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New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog 2022-2024 School of Environmental and Biological Sciences Degree Requirements Mission, Goals, and Core Curriculum of the Undergraduate Program Area Requirements for Students Matriculating Prior to Fall 2015  

Area Requirements for Students Matriculating Prior to Fall 2015

In the following descriptions of the first seven of these area requirements, the numbers of credits indicated are the minimum requirements established by the school's faculty for all bachelor's degree programs. Many programs require specific courses that must be used to fulfill some of these areas and in some cases these program-specific requirements may exceed the school's minimum requirements. No course may be used to fulfill simultaneously more than one of the general school core requirements (Areas I-VII); however, a given course may fulfill simultaneously both a general school core requirement in Areas I-VII and a major program requirement (Area VIII--proficiency in a field). Before selecting courses, students should consult the requirements for each program that they are considering, and discuss these with their academic adviser.

Lists of courses that fulfill the various requirements can be found in the Degree Navigator system (

Descriptions of some of the courses available for fulfillment of Areas I to VII can be found in the New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog 2013-2015.

Area I. School Mission: Interdisciplinary Critical Analysis

The undergraduate program's goals are to help students develop the abilities to think critically; address problems with a variety of modes of inquiry; and recognize and assess ethical problems related to the environment, natural resources, food and human nutrition, and agriculture, in order to make decisions based upon an understanding of the long- and short-term implications of the various choices. As a means of meeting these goals, students are required to complete one 3-credit junior/senior colloquium course. This colloquium course is a capstone, integrative educational experience for students concluding their undergraduate studies, enabling them to synthesize information and techniques gained in previous courses. Working cooperatively with peers who have different capabilities and interests and using the case study method, students in these courses devise creative, interdisciplinary solutions to multifaceted problems with ethical, social, political, and technical content in the school's mission areas. Current lists of the junior/ senior colloquia offerings are posted on the school's website:

Area II. Introductory Life and Physical Sciences

To provide a foundation for understanding and evaluating important questions related to the life and physical sciences, students are required to complete courses in both the life sciences and in the physical sciences, as follows:

A. Life Sciences (4-8 credits).  Introductory courses in biological sciences (subject 119), plant biology (subject 776), animal sciences (subject 067), ecology and evolution (subject 216) with a laboratory.

B. Physical Sciences (3-5 credits).  A basic chemistry (subject 160) or physics (subject 750) course, or an introductory course that applies the physical sciences to earth systems including geography (subject 450), geology (subject 460), environmental sciences (subject 375), marine dciences (subject 628), meteorology (subject 670).

Many programs of study require specific courses and additional credits in the life and physical sciences. Students should consult the requirements of the specific program(s) of study they are considering before selecting courses from this list.

Area III. Humanities and the Arts

To develop an understanding and appreciation of the humanities, art forms, and modes of critical response and interpretation, students are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits in the following subject areas. Upper-level literature and art courses in a foreign language may satisfy this requirement, but elementary and intermediate foreign language courses (i.e., conversation, grammar, and composition courses) do not satisfy this requirement. The two courses selected may be from the same or different disciplines. 

Area IV. Multicultural and International Studies

To encourage students to see the world through the eyes of people whose culture differs from their own, students are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits in multicultural and international studies. These courses are intended to expose students to international, cross-cultural, and historical perspectives; to acquire an appreciation for the diversity and variability of institutions, cultures, and individuals; and to consider the complex and changing interactions of cultural, situational, and institutional factors that affect human behavior.

Several programs of study require specific courses or additional credits in multicultural and international studies. Students should consult their advisers and/or the requirements of the specific majors they are considering before selecting courses from the list.

Students who have studied outside the United States at an accredited institution for one semester or more may waive 3 credits of this requirement.

Area V. Human Behavior, Economic Systems, and Political Processes

Civic engagement in our democratic society is enhanced by an understanding of human behavior and of the political processes and institutional frameworks within which public policies are developed, and by the ability to evaluate policy issues through the application of economic concepts and theory. To develop these understandings, students are required to complete courses in human behavior, in economic systems, and in political processes.

Area  VI. Oral and Written Communication

To develop the speaking and writing skills essential for success in both the university and in the professions that students are preparing to enter, written and oral presentations are incorporated into all courses, where feasible. Students are further required to complete a minimum of 6 credits.

Area VII.  Experienced-Based Education

To develop the ability to apply curricular and extracurricular-based learning, including leadership development and personal as well as interpersonal management skills, within settings appropriate to their fields, each of the school's programs of study specifies a course or mechanism of study. Examples of currently available options are internships and cooperative education placements through the Student to Professional Internship Network (SPIN) Program, practica, independent research, and the George H. Cook Scholars Program.

Students completing two major programs offered by the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences must complete at least one experience-based education course, approved by both curricula.

Area VIII. Proficiency in a Field/Concentration

To develop proficiency in a field/concentration related to the environment, natural resources, food and human health, or agriculture, each curriculum specifies required courses, elective courses, and, where applicable, option requirements. Every program of study also specifies minimum requirements in quantitative skills and in professional ethics as they apply to the particular field/concentration for which it prepares its students.

Quantitative Skills. The quantitative skills requirement is designed to help students develop mathematical literacy and skills for analytical reasoning, including an understanding of statistical methodologies appropriate to the field for which students are preparing.

Professional Ethics. The professional ethics requirement is designed to help students develop the ability to recognize, assess, and respond to ethical problems that could be encountered in the careers students are preparing to enter.

Additional Requirements. Each degree program stipulates additional required courses in the field and may require students also to fulfill requirements in more specialized options.

Area IX. Unspecified Electives

All students must complete a minimum of 128 credits for the bachelor's degree (or 159 credits for the five-year bioenvironmental engineering curriculum). The minimum credit requirements to satisfy areas I-VIII total 125 credits or less for at least one option in every major available at the school (with the exception of the five-year bioenvironmental engineering major). The additional 3 or more credits required for graduation may be fulfilled by any courses for which the student has met all the prerequisites. Students who have completed at least 60 credits of coursework may register for up to two of these unspecified elective courses (no more than one per semester) on a Pass/No Credit basis.

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