The Science For All Program
The natural sciences, and the technologies that they enable, are woven deeply into the fabric of our lives and are central to many of the important political and social challenges that we face. They are also pinnacles of intellectual accomplishment in humanity’s ancient and ongoing quest to understand the world in which we live. Thus we believe that to function as liberally educated, ethically responsible citizens, stewards of the planet, and as effective leaders, all Georgetown students should understand scientific modes of thought and concepts, both in the abstract and as they are exemplified in at least one major area of scientific inquiry. The Science For All core requirement is grounded in these beliefs.
The primary goal of courses specifically designed to fulfill the core science requirement will not be to provide a summary of current knowledge in a particular discipline, but instead to illustrate, in the context of a scientific discipline, how scientific understanding is developed, tested, and revised. In addition, Science For All courses will help and encourage students to understand better the significant role that science plays in their daily lives, and will include examples of the use of scientific methods in addressing complex social problems and of the ethical issues that science can raise.
The learning goals of the program were formulated by the resolution approved by the Main Campus Executive Committee (MCEF) in April 2017, and subsequently by the Provost of the University:
“Successful completion of a course satisfying the core natural science requirement should significantly advance students’ progress toward the following learning goals:
•To understand the basic principles and some current research challenges of one or more areas of science.
•To understand science as a set of methods of inquiry that involve forming and testing hypotheses through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data.
•To consume and interpret scientific information with critical understanding of the balance of certainty and uncertainty that research findings inevitably reflect.
Overall, these courses will strive to give students a sense of the complexity of natural systems, the volume of evidence that scientists obtain and study, and the breadth and depth of scientific theory and analysis. And as with all core courses, these courses should help students connect the subject matter of the course to broader contexts such as ethical and social issues.
For the purposes of this resolution, we take the natural sciences to be fundamentally grounded in detailed observation of the natural world and to include, as an essential component, explanatory frameworks that account for large classes of observations and that can make experimentally testable predictions. In addition to the obvious examples of physics, chemistry, and biology, this includes the geosciences and emergent interdisciplinary fields such as neuroscience and environmental sciences, as well as others.”
Approving Courses for the SFA Requirement
Prospective faculty can find the instructions for obtaining Science For All designation in the Submission Instructions page of this site.
The responsibility for coordinating and monitoring the SFA requirement belongs to the Core Science Committee (CSC), which reports to the Main Campus Core Curriculum Committee (MCCCC) and the Main Campus Executive Committee (MCEF). The Core Science Committee ensures that all courses counting towards the requirement meet the learning goals and overall criteria for the Science for All requirements. The CSC serves as a point of reference and source of advice and feedback for faculty members, Schools, Departments, and Programs..