS - Biochemistry  
  2. BIOL 157L KS - Cell Biology , and
  3. BIOL 143 KS - Genetics  

For further details contact Jill Jones, Pre-Health Professions Advisor at the Keck Science Department.

Majors in Science

Majors in Science

CMC students may complete the following majors through the Keck Science Department:

An important feature of these science programs is the breadth of background provided in the humanities, economics, and government - areas in which the training of scientists and engineers has traditionally been lacking.

The majors in biology, chemistry, or physics emphasize the interrelationships of these sciences as well as their individual depths. A designated faculty member of the Keck Science Department serves as convener and general advisor for these three disciplines. The various interdisciplinary majors are available to those students whose interests overlap several fields. Pre-medical and environmental emphases through these concentrations are particular strengths of the Keck Science Program.

CMC students also have access to several joint or dual degree (3-2) programs including the program in management-engineering with selected engineering schools, and the programs in economics and engineering with Harvey Mudd College and other certified engineering schools. CMC students also have the option to complete a sequence in Scientific Modeling . The sequence may be of interest to students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, management-engineering, neuroscience, and mathematics.

Courses with a laboratory and fee are denoted by an “L” in the course number.

Scientific Modeling Sequence

The sequence in Scientific Modeling  is a program offering computational tools for modeling and program solving. Modeling and simulations offer an approach which will help student investigate a wide range of problems and at the same time take advantage of the ever increasing power of computers. The sequence is designed for students majoring in biology, chemistry, physics, management-engineering, neuroscience and mathematics. Completion of the sequence will be noted on students’ transcripts. Professors Higdon and A. Lee (Mathematics) are the faculty advisors.

Senior Thesis in Science

At CMC, the senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception. Science majors are usually expected to complete a thesis in science, unless they obtain permission to write a thesis for a dual or double major in another discipline.

Science majors have several options for the senior thesis (note that for some science majors, a two-semester lab thesis is preferred). All of the following course numbers apply to biology, chemistry, and physics:

  • Students interested in a two-semester thesis with lab take 188L-190L - Senior Thesis Research Project– Senior Thesis Research Project, Second Semester in the first and second semester of the senior year.
  • Students interested in completing a two-semester thesis by conducting a substantial research project during the summer after their junior year, should enroll in 189L - Senior Thesis Summer Research Project in their first semester of the senior year and 190L - Senior Thesis Research Project, Second Semester in the first or second semester of the senior year. There is no credit or lab fee for 189L.
  • Students interested in a one-semester thesis without lab take 191- One-Semester Thesis, an extensive library research thesis in the first or second semester of the senior year.
  • The Senior Thesis Research Project course (188L) or the Summer Research Project course (189L) may not be counted as elective courses in the major.


Special Options for Majors in Science

Dual Majors

Students selecting a dual major including science should discuss their program requirements with the conveners of the appropriate programs. Usually up to two electives in science may be waived for dual majors including science. Unless otherwise specified in this catalog or exempted by the appropriate convener of the Keck Science Department, science students with dual majors are required to complete a one- or two-semester thesis in science.

Note the restrictions on honors in the major for students with a dual major under Honors in Science below. For further information on dual majors and the requirements of the other field of the dual major, check the appropriate sections of this catalog.

Honors in Science

To be eligible for departmental honors in one of the science majors listed in this catalog, students must:

  • Achieve a minimum grade point average of 10.5 in courses in the major;
  • Complete a one- or two-semester thesis project in which the student has demonstrated excellence by making a significant contribution to the progress of the research, by producing a thesis document judged to be of honors quality by the department, by presenting the work in a cogent fashion, and by engaging in the departmental seminar program;
  • Students with a dual major including science who wish to be considered for honors in science will only receive honors if they:
    • Have completed all requirements for a full major in science and are granted honors, or
    • Qualify and receive honors in both disciplines of their dual major. See Academic Honors at Graduation  for details

Sigma Xi

Sigma Xi is an international honor society for scientists and engineers. Its mission is to reward excellence in scientific research, and to foster interaction among scientists in different fields. Full membership requires demonstrated research ability, normally evidenced by publications. Undergraduates who have demonstrated an aptitude for research may be nominated by two full members to associate membership. For further information, contact the dean of the Keck Science department.

General Education Information

General Education Requirement in Science: Every CMC student must complete one laboratory science course offered by the Keck Science Department or elsewhere within the Claremont Consortium. This requirement must be satisfied by the end of the second year at CMC.

General Education Requirements in the Social Sciences and the Humanities for Science Majors:

Under CMC policies, general education requirements in the social sciences and humanities must be met by courses outside of a student’s major field(s). Students with interdisciplinary majors may be required to complete an additional general education course. For some very demanding majors, including Economics and Engineering, Management-Engineering, and Science and Management, the general education requirements have been adjusted to fit the major requirements.

For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, most science majors (including Biology , Biochemistry , Biophysics , Chemistry , Economics and Engineering , Environmental Analysis , Management-Engineering (ME) , Molecular Biology , Neuroscience , Organismal Biology , Physics , and Science & Management ) must take designated courses in three of the four fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in two of the four fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Some of these majors, including Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP) , Economics and Engineering , and Management-Engineering (ME) , require students to complete designated courses for their general education requirement in the social sciences. For details, consult the requirements for each major.

Students majoring in the interdisciplinary science fields (which may include some sequences in Neuroscience) are usually required to complete courses in all four fields of the social sciences together with two fields of the humanities. These majors must consult the CMC registrar prior to the senior year to ensure they select appropriate courses for their general education requirement.

Science majors with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional general education course in those categories.

Study Abroad

The Keck Science Department supports study abroad for science majors but majors need to be aware that spending a semester off-campus requires careful advanced planning and program selection. Science majors interested in study abroad should discuss their interest with their major advisors as soon as possible.

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