2014-2015 Catalog 
    May 05, 2021  
2014-2015 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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.