Natural Sciences

General Science

Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies
Concentration in General Science

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The Interdisciplinary Studies-General Science major was designed to provide a broad background in science for those students interested in teaching at the elementary level. Elementary teachers are expected to teach a broad spectrum of science topics including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Earth Science. Course work in each of these disciplines is included as part of the major. Students who complete this major should also be prepared to serve as science coordinators at the elementary level. This major is not appropriate for students wishing to teach high school science.

Interdisciplinary-General Science program at the Mount

Opportunities outside of the classroom. You could be a student rep at Division meetings, an officer in the Biology and Chemistry honor societies, or participate with the American Chemical Society student affiliate chapter on campus. Students organize speakers, museum tours, hiking trips, campus activities like faculty vs. student quiz bowl, and science night for elementary school students. You’ll get involved in things you enjoy, meet new people, interact with the faculty, and develop your leadership skills.

A strong peer group. Science majors quickly become a part of the science community at the Mount. Students who have majors within the Division of Natural Science take their math and science classes together and quickly form study groups, supporting one another in their courses and making new friends with goals and attitudes similar to your own.

Peer tutoring. Science majors work together toward a successful college career as upper-classmen serve as peer tutors, and all students have the opportunity to get help to support their learning efforts. Tutoring can provide you with income, but it will also help you to build your resume and strengthen your knowledge base.

Research. All full time faculty members have PhD degrees in a variety of different fields and can offer you the opportunity to develop a research project.  A research project will enhance your knowledge and ability to integrate your learning and will impress graduate schools and future employers, giving you an edge when you move on from your studies at the Mount.

Learning science as a process. Many of our laboratory courses use inquiry-based collaborative learning to introduce students to the process of science and give you an idea of what scientific research is all about.

Mentoring. All science students are assigned a full-time faculty advisor to help you explore career options, plan your course schedule and follow your academic progress. New freshmen are assigned a “science sibling” before coming to campus so that they have the opportunity to ask questions of an upperclassman student to student.

Program requirements

One year of Biological Principles (BIO 113-1140), one year of Chemical Principles (CHM 1510-1520), one year of Physics (PHY 1010-1020 or PHY 2010-2020), four semesters of Natural Science Seminar (BIO/CHM/PHY 1900, 2900, 3900, 4900), plus choose an option:

  • Option 1: Organic Chemistry I and II (CHM 2010-2020) and two other science courses with laboratory numbered 200 and above.
  • Option 2: Organic Chemistry I and II (CHM 2010-2020), Astronomy (AST 1100) and one other science course with laboratory numbered 200 and above.*
  • Option 3: Introductory Chemistry II (CHM 1060) and three science courses with laboratory numbered 200 and above.

Directed, but non-major courses:

  • One year of Earth Science (ERS 1030-1040)
  • Math competency through Math 1100 plus Statistics (MTH 2070) or Calculus I (MTH 2510)

* 12 credits of upper level science courses must be completed at the Mount.

Biology courses above the 1000-level have a pre-requisite of at least one college-level chemistry course with a grade of C or better. In addition, all biology courses above 1000-level have a pre-requisite of a C or above in BIO 1140 (Biological Principles II) or BIO 1040 (Human Anatomy & Physiology II) and a C or above in any other pre-requisite course(s). All chemistry courses above 1000-level have a pre-requisite of a C or above in CHM 1520 (Chemical Principles II) and a C or above in any other pre-requisite course(s).

Where Mount students have interned

  • Wadsworth Center, state health laboratory at Albany
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships
  • Gateway to Dentistry Program, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
  • The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Minority Student Summer Research Opportunity
  • The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Health Experience Learning Program in Speech Language Pathology
  • Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom
  • SUNY College of Optometry Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program
  • University of Tennessee, Memphis Immunology Laboratory
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Microbiology Laboratory
  • Syracuse University Department of Chemistry Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
  • West Point Forestry Technician

Career Outlook

According to the National Education Association (NEA), teacher shortages are expected in science and math in New York State in the near future. says that “government economists expect jobs in K–12 education to grow as fast as the average for all careers through 2014. … Most openings will result from the retirement of today's teachers. In 2004, almost 50 percent of all teachers were older than 45.”

According to the US government, “Job opportunities for teachers over the next 10 years will vary from good to excellent, depending on the locality, grade level, and subject taught. Most job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of teachers who are expected to retire over the 2004-14 period….Through 2014, overall student enrollments in elementary, middle, and secondary schools—a key factor in the demand for teachers—are expected to rise more slowly than in the past as children of the baby boom generation leave the school system. This will cause employment to grow as fast as the average for teachers from kindergarten through the secondary grades… Enrollments … in the Northeast and Midwest are expected to hold relatively steady or decline. … Currently, many school districts have difficulty hiring qualified teachers in some subject areas—most often mathematics, science (especially chemistry and physics), bilingual education, and foreign languages. Increasing enrollments of minorities, coupled with a shortage of minority teachers, should cause efforts to recruit minority teachers to intensify.”

According to CareerZone from the NYS Dept of Labor, the average wage for teachers is $42,650 for entry level workers and $83,920 for experienced teachers. “In 2012 there will be 87,740 employed in NY. This represents an increase of 1,083 job(s) each year, and a total of 4,264 job openings each year.”