Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Natural Science is the systematic investigation of living and nonliving aspects of the physical universe. Its methods of investigation involve the observation, description and classification of broad patterns in nature and the testing of hypotheses that provide tentative explanations of the processes underlying these patterns. The traditional goal of natural scientific inquiry is to explain a large array of natural phenomena using a small number of theories valued in many cases for their predictive power. The measurement and demonstration of quantitative relationships and the development of abstract models is often fundamental to this enterprise. Courses in this area provide the opportunity to explore natural science directly, focusing on the process of scientific discovery through the use of experimental and theoretical methods of investigation.

Mathematical Science gives structure to and explores abstractions of the human mind. In addition, it often provides natural science with models on which to build theories about the physical world. Computer science, the study of algorithms, data structures, and their realizations in hardware and software systems, is also included in this area. Computer science addresses the fundamental questions: What is computable in principle, and what tasks are algorithmically feasible? Courses in this area encourage the development of logical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and general problem-solving skills. These courses also seek to foster an appreciation for mathematical thought as a fundamental mode of inquiry in its own right.

Students are required to complete two courses in this area, at least one of which must be in Natural Science.