College of Sciences
NCSU Box 8201
Raleigh, NC 27695-8201
Phone: (919) 515-7833
Fax: (919) 515-7855
The College of Sciences offers programs for students interested in working side-by-side with world-class faculty to address the grand challenges of our time, particularly those related to health, energy, safety and security, and the environment. The College’s programs of study and research are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and lead to many career opportunities. In addition, the college provides core science, statistical and mathematical education support for the entire University. The college consists of six academic departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, and Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The Science House, the Center for Research in Scientific Computation, the Center for Quantitative Sciences in Biomedicine, the Bioinformatics Research Center, the State Climate Office, the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology and the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology are also associated with the college.
Graduates of the College are in demand and valued for their well-developed analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. They are recruited for technical and administrative positions in industry and laboratories, universities and colleges, non-profit research organizations and government agencies. A large percentage of the graduates undertake advanced study in medical, law, business, or other professional schools as well as further study leading to master’s and doctoral degrees.
High school students who are interested in mathematics, statistics, biology, medicine, chemistry, geology, marine science, meteorology or physics; who are fascinated by natural phenomena; and who want to advance economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for everyone should consider the career opportunities opened by degrees in the sciences.
The college offers undergraduate programs of study leading to a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in biological sciences, chemistry, genetics, geology, marine sciences, mathematics, applied mathematics, meteorology, microbiology, natural resources, physics, statistics and zoology and to a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in biological sciences, chemistry and physics. In some programs, students may choose to highlight their studies with concentrations in compatible disciplines, for example, a financial mathematics concentration in applied mathematics, a marine and coastal resources concentration in a natural resources curriculum, or a human biology concentration in biological sciences.
Many curricula within the college have similar freshman years, enabling a first-year student to change from one department to another in the college without loss of time. The Life Sciences First Year Program, a collaborative venture between the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Sciences, offers students interested in life sciences majors a common first year curriculum, a peer mentoring program, seminars, a peer class facilitator program, outstanding academic advising, and more to help the students explore the variety of life science majors available at NC State before they decide on a particular major.
Medical and dental schools as well as many other health-related professional schools have long regarded degree programs in the core biological, physical, earth system and mathematical sciences as excellent pre-professional curricula. Some professional schools prefer the in-depth knowledge gained by this route over those curricula which offer a cursory view of a variety of topics. For further details, visit the Health Professions Advising web site.
Dual Degree Programs
Students may wish to earn bachelor’s degrees in two fields within the college. Other students may wish to combine a bachelor’s degree in Sciences with one in another NC State college. With effective planning, a number of courses can satisfy core, general education, or elective requirements simultaneously in both degree programs. For example, many students choose to pursue simultaneous degrees in mathematics and mathematics education or one of the physical, biological or earth system sciences and science education.
In addition to university-wide extracurricular activities and honor organizations, the College of Sciences has clubs and student chapters of professional and honor organizations:
- Actuarial Science Club
- Alpha Chi Sigma (AXE), a national co-ed professional chemistry fraternity
- American Chemical Society (ACS) Student Affiliates
- American Meteorological Society (AMS) – Student Chapter
- Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Student Chapter
- Astronomy Club
- Biology Club
- Broadcast Meteorology Club/NC State Weather Club
- Genetics Club
- Geology Club
- Herpetology Club
- Microbiology Club
- Mu Sigma Rho (a statistics honorary society)
- Phi Lambda Upsilon (PLU) (a national honorary chemical society)
- Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) (a national mathematical honor fraternity)
- Research, Forecasting & Discussion (RFD) Club
- Research PackTrack Student Organization
- Roots and Shoots at NCSU
- Sciences Ambassadors
- Sciences Council
- Sigma Pi Sigma (a physics honor society)
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Student Chapter
- Society for Undergraduate Mathematics (SUM Club) (a student chapter of the Mathematical Association of America)
- Society for Multicultural Scientists (SMS)
- Society of Physics Students (SPS)
- Sounding Club
- Sports Analytics Club
- Statistics Club
- Zoology Club.
Additionally, majors in the college are eligible for induction in the national honor societies Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.
All departments in Sciences have active honors programs designed to encourage excellent undergraduates to pursue a program that will challenge their abilities and better prepare them for their post-graduate career. These programs feature a combination of independent research and honors course work, often at the graduate level. Students in an honors program are advised by honors advisers who help students customize their education based on their individual interests, talents and skills and who proactively present opportunities for academic study, research and study abroad. For information on a particular departmental program, please visit the departmental websites.
