2012-2013 Pitzer Catalog 
    Sep 20, 2020  
2012-2013 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


A joint program with Claremont McKenna and Scripps Colleges.

The Keck Science Program offers courses of study for students interested in enlarging their understanding of natural phenomena and also courses for students desiring a major in biology, chemistry, management-engineering, physics, science and management, or some interdisciplinary combination of these areas. For example, interdisciplinary majors in biology-chemistry and biology-physics are available. Premedical and environmental emphases through the above majors are two particular strengths of the Keck Science Program.

For students interested in the biological bases of behavior, a major in neuroscience is available. This major provides preparation for graduate work in biology, psychology, neuroscience, as well as preparation for medical school or a profession in the health sciences. See neuroscience  for major requirements.

In a world of growing scientific and technological complexity, the Keck Science Department recognizes the need to provide instruction in science for those students not concentrating in science. Thus, the courses specifically designed to meet the Pitzer Science Requirement for non-science majors are numbered in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. In general, courses fulfilling the science requirement:

  • 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, which 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, which 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.
  • Explore applications of science and technology, which 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.

Honors in Science

To be considered for departmental honors in one of the science majors listed in this catalog, a student must:

  • Achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.5 in courses in the major; and
  • 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.

Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence (AISS) 1AL, 1BL, 2AL, 2BL

This intensive honors-level course sequence, co-taught by scientists from different disciplines, provides an integrative approach to the fundamentals of physics, chemistry and biology. It is designed for first-year students with broad, interdisciplinary scientific interests and strong math backgrounds. The sequence will prepare students for entry into any majors offered by the Keck Science Department* and provides an alternative to the standard six-course introductory curriculum (PHYS 033L KS -PHYS 034L KS , CHEM 014L KS -CHEM 015L KS , BIOL 043L KS -BIOL 044L KS ). It will feature computer modeling, seminar discussions, lectures, interdisciplinary laboratories and hands-on activities. AISS 001AL KS  and AISS 001BL KS  are designed to be taken concurrently (in the fall term), followed by AISS 002AL KS  and AISS 002BL KS  in the spring. Enrollment is by written permission.

(*Students interested in engineering or premed must consult with the engineering or premed advisers).

Learning Outcomes of the Joint Science Program

Students completing a major in the 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.

AP Credit

Biology: An AP score of 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam will be granted one elective course credit toward graduation, but will not be counted toward a biology major requirement. Placement in upper-level biology courses is only done by examination by the Biology Department .

Chemistry: An AP score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam will be granted one elective course credit toward graduation. Decisions on possible placement into CHEM 015L KS  (or CHEM 029L KS ) will be determined on an individual basis after consultation (and examination for CHEM 029L KS ) by the Chemistry Department .

Physics: An AP score of 4 or 5 on the AP Physics exam will be granted one elective course credit toward graduation, but will not count toward a major requirement in physics or engineering. Decisions on waiver of courses and placement will be determined on an individual basis after consultation by the Physics Department .

Areas of Study