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Undergraduate Studies Catalog


Lake Shore Campus:
Damen Hall 732-E
Phone: 773-508-2945
FAX: 773-508-3514

Professors: S. Freedman, S. Ringstrom

Associate Professors: J. D’Agostino , A.F. Gramza, R. Nackoney, C. Peterson, J. Rastovac (chairperson), D. Slavsky


The Department of Natural Science is organized separately from departments teaching the individual sciences, for the express purpose of furnishing an effective and appropriate foundation in science for a liberal education. This department offers basic courses designed to enable students to understand and appreciate the role of science in society. Each course is organized around major concepts, the understanding of which will give the student some fundamental insight into the natural sciences. Courses generally include demonstrations or experiments.


Two academic programs have been established to meet the needs of liberal arts majors:

Core Curriculum Requirement. These natural science courses fulfill the core curriculum requirement of programs which do not require special laboratory science courses. They are not designed for, nor are they applicable toward, the fulfillment of the major field of study requirements in the departments of chemistry, biology, or physics.

Minors in Natural Science. Provides structured, in depth, interdisciplinary science experiences for those not majoring in the traditional sciences. These programs provide career preparation in cross-disciplinary areas such as science journalism, science teaching at an elementary school level, science sales and advertising, environmental legislation, governmental planning, public relations, etc.

Requirements for the natural science minor: seven courses totaling 17-21 hours as follows: fundamentals of science, 3-4 courses selected from NTSC 103, 104, 105, and 106; applications and relationship to humans, 3-4 courses selected from NTSC 107, 108, 109, 113, 114, 117, 273, 281, 282, 299, and 300. Appropriate substitutions from biology, chemistry, or physics may be allowed with the consent of the chairperson.

Requirements for the environmental science minor: Seven courses totaling 17-21 hours as follows: scientific background, four courses selected from NTSC 103, 104, 106, 107, 113, 114, 299 and 300; three environmental courses, NTSC 273, 281, and 282. Appropriate substitution from biology, chemistry or physics may be allowed with the consent of the chairperson.


103. Life and Inquiry.
Concepts and characteristics of life are explored as series of biochemical and biophysical processes at the molecular, cellular and organismic levels. Critical reasoning and methods of scientific inquiry emphasized. May include lab work and/or demonstrations.

104. Evolution and Genetics. (ESP 108)
Examines mechanisms responsible for diversity of life on earth: biological evolution, genetic inheritance and variation, and gene expression using observations, hypotheses and experiments of historical figures–Darwin and Mendel– and modern biochemical geneticists. May include lab work and/or demonstrations.

105. Concepts in Physical Science: Motion.
Conceptual structure and historical development of physical science traced from antiquity to the theory of relativity with emphasis on the laws of motion and gravity. Applications to black holes, communications satellites, origin of the solar system, merry-go-rounds, and car collisions.

106. Concepts in Physical Science: Matter.
Conceptual structure and historical development of physical science traced from antiquity to the theory of quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle with emphasis on the laws of electricity, magnetism and chemistry. Applications to television tubes, lightning, lasers, quarks, and superconductivity.

107. Plants and Civilization. (ESP 107)
Examines structure, function, and ecology of plants, and their importance to human society though discussions of agriculture (crop development, plant pathogens, pest control), plant chemicals used or abused by humans, human/plant ecological relationships, and plant-related biotechnology. Demonstrations and in-class and out-of-class exercises are included.

108. Human Heredity.
Introduces basic concepts of genetic processes from the molecular to the organismic level as they apply to human inheritance. Human social issues relatable to recent advances in the study of hereditary processes are explored–genetic testing; gene therapy.

109. Human Reproduction.
Aspects of anatomy, developmental biology, genetics, and physiology used to investigate normal human reproduction and reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects and modern reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization.

113. Earth Science: The Changing Planet. (ESP 113)
Concentrates on the processes which have formed the Earth and controlled its evolution. Topics include fossils, volcanoes, earthquakes, radioactivity, glaciers, and the development of Lake Michigan. Emphasizes theory of plate tectonics (continental drift).

114. Weather and Climatology. (ESP 114)
Basic principles of weather and climatology emphasizing atmospheric processes. Topics: cloud formation, fronts, thunderstorms, ozone holes, tornados, hurricanes and changes in global patterns such as those which could result in global warming.

117. Planetary and Solar System Astronomy. (PHYS 103)
Prerequisite: high school algebra.
Historical studies and results from space probes used to examine properties of the sun, planets, satellites, asteroids, comets and other members of the solar system. Investigates theories of formation of planets, satellites and the sun.

210. Concepts in Disease Causation.
Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or 151, or equivalent; restricted to Nursing and Food and Nutrition majors. Topics in microbiology, immunology and genetics emphasizing human health and disease. Lecture and laboratory.

273. Energy and the Environment. (ESP 273) (PAX 273)
Concept of energy is developed from antiquity, through the laws of motion, kinetic theory of heat, laws of thermodynamics and the idea of entropy. Investigates uses of energy in our society, impact and environmental consequences of their use and risk analysis.

281. Human Impact on the Environment. (ESP 281) (PAX 281)
Examines our effect on natural environments. Alterations in the size of human populations discussed in terms of biological limiting factors. Studies how environmental problems are generated and what specific approaches can best alleviate the resultant degradation.

282. The Human Environment. (ESP 282) (PAX 282)
Reciprocal effects of humans and the environment: species interactions; population dynamics; food supplies and nutrition; toxicology; global warming and ozone depletion. Health effects of environmental pollution, pesticides and solid, toxic and hazardous waste.

299. Research.
Prerequisite: permission of chairperson.
Students may register for independent research on a topic mutually acceptable to the student and any professor in the department. Usually this research is directed to a particular course or to the research of the professor.

300. Seminar.
Prerequisite: permission of chairperson.
Lectures and discussions of current topics in the natural and environmental sciences.

395. Special Topics.
Specific titles and content vary.

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