Interdisciplinary Science

Degree Requirements

  • This page outlines requirements for the degree in Interdisciplinary Science (BA, Interdisciplinary Science). Students can also study this subject as a minor or as part of a self-designed major (BA or BS, Liberal Arts).

    Learning Outcomes

    1. Content Knowledge: The student is able to apply basic scientific and quantitative principles and the relationships between them across different scales to understand issues in health and environment.

    2. Epistemology of Science: Using historical and contemporary examples, the student is able to describe the process of science and the interplay between inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning.

    3. Social Context/Interdisciplinarity: The student is able to recognize the importance of the interplay between science and society.

    4. Quantitative Reasoning/Visual Literacy: The student is able to use quantitative methods to solve problems, analyze scientific data, and construct conceptual mathematical models.

    5. Lab Skills: The student is able to design, execute, and interpret the results of experiments in a laboratory setting.

    6. Skills and Abilities: The student can locate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate sources of scientific information to address problems, make decisions, and take action. The student can communicate science effectively in a variety of forms and can work on a sustained project independently and in collaboration with others.

    7. Personal Empowerment: The student expresses excitement, confidence, and passion about science and society and understands how science can be an agent for social change.

    Requirements for the Interdisciplinary Science Major
    (BA Interdisciplinary Science)

    The major in Interdisciplinary Science requires the completion of a minimum of 13 courses. Only specific courses satisfy the major requirements, including electives. Courses must be chosen carefully, in consultation with an Interdisciplinary Science faculty member. Because the program emphasizes connection across many scales (molecular, cellular, population, and ecosystem), students seeking either the major or minor are required to complete Foundation courses that address both microscopic and macroscopic scales.

    Declare your major and track your progress using the program requirement worksheet (see below)
    for the year in which you declare. 

    Advising and Resources

    See Interdisciplinary Science Advising and Resources for information about:

    • Identifying and selecting classes
    • Funding research and internship opportunities for IS students
    • Training programs, conferences, and resources related to graduate school
    • Local seminars and research experiences for undergraduates (REUs)
    • IS job opportunities
    • IS study abroad opportunities
    • Professional societies
    • Conferences and journals

    Required Courses

    The major in Interdisciplinary Science requires the following courses. Track your progress using the requirements worksheet (see above), and visit the IS Advising and Resources page for information about identifying and selecting courses that meet the requirements. Students must receive grades of C or better in all courses taken to fulfill major requirements.

    LSCI 2700 Energy and Sustainability (spring)

    LMTH 2050 Math Models in Nature (spring)

    LSCI 2500 Chemistry of the Environment (fall)

    LSCI 2040 Genes, Environment, and Behavior (spring)

    LSCI 3020 Methods of Scientific Inquiry (For Methods, consult with faculty advisor from the department; LSCI 3031 Chemistry of Atmosphere can count in some cases. Interested students should speak to their faculty advisor.)

    Choose two (2) LSCI Foundation courses from the courses below (macro scale; must be chosen in consultation with an Interdisciplinary Science faculty member):

    • LSCI 2037 Foundations in Physics (fall/spring)
    • LSCI 2300 Urban Environmental Health (fall)
    • LSCI 2840 Science and Politics of Infectious Diseases (spring)
    • UENV 2400 Urban Ecology (fall)
    • LSCI 2310 Introduction to Epidemiology in Action (spring). (Epidemiology is no longer offered at the intro level starting in 2017.)

    Choose one (1) additional LMTH Math course from the courses below, in consultation with a faculty advisor from the department:

    • LMTH 2040 Calculus (spring/fall)
    • LMTH 2045 Calculus II (spring/fall)
    • LMTH 2030 Statistics with SPSS (spring/fall)

    Choose one (1) LSCI Laboratory course from the courses below (all have prerequisites):

    • LSCI 3030 Biodiversity Achieved Lab (prerequisite: LSCI 2040 Genes, Environment, and Behavior) (alternate years/fall 2017)
    • LSCI 3029 Water Quality Lab (prerequisite: LSCI 2500 Chemistry of the Environment) (alternate years/spring 2019)
    • UENV 3450 Ecology Lab (prerequisite: either UENV 2400 Urban Ecology or LSCI 2040 Genes, Environment, and Behavior) (next offering spring 2019)

    Choose two (2) LSCI Intermediate/Advanced courses (prerequisites required; offered alternate years)

    • LSCI 3031 Chemistry of the Atmosphere (not after spring 2017)
    • LSCI 3400 Genomes, Populations, and Identities
    • LSCI 3070 Climate Change and Global Health (prior to 2016)
    • or other 3000-level LSCI or LMTH courses that have prerequisites

    Choose one (1) additional LSCI Advanced course (LSCI 4000 and above; prerequisites required). Must be chosen in consultation with faculty advisor from department:

    • LSCI 4900 IS Capstone: Planetary Health

    One (1) elective: Any LSCI, LMTH, or UENV course that has not been applied toward satisfying a requirement above. Selected in consultation with faculty advisor from the department. Note: The following courses do not satisfy this elective requirement: Quantitative Reasoning I, Pre-Calculus, and Statistics for the Social Sciences. First Year courses and history or philosophy courses can count in some cases (consult with faculty advisor from the department).

    Total credits: 48-52