Science at Scripps College

Science at Scripps

If you’re trying to imagine the rigorous pursuit of science in a liberal arts setting, look no further than Scripps College. Thanks to its collaboration with Claremont McKenna and Pitzer Colleges, Scripps has crafted an unparalleled scientific opportunities through the W.M. Keck Science Department. The department shares funding, faculty, and resources to provide a state of the art science education you won’t find anywhere else.

Enrollment in the W.M. Keck Science Department is predominantly Scripps women, and the faculty are about equally male and female.

Science Majors

Through the W.M. Keck Science Department, Scripps students can choose from 15 science degree programs offered under three umbrella disciplines — biology, chemistry, and physics. Many of the programs are interdisciplinary, providing comprehensive instruction in more than one scientific discipline. In addition, students can pursue dual-degree programs in partnership with schools of engineering or a double major with a discipline outside of the sciences. There is also a pre-med track (not a major).

Whether you choose a science major or minor or just take some classes, you’ll find the variety of courses is incredible. For instance, there are 60 different biology classes offered.

AISS (Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence)

Science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. The developing fields of nanotechnology, genetic engineering, and therapeutic drug design, for example, certainly require us to stretch our thoughts across traditional boundaries. And we are doing just that in AISS — Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence.

AISS jump-starts the process of interdisciplinary thinking in the sciences for first-year students. Introductory biology, chemistry, and physics are combined to form the year-long, double-credit introductory course. In its fifth year, this sequence is still only one of three introductory interdisciplinary science programs for science majors in the nation. As a consequence, Scripps received a substantial grant from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for support.

Directed Research

The resources of the W.M. Keck Science Department put the research capacity of a major university at your fingertips. Scripps students routinely conduct graduate-level research with faculty and present their findings at academic conferences. Designed for undergraduates, science students at Scripps don’t compete with grad students for opportunities or fully funded summer grants. Most important, faculty act as mentors, encouraging scientific inquiry and helping students advance their research capabilities.

Art Conservation Program

Scripps’ art conservation program is the only one of its kind on the West Coast. The field of art conservation addresses artistic, ethical, and technical questions from an interdisciplinary perspective and combines the liberal arts and sciences to solve problems of preservation. A variety of science, art history, art, and other courses (like anthropology, archaeology and chemistry) prepare students to engage in internships at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, enroll in conservation courses in off-campus study programs, and build a portfolio of practical experience necessary for graduate school admission.

The major introduces students to careers in art conservation, which can encompass three roles — conservator, researcher, and manager. These roles correspond to application, science, and policy areas of study in the conservation of architecture, archaeology, archives, and art.

Senior Thesis

Scripps students interested in science can pursue a scientific research project for their required senior thesis. Some examples of recent senior theses include: a molecular biology project on a deviant chromosome in jewel wasps and a physics project on the best place to sit on a roller coaster.