General Science Courses

SC 10100. Environmental Geosciences

(3 -0- 3)
Prerequisite: CHEM 10113 or CHEM 10115 or CHEM 10117 or CHEM 10121 or CHEM 10125 or CHEM 10126 or CHEM 10171
This course introduces the student to Earth processes and focuses on how these processes affect people, and how people affect these processes. The course explores the interactions between Earth’s biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere, with the objective of demonstrating how our physical environment is controlled by geological, biological, and human forces. SC 10100 and SC 20100 are the same course.

SC 10101. The Cosmos, the Earth, and the Genome

(3 -0- 3)
An introduction to the evolution of our universe, from the Big Bang to the human genome. The course will cover major concepts of cosmology, earth science, and evolutionary biology. Emphasis will be placed on not only our current understanding of those fields, but also on how our understanding itself has evolved over time. If taken by science or engineering students, this course counts as general elective credit.

SC 20100. Environmental Geosciences

(3 -0- 3)
Prerequisite: CHEM 10113 or CHEM 10115 or CHEM 10117 or CHEM 10125 or CHEM 10126 or CHEM 10171
This course introduces the student to Earth processes and focuses on how
these processes affect people, and how people affect these processes. The course explores the interactions between Earth’s biosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere, with the objective of demonstrating how our physical environment is controlled by geological, biological, and human forces.

SC 20110. Physical Geology (Lecture and Laboratory)

(3 -0- 4) Neal
Corequisite: SC 21110
An introduction to the Earth and its processes, composition, evolution, and structure. The course introduces the student to mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, oceanography, surficial processes, and environmental geology. Lecture and laboratory meetings.

SC 20120. Historical Geology (Lecture and Laboratory)

(3 -0- 4)
Prerequisite: GEOS 20110 or SC 20110
Corequisite: SC 21120
This course introduces the student to the concept of geologic time, absolute and relative age-dating, Earth processes and features through time, and the major features of evolution and distribution of fossils. Lecture and laboratory meetings. A one-day field trip is required.

SC 20200. Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy

(4 -0- 4) Burns
Prerequisites: CHEM 10118 or SC 20110 or ENVG 10110 or CHEM 10171

Crystallography and mineral optics: physical and chemical mineralogy-its application to mineral identification in hand-specimen and using the petrographic microscope.

SC 21110. Physical Geology Laboratory

(0 -2- 0)
Corequisite: SC 20110
The laboratory portion of ENVG/SC 20110.

SC 21120. Historical Geology Laboratory

(0 -2- 0)
Corequisite: SC 20120
This is the laboratory portion of ENVG/SC 20120.

SC 20450. Neuroscience and Behavior 


This course is intended to provide a broad introduction to the field of neuroscience and behavior, from the level of molecules flowing across cell membranes up to complex human cognition. It is intended primarily for sophomores and required of all Neuroscience and Behavior majors. The associated laboratory is also required an may be taken concurrently or at a later time. 

SC 21200. Minerology and Optic Minerology Lab


This is the laboratory portion of ENVG 20201. 

SC 21450. Neuroscience and Behavior Laboratory 


This laboratory accompanies the Neuroscience and Behavior lecture course (SC or BIOS 20450). It is required for all Neuroscience and Behavior majors and may be taken concurrently with the lecture or at a later time. The lab will introduce experimental approaches typical of the field, including anatomical, histological, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods. 

SC 30001. Introduction to the Fundamentals of Bioinformatics

(V -0- V) Sepeta
Bioinformatics is the study of the biological and health sciences with the aid of computers. In particular bioinformatics refers to the analysis of genomes—animal, plant, bacterial, and viral—using software and the Internet. A main impetus for bioinformatics is the recently completed human genome project. Additionally
the sequencing of the genome of the mosquito Anopheles gambiae by Notre Dame researchers is also a significant event for bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is quickly becoming fundamentally important for understanding diseases and drug development. In this one credit hour basic introduction to bioinformatics, students will search biological databases, compare nucleotide and amino acid sequences, look at protein structure, and more generally ask biological questions with computers.

SC 30230. Sedimentation and Stratigraphy

(4 -0- 4) Simonetti
Prerequisite: ENVG 20200 or SC 20200
Sedimentary environments from a physical, biological, and tectonic perspective are explored, along with processes such as lithification. Identification of sedimentary rocks; and interpretation of the succession of layered rocks in North America are emphasized.

SC 30500. Surficial Processes


This course introduces students to principles and processes of landform evolution with emphasis on global-scale Earth processes, volcanic & tectonic geomorphology, weathering processes & soils and mass movement. Processes and landform evolution in fluvial, desert, glacial, coastal and karst environments are investigated, and the effects on human structures and developments are explored. The course concludes with a discussion on the impact of climate change on Earth's surface features.

SC 33902. Science Policy Ethics: Guiding Science through Regulation of Research and Funding


Offered jointly with the College of Science, this Social Concerns Seminar will examine ethical responsibilities within science funding allocations and the regulation of basic and translational research. In the framework of Catholic Social Teaching, students will explore science policy development, government funding for science, and the regulation of both basic science and translational research, including special concerns for neglected disease and global health research. The course aims to explore how and why the government invests in research, how those funds are distributed to scientists, and ultimately how new discoveries are translated to new technologies, ultimately for the good of the general public. Working with Notre Dame's Federal Relations Team in Washington, D.C. over spring break, students will meet with scientists, multiple federal agencies, and policy makers. In preparation for meetings in Washington, 5 panel sessions will feature speakers with experience in research ethics and integrity, advocating for funding for science, distributing those funds, or working at the intersections of government policy, basic science, physics and engineering technology, environmental science, and clinical and translational research. This course poses a unique opportunity for students to network with various federal funding agencies and policy makers in Washington, D.C. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. 

SC 40300. Geochemistry

(3 -0- 3) Fein
An introduction to the use of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics in modeling geochemical processes. Special emphasis is placed on water-rock interactions of environmental interest.

SC 40491. Current Topics in Environmental Science

(3 -0- 3)
Taught by the director of the ES major. Environmental sciences first and second majors only. The course will be divided into various modules taught by experts on campus. The modules will include environmental law, risk assessment, environmental ethics, advancements in environmental and ecological science, current topics of national interest in environmental science, and others. This course is required of all first majors and recommended of all second majors. Fall.

SC 40500. Scientific Entrepreneurship

(2 -0- 2) Crawford
This course focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship of embryonic ideas
and scientific breakthroughs and how to move them from the laboratory to the marketplace—from invention to venture. All entrepreneurial case studies will be focused on science-based and high-technology examples, such as nanoscience, energy science, drug discovery, medical diagnostics, sophisticated algorithms, green technology, etc. The class is project-based, where students will develop a high technology business plan based on discoveries and inventions of Notre Dame science faculty. Students will have the flexibility to choose from a variety of topics for their final projects in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, physics, or medicine. Individual or team projects are possible depending on preference. Does not count as science credit for majors in the College of Science.

SC 40510. Science and Values

(1 -0- 1) Deane-Drummond
Scientific practice is informed by values, but those values are often left unarticulated or hidden. While the focus will be on contemporary science, some reference may be made to historical examples in order to illustrate the points raised. This course will probe some of the core values undergirding current scientific practices. It will examine the role of wonder in scientific practice and its philosophical and religious implications. What is the relationship between science and society? Has science lost its connection with wisdom? We will consider questions relating to trust and accountability in science, using concrete examples. Controversial societal and religious issues connected with, for example, climate change, nanotechnology and other new technologies will be discussed. This course does not count as science credit.

SC 40600. Scientific Communication

(4 -0- 3) Chaloner
The objective of this course is to develop scientific writing and presentation skills. Students will learn how scientific writing differs from other forms of writing, and what is required to publish in a peer-reviewed journal. Students will be trained to generate effective oral and poster presentations for professional scientific meetings. Students are required to have research experience. Students will use data from their research project to generate a research paper, oral presentation, poster, and general interest article. This course will focus on the writing style used for research in the biological sciences.

SC 41171. Instrumentation and Science Education

(0 -1- 1)
Prerequisite: (CHEM 10171 or CHEM 10181) and (CHEM 11171 or CHEM 11181 or CHEM 121 or CHEM 121L)
Students will gain laboratory and troubleshooting skills by testing donated laboratory instrumentation and developing a high school level science experiment utilizing the instrumentation. Students will be mentored by the faculty member and will be contributing to the ND LIGHTS (Laboratory Instrumentation Giving Hope To Students) donation program. ND LIGHTS acquires upgraded/retired instruments from ND laboratories and donates them to resource-limited schools. The program includes the key component of training high school science teacher recipients on how to use the instrument within the context of an experiment that can be incorporated into his/her curriculum. Students participating in this course will learn to test and write protocols for the donated scientific instrumentation, search scientific literature to determine an appropriate experiment for the labora- tory instrument, and perform the experiment. Students will be expected to write a report summarizing their work at the end of the semester.

SC 43350. Introduction to Hospice and Palliative Care

(1 -0- 1) Vachon
This one-credit pass/fail course is designed to provide undergraduate students with an introductory understanding of palliative and hospice care.  It is designed specifically for undergraduates interested in careers in medicine, but can also be useful to student aspiring to other helping professions.  This course will provide students with an in-depth understanding of what is palliative and hospice care focusing on how this care is given in the current healthcare system and an introduction to how this care is given in practice.  Students will also be given an introduction in compassionate interpersonal communication skills that are needed in caring for people who are in need of palliative care and for people who are dying.  A number of films will be used including Frontline documentary “Facing Death” and “Okuyamba.”

