United States Air Force Academy

Go to home page
A Well Rounded Approach to Science

BASIC SCIENCES

The Basic Sciences major is a divisional major incorporating the basic sciences of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics. This divisional program is recommended for cadets already declared in either a Basic Sciences or an Engineering disciplinary major who, for a variety of reasons, find the divisional approach more suited to fulfilling graduation requirements.

Since the Basic Sciences major lacks the structure of a disciplinary major, it is generally not an appropriate path for cadets wishing to go to graduate school in a basic sciences field–they will most likely be required to take additional undergraduate courses in the selected discipline prior to entering graduate school.

The Basic Sciences major must be approved by the Basic Sciences Division Chair or the Basic Sciences Advisor-in-Charge (AIC).

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

134 Total Semester hours

  1. 93 Semester hours of Dean’s academic core courses to include:
    Core Requirement Required Core Options/Substitutes
    P/C/B Option 1   Choose 1
    P/C/B Option 2   Choose 1
    Statistics Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists or Advanced Probability and Statistics Math 356 or Math 377
    Adv STEM Option   Choose 1
    Adv STEM Option   Choose 1
    Adv Open Option   Choose 1
  2. 5 Semester hours of Director of Athletics core courses.
  3. 36 Semester hours of major’s courses:
    There are no specific mandatory Basic Sciences majors courses, so cadets have tremendous flexibility in designing their program. Cadets are free to pursue any avenue of interest in the sciences as long as they follow a coherent course of study approved by their advisor and the Basic Sciences AIC and satisfy the depth and breadth requirements below.

    Depth Requirements:

    • At least 18 semester hours at the 300- or 400-level.
    • Special Topics (495) or Independent Study (499) courses from the four departments in the
      Basic Sciences Division may be included.

    Distribution Requirements:

    • At least 24 total semester hours earned through courses taught by the four departments in the Basic Sciences Division. Basic Sciences majors must satisfy both of the following provisions under this requirement. A course may not be simultaneously counted toward both distribution requirements nor may it simultaneously satisfy a core and distribution requirement.
    • At least 12 of these 24 semester hours must comprise a coherent course of study from any of the disciplines in the Basic Sciences Division (including interdisciplinary majors)
    • At least 12 of these 24 semester hours must consist of one non-core course from each of the primary Basic Sciences disciplines (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics). The P/C/B option course not used to satisfy the core must be taken and will be counted towards this requirement. Additional recommended courses that can meet this requirement include:
    Biology
    Biology 345 Aerospace Physiology
    Biology 370 Human Nutrition
    Biology 380 Principles of Ecology
    Chemistry
    Chem 222 Analytical Chemistry
    Chem 230 Introductory Organic Chemistry
    Chem 325 Space Chemistry
    Chem 350 Chemistry of Weapons
    Chem 434 Biochemistry
    Mathematics
    Math 243 (or Math 253) Calculus III
    Math 245 Differential Equations
    Math 344 Applied Linear Algebra
    Math 359 Design and Analysis of Experiments
    Math 378 Applied Statistical Modeling
    Physics
    Physics 264 Modern Physics
    Physics 370 Upper Atmospheric and Geo-Space Physics
    Meteor 320 Introduction to Meteorology and Aviation Weather