Academic Programs Catalog

College of Natural Science

Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate students in the College of Natural Science may opt for either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts degree program.

The college offers programs of study culminating in a bachelor's degree with either a departmental or an interdepartmental major. All programs are liberal in character and involve a specified minimum of nonscience credits in addition to those needed to meet integrative studies requirements. Electives in both major and nonmajor areas make it possible to mold a program of interest and challenge for each student.

The departmental major features study in a single discipline and is generally considered the proper choice for concentrated study in a limited area. A departmental major consists of not fewer than 27 nor more than 79 credits in courses recognized by the college as applicable to the major. Specific major requirements are given in the sections that follow. Departmental majors are available through Lyman Briggs College as coordinate majors.

The interdepartmental major features study in several disciplines with no single discipline being dominant and is generally considered the proper choice if breadth of background in several fields of the natural sciences is desired. The college offers interdepartmental majors:  biological science–interdepartmental, earth science–interdepartmental, human biology, and physical science-interdepartmental. In addition, the College of Education, in cooperation with the College of Natural Science, offers an integrated science teaching major for students accepted in elementary education, as well as an integrated science endorsement for secondary education science majors.  For further information, refer to the section on MSU SUBJECT MATTER TEACHING MAJORS AND MINORS FOR TEACHER PREPARATION AND CERTIFICATION in the Department of Teacher Education section of the catalog.  The interdepartmental major consists of a minimum of 45 credits (biological science) or 36 credits (earth science) and 50 credits (physical science) and not more than 67 credits in courses recognized by the college as applicable toward the major. Interdepartmental majors are available through Lyman Briggs College as coordinate majors. Interdisciplinary majors are also available through Lyman Briggs College.


Major Preference Students

Students who meet the general requirements for admission to the University shown in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog and who are not enrolled in Lyman Briggs College are enrolled in the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative but may declare a major preference in the College of Natural Science and be assigned an academic advisor in this college. All programs in the biological sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics presume a minimum of two and one–half entrance units in mathematics (one and one–half units of algebra and one unit of geometry).
 


Admission to the College of Natural Science

  1. Completion of at least 28 credits acceptable to the College with an academic record which at least meets the requirements of Academic Standing of Undergraduate Students.
  2. Acceptance as a major in one of the academic programs of the College.
  3. Clinical Laboratory Sciences majors are admitted at the junior level each fall semester. For specific details, see the program statement in the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Programs section.

 


Graduation Requirements

  1. The University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog.

    Students who are enrolled in majors leading to Bachelor of Science and  Bachelor of Arts degrees in the College of Natural Science may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of:
    1. One course in  Biological Science, Entomology, Integrative Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, or Plant Biology.
    2. Chemistry 141 or 151 or 181H.
    3. Two credits of laboratory experience in biological or physical science.
      Credits earned in courses in the alternative track may also be counted toward College and major requirements for Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
  2. The requirements of the College of Natural Science for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees that are listed below:
    1. The requirements for either a departmental major or an interdepartmental major of 27 to 79 credits. For specific requirements, see the sections that follow.
    2. A minimum grade–point average of 2.00 in courses in the student's major; i.e., in all courses that are required for the major and that are not counted toward College and University requirements.
    3. The following credit distribution requirements:
      1. A minimum of 30 credits in courses numbered 300 and above.
      2. A maximum of 67 credits in courses offered in a single curriculum division of the College; i.e., Biological Science or Mathematical Science or Physical Science.
    4. Only credits in courses graded on the numerical or Pass–No Grade system may be counted toward College and major requirements for Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in the College of Natural Science.  College of Natural Science students may not enroll in courses that are to be counted toward College and major requirements, including courses in other colleges, on a Credit–No Credit basis.
  3. The requirements of the College of Natural Science for either the Bachelor of Science degree or the Bachelor of Arts degree that are listed below:
    1. Requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree:
      1. One semester of calculus.
      2. A second semester of calculus or one semester of statistics and probability.
      3. Two semesters of chemistry including at least one laboratory experience.
      4. Two semesters of physics.
      5. One semester of biological science.
    2. Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree:
      1. One semester of calculus.
      2. A second semester of calculus or one semester of statistics and probability.
      3. One semester each of biological science, chemistry, and physics including at least one laboratory experience.
      4. Six credits in courses in the arts and humanities or the social, behavioral, and economic sciences beyond the credits that are counted toward the University's Integrative Studies requirement.

Many major programs which lead to a Bachelor of Science degree require a proficiency greater than the College established minimum in one, or more, of the following fields:  chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Also, for either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree, when two or more options exist for the fulfillment of any College— established requirement, one of the options may be specified as a major requirement. The specific requirements for each major program are given in the sections that follow.

Chemistry and mathematics requirements should be completed to the fullest extent possible during the freshman and sophomore years. Bachelor of Science candidates with a major in a physical science should complete the physics requirement during the sophomore year. Students with a major in a biological science may postpone completion of the physics requirement until the junior year, but should complete Biological Science 161, 162 by the end of the sophomore year.  The biology courses should be completed during the freshman year because they are prerequisites to most of the courses offered by the departments in the biological sciences.  All students should complete the University's Tier I writing requirement during the freshman year.


Honors Study

The College of Natural Science encourages honors students to develop distinctive undergraduate programs in their chosen fields. All qualified students in the College may also be members of the Honors College. A member of the faculty is selected to serve as advisor to Honors College students in each major field, and it is the advisor's responsibility to help the student plan a rigorous and balanced program which will also reflect the student's special interests and competencies.

The departments of the college annually offer numerous honors opportunities at both introductory and advanced levels. At the introductory level these consist chiefly of  regularly offered honors courses. Honors options are also available in many other courses. At the advanced level honors students are encouraged to undertake faculty–guided independent research in their fields of specialization. These honors experiences are provided mainly, but not exclusively, for Honors College students. In addition, honors undergraduates are encouraged, when appropriate, to undertake work at the graduate level.

 


Charles Drew Science Scholars

The Charles Drew Science Scholars program was created to help students currently underrepresented in the sciences achieve the best possible preparation for pursuing their educational goals in science and mathematics. The program is designed to: a) assist students with the transition from high school to college and b) to expose them to the vast number of career opportunities in the sciences.

These goals are attained, in part, through problem-solving courses, specially designed courses in mathematics, and designated sections of biology and chemistry courses.  In addition, academic coaching and tutoring is available and students are exposed to both successful undergraduate and graduate role models.

The purpose of this program is, through advising and focused academic support, to help interested and motivated students develop the foundation for successful careers in science.  Students are encouraged to contact the College of Natural Science for additional information about this program.


Preprofessional Programs

All professional colleges have established minimum requirements in selected areas of knowledge for admission (hereafter referred to as admission requirements). Although fulfilling these requirements does not in itself guarantee admission, their fulfillment is a necessary first step for those who aspire to enter a professional college.

At Michigan State University students may select programs of study which help to prepare them for enrollment in professional colleges. Since the admission requirements of various professional colleges vary, it is not feasible to establish a single program that satisfies the admission requirements of all colleges in a given profession. However, in the fields of dentistry, allopathic and osteopathic medicine, physical therapy, physicians assistant, podiatry, and optometry, the College of Natural Science does have suggested programs of study. These programs satisfy the minimum admission requirements of most professional colleges. It is the student's responsibility to determine whether or not the proposed program meets the minimum admission requirements of a particular professional college.

There are a number of programs of study which may be completed in the normal four years and which provide both the academic preparation for admission to a professional school and fulfill the requirements for a bachelor's degree. The preprofessional programs as outlined do not in themselves lead to a bachelor's degree.


Predental Program

Students who meet the requirements for admission to the University as freshmen and sophomores, as shown in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog, may select the predental program in the College of Natural Science as their major preference.  Students who are enrolled in the predental program are enrolled in the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, but receive academic advising through the college.

University regulations require that a student who has arrived at junior standing must select a major leading to a baccalaureate degree.  The College of Natural Science does not offer a bachelor's degree program for predental students.  Therefore, upon reaching junior standing, students who have been enrolled in the predental program must be admitted to a major in either the College of Natural Science or in another college in order to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree, regardless of whether they have completed the requirements for the predental program.

Requirements for the Predental Program

1. A total of 60 credits in courses in the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and writing, including courses that are used to satisfy the University requirements and the courses that are listed below:
a. All of the following courses (31 credits):
BS 161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
BS 162 Organismal and Population Biology 3
BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
BS 172 Organismal and Population Biology Laboratory 2
CEM 141 General Chemistry 4
CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3
CEM 252 Organic Chemistry II 3
CEM 255 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
PHY 231 Introductory Physics I 3
PHY 232 Introductory Physics II 3
PHY 251 Introductory Physics Laboratory I 1
PHY 252 Introductory Physics Laboratory II 1
Some dental colleges do not require Chemistry 252.
b. 3 additional credits in general chemistry selected from the following courses: Chemistry 142, 152, and 162.
c. 3 credits in a biological science course in addition to Biological Science 161, 171, 162, and 172.
d. a minimum of 3 credits in statistics.
2. Students who are enrolled in the predental program should complete the University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog.
Students who are enrolled in the Predental Program in the College of Natural Science may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of the following courses: Biological Science 161, 171, 162, and 172 and Chemistry 141.  The completion of Biological Science 171 satisfies the laboratory requirement.  Biological Science 161, 171, 162, and 172 and Chemistry 141 may be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the predental program referenced in item 1. a. above.
A Tier I writing course is included in the University requirements.  Students who are enrolled in the predental program are required to meet the Tier II writing requirement approved for the student's major leading to the bachelor's degree.


