General Information on Courses in the Keck Science Department for New Students (and Their Advisors)

If you are considering becoming a science major or pursuing a career in the health professions, please talk to a Keck Science faculty member before enrolling in your first-semester courses.  Science faculty can help ensure that you are enrolled in classes appropriate to your previous experience and can assist with the advanced planning that is often necessary to navigate through the prerequisites required for many upper-division courses.  (Please note that if you will be taking science courses this year and you currently do not have an adviser in the Keck Science Department, you may ask your Registrar to assign you one.)  General information on appropriate first-year science courses is also given below.

For the majors listed below, the Keck Science faculty indicated are available for consultation:

You may also contact Velda Ross (Room 110, Keck Science Center, vross@kecksci.claremont.edu), the department’s program administrator, with any questions.

The minimal science requirements for students planning careers in the health professions include: “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L), “Organic Chemistry” (116L and 117L), “Introductory Biology” (43L and 44L), and “General Physics” (30L and 31L) or “Principles of Physics” (33L and 34L). Please see the Keck Science Pre-Health website (http://www.kecksci.claremont.edu/prehealth/) for additional information on required and recommended courses for pre-health students

The following are guidelines for first-year students beginning study in the biological sciences.

NOTE: Biology 44L is the only science course students may take in the spring having not taken any science course in the fall

  • Option 1—appropriate for students with strong high school backgrounds in science and who place into “Calculus I” (Math 30) or higher: Take both “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L) and “Introductory Biology” (43L and 44L) in your first year.  You then will have fulfilled the prerequisites to take “Organic Chemistry” (116L and 117L) and upper-division Biology courses as a sophomore.
  • Option 2—appropriate for students who have had less science preparation in high school but who have placed into “Calculus I” (30) or above: Take “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L) in your first year and “Introductory Biology” (43L and 44L) and “Organic Chemistry” (116L and 117L) as a sophomore; alternatively, still take “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L) in your first year and “Organic Chemistry” (116L and 117L) as a sophomore, but start “Introductory Biology” in the spring semester of your first year with Biology 44L, followed by Biology 43L in the fall semester of sophomore year (i.e., note that Biology 43L is not a prerequisite for Biology 44L).     
  • Option 3appropriate for students with math SAT scores lower than 600 and/or students who do not place into “Calculus I” (30) or above: Take precalculus (Math 23 or 25) in the fall semester and “Introductory Biology” (44L) in the spring semester of your first year, Introductory Biology (43L) and “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L) in your second year, and “Organic Chemistry” (116L and 117L) in your third year. If you have placed into precalculus but think you’re ready to take Biology 43L in the fall semester of your first year, we encourage you to consult with a Biology faculty member in Keck Science to discuss this possibility.    

The following are guidelines for first-year students beginning study in the chemical sciences.

  • Students who received a 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam and who pass a placement test may be admitted to “Accelerated General Chemistry” (Chemistry 29L), which is taught in the fall semester.  
  • Students who place into “Calculus I” (Math 30) and have had a poor high school preparation in chemistry are advised to enroll in Section 1 of “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L, MWF, 9:00-9:50 and W 8-8:50).  This section of our introductory course uses the same textbook and covers the same material as the other sections of Chemistry 14L, but the enrollment is capped at 24 and the class has an additional hour of problem solving each week to provide students with more one-on-one help and practice doing calculations.
  • Students with math SAT scores lower than 600 and/or students who do not place into “Calculus I” (30) or above are advised to enroll in precalculus (Math 23 or 25) in the fall semester of the first year, followed by “Introductory Biology” (44L) in the spring semester of the first year; “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L and 15L) would then be taken in the second year.  If you have placed into precalculus but think you’re ready to take Chemistry 14L in the fall semester of your first year, we encourage you to consult with a Chemistry faculty member in Keck Science to discuss this possibility.       
  • All other students should enroll in “Basic Principles of Chemistry” (14L), Sections 2, 3, 4, or 5 in the first semester of the first year.

The following are guidelines for first-year students intending to major in Physics, Astronomy, or Engineering.