Science and Math Recommendations

Do More, Go Further, Add Relevance, Consider a Disciplinary Focus

Solid command of sciences and mathematics is critical for maximal effectiveness in nearly every international domain, including human rights, global media, public health, finance, international policy, development, diplomacy, scholarly research, law, and much else.

In general, I.S. majors do insufficient work in sciences and mathematics. Mirroring a trend among social-science and humanities students nationwide, too often I.S. majors take a weak approach to science. A common pattern is the college-minimum two math or science courses, both at intro or "soft" levels.

The International Studies Department advises against that minimalist approach, and instead offers its majors these four recommendations:

1. Do More:
Don't take just the Mac-minimum two. Instead, take three, four, or even more science and mathematics courses.

2. Go Further:
Put briefly, go past the 100 or "soft" levels in both sciences and mathematics.

3. Be More Relevant:
Broad-scale Macalester intro-level math/science offerings like Contemporary Concepts of Physics, Dinosaurs, and Math & Society are fine courses, exciting interest and broadening horizons. However, still other intro-level math/science courses are much more relevant to I.S. work. Thus when taking intro-level science, choose courses such as Oceanography, The Science of Renewable Energy, Global Biodiversity, or Dynamic Earth & Global Change. When taking intro-level math, stats, or computer science, choose courses such as Epidemiology, Applied Calculus, Data Analysis & Statistics, or Introduction to Scientific Programming. In other words, pursue math-science that enriches your internationalist formation.

4. Consider Biology or Geology for your I.S. major-plan disciplinary focus:
International Studies now offers two science options for the five-course disciplinary focus of the 14-course I.S. major plan: Biology and Geology. We strongly encourage interested I.S. majors to select these options. Both tracks nearly always qualify as a minor in that field, and (like all our other available focuses) can fuel a double-major too. Details on configuring the Geology and Biology focuses may be found here.