College of General Studies

Natural Sciences (BS)

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care and social assistance industry is projected to create about 28 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. economy by 2020—an estimated 5.7 million new jobs.

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The natural sciences major is a liberal arts major with a focus on courses from multiple natural sciences departments. Students customize this major to meet their interests and personal or career goals, choosing from a variety of courses with a concentration in areas, such as anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology and planetary science, history and philosophy of science, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, psychology, or statistics.

Also available are a pre-medicine option (for those preparing for medical school or another health professional school); a pre-physician assistant option (for those preparing to apply to Physician Assistant education programs), and two pre-education options (for those preparing for teaching careers). Please note that students declaring a Natural Sciences major, begining May 14, 2018, will need to have the following minimum GPA for these tracks: A 3.5 minimum GPA is required for the pre-medicine and pre-physician assistant options and a 3.0 minimum GPA is required for the pre-education options.


Natural Sciences Standard (Multi-Disciplinary) Major: 36 credits

Choose a minimum of 36 credits (approximately 12 courses) from two to four departments below. All courses taken must be related to natural sciences and selected in consultation with your CGS advisor. At least five courses must be taken from one department, which provides a disciplinary base. The other courses should be selected based on your academic and professional goals. All courses for your natural sciences major must be approved by your academic advisor.

Anthropology (natural sciences-related course) 
Astronomy 
Biological Sciences 
Chemistry
Computer science (only courses numbered 0401 and above) 
Geology and Environmental Science 
History and Philosophy of Science (natural sciences-related course)
Mathematics (only courses numbered 0220 and above)
Neuroscience
Physics 
Psychology (natural sciences-related course) 
Statistics    (0200 or 1000, and courses numbered above 1000)


Pre-Medicine Option (Minimum GPA 3.5 needed)

This natural sciences concentration incorporates the course work needed for admission to most medical and dental programs. Completion of this concentration does not guarantee acceptance into graduate study. Students pursuing this option can take advantage of the resources of the University of Pittsburgh’s health professions advising team, based in the University Honors College. Night sections of biology, chemistry, and physics courses are available, with seats reserved specifically for CGS students.

Pre-Medicine Curriculum: 39 credits
Course NumberTitleCredits
BIOSC 0150Foundations of Biology 13
BIOSC 0050Foundations of Biology 1 Lab1
BIOSC 0160Foundations of Biology 23
BIOSC 0060Foundations of Biology 2 Lab1
BIOSC 1000Biochemistry3
CHEM 0110General Chemistry 1 and Lab4
CHEM 0120General Chemistry 2 and Lab4
CHEM 0310Organic Chemistry 13
CHEM 0320Organic Chemistry 23
CHEM 0345Organic Laboratory2
*MATH 0220 or STAT 1000Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 or Applied Statistical Methods4
PHYS 0110Introduction to Physics 13
PHYS 0111Introduction to Physics 23
PHYS 0212Introduction to Laboratory Physics2

Additional recommended courses for premedicine option:

*MATH 0220 or STAT 1000

(choose the course that you did not take as part of your track requirements)

Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 or Applied Statistical Methods4
BIOSC 1850Microbiology3
NROSCI 1000Introduction to Neuroscience3
NROSCI 1250Human Physiology3


Pre-Physician Assistant Option (Minimum GPA 3.5 needed)

The pre-PA curriculum is designed for students who are interested in the Physician Assistant Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). The pre-PA option incorporates the prerequisite course work necessary for the application. Completion of the pre-PA plan does not guarantee admission. For a full list of admission requirements, visit the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PA program website. Note: Requirements for other PA programs from schools other than the University of Pittsburgh may differ. Please consult their respective websites for specific admission requirements.

Pre-Physician Assistant Curriculum: min. 40 credits
Course NumberTitleCredits
BIOSC 0150Foundations of Biology 13
BIOSC 0050 Foundations of Biology 1 Lab 1
BIOSC 0160 Foundations of Biology 2 3
BIOSC 0060 Foundations of Biology 2 Lab 1
BIOSC 1850 Microbiology 3
NUR 0012 Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 3
NUR 0002 Human Anatomy and Physiology 1 Lab 1
NUR 0013 Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 3
NUR 0003Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab 21
CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and Lab 4
CHEM 0120 General Chemistry 2 and Lab 4
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3
CHEM 0330 Organic Chemistry 1 Lab 1
PSY 0010 Introduction to Psychology 3
PSY upper-level electiveElective course3
*STAT 0200 (or 1000) or PSY 0310 Basic Applied Statistics (or Applied Statistical Methods) or Developmental Psychology 4 or 3

*If you are seeking to apply to the University of Pittsburgh's SHRS program, you need a statistics course. See also additional requirements and recommendations outside the major.

Outside Major: Other Requirements and Recommendations
HRS 1006Intro to Human Nutrition3
REHSCI 1235Medical Terminology1


Pre-Education Options (Minimum GPA 3.0. needed)

The College of General Studies and the Pitt School of Education have collaborated on two concentrations in the natural sciences major that incorporate the prerequisite science course work needed for admission into the certificate programs in earth and space science and general science. These options may be used by students interested in the Master of Arts in Teaching program offered in the School of Education. Completion of the prerequisites for the School of Education does not guarantee acceptance to its programs. Students must complete a minimum of 120 credits (approximately 40 courses) for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in natural sciences. Of this total, students must take a minimum of 38 credits (approximately 12 courses) according to the specifications. The remaining credits required for the degree are outlined on the Requirements for the Bachelor’s Degree information sheet.

Earth and Space Science Concentration Curriculum: 45 credits
Course NumberTitleCredits
ASTRON 0089Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos (or equivalent)3
CHEM 0110General Chemistry 1 and Lab4
CHEM 0120General Chemistry 2 and Lab4
GEOL 1030 or GEOL 0890The Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate or Oceanography3
GEOL 0055Geology Laboratory2
GEOL 0060 or GEOL 1020History of the Earth or Sedimentology and Stratigraphy4
GEOL 0800Geology3
GEOL 0840Environmental Science3
GEOL 0860Environmental Geology3
MATH 0220Analytical Geometry and Calculus 14
PHYS 0110Introduction to Physics 13
IL 1580Foundations of Special Education3
 Science Electives6

General Science Concentration Curriculum: 46 credits
Course NumberTitleCredits
ASTRON 0089Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos(or equivalent) 3
BIOSC 0150Foundations in Biology 13
BIOSC 0050Foundations in Biology 1 Lab1
BIOSC 0160Foundations in Biology 23
BIOSC 0060Foundations in Biology 2 Lab1
BIOSC 0370Ecology3
BIOSC 1000* or BIOSC 1850Biochemistry or Microbiology3
CHEM 0110General Chemistry 1 and Lab4
CHEM 0120General Chemistry 2 and Lab4
CHEM 0310Organic Chemistry 13
GEOL 0800 or GEOL 0860Geology or Environmental Geology3
MATH 0220Analytical Geometry and Calculus 14
PHYS 0110Introduction to Physics 13
PHYS 0111Introduction to Physics 23
PHYS 0212Introduction to Laboratory Physics2
IL 1580Foundations of Special Education3

*CHEM 0320 Organic Chemistry is a prerequisite course for BIOSC 1000 Biochemistry.

Requirements are subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.

An internship program is available through the College of General Studies. Please see your advisor for additional information.