College Courses

For the science side of the LSM dual-degree, students earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Penn's College by completing a science major, along with a set of General Education and elective courses.

The Major

The major is the centerpiece of the B.A. degree; LSM students must complete a major in the life sciences.  Within the Department of Biology, students may follow a general Biology major, or they can pursue a more specialized area of interest, including Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Computational/Mathematical Biology.  More information about all of these fields can be found in the Biology Major Manual.  LSMers may also pursue a major in Biochemistry or the Biological Basis of Behavior.  Students wishing to major in a scientific discipline outside of these options may do so only with the permission of the LSM program directors.

All LSM students are required to complete at least one semester of Independent Study within their science major.  Even if Independent Study is not required for the major, it is required for LSM, and it will count toward the completion of the science major. Students are expected to complete this one semester of Independent Study no later than the Fall semester of their senior year.

The Biology and BBB majors allow students satisfy introductory biology by taking either BIOL 121 or BIOL 101/102. However, in keeping with the scientific rigor of LSM, the program requires that LSM students take BIOL 121, or place out of it by taking a departmental exam at Penn. Whereas BIOL 101 and 102 are more basic courses covering general principles in Biology that assume no previous background, BIOL 121 is a more intensive introductory course that places greater emphasis on molecular mechanisms and experimental approaches, and sets students up particularly well for more advanced work in Biology. If a student did not take AP Biology and has no similar background at all, they should consult with the LSM advisor.

General Education Curriculum

Students gain a broader education beyond their major by completing the College’s General Education Curriculum (GEC).  The GEC is composed of two main elements.

1) Sector Requirements.  The College has identified seven sectors (fields of study) that are essential to gaining a liberal arts education:

●     Sector I: Society
●     Sector II: History & Tradition
●     Sector III: Arts & Letters
●     Sector IV: Humanities & Social Science
●     Sector V: Living World
●     Sector VI: Physical World
●     Sector VII: Natural Science & Mathematics

All students must take one course in each of these sectors. Advance credit (including AP and IB credit) may not be used to complete these sector requirements.

LSM students majoring in Biology or the Biological Basis of Behavior can use two courses from their major to fulfill the Living World and Physical World sectors.  Students may satisfy Sector VII by taking any pre-approved Natural Science & Mathematics course, or by taking a second Living World or Physical World course.  However, regardless of how Sector VII is fulfilled, that course may NOT double-count with the Biology or BBB major.

LSM students majoring in Biochemistry can use two courses from that major to satisfy the Physical World and Natural Science & Mathematics sectors.

ECON 010, which is required of all LSM students, will satisfy the Society sector.

2) Approaches to Learning.  The GEC seeks to help students develop six critical skills for life-long learning.  These are:

●     Writing Skills
●     Cross Cultural Analysis
●     Cultural Diversity in the U.S.
●     Foreign Language Competency
●     Quantitative Data Analysis
●     Formal Reasoning & Analysis

Students fulfill the Writing requirement by taking one Critical Writing Seminar.  They also must take one Cross Cultural Analysis course and one Cultural Diversity in the U.S. course, from among the options listed on the College website.  Keep in mind that many of the courses in Sectors II, III, and IV can be double-counted to satisfy the Cross Cultural and Cultural Diversity requirements.

For the Foreign Language requirement, students must demonstrate language proficiency either by passing a language department examination, excelling in an AP, SAT II, or IB test, or taking appropriate language courses (typically up to the intermediate level of study).

LSM students can complete the Quantitative Data Analysis and Formal Reasoning & Analysis requirements (one course each) either with science major courses or business courses that are part of the LSM program.

As part of the requirements for the B.A. degree, students must complete at least 14 c.u. of "College Electives." College Electives are any College courses taken outside a student's major. Non-major courses taken as part of the GEC, as well as any AP credit not applied toward the major, all count as College Electives. Students are encouraged to speak with their advisor to ensure the fulfilment of this requirement.