About the Online Certificate in Science Foundations
The physical and life sciences enable us to better understand the workings of the universe and living things. The courses in this certificate program, which are designed to enhance your understanding of science, provide you with the foundations needed for further studies in this area. The objective of this certificate is to enable you to increase your skills as both a consumer and communicator of scientific information while at the same time honing the foundational skills required for careers in the sciences.
The Certificate in Science Foundations is a 4-course, 4 c.u.* credit program of study taught by University of Pennsylvania faculty. To earn a certificate, students complete one math course and three science courses, as outlined below.
Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Science Foundations are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the online certificate program are largely asynchronous with some synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors.
You have the option to enroll in individual courses without committing to the entire online certificate, enjoying the flexibility and expertise offered by Penn LPS Online to suit your schedule and interests. Visit the Cost of Attendance page for course tuition and fee rates.
*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.
The Certificate in Science Foundations prepares you to:
- Examine the basic concepts of the physical and life sciences
- Evaluate scientific materials, especially those containing quantitative information or speculations, using the scientific method
- Gain an appreciation of the ways in which the physical and life sciences intersect and interact
- Learn how to communicate scientific concepts effectively, whether it is to one’s peers or to members of other communities
- Critically analyze data quantitatively using the appropriate mathematical, statistical, or graphical tools
Students must complete four courses from the list below to earn a Certificate in Science Foundations.
One of the following math courses:
Three science courses:
- PHYL 1200: Foundations of Life Science
- PHYL 1600: Foundations of Physical and Chemical Science
- CLCH 3000: Communicating Science
- Certificate students and individual course takers must have taken at least two undergraduate-level physical science or life science courses prior to enrolling in this course
Courses are subject to change.
Meet the Faculty
- Professor of Mathematics
- Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor
- Undergraduate Chair of the Mathematics Department
- Senior Instructional Technology Project Leader, School of Arts & Sciences Computing and Lecturer in SAS and LPS
Careers related to Science Foundations
The Certificate in Science Foundations is designed to give you the scientific and mathematical tools to evaluate data, apply logic, and communicate complex concepts in the workplace. Career options include:
- Journalism or science writing for the public
- Technical writing in scientific areas
- Health communications
- Advocacy and policy work
- Careers in health- and science-adjacent fields of education, public health, and law