Natural Sciences Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Natural Sciences and see sample pathways to graduation.


Area of Concentration Requirements

The goals of an Area of Concentration in Natural Sciences are normally achieved by meeting the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactory completion of at least 6 introductory courses distributed among at least three Natural Sciences disciplines (chosen from biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics). This usually involves the successful completion of the introductory sequence (2 semester courses) in each of three discipline.
  2. A minimum of an additional two semester courses beyond the introductory sequence in one discipline. The faculty will entertain requests for exceptions to these specific requirements as long as work of sufficient breadth and depth has been done in the division.
  3. At least one Independent Study Project in the Natural Sciences.
  4. A senior thesis in some area of the natural sciences is sponsored by a faculty member of the Natural Sciences Division.


New College students must satisfy both the requirements of the Liberal Arts Curriculum (LAC), New College’s general education program, and the specific requirements for the Area of Concentration (AOC). With so many opportunities each term, the pathway below is provided as an example of how a student could complete the requirements for graduation. We’ve put some checkpoints in place so that you make the most of your time at New College. Each term you’ll meet with a faculty advisor to discuss courses, tutorials, internships, or other academic experiences. Schedule a meeting with your faculty advisor to discuss which courses satisfy the LAC and which satisfy the AOC. Each student completes a Provisional AOC Plan in the fifth contract to select an AOC, and each student submits a Thesis Prospectus/AOC Form in the sixth contract.

A Sample Four-Year Pathway for Natural Sciences

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 1LAC Course 1ISP 1LAC Course 5
LAC Course 2LAC Course 6
Nat Sci Discipline 1, also LACNat Sci Discipline 1
Nat Sci Discipline 2, also LACNat Sci Discipline 2
Year 2Diverse Perspectives LACNat Sci ISPNat Sci Discipline 3
Nat Sci Discipline 3, also LACNat Sci Discipline 1, upper level
Nat Sci Discipline 1, upper levelAny two courses
Any course
Year 3Any 4 courses ISP 3Any three courses
Nat Sci thesis tutorial
Year 4Any three courses
Nat Sci thesis tutorial

A Sample Two-Year Pathway for Natural Sciences

YearFall Term January / ISPSpring Term
Year 3Nat Sci Discipline 3Nat Sci ISP,Nat Sci Discipline 3
Upper level Nat SciUpper level Nat Sci
Any two coursesAny two courses
Year 4Any 2-3 coursesISPAny two courses
Nat Sci thesis tutorialNat Sci thesis tutorial

Assumes student took the intro sequence in at least two different Nat Sci disciplines as part of the AA degree.