Top research facilities give faculty and students access to advanced technology that helps spawn discovery. The College of Sciences and its affiliated units on campus have access to variety of state-of-the-art research facilities. The Biological Resources Facility and Toxicology Animal Facility provides centralized sites for the humane care of research animals while accommodating the research and teaching needs of faculty members at NC State, as well as researchers from private industry and governmental agencies, under conditions required by local and federal regulatory bodies. The Genomics Sciences Laboratory provides sequencing and support services to the NC State and broader scientific communities on everything from project planning to DNA or RNA extraction to sequencing. The College of Sciences Instrument Shop is a full-service machine shop specializing in the custom fabrication, construction, and design of prototype research equipment and works closely with the faculty and students in the construction, fabrication, repair or modification of scientific instruments and equipment. The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Facility in the Department of Chemistry is equipped with six nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for chemical analysis, supports research in the department and the wider university system, and is available to support the needs of other academic institutions, research laboratories, businesses and individuals. The Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) is a U.S. Department of Energy Center of Excellence that focuses on low-energy nuclear physics research and is a consortium of the three major Triangle research universities: NC State, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The X-Ray Structural Facility serves the structural needs of the Department of Chemistry, the university community and organizations in the Research Triangle area, using single-crystal X-ray diffraction to determine the makeup of substances.
Living and Learning Communities
In addition to the variety of student housing options offered by the university, Sciences students have access to several specialized housing programs. Among them is the WISE Village, a living and learning community created for first- and second-year female scientists, mathematicians, statisticians and engineers. The program combines a group-living experience with resident, upper-class mentors who help with the transition to university life.
Sciences students can also join their peers from across the university in the EcoVillage in Bragaw Hall. The program encourages students to go beyond the classroom to lead, serve, create, problem-solve and engage in complex energy, environmental and sustainability issues locally and globally.
For a list of living and learning communities, see https://housing.dasa.ncsu.edu/living-and-learning-villages/.
Internships and Cooperative Education Programs, Field Experience, and Undergraduate Research
The college recognizes the value of career-related work experience to students and encourages its majors to work with the University Career Development Center and the faculty and staff within the college to avail themselves of such opportunities whenever possible. Career-related experience may be gained through a number of activities including internships and cooperative education programs, department-sponsored field programs, summer employment and undergraduate research. Advisers work with students to develop a plan of study that balances a challenging course load with appropriate extracurricular activities.
Students also have opportunities to build their science communications skills through the college’s partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. Educators at the museum’s Nature Research Center can help students learn to better communicate their work to the public.
College of Sciences majors may be eligible for a variety of freshman and undergraduate college and departmental scholarships in addition to those administered at the university level. The awards are based on a combination of factors, with a strong emphasis on academic excellence. Some scholarships are renewable for up to four years, and some carry opportunities for significant experiential learning and career-related work experience.
Public Science Literacy and Community Outreach
Public science is a major part of the College’s science literacy initiative, which is based on the idea that a growing economy and important societal advances demand a leadership and populace that are scientifically literate. The College's director of public science coordinates aspects of the College’s public science efforts, including citizen science, or scientific research conducted by the public; K-12 and informal science education; science communication; and innovation in public science.
The Science House seeks to cultivate and diversify the pool of students pursuing degrees and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields; to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in STEM education; and to communicate innovative scientific and educational research to the public.
The State Climate Office is a public service center that applies atmospheric science to sensitive sectors in North Carolina. Through extension, research, and educational programs, the Climate Office works to improve the understanding and use of climate science for North Carolina and the broader southeastern United States.
Tutorial and Audio-Visual Assistance
Most of the departments in the college offer students some form of free tutorial assistance, including regularly scheduled review sessions, and the University Tutorial Center offers Supplemental Instruction (SI) for selected sections of chemistry. Several departments provide facilities for students to use supplementary video- or computer-assisted instructional materials.
Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science degrees are available with majors in applied mathematics, biology, biomathematics, mathematics, chemistry, functional genomics, genetics, operations research, physics, statistics, toxicology, and marine, earth and atmospheric sciences. The Doctor of Philosophy is also offered in bioinformatics. The Master of Bioinformatics, Master of Biology, Master of Biomathematics, Master of Climate Change and Society, Master of Financial Mathematics, Master of Functional Genomics, Master of Genetics, Master of Operations Research, Master of Statistics, and Master of Toxicology are also offered. The Department of Mathematics offers a B.S.-M.S. program that allows students to enroll in up to 12 credit hours of graduate level course work that may be applied toward the requirements of both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
M. Christine McGahan
Senior Associate Dean for Administration
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
Associate Dean, Research
Assistant Dean, Academic Programs, Student Diversity and Engagement
Jamila R. Simpson
Director, Public Science
Director, Undergraduate Enrollment
Michael C. Smith
Director of Women in Science and Engineering, College of Sciences Scholarships
Katherine C. Titus-Becker
COS - College of Sciences Courses
COS 100 Science of Change 2.
Restriction: New freshmen (NFR) in the College of Sciences only.
This course will examine change, both scientific and personal. Students will reflect on change in the past and looking forward as they transition to college life and scientific careers. Case studies, readings and discussions about global change topics will be used to highlight the scientific approaches of disciplines represented in the College of Sciences. In-class activities and out-of-class reflections will be used to practice skills necessary for success in college and career.
COS 295 Special Topics in the College of Sciences 1-3.
Special topics in the College of Sciences at the early undergraduate level. Available as directed individual or group study.
COS 295A Critical Thinking in Life Sciences 1-2.
Critical Thinking in Life Sciences.
COS 498 Spec Topics in the College of Sciences 2 3.
Special Topics for advanced undergraduates will be selected from the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences.