About the concentration in Physical and Life Sciences
The physical and life sciences share fundamental principles that lie at the heart of scientific discovery and innovation. In this concentration, you develop a solid foundation in both branches of science by completing interdisciplinary foundation requirements covering biology, chemistry, and physics.
The Physical and Life Sciences concentration can be completed entirely online.
Penn LPS Online students may enroll in online courses within the Climate Change and Neuroscience course blocks without committing to the Physical and Life Sciences concentration.
The concentration in Physical and Life Sciences prepares you to:
Understand the broad principles of science and the ways scientists in a particular discipline conduct research
Learn the steps in the scientific method and identify them in published scientific research
Interpret quantitative and qualitative evidence, including graphical representations
Analyze and evaluate alternative scientific points of view
Read scientific research critically to understand its role in public debates and discourse
Apply scientific research to explain phenomena and events
Communicate scientific findings and debates to diverse audiences through oral, visual, and written media
Explore the ethical considerations related to scientific research and clinical care of patients
Students in the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree will choose a concentration to tailor their undergraduate education to specific personal and professional goals. Courses within each concentration may be taken in any order unless prerequisites are specified.
Students must complete foundational courses for the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree. In addition, students in this concentration focus their studies by completing a total of 12 courses (12 c.u.*):
- SPRO 100: Scientific Reasoning
- 4 foundational courses:
- PHYL 120: Foundations of Life Sciences
- PHYL 160: Foundations of Physical and Chemical Sciences
- CLCH 300: Communicating Science
- either MTHS 100: Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics or MTHS 200: Mathematics All Around You
- 2 additional courses in the Climate Change course block
- 2 courses in the Neuroscience course block (beginning with NEUR 100: Introduction to Neuroscience)
- 3 additional courses with input from an academic advisor
A minimum of 3 of these 12 courses must be at the 300 level or above.
- CLCH 160: Oceanography
- CLCH 220: Atmospheric Science
- CLCH 230: Climate Change
- CLCH 300: Communicating Science
- CLCH 310: Global Environmental Issues
- MTHS 100: Mathematical Foundations for Data Analytics
- MTHS 200: Mathematics All Around You
- MTHS 220: Introduction to Applied Statistics
- NEUR 100: Introduction to Neuroscience (required first course)
- NEUR 160: The Neuroscience of Music
- NEUR 200: Behavioral Neuroscience
- NEUR 260: Hormones, Brain, and Behavior
- NEUR 280: Autonomic Pharmacology
- NEUR 400: Psychopharmacology
Science Foundations courses
The Physical and Life Sciences concentration courses will be delivered online. On-campus, singular discipline, lab science courses (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) will no longer be offered as part of the Physical and Life Sciences curriculum or available to Penn LPS Online students.
Courses are subject to change.
*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.
Certificates related to Physical and Life Sciences
See your advisor to explore earning the following certificates along with your degree. Note that these certificates are not earned automatically upon completing your degree; your advisor will help ensure that your academic plan meets the requirements of your preferred certificate.
Careers related to Physical and Life Sciences
The skills and knowledge acquired in the Physical and Life Sciences concentration are applicable to many health, research, and clinical settings and are a foundation for pursuing further graduate study. Career options include:
- Research coordinator
- Lab manager
- Pharmaceutical sales representative