One advantage of choosing a major in the life sciences is that ILS courses are often directly applicable toward satisfying the requirements of those majors. However, some ILS students choose majors in other disciplines, for which ILS courses may also satisfy elective requirements.
Common Life Science Majors of ILS Students
The most common majors of ILS students are: Biological Sciences (BSCI), Biochemistry (BCHM), and Bioengineering (BIOE). These majors are briefly described below, with more information available at their websites. Due to high student demand, each one of these life science majors is a limited enrollment program. There are two paths into a limited enrollment program:
- an applicant specifies that major as the intended major on the freshmen application, or
- an enrolled student satisfies the gateway requirements before being allowed as an internal transfer into that major.
The BSCI major focuses on fundamental principles, cutting-edge knowledge, and modern research approaches in biology. Foundational coursework includes newly redesigned courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Upper level courses are organized into specialization areas that are aligned with the major research areas in modern biology, including physiology and neurobiology, microbiology, cell biology and genetics, ecology and evolutionary biology, and general biology. Departmental honors programs are available for strong junior and senior students interested in participating in undergraduate research culminating in a written thesis and seminar presentation. The BSCI curriculum is designed to provide a broad and comprehensive education in the life sciences from which the students can pursue a wide range of post-baccalaureate educational, medical, and professional opportunities.
The BCHM major focuses on the understanding of biological processes from fundamental chemical perspectives and on chemical and molecular approaches toward investigating important questions in the life sciences. The introductory curriculum places strong emphasis on biological aspects of chemistry, with upper-level courses offered in wide range of chemistry and biochemistry subdisciplines. Strong junior and senior students can choose to carry out undergraduate research resulting in a written thesis and seminar presentation in the chemistry honors program. The BCHM curriculum is designed to provide a broad and comprehensive education in biochemistry and chemistry from which the students can also pursue a wide range of post-baccalaureate educational, medical, and professional opportunities.
The BIOE major focuses on the application of principles, approaches, and tools of engineering to addressing important problems in life sciences, including medicine. The initial coursework emphasizes fundamental engineering, mathematics, biology, physics, and chemistry from engineering perspectives, and the upper-level courses focus on advanced bioengineering with an emphasis on medical applications. BIOE also offers a departmental honors program for strong junior and senior students interested in undergraduate research culminating in a written thesis and seminar presentation. The interdisciplinary nature of the BIOE major facilitates the placement of its graduates in a wide range of post-baccalaureate educational, medical, and professional opportunities.
Other potential majors in the life sciences for ILS students include animal science/pre-vet, environmental science, public health, and psychology. A few ILS students major in non-science disciplines like business, history, or the arts, but use the ILS courses in conjunction with general science courses to satisfy the current course requirements for medical school. If a student enters ILS with a significant number of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credits, then it is reasonable to expect that that student can successfully pursue another major outside of the life sciences. However, given the large number of required courses in engineering majors on this campus, only those engineering students in the BIOE major have sufficient scheduling slots set aside for biology electives, including ILS courses.