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College of Science

Graduation Requirements

Students should check the College of Science website and speak with an academic advisor for the most up-to-date information and requirements.

The College of Science offers two bachelor's degrees, the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S. in Chemistry).

The two bachelor's degrees are traditional four-year degrees. All programs leading to the two degrees have certain requirements in common:

  1. Satisfaction of various University-wide requirements, i.e., academic scholarship, residence, etc., as described in University Regulations.
  2. Completion of the core requirements of the College of Science and of your departmental major, details of which are included in the applicable sections of this site.

If you successfully complete the requirements of one of the departmental honors programs (see information within the applicable sections), your transcript will be appropriately annotated.

It is the responsibility of each student to become familiar with degree requirements, graduation requirements and all other aspects regarding academic progress. Each student is assigned an advisor who will assist the student in planning curricula and will give advice that assists the student toward timely graduation. However, the ultimate responsibility for understanding and completing degree and graduation requirements lies with the student, not the advisor.

General Requirements — B.S. Degree

Students earn a B.S. degree by completing a major in one of the seven departments of the College of Science or by completing an interdisciplinary science major. (The B.S. in Chemistry is awarded to those who complete the program approved by the American Chemical Society.)

In addition to meeting core curriculum requirements, students must complete major requirements established by their departments.

B.S. Degree Requirements: College of Science

Total 124 (or more) semester credits

An average of 15.5 credits per semester is sufficient to accumulate 124 credits in eight semesters. Students with a graduation index of less than 3.0 are advised not to take more than 17 credits in any one semester. At least 32 of these credits must be taken in residence at Purdue, in accordance with University regulations.

Composition and Presentation 7-10 credits
Teambuilding and Collaboration 1-5 credits
Language and Culture 9 credits
General Education 9 credits
Multidisciplinary Experience 3 credits
Laboratory Science 6-10 credits
Mathematics 6-10 credits
Statistics 3 credits
Computing 3-4 credits

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Core Curriculum Requirements

Composition and Presentation

First-Year Composition. All students must complete First-Year Composition — ENGL 10600 (First-Year Composition) or ENGL 10800 (Accelerated First-Year Composition). Students with a minimum SAT Verbal score of 710 or a composite ACT score of 32 will receive a waiver from the freshman English requirement. Credit will be posted by the English department at the conclusion of a student’s first semester.

Technical Writing and Technical Presentation (TWTP). This core requirement may be met in multiple ways, including approved courses and experiential learning opportunities. Students in international or foreign status, however, are required to use a course or courses to meet the TWTP requirement. Approved experiential learning options may not be used by students with international or foreign status.

Technical Writing. This requirement can be met by completing one of the following options:

1. Science-based technical communication course: or

2. Course in technical writing from a list of approved courses; or

3. Scholarly publication:

  • Paper accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or peer-reviewed conference proceedings in which the student is the lead author or has written the large majority of the paper;or
  • Paper that a College of Science faculty member with expertise in the area deems of publishable quality; or
  • Three approved papers of at least 1,500 words each, at least one of which makes a strong or persuasive argument.

Technical Presentation. Requirement can be met by completing one of the following options:

1. Science-based technical presentation course; or

2. Course in technical presentation skills from a list of approved courses; or

3. Presentation at a scientific meeting (sole or predominant presenter); or

4. Presentation of work at an adjudicated poster session

  • Presentation must be made in the presence of a certified judge; and
  • Written feedback must be provided to the student; or

5. Presentation of work during an internship or co-op; or

6. Three approved 10-minute (or longer) presentations within science course(s).

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Teaming and Collaboration

Students learn the concepts involved in science teaming through this two-part teaming and collaboration requirement. Students must complete teaming principles, part I, before or concurrently with an approved teaming experience. 

Part I, teaming principles, is met by the completion of SC 21000 (Teaming Principles). Part II, teaming experience, may be met through one of the following options:

1. Completion of an approved teaming experience course or approved course that meets both part I and part II of the requirement; or

2. Participation in an approved teaming experience; or

3. Completion of an approved teaming and collaboration experience that meets both part I and part II of the requirement.

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Language and Culture

All College of Science students are expected to have an understanding of another culture in addition to their own culture. This requirement may be met through one of the following options:

1. Completion of three courses in the same language; or

2. Completion of two courses in the same language and an approved culture or diversity course; or

3. An approved Study Abroad experience that satisfies the following:

  • Must be at least one semester in duration or an approved internship program; and
  • Must take place outside the United States; and
  • Must consist of taking courses and/or working on a research project; and
  • Must include significant immersion in the local culture and language independent of any U.S.-based program in which a student may be participating.