Introduction to Personalism in Medicine: The Pathos Project (1-credit Pass/Fail course)

Founded by medical students and physicians in 2005, the Pathos Project Introduction to Personalism in Medicine course stems from a deep concern over the depersonalization of medical care. Compassion, empathy, and attention to the suffering patient are too often left as glaring holes during clinical interactions. While not the sole cause of this failure, deficiencies in medical training undoubtedly contribute. The Pathos Project recognizes that developing clinical competence is necessary but not sufficient for physicians, and responds to the crisis in the doctor-patient relationship by developing a consciousness of suffering and its contextual interpersonal dynamics.  This one-credit pass/fail course meets on 8 Thursday nights interspersed throughout the semester from 7 to 9 p.m.  This is a small discussion-based class the covers the topics of patient suffering, the skill of being-with as the foundation of patient care, patient-physician relationship, formation of the physician, spirituality in medicine, biomedical reductionism, and even humor in medicine.  Seven physicians and Dr. Dominic Vachon facilitate the discussions throughout the semester.  The physicians come from the local community as well as from around the country.  Course requirements are a couple of articles for each class, a limited volunteer requirement at a local site or one that you may already be volunteering at, and a 5-page reflection/integration paper at the end of the course.  Preference is given to juniors and seniors, but the class is opened to all undergraduates if there are openings after juniors and seniors have had the opportunity to enroll.  

SC 45999. Summer Research Internship 

This course is intended to be an option for Notre Dame/St, Mary's students, or those from other universities, who wish to, or are required to, have organized unpaid summer internships related to the student's career preparation. Departmental approval from one of the College of Science departments is required. The requirements are that the student will be working 30 hours per week for at least 6 weeks and write a journal of activities. A letter from the supervisor regarding satisfactory completion of work, and 5-10 page reflection is also required. This course is S/U-graded, and does not count for any major, only 1 credit counts toward degree general electives. A proposal must be submitted to Dean's office at least two weeks in advance by the student with offer letter from the internship employer attached prior to June 5, and include the name of the faculty sponsor. Proposals for routine shadowing or low level volunteer help in a lab will generally not be approved. Students are responsible for finding a faculty person to sponsor the activity including evaluation of the journal and reflection. 

SC 46490. Directed Readings

(V -0- V)
Study of topics not covered or only briefly covered in other courses. Readings, problems and reports.

SC 48100. Research Experience for Undergraduates

(V -V- V)
Times and inclusive dates variable depending on specific program elected by the student. Permission required.

SC 48101. Undergraduate Research

(V -0- V)
Times and inclusive dates variable depending on specific program elected by the student. Permission required.

SC 48999. Research Experience for Undergraduates 

This is a zero-credit course for students engaged in independent research or working with a faculty member or a member of the University staff on a special project. Registration requires a brief description of the research or project to be pursued and the permission of the director of the Summer Session. This course is taken as an indication of the student's status on campus and is meant to allow the registered student to use the University facilities as the Summer Session permits. No course work is required. 

SC 53310. Scientific and Medical Leadership

(1 -0- 1) Crawford
The College of Science’s course on scientific and medical leadership provides a forum for discussions related to the qualities of successful scientists and physicians in research, academia, administration, government labs, foundations, case studies, large corporations and small start-ups. It is a unique opportunity for students to focus on some relevant topics facing contemporary scientists and physicians. This course counts as general elective. No pre-requisites. Open to all graduate and undergraduate students. Requirements: attendance and one 3–5 page paper reflecting on one of the topics presented. S/U grade.

SC 53320. Diversity, Culture, Religion in Science

(1 -0- 1)
Diversity, Culture, Religion, in Science will introduce students to the role of cultural and religious diversity in science, its importance in an era of globalization, and the interesting questions that it raises. We want our students to be thought leaders in these discussions as they develop. We will recruit top speakers to talk about science and culture, religion and diversity from a sophisticated and scientific level - how these issues have shaped their careers, and how the issues are shaping the world of the future. The course will conclude with a talk on science and religion that demonstrates the vital connections of all these areas and brings them together to prepare our students for that world. Open to all graduate and undergraduate students. Requirements: attendance and one 3-5 page paper reflecting on one of the topics presented. S/U grade. General elective credit only.

SC 53340. Ethics in Science

(1 -0- 1)
The College of Science’s Ethics course provides a forum for discussions related to the responsible conduct of research and complements department sponsored activities, informal training and mentorship obtained in individual research labs. It is a unique opportunity for students to focus on some relevant topics facing scientists today. Requirements: attendance and one 3–5 page paper reflecting on one of the topics presented. S/U grade.