Introduction to Becoming a Scientist
ENV SCI 101or HUM BIOL 101


  1. Path to a B.S. degree: You will prepare a plan of study that results in a B.S. degree. This plan will take into account the prerequisites for all courses, the periodicity and time when courses are taught, and the best sequence for taking related courses. You will consider the advantages of selecting particular electives.
  2. Path from a B.S. degree to a career: You will take an "Assessment Interest Profiler." You will prepare a list of careers that utilize your B.S. degree. You will examine the expectations and responsibilities for several of these careers. You will prepare a list of potential employers, graduate programs, or professional schools that you may utilize in the future.
  3. Searching and using research literature: You will exam the current research literature on a scientific topic of interest. You will learn how to access and use the relevant databases. You will prepare a short (~800 word) review of your topic. Assignments: a) 10 key references (at least 2 are to be less than one year old), b) outline of review, c) first draft exchanged with student colleague for critique, d) final document.
  4. Analyzing data with a spreadsheet: You will learn how to use a spread sheet to analyze data and prepare a report. You will have three project assignments to complete. You may work with student colleagues to complete these projects.
  5. Biographical or historical perspective on science: You will join a small group of student colleagues and read and discuss a biographical or historical book on science. See the list of suggested books.
  6. Faculty presentation of current science: You will increase your ability to profitably use the current scientific research literature. Assignments: a) answer questions on pre-seminar assignment, b) critically listen to faculty presentation of research, c) answer questions on post seminar assignment.


Purpose of Course

Assist you at having an accurate understanding of the challenges and rewards of a science major and to equip you with certain essential professional skills that will be used throughout your career.


  • De kruif, Paul, "Microbe Humters," 1926, various publishers

see student comments on this course

download syllabus for Fall 2013

Support for class activities

Links for professional and graduate programs


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