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 by choosing any concentration, including Molecular and Cell Biology, Neurobiology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (our recommendation for those interested primarily in the environment), Mechanisms of Disease, and Computational/Mathematical Biology.  LSMers may also pursue a major in Biochemistry or in 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 1121 or BIOL 1101/1102. However, in keeping with the scientific rigor of LSM, the program requires that LSM students take BIOL 1121, or place out of it by taking a departmental exam at Penn. Whereas BIOL 1101 and 1102 are more basic courses covering general principles in Biology that assume no previous background, BIOL 1121 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--several of which are often completed with courses already in the LSM curriculum:

●     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.

LSMP 1210, which is required of all LSM students, satisfies the Natural Science & Mathematics sector, Sector VII.

Note also that ECON 0110, which is required of all LSM students unless they have a waiver, will satisfy the Society sector, Sector I.

Although usually only one sector can also count toward a College major, students taking a science major that includes Biology and Chemistry courses that satisfy the Living World and Physical World sectors (such as Biology or Biological Basis of Behavior) may use such courses to count also for both Sector V and Sector VI.

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--the 4th class that a beginner would take). It is the College, not the Wharton, language requirement that LSM students must satisfy. Note that this requirement doesn't mean you need to take 4 language classes, unless you're actually starting a language from scratch.

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

Non-Major College Courses

As part of the requirements for the B.A. degree, students must complete at least 14 c.u. of non-major College courses (referred to often here as "College electives"). Any course not counting for the College major that is taken in a College of Arts & Sciences department--or is being used to fulfill a Sector or Foundational Approaches requirement, even if it is not normally a College course--counts as one of these 14 non-major College courses. LSMP 1210 and 4210, the Proseminar and Capstone, also count as non-major College courses. Students are encouraged to speak with their advisor to ensure the fulfilment of this requirement.