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Pre-2007 Science Core Requirements

Students who entered the College of Science prior to Fall 2007 must meet the following core requirements. Additional standards might be in place at the departmental major level.

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.


English Composition

Students must complete Written Communication — ENGL 106 (First-Year Composition) (4 cr.) or ENGL 108 (Accelerated First-Year Composition) (3 cr.) — and an advanced composition course. The faculty that teaches written communication determines whether a student is placed in ENGL 106 or 108. The advanced composition course must be at or above the 200-level and must be approved by the dean of the College of Science or the dean’s designee.

Courses currently approved include: ENGL 205 (Introduction to Creative Writing), ENGL 304 (Advanced Composition), ENGL 306 (Introduction to Professional Writing), ENGL 309 (Computer-Aided Publishing), ENGL 406 (Review Writing), ENGL 419 (Multimedia Writing), ENGL 420 (Business Writing), ENGL 421 (Technical Writing), and ENGL 424 (Writing for the Computer Industry). Each course counts for three credit hours.

Note: Enrollment in advanced composition courses might be limited.


Modern Foreign Language

All College of Science majors are expected to have proficiency in another language besides their native language. “Native language” refers to the language of instruction in the school that awarded the high school diploma. Competency in the second language must be demonstrated at the fourth-semester college level by completing, with a regular passing grade, a fourth-semester, college-level course in a modern foreign language or by passing an equivalent proficiency examination.

To demonstrate proficiency in your native language you may either

  1. present your high school transcript or equivalent, which states the language of instruction;
  2. b) successfully pass an approved exam in your native language;
  3. c) successfully complete a literature course or a course beyond the 202-level taught in your native language.

If this course is a literature, history, or culture course, it may fulfill part of your general education requirement.

If your native language is not English, you may satisfy the foreign language requirements by demonstrating your competence in English by completing the English composition requirement of the College of Science and COM 114 (Fundamentals of Speech Communication) (3 cr.).

You may not earn credit toward graduation for courses below the 300-level in your native language. The Foreign Languages and Literatures department may not allow any native speaker to take 301/302 or 401/402 language development courses in their native language but will allow students to take history, literature, and culture courses.

If you expect to pursue graduate studies, you should note that at some universities one requirement for a Ph.D. in science is a 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.


General Education

You must complete 18 credits of study in the humanities, social sciences, and behavioral sciences. The College of Science identifies the following five broad areas:

  1. Humanities: literature, philosophy, and aesthetics

  2. Social Studies: history or political science

  3. Behavioral Sciences: economics, psychology, sociology, and anthropology

  4. Communication: Skills: COM 224 (Communicating in the Global Workplace), COM 314 (Advanced Presentational Speaking), or COM 320 (Small Group Communication); Aesthetics/General Education: COM 240 (Introduction to Oral Interpretation), COM 250 (Mass Communication and Society), COM 251 (Introduction to the Electronic Mass Media), COM 312 (Rhetoric in the Western World), COM 316 (Controversy in American Society), COM 318 (Principles of Persuasion), or COM 329 (History of the Mass Media).

  5. Interdisciplinary Studies: Any African American, American, Jewish, Religious, or Women’s Studies course; any culture or civilization course in Foreign Language, EDPS 235 (Learning and Motivation); SCI 460 (Science and Society); and University honors courses (HONR) (only 3 approved honors credits may be used to meet general education requirements)

    General Education Course Distribution

    A minimum of 18 credits is required and must be distributed as follows:

    1. Two courses must be from areas 1, 2, or 3, in the same department.

    2. Two more courses must be from one of the remaining two areas (1, 2, or 3 only) not chosen to meet requirement “a.” These two courses do not have to be in the same department, but they must be in the same area.

    3. Two more courses from any of the five areas (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).

Courses at the 500-level may be taken pass/not pass to satisfy the general education requirement. Courses below the 500-level must be taken for a letter grade to meet this requirement.

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 150 (Principles of Logic), PHIL 450 (Symbolic Logic), PHIL 550 (Advanced Symbolic Logic), PSY 204 (Use Of Computers in Psychology), PSY 500 (Statistical Methods Applied to Psychology, Education, and Sociology), PSY 501 (Mathematics Essential for Quantitative Psychology), and SOC 382 (Introduction to Methods of Social Research).

If you have any questions about the general education requirements, please ask your advisor to help you early in your course planning.



You must take at least 11 credits of mathematics courses selected to meet the requirements of your departmental major. All mathematics courses must be at the level of calculus or above.



Students in the College of Science must complete four laboratory science courses outside of their major discipline. At least two of the courses must be foundational laboratory science coursework in biological sciences, chemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences, or physics offered at a level appropriate for science majors. In addition to other and more advanced courses in these areas, certain courses in computer science or engineering may also be approved to complete the requirement. Courses, including their laboratory component, must be at least three credits each.

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