University of Notre Dame


All Notre Dame students must complete two semesters of a science before the end of their sophomore year, but it is highly recommended that this requirement be completed in the first year. Students intending to major in a program of study in the College of Science or the College of Engineering or in the pre-professional studies (pre-medial or other health-related fields) in the College of Arts and Letters, as well as students intending to study abroad in their sophomore year must complete their science requirement in their first year at Notre Dame.

The courses offered by the College of Science are broadly grouped into two main categories, laboratory sciences and topical sciences. The laboratory sciences are intended for students who are planning to major in one of the sciences or in engineering. You may also take one of these courses if you would prefer a more in-depth discussion of a particular field of study with a laboratory experience. Topical science courses are designed for students planning to enter the College of Arts and Letters, the School of Architecture, or the Mendoza College of Business; they focus on themes that have an ethical or value-related dimension and do not include a laboratory experience.

Some colleges and majors require the selection of particular science courses:

  • Chemistry or biochemistry majors should take either CHEM 10171/10172 or CHEM 10181/10182.
  • Students majoring in biological sciences, environmental science, science collegiate sequences, medicine-in-physics, or pre-professional studies in either the College of Science (SCPP) or the College of Arts and Letters (APH2) must take CHEM 10171/10172.
  • If you plan to major in mathematics or physics, you should take CHEM 10171/10122 or CHEM 10171/10172.
  • For those who intend to major in College of Engineering programs, including the environmental geosciences and the combination arts and letters-engineering major, CHEM 10171/10122, CHEM 10171/10172, or CHEM 10181/10182 are acceptable selections.
  • Students interested in the environmental science second major offered by the College of Science should take CHEM 10171/10172.
  • The School of Architecture requires PHYS 10111 in the fall and recommends PHYS 10222 as the science elective in the spring semester.

Students planning to enter Mendoza College of Business or College of Arts and Letters programs may choose freely among the science options for first-years, but topical science courses are designed specifically for them.

You should discuss your high school science experience with your First Year Advisor to ensure that you make the right science course selection. The First Year of Studies’ Learning Resource Center has science support services that are available to all first-year students.