Keck Science Department Overview

Pitzer College

The Keck Science Department serves students from Pitzer, Claremont McKenna, and Scripps Colleges. This intercollegiate arrangement allows each college to provide far greater opportunities in science than it could offer alone.

Keck Science offers over a dozen majors, many of which build upon the multidisciplinary nature of the department and of The Claremont Colleges.

The Curriculum

The Keck Science Department offers full and rigorous major programs in a wide variety of areas, many of which take advantage of the multidisplinary nature of the department. An appreciation for modern issues in science and technology requires not only knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics, but also an understanding of many areas outside of the sciences including history, economics, ethics, psychology, and public policy. Students develop a broad appreciation of modern issues because the department's programs are embedded in a liberal arts curriculum.

Laboratory and field investigations in courses and independent research are an important part of the curriculum. Discussion of original research papers often launches a short experiment as part of introductory or advanced courses, and Senior Thesis Research serves as a capstone on a science major's educaiton. Most senior science majors work closely with their faculty advisers to complete year-long laboratory, field, or theoretical investigations. Endowed funds from a variety of sources provide Summer Research Fellowships to students who want to conduct research during the summer months.

Pitzer College

W.M. Keck Science Center

The Keck Science Department is housed in the W.M. Keck Science Center which provides students with a spacious, modern facility for study and research in the sciences. The center includes classrooms, laboratories, and student-faculty research areas and is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments that are available for students to use. The science center also houses the Roberts Environmental Center where students work in teams on applied problems in environmental science and policy.

Field Stations

The Robert J. Bernard Biological Field Station adjoins the campus and provides an outanding locale for field studies. Two other field stations are associated with the Keck Science Program, one located on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains above Mono Lake and another, the Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology, on the west coast of Costa Rica. Students may conduct research projects at either one. Research in astrononomy can be undertaken at an observatory within an hour's drive from campus.

A Faculty Committed to Undergraduate Education

All Keck Science faculty hold doctoral degrees from leading universities and remain active researchers in their fields. Faculty members and students work side-by-side in the department's many research laboratories and in the field. Together, faculty and students regularly co-author research publications and present their work at scientific conferences. In addition to teaching courses and mentoring students in research, Keck Science faculty members serve as close advisers for students both in terms of shaping their college careers and in preparation for life after graduation from college.

Keck Science Majors include:

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 33-34, Chem 14-15, Bio 43-44). It will feature computer modeling, seminar discussions, lectures, interdisciplinary laboratories and hands-on activities. 1A and 1B are designed to be taken concurrently (in the fall term), followed by 2A and 2B in the spring. Enrollment is by written permission.

For more information on specific majors and programs, visit the Keck Science Department Website.