Courses of Study:
The general science program is designed for students planning to enter interdisciplinary fields; teach science in secondary schools; enter medicine, public health, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and their allied fields; enter the optometry profession or the field of biomedical engineering; or undertake other programs requiring a general scientific background or a particular mixture of science courses. Joint majors with other departments in the sciences are also possible. Students who intend to do graduate work in a specific scientific field are advised to fulfill the undergraduate requirements for the major in that field.
How to Become a Major
As in other science areas, prospective general science majors should start early in planning their programs because of various prerequisites that may apply to particular courses and to allow sufficient time to make application to professional schools. Students who wish to have some flexibility in the design of their advanced programs will find general science to be a congenial major that also offers the possibility of an honors program and joint majors with other science departments.
Requirements for the Major
A. Required of all candidates: BIOL 22a (formerly BIBC 22a); BIOL 22b; BIOL 18a,b; CHEM 10a or 11a with 18a, or CHEM 15a with 19a, and CHEM 10b or 11b with 18b, or 15b with 19b. MATH 10a,b or 11a,b and PHYS 10a,b or 11a,b with 18a,b or 19a,b. Satisfactory grades (C- or above) must be maintained in all of these required courses.
B. Elective courses: With the approval of the program's advising head, a candidate in the General Science Program must also offer the equivalent of six advanced semester courses from the offerings of the School of Science. Such courses must be selected from at least two and not more than four fields within the School of Science. The following courses may not be elected: all courses designed exclusively for the University Studies Program in Science and Mathematics such as Biological Science (BISC), Physical Science (PHSC), etc.; all courses numbered below 20 (except that BIOL 15b, COSI 10a and 11b, and MATH 8a and 15a may serve as electives), or 90 through 99; or NPSY above 100 but without a prerequisite within the School of Science that meets these general science requirements; or neuroscience courses below 100; or courses outside the School of Science. Candidates offering elective courses having laboratories (except physical chemistry) are required to enroll in any laboratories accompanying the course, e.g., students offering CHEM 25a must also complete CHEM 29a in order to fulfill one elective in organic chemistry, or a student offering COSI 21a must complete the associated lab course, COSI 22a, to fulfill one elective in computer science.
C. No course offered for the major requirements in general science may be taken pass/fail. No more than one unsatisfactory passing grade (below C-) in a semester course will be accepted among the elective courses offered to fulfill the requirements for this major.
D. Honors program: Majors in general science who wish to earn a degree with honors must satisfactorily complete an honors program. No later than September of the year in which honors are to be earned, the candidate petitions the general science committee to devise an honors program consisting of laboratory research, special courses, or both. Approval of this petition is required to admit a student to the honors program. Laboratory research is conducted under the sponsorship of a faculty member of the School of Science; the student enrolls in the 99 course offered by the department to which the sponsor belongs. If a student wishes to work with a research director outside the School of Science or outside of Brandeis, a faculty member of the Brandeis School of Science must consent to act as the local sponsor. On completion of the thesis, the sponsor (or outside research director and local sponsor) makes a recommendation for honors to the general science committee to accompany the submission of the thesis. The general science committee will then determine whether the student has successfully completed the honors program and will recommend the level of honors to be awarded.