Natural Sciences (BS)

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

The natural sciences major is a liberal arts major with a focus on courses from three 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 three areas, such as anthropology, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology and planetary science, history and philosophy of science, mathematics, neuroscience, physics, psychology, and statistics.

Important: New eligibility requirements are now in place for students applying to the CGS Natural Sciences major (Standard/Multidisciplinary and Pre-Education tracks) for the Spring 2020 term and beyond..

Starting with the Spring 2020 term (January 1, 2020), all new students declaring the Standard/Multidisciplinary and Pre-Education tracks in the Natural Sciences major will need to have an overall GPA minimum of 3.25 to be eligible for admission. This 3.25 overall GPA minimum is required at the time of application to the program and must be maintained throughout the student’s tenure in the major.

In Spring 2018, CGS implemented a minimum overall GPA requirement of 3.50 for students in the Pre-Medicine and Pre-Physician Assistant tracks. These minimums are still in effect.

Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of one hundred twenty credits (approximately forty courses) for a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in natural sciences. Of this total, students must take the minimum course credits required for their track, according to the specifications below. See our General Education program page for the remaining degree requirements.

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

Choose a minimum of thirty-six credits (approximately twelve 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 professional and academic goals and approved by your academic advisor. 

Students admitted under the new eligibility requirements for Spring 2020 and beyond must maintain a 3.25 GPA while in this track.

Pre-Medicine Option

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 Pitt Interprofessional Center for Health Careers (PIC Health Careers). Night sections of biology, chemistry, and physics courses are available, with seats reserved specifically for CGS students.

Students pursuing the Pre-Medicine track in the Natural Sciences major must maintain an overall GPA of 3.50.

Pre-Physician Assistant (PA) Option

The pre-PA curriculum is designed for students interested in the Physician Assistant Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences. The pre-PA option incorporates the prerequisite course work necessary for application to the PA program. 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.

Students pursuing the Pre-Physician’s Assistant track in the Natural Sciences major must maintain an overall GPA of 3.50.

Pre-Education Options

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 Science Education - Master of Arts in Teaching offered in the School of Education. Completion of the prerequisites for the School of Education does not guarantee acceptance to its programs.

Students pursuing the Pre-Education tracks must maintain an overall GPA of 3.00

Students admitted under the new eligibility requirements for Spring 2020 and beyond must maintain a 3.25 GPA while in these tracks.

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Prerequisites and Courses

Pre-Medicine Curriculum: (39 credits)

Catalog Number Title Credits
BIOSC 0150 Foundations of Biology 1 3
BIOSC 0050 (0057 - effective Fall 2019)  Foundations of Biology 1 Lab (Foundations of Biology Reasearch Lab 1 - effective Fall 2019) 1
BIOSC 0160 Foundations of Biology 2 3
BIOSC 0067 Foundations of Biology Research Lab 2 1
BIOSC 1000 Biochemistry 3
CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and Lab 4
CHEM 0120 General Chemistry 2 and Lab 4
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3
CHEM 0320 Organic Chemistry 2 3
CHEM 0345 Organic Laboratory 2
MATH 0220 or STAT 1000* Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 or Applied Statistical Methods 4
PHYS 0110 Introduction to Physics 1 3
PHYS 0111 Introduction to Physics 2 3
PHYS 0212 Introduction to Laboratory Physics 2
Additional recommended courses for pre-medicine option:
MATH 0220 or STAT 1000*  Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 or Applied Statistical Methods 4
BIOSC 1850 Microbiology 3
NROSCI 1000 Introduction to Neuroscience 3
NROSCI 1250 Human Physiology 3

*Choose course not taken for track requirements.

Note: Requirements can vary from school to school. To ensure meeting eligibility criteria, one year of English (writing intensive) and one half year of Psychology and/or Sociology are also recommended. Consult the websites of the medical schools to which you plan to apply for their specific requirements.

Pre-Physician Assistant Curriculum (min. 40 credits):

Catalog Number Title Credits
BIOSC 0150 Foundations of Biology 1 3
BIOSC 0050 (0057 - effective Fall 2019) Foundations of Biology 1 Lab (Foundations of Biology Reasearch Lab 1 - effective Fall 2019) 1
BIOSC 0160 Foundations of Biology 2 3
BIOSC 0067 Foundations of Biology Research Lab 2 1
*BIOSC 1850 (and BIOSC 1855) Microbiology (and Lab) 3 (+1)
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 0003 Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab 2 1
CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and Lab 4
CHEM 0120 General Chemistry 2 and Lab 4
CHEM 0310 or CHEM 0350 Organic Chemistry 1 or Principles of Organic Chemistry 3
CHEM 0330 Organic Chemistry 1 Lab 1
PSY 0010 Introduction to Psychology 3
PSY 1000-level elective Elective course 3
*STAT 0200 (or 1000) or PSY 0310 Basic Applied Statistics/Applied Statistical Methods or Developmental Psychology 4 or 3
Outside Major: Other Requirements 
HRS 1006 Intro to Human Nutrition 1 3
REHSCI 1235 Medical Terminology 1

*If you are seeking to apply to the University of Pittsburgh's SHRS program, the school will accept NUR 0031 Microbiology and NUR 0032 (Lab) in place of BIOSC 1850 Microbiology and BIOSC 1855 (Lab). You will also need a statistics course and a medical terminology course. See additional requirements outside the major.

Pre-Education Options

Earth and Space Science Concentration Curriculum: (45 credits)

Catalog Number Title Credits
ASTRON 0089 Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos (or equivalent) 3
CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and Lab 4
CHEM 0120 General Chemistry 2 and Lab 4
GEOL 1030 or GEOL 0890 The Atmosphere, Oceans, and Climate or Oceanography 3
GEOL 0055 Geology Laboratory 2
GEOL 0060 or GEOL 1020 History of the Earth or Sedimentology and Stratigraphy 4
GEOL 0800 Geology 3
GEOL 0840 Environmental Science 3
GEOL 0860 Environmental Geology 3
MATH 0220 Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 4
PHYS 0110 Introduction to Physics 1 3
IL 1580 Foundations of Special Education 3
  Science Electives 6

General Science Concentration Curriculum: (46 credits)

Catalog Number Title Credits
ASTRON 0089 Stars, Galaxies, and the Cosmos (or equivalent)  3
BIOSC 0150 Foundations in Biology 1 3
BIOSC 0050 (0057 - effective Fall 2019) Foundations in Biology 1 Lab (Foundations of Biology Reasearch Lab 1 - effective Fall 2019) 1
BIOSC 0160 Foundations in Biology 2 3
BIOSC 0067 Foundations in Biology Research Lab 2 1
BIOSC 0370 Ecology 3
BIOSC 1000* or BIOSC 1850 Biochemistry or Microbiology 3
CHEM 0110 General Chemistry 1 and Lab 4
CHEM 0120 General Chemistry 2 and Lab 4
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3
GEOL 0800 or GEOL 0860 Geology or Environmental Geology 3
MATH 0220 Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1 4
PHYS 0110 Introduction to Physics 1 3
PHYS 0111 Introduction to Physics 2 3
PHYS 0212 Introduction to Laboratory Physics 2
IL 1580 Foundations of Special Education 3

*CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 is a prerequisite course for BIOSC 1000 Biochemistry.

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

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