Premedical (including Pre-Osteopathy, Pre-Podiatry, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Physicians's Assistant) Program

Students who meet the requirements for admission to the university as freshmen and sophomores, as shown in the Undergraduate Education section of the catalog, may select the premedical program in the College of Natural Science as their major preference.  Students who are enrolled in the premedical program are enrolled in the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, but receive academic advising through the college.

University regulations require that a student who has arrived at junior standing must select a major leading to a baccalaureate degree. The College of Natural Science does not offer a bachelor's degree program for premedical students. Therefore, upon reaching junior standing, students who have been enrolled in the premedical program must be admitted to a major in either the College of Natural Science or in another college in order to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree, regardless of whether they have completed the requirements for the premedical program.

Requirements for the Premedical Program (including Pre–Osteopathy, Pre–Podiatry, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Physician's Assistant)

1. A total of 90 credits in courses in the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, humanities, and writing, including courses that are used to satisfy the University requirements and the courses that are listed below:
a. All of the following courses (31 credits):
BS 161 Cell and Molecular Biology 3
BS 162 Organismal and Population Biology 3
BS 171 Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory 2
BS 172 Organismal and Population Biology Laboratory 2
CEM 141 General Chemistry  4
CEM 161 Chemistry Laboratory I 1
CEM 251 Organic Chemistry I 3
CEM 252 Organic Chemistry II 3
CEM 255 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 2
PHY 231 Introductory Physics I 3
PHY 232 Introductory Physics II 3
PHY 251 Introductory Physics Laboratory I 1
PHY 252 Introductory Physics Laboratory II 1
b. 3 additional credits in general chemistry selected from the following courses: Chemistry 142, 152, and 162.
c. One 300–400 level course in biology with laboratory (3 credits) and another course in biology (3 credits).
d. One additional course in biology, chemistry, or physics (3 credits).
NOTE: Higher level equivalent biological science, chemistry, and physics course sequences may be substituted for the  sequences listed above.  Courses in biochemistry and  genetics are highly recommended.
e. A minimum of 3 credits in statistics.
2. Students who are enrolled in the premedical program should complete the University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog.  
Students who are enrolled in the Premedical Program (including Pre–Osteopathy, Pre–Podiatry, Pre-Pharmacy, and Pre-Physician's Assistant) in the College of Natural Science may complete an alternative track to Integrative Studies in Biological and Physical Sciences that consists of the following courses:  Biological Science 161, 171, 162, and 172, and Chemistry 141.  The completion of Biological Science 171 satisfies the laboratory requirement.  Biological Science 161, 171, 162, and 172 and Chemistry 141 may be counted toward both the alternative track and the requirements for the premedical program referenced in item 1. a. above.
A Tier I writing course is included in the University requirements.  Students who are enrolled in the premedical program are required to meet the Tier II writing requirement approved for the student's major leading to the bachelor's degree.

Preoptometry Program

Students who meet the requirements for admission to the university as freshmen and sophomores, as shown in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog, may select the preoptometry program in the College of Natural Science as their major preference.  Students who are enrolled in the preoptometry program are enrolled in the Neighborhood Student Success Collaborative, but receive academic advising through the college.

University regulations require that a student who has arrived at junior standing must select a major leading to a baccalaureate degree. The College of Natural Science does not offer a bachelor's degree program for preoptometry students. Therefore, upon reaching junior standing, students who have been enrolled in the preoptometry  program must be admitted to a major in either the College of Natural Science or in another college in order to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree, regardless of whether they have completed the requirements for the preoptometry program.

Requirements for the Preoptometry Program

  1. Specific courses are not listed since admission requirements of the colleges of optometry vary greatly and can be met in several ways.  The common pattern of admission requirements is a total of 90 semester credits of which 6 to 8 credits are elected from each of the following areas:  English, physics, mathematics, biological science, chemistry, psychology, and social science.  Courses that are used to satisfy University,  college, and major requirements may be counted toward the admission requirements of colleges of optometry.
  2. Students who are enrolled in the preoptometry program should complete the University requirements for bachelor's degrees as described in the Undergraduate Education section of this catalog.

    A Tier I writing course is included in the University requirements.  Students who are enrolled in the preoptometry program are required to meet the Tier II writing requirement approved for the student's major leading to the bachelor's degree.