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Science Sequencing

Placement in the appropriate section and the correct sequencing of math and science courses is critical for first-year students.

Below is information on the sequence of the introductory curriculum in math, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, biological sciences and pre-health.

If questions arise it is appropriate to contact or to have the student make an appointment with the appropriate departmental advisor or contact.

  • Biological Sciences: C. Robertson McClung (646-3940)
  • Chemistry: Gordon Gribble (646-3118)
  • Computer Science: Devin Balkcom (646-1691)
  • Engineering Sciences: Erland Schulson (646-2888)
  • Math: Scott Pauls (646-1047)
  • Physics: James LaBelle (646-2973)
  • Pre-Health: Dr. Lee Witters (Career Services, 646-3377)

Traditional Sequencing for Biological Sciences:

  • Students can begin the study of Biology with Biology 2, Biology/Chemistry 8, Biology 11 or one of the "foundation courses" (numbered 12-16).  To help students in making the choice of which course to enter first, we have assembled a Biology Placement/Advisory Test that is accessible on Blackboard.

Prerequisites for the Biological Sciences Majors include:  Chemistry 5 (or 8-9) and 6, plus a quantitative course (e.g. Math 4 or 8 [or higher], Computer Science 1, Biology 29) and so a potential major should begin these in the first year.

Traditional Sequencing for Chemistry:

  • 5 (or 8-9)-6-51-52 or 5-6-57-58 (traditional)
  • 2-5-6-51-52 or 2-5-6-57-58 (IAS – Integrated Academic Support supports Chemistry 2)
  • 10-51-52  or 10-57-58 (Honors)

Chemistry 2, an invitation-only course, is supported by the IAS Program.  A student invited to take Chemistry 2 must successfully complete the course in order to take Chemistry 5.
Chemistry 8-9 (equal to Biology 8-9) is a new joint-taught, two-course sequence that is equivalent to Chemistry 5 (and Biology 11). Completion of BOTH Chemistry 8 and 9 will fulfill the prerequisites for Chemistry 6 (as well as for any of the biology "foundation" courses, Biology 12-16).
Chemistry 10 is the honors section of Chemistry 5 for first-year students with a strong background in chemistry and mathematics. In one term, the course covers selected general chemistry topics important for higher level chemistry courses.  Mathematics preparation equivalent to Math 3 is required.
Successful completion of Chemistry 10 results in credit for both Chemistry 5 and Chemistry 10.
Prerequisites for the Chemistry Major vary depending on the track, but at a minimum include: Chemistry 5 (or 8-9)-6 (or 2-5 [or 8-9]-6, or 10), Math 3 and 8 (or equivalent), and Physics 13-14 (or 3-4, or 15-16).
For those students who want to fulfill pre-health requirements, it is often useful to work backwards from when they want to take the organic chemistry sequence (Chemistry 51-52 or 57-58).

Traditional Sequencing for Computer Science:

  • Computer Science 1 is now the department's entry-level course, replacing Computer Science 5. 
  • A students who places out of Computer Science 1 based on AP scores may take Computer Science 10 (formerly Computer Science 8), or Computer Science 30 (formerly Computer Science 19).

Students may receive credit for Computer Science 1 through the Computer Science AP exam or the local placement exam.

Traditional Sequencing for Engineering Sciences in the First-Year:

  • Math 3-8-13, Physics 13-14, Engineering 20 (With no advanced placement)
  • Math 8-13/14, Physics 13-14, Engineering 20 or 21 (With AP credit for Math 3)

First year should include at least Math 3-8 and Physics 13-14. (In which case, Math 13, Engineering 20 and 21 can be taken in the second year.)
A student who has credit for Math 3 will help him/herself out by also doing Math 13 and/or either Engineering 20 or 21 in the first year.
Students interested in computer science as well as engineering should take Computer Science 5 instead of Engineering 20.
Students interested in pre-health or chemical/biochemical engineering may be advised to take Chemistry 5-6 in the first year instead of physics, or take Physics 13-14 in the second year.

Traditional Sequencing for Math:

  • 3-8-13 (or 14)
  • 11 or 12 (advanced placement)

Math 3 (or 1 if a student is doing the 1-2 IAS sequence) is the prerequisite for all chemistry and physics courses that are part of the pre-health requirements.
Math 11 (or 12, honors section) is designed specifically for first-year students who placed out of 3 and 8 (and covers the same materials as would be covered through Math 13).
See Math Placement and Sequencing  for more information on Math classes

Traditional Sequencing for Physics:

  • 13-14 (traditional)
  • 15-16 (honors)
  • 3-4 (terminal – often for pre-health track and non-physical science majors)

Prerequisites for the Physics Major include Math 3, 8, 13, and 23, and Physics 13 and 14 (or 15 and 16).
Physics 13-14 is available fall-winter or winter-spring. The fall-winter offering minimally requires placement into Math 3. Math 8 is a co-req for Physics 13.
Physics 15-16 is available fall-winter only. The entrance exam offered during orientation must be taken for admission to Physics 15, or permission granted by the instructor. A student who missed the placement exam during orientation should contact the department early in the first week of classes.
Physics 3 is available summer or fall and Physics 4 winter or spring. Pre-health and non-physical science majors often take these courses after the first year, sometimes starting with the sophomore summer.

Traditional Sequencing for Pre-Health:

See Required Courses for Medical, Dental and Veterinary Schools

The courses below are offered in the following sequences:

  • Biology 11 is offered fall, winter and spring. Every student should have a conversation with a first-year or pre-health advisor or a biology faculty member as to the desirability of taking Biology 11 (or its equivalent Bio/Chem 8/9) before enrolling in the foundation courses.
  • Chemistry 5-6: Chemistry 5 is offered in the fall or winter.  Chemistry 6 is offered in the spring or fall.
  • Biology/Chemistry 8-9: Biology/Chemistry 8 is offered in the fall, Biology/Chemistry 9 is offered in the winter.
  • Chemistry 2-5-6: a fall-winter-spring (or fall-winter-fall) sequence.  Placement into Chemistry 2 is by invitation only, and will be noted on a student's placement record.  A student invited to take Chemistry 2 must successfully complete the course in order to then take
  • Chemistry 5 (or Chemistry 8-9).
  • Chemistry 10: offered fall only, and only to first-year students.
  • Chemistry 51-52: offered fall-winter, and spring-summer.
  • Chemistry 57-58: offered fall-winter.
  • Math 3: offered fall and winter. It (or placing out of it) is a prerequisite for most science sequences.
  • Math 8: offered fall, winter, and spring.
  • Math 11 (12): offered fall term only (intended for first-year students)
  • Math 13: offered fall, winter, and spring.
  • Physics 3-4: can be taken fall-winter, fall-spring, summer-winter, or summer-spring.
  • Physics 13-14: offered fall-winter, or winter-spring

General Principles for Advising and Scheduling Courses in the Sciences

Last Updated: 1/3/14