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STEM Course Descriptions

STEM courses are offered through a variety of academic departments. Special STEM courses use the ‘INDI’ prefix.


A study of the nature of scientific inquiry and basic biological, chemical, ecological and earth science principles in the context of environmental issues. Areas of study may include biodiversity, global climate change, acid rain, agriculture and the environment, air and water pollution, and the role of economics, politics and ethics in environmental concerns. Three hours of class and two hours of laboratory per week. Designed for non-majors and the STEM minor. Typically offered fall semester. Also offered in Weekend College.

CHEM 1000: CHEMISTRY OF LIFE (4 credits)

Principles associated with the chemistry of the human body and its environment are discussed in this course, including food, radiation, energy, textiles, polymers, dyes, water, air, drugs, medications, cosmetics and cleaning agents. The focus is on physical, social and environmental concerns of modern society. This course fulfills the lab science requirement and is required for the STEM certificate and minor. The class time block includes both lecture and lab work. Offered fall term in Weekend College and alternating winter semesters in the day program.


Most of the world we experience everyday is human-made or engineered. From indoor plumbing to airplanes, engineers create products that make our lives more comfortable and convenient. This course is an introduction to the engineering concepts associated with products in your everyday life, including concepts regarding structures, machines & mechanisms, hydraulics & pneumatics, and electricity. Classes are a mixture of mini-lectures about concepts and associated calculations, experiments to solidify concepts, discussions to generalize concepts to other technologies, and projects to apply the concepts to new problems. This course meets the liberal arts core requirement for lab science. Associate program students only. Baccalaureate students interested in the STEM certificate or minor should register for PHYS 1200.


This course is designed to provide an introduction to modern concepts of environmental science and principles of sustainability. Sustainability as the major umbrella will include five sub-themes of natural capital, natural capital degradation, solutions, trade-offs, and individual matter. Accompanying the lecture will be an extensive hands-on laboratory involving GPS, environmental footprint assessment, and environmental monitoring experiments that are computer based. Lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Two courses in science and/or math; any of the following combinations 2 STEM courses, or 2 biology, or 2 chemistry, or one math (above 1050) and a science course.

PHYS 2990: Robots and the Earth: A Scientific Journey Through Time (4 credits)

This course is divided into three modules that take students on a scientific journey from ancient understandings of the earth through modern times and into the future. Concepts of time and distance are related to ancient cultures’ understanding of the earth and sky. We move on to the 17th Century when there was an explosion of physics concepts which created the foundation for our modern understanding of earth and space. Robots are necessary for this odyssey. Throughout time, they have been the ultimate explorers into new and dangerous lands. In the course, we trace the development of robots from their earliest conceptions to present. Students learn the basics of robotic control, and in the last module, a capstone project for the STEM Minor, they will design an interactive science museum exhibit. Prerequisites: two introductory STEM minor courses or one year of biology, chemistry, physics, computer science or mathematics.