Students whose native language is not English may also use demonstrated proficiency in their native language to fulfill this requirement. See an advisor for guidelines regarding this option.

Students may not earn credit toward graduation for courses below the 30000 level in their native language. The School of Languages and Cultures does not allow their native speaker to take 30100/30200 or 40100/40200 language development courses in their native language but will allow students to take history, literature and culture courses.

Students expecting to pursue graduate studies should note that some Ph.D. in science programs require reading knowledge of one or two modern languages. For serious work in many areas of science, such knowledge is necessary.

If you successfully complete the professional semester in a high school teaching curriculum or the applied physics curriculum, you need only complete, with a regular passing grade, a second-semester, college-level course in a modern language or pass an equivalent proficiency examination.

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General Education

Great Issues in Science. The College of Science Great Issues course addresses the impact of science on society and the ramifications of scientific advances. The Great Issues requirement can be met by completing the College of Science Great Issues in Science course or another approved course. Please see an academic advisor for approved courses.

General Education Options

This requirement is divided into two components. Nine total credits are required. Courses must be taken from:

Humanities/Social Science and/or Management. All College of Science students will be required to select three courses (9 credits) from the areas listed below, according to the following guidelines:

A two-course sequence (6 credits) must be selected from area (a) Humanities/Social Sciences. The second course in the sequence should be an extension or enhancement of the first. (This could be a second course in a series or a course that adds an interdisciplinary approach, i.e., a course in U.S. history could be followed with a course in Women's Studies or in African American Studies.)

To complete the requirement, students must take one additional course (3 credits) from either of the two areas listed below.

1. Humanities/Social Science. Approved courses in literature, philosophy, history, political science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, interdisciplinary studies, communication, visual and performing arts, African American Studies, American Studies, Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, Women's Studies, Classics or School of Languages and Cultures courses on culture or civilization; or

2. Management. Approved courses in management, economics or organizational behavior and resources management or ENTR 20000.

Unacceptable General Education Courses
Independent research courses are not acceptable. Courses cross-listed with a course in the College of Science or any that have a laboratory or studio component are also not acceptable. In addition, the following specific courses are not acceptable to meet this requirement: PHIL 15000 (Principles of Logic), PHIL 45000 (Symbolic Logic), PHIL 55000 (Advanced Symbolic Logic), PSY 20400 (Use Of Computers in Psychology), PSY 50000 (Statistical Methods Applied to Psychology, Education, and Sociology), PSY 50100 (Mathematics Essential for Quantitative Psychology), SOC 38200 (Introduction to Methods of Social Research).

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Multidisciplinary Experience

The multidisciplinary requirement can be met by completing one of the following options:

1. Complete a course, research project, internship or an entrepreneurship program project that involves a multidisciplinary approach to examining a problem or issue, preferably involving multidisciplinary teams at the junior level or above; or

2. Complete an additional major or minor that gives the student experience in another discipline's approach to examining important problems and issues in that discipline. Such an additional major or minor must require at least three courses not required for the student's major. Such additional majors and minors will be approved by each College of Science department for use by students to satisfy this requirement; or

3. Science Education (secondary education) students meet this requirement by completing degree requirements.

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Laboratory Science

Students in the College of Science must complete a two-course sequence and related laboratory experiences in a science outside of the major department. These courses must be approved foundational laboratory science coursework in the biological sciences, chemistry, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences or physics.

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Students must take a minimum of a one-year sequence of single variable calculus. The following courses are acceptable: MA 16100 (Plane Analytic Geometry and Calculus I) (5 cr.) and MA 16200 (Plane Analytic Geometry and Calculus II) (4 cr.); or an approved two-course mathematics sequence for a particular major.

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Students must take a statistics course from an approved list. The following courses and their equivalents are currently acceptable: STAT 30100 (Elementary Statistical Methods) (3 cr.); STAT 35000 (Introduction to Statistics) (3 cr.); STAT 50300 (Statistical Methods for Biology) (3 cr.); STAT 51100 (Statistical Methods) (3 cr.). Please check specific department and/or major requirements because there may be departmental restrictions on which courses are allowed.

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Students must take a course in computing concepts taught using an interpreted or compiled programming language. Course content will include basic control structures and function calls. To fulfill this requirement, one of the following courses must be completed: CS 15800 (C Programming) (3 cr.); CS 15900 (Programming Applications for Engineers) (3 cr.); CS 17700 (Programming with Multimedia Objects) (4 cr.); CS 18000 (Programming I) (4 cr.); CS 1900C (Introduction to Computational Thinking) (3 cr.).

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