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Natural Sciences (BS)

The natural sciences major is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts program with flexible curriculum that can be customized to meet students' interests and personal or career goals.

Currently available are a standard (multidisciplinary) option, a pre-medicine option, a pre-physician assistant option, and two pre-education options to prepare you for graduate studies in these fields.

Requirements

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 the minimum course credits required for their track, according to the specifications below. See our General Education program page for the remaining degree requirements.

Standard (Multidisciplinary) Option: (36 credits)

Choose a minimum of 36 credits (approximately 11-12 courses, not including labs) 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 15 credits (approx. 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.

Program Notes:

Flexible Format: Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints. When considering what subjects to study in the Natural Sciences Standard track, see our PDF list of courses available online.

Program Planning Checklist:

Use the Standard (Multidisciplinary) Track checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

Pre-Medicine Option: (39 Credits)

The pre-medicine 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. CGS online offerings are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid) on the program website.

Effective for Spring 2022 applicants and beyond: Students must have a 3.00 GPA to be admitted into the Pre-Medicine track in the Natural Sciences major.

CORE REQUIREMENTS:

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Effective Fall 2019: BIOSC 0057 or BIOSC 0058
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OR
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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OR
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Format: F2F and Web
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Additional recommended courses for the pre-medicine option:
*Choose course not taken for track requirements.
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OR
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Format: F2F and Web
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Program Notes:

  • Admission 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.
  • Please note also that students pursuing the Pre-Medicine track in Natural Sciences cannot be awarded a Chemistry minor in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences.

Program Planning Checklist:

Use the Pre-Medicine Track checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

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

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.

Effective for Spring 2022 applicants and beyond: Students must have a 3.00 GPA to be admitted into the Pre-PA track in the Natural Sciences major.

CORE REQUIREMENTS:

The following courses are required for the pre-physician assistant option. CGS online offerings are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid).

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Effective Fall 2019: BIOSC 0057 or BIOSC 0058
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OR
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AND
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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OR
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OR
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Format: F2F and Web
  • PSY 1000 Level Elective 
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Format: F2F and Web
OR
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Format: F2F and Web
OR
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Outside Major: Other Requirements

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Format: F2F and Web
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Program Notes:

If you are seeking to apply to the University of Pittsburgh's Physician Assistant program, the school accepts: BIOSC 0041/0042 & BIOSC 1250/1255 in place of NUR 0012/0002 & 0013/0003; NUR 0031/0032 in lieu of BIOSC 1850/1855, and NUR 0088 for the statistics requirement. You will also need a medical terminology course. See additional requirements outside the major.

Program Planning Checklist

Use the Pre-Physician Assistant Track checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

Earth & Space Science Pre-Education Option: (45 credits)

The natural sciences degree offers a 45-credit pre-education option in earth & space science, designed collaboratively with the School of Education. In this pre-ed option, you’ll take a core special education course and a variety of geology, physics, astronomy, and math courses that will help you prepare for graduate education. This option is ideal for students interested in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Science Education (subject area: Earth & Space Science) at Pitt. Completion of the prerequisites for the School of Education does not guarantee acceptance to its programs.

Note: The School of Education recommends at least a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA for all of their teacher certificate programs. Please consult their Admissions page for program-specific requirements.

REQUIRED COURSES:

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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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OR
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OR
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Formerly: IL 1580 Foundations of Special Education
  • Science Electives - Subject topics will vary  

Program Planning Checklist:

Use the Pre-Education (Earth and Space Science) Track checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

General Science Pre-Education Option: (46 credits)

Created in partnership with the School of Education, our general science pre-education concentration includes the prerequisite coursework needed for admission into the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Science Education (subject area: General Science) at Pitt. In this pre-ed option, you will take 46 credits consisting of a core special education course and a variety of chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, geology, and math courses that will help you prepare for science teacher certification or graduate education. Completion of the prerequisites for the School of Education does not guarantee acceptance to the program.

Note: The School of Education recommends at least a 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA for all of their teacher certificate programs. Please consult their Admissions page for program-specific requirements.

REQUIRED COURSES:

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Effective Fall 2019: BIOSC 0057 or BIOSC 0058
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OR
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OR
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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Note: This is a 4-credit course with lab included.
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OR
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OR: another GEOL equivalent
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Formerly: IL 1580 Foundations of Special Education

Program Planning Checklist

Use the Pre-Education (General Science) Track checklist (PDF) to plan and track your progress in the major.

Opportunities Within This Major

Internship / Clinical Experience

Med studentsHands-on hours are required for admission to health-related graduate programs. Gain practical experience in patient care by completing an internship. Natural Sciences students enroll in CGS 1900 Choosing Your Path Internship.

Learn about internships »

Study Abroad

Group of students

Natural Sciences graduates are attractive to employers because of their breadth of knowledge and critical thinking. Expand that worldview by studying abroad. Our short-term programs are a perfect option for working adult students.

Explore study abroad opportunities »

Career Outlook

Employment of life, physical, and social science occupations is projected to grow 7 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, which will result in about 97,400 new jobs. Increasing demand for expertise in the sciences, particularly in occupations involved in biomedical research, psychology, energy management, and environmental protection, is projected to result in employment growth.

- US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Connect with CGS Career Services to learn about current and future employment opportunities within this major.

Note

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