General Education

Interdisciplinary Programs

Academic Units

Academic Programs

Cluster Three: The Natural World

Dr. Kit Murphy, Coordinator

Cluster 1 Cluster 3 Cluster 5
Cluster 2 Cluster 4


Cluster Three: Track I and Track II
Learning Objectives


Scientific investigations into the natural world use analytical methods to evaluate evidence, build and test models based on that evidence, and develop theories. Mathematical studies of form and pattern can create a language that assists in these investigations. Courses in this cluster provide students with the opportunity to develop problem-solving skills in science and mathematics at the college level. Students will be introduced to a substantial body of scientific facts, concepts, models and theories, and they will also gain experience in using basic mathematics to obtain knowledge about the natural world. Each track is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary, thereby demonstrating boundaries and connections among mathematics, the sciences and other aspects of culture.

Cluster Three: Track I and Track II
All students begin either Track I or Track II in Cluster Three during their first year and should complete it by the end of their sophomore year. Individual courses in the tracks satisfy requirements in a number of major and professional programs on campus. Students are encouraged to select appropriate courses in Cluster Three on the basis of their backgrounds, interests and educational objectives.

Track I
In this track, students take one course from each of three groups:  Group 1 consists of mathematics courses, and Groups 2 and 3 consist of science courses. The groups may be taken in any order. The courses in Group 2 and Group 3, denoted by an asterisk (*), require a Group 1 (mathematics) prerequisite or corequisite. Some science courses have an additional science prerequisite. Students are required to have at least one lab experience.

Group 1. Choose one of the following
     GISAT 151. Analytic Methods I: Topics in Applied Calculus for Integrated
         Science and Technology
     GISAT 251. Analytic Methods II: Topics in Statistics for Integrated Science
         and Technology
     MATH 103. The Nature of Mathematics
     MATH 205. Introductory Calculus I
     MATH 220. Elementary Statistics
     MATH 231. Calculus with Functions I
     MATH 235. Calculus I

Group 2. Choose one of the following
     CHEM 120.Concepts of Chemistry
     CHEM 131. General Chemistry I (CHEM 131L required lab corequisite)
     GISAT 112. Environmental Issues in Science and Technology (includes lab)
     GSCI 101. Physics, Chemistry and the Human Experience*
     GSCI 121. The Physical Nature of Light and Sound (includes lab)
     PHYS 140. College Physics I (PHYS 140L required lab corequisite)*
     PHYS 215. Energy and the Environment*
     PHYS 240. University Physics I*

Group 3. Choose one of the following
     ASTR 120. The Solar System1
     ASTR 121. Stars, Galaxies and Cosmology2
     BIO 114. Organisms (includes lab)
     BIO 270. Human Physiology (includes lab)*
     GANTH 196. Biological Anthropology3
     GBIO 103. Contemporary Biology4
     GGEOL 115. Earth Systems, Cycles and Human Impact5*
     GEOL 110. Physical Geology (includes lab)
     GEOL 200. Evolutionary Systems (includes lab)
     GEOL 211. Introduction to Oceanography
     GGEOL 102. Environment: Earth6
     GISAT 113. Issues in Science and Technology: Living Systems
     GPSYC 122. The Science of Vision and Audition7*

1 Formerly PHYS 120
2 Formerly PHYS 121
3 Formerly GSCI 116.
4 FormerlyGSCI 103.
5 Formerly GSCI 115.
6 FormerlyGSCI 102.
7 Formerly GSCI 122.


     GSCI 104
     Students must either complete a Group 2 or Group 3 course with a lab
     or complete GSCI 104.

Track II
In addition to the science and math content, Track II emphasizes the learning environment and the unifying themes that link each of the individual classes. Track II is meant to serve primarily, but not exclusively, IDLS majors. MATH 107 must be taken prior to GSCI 163; GSCI 161 and GSCI 162 are corequisites; GSCI 163 and GSCI 164 are corequisites. Corequisite pairs may be taken in any order.
     MATH 107. Fundamentals of Mathematics I
     GSCI 161. Science Processes
     GSCI 162. The Science of the Planets
     GSCI 163. The Matter of Matter
     GSCI 164. Physical Science: Learning Through Teaching
     GSCI 165. The Way Life Works

Learning Objectives
After completing Cluster Three: The Natural World, students should be able to meet the following objectives grouped under three learning goals:

Return to Top top