The Sciences at Bates

Science courses at Bates demand that you think like a scientist.

Bates Science Fellows students at workThe science division at Bates includes the departments of biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and physics and astronomy. Interdisciplinary science programs include biological chemistry and neuroscience as well as environmental science tracks of the environmental studies program.

You gain an understanding of what data can tell you – and what it cannot. You apply your knowledge of algebra and quantitative reasoning to scientific problems. You develop sound scientific writing skills. In labs you are expected to ask questions, state hypotheses, develop models, design experiments and carry them out, analyze data, and draw conclusions.

Like all courses at Bates, science courses are demanding and rewarding. Many science courses have weekly labs, so students must plan and use their time well. Because Bates has 12-week semesters and we cover the same course content as courses at colleges and universities with longer semesters, keeping on track is essential. Students must fully understand the course material, as the course content of one week informs the topics covered in the next. Bates has many academic support resources available to students to help them succeed. Students who, from their first year, develop strong study habits and solid time management skills find science courses manageable, enlightening, and amazing.

Launching a Major in Science and Math

First-year students planning to major in chemistry or the life sciences (biological chemistry, biology, and neuroscience) begin with the two-semester introductory chemistry sequence (CHEM 107A or CH/ES 107B, CHEM 108A or CH/ES 108B). Life sciences students generally take the core introductory biology course, Organismal Biology (BIO 190), in the winter semester of the first year.

Environmental science students start with introductory chemistry courses (CH/ES 107B and CH/ES 108B offer introductory chemistry from an environmental perspective).

Geology students begin their major studies by taking several introductory geology courses; they may also take introductory chemistry or physics.

Physics students generally begin with two semesters of classical and modern physics (PHYS 107 and PHYS 108 or FYS 274).

Prospective math majors begin their first year with Calculus I (MATH 105), Calculus II (MATH 106), or Linear Algebra (MATH 205); a placement test helps you decide which course to take. Most science majors and students completing pre-medical requirements also take calculus or linear algebra.

For information on the sciences at Bates, check out the departments and program web pages:

Other useful links: