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South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

— Science and Engineering since 1885 —

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

    South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
  Feb 18, 2018
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog

Interdisciplinary Sciences: Atmospheric Sciences Specialization, B.S.

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Interdisciplinary Sciences B.S.

Contact Information for IS-ATM

Dr. Adam J. French
Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Program
Mineral Industries Building 208
(605) 394-1649

Contact Information for IS-HLTH/IS-STS

Dr. Allison B. Gilmore
Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences
Classroom Building 317
(605) 394-2481

The bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary sciences (IS) is a science degree program that seeks to serve the needs of students whose goals cannot be met within the other science departments. IS students choose from three areas of specialization: atmospheric sciences; pre-professional health sciences; and science, technology, and society. The IS degree program allows students to enroll in a wide variety of math and science courses, as well as carefully chosen electives in the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences.

The Interdisciplinary Sciences degree is especially appropriate for the following individuals.

  • Students pursuing professional and health services careers, including but not limited to law and law enforcement, the military, medicine, physical therapy, and radiography.
  • Students whose educational and career goals require courses in several departments and the integration of knowledge from diverse fields.

The benefits of the interdisciplinary sciences degree include

  • Flexibility in a wide range of study;
  • Individual design allowing the student to help select the content of the degree; and
  • The opportunity to study natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities from a broad perspective, thus providing a well-rounded program.

Areas of Specialization

Interdisciplinary sciences majors choose from three areas of specialization that will prepare them for graduate and professional programs.

  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Pre-Professional Health Sciences
  • Science, Technology, and Society

Interdisciplinary Sciences Program Admission Policy

After successful completion of at least 60 credit hours and at least one year prior to the intended graduation date, the student must apply for admission to the degree program by filing a plan of study with the IS steering committee. The plan of study must be approved by the steering committee before a student will be formally admitted to the program. This plan of study consists of (1) a Letter of Intent stating the career goals to which the IS degree coursework is to be applied and (2) an IS worksheet showing the courses already taken and the courses to be completed prior to graduation. The Letter of Intent and worksheet must be reviewed and approved by the student’s IS advisor before submission to the steering committee. The Letter of Intent form and worksheet may be accessed on the IS website. Worksheets are available for each specialization.

Deadline for submitting the Letter of Intent and worksheet to the IS office: For May graduates - April 30 of the preceding year; for August graduates - July 30 of preceding year; for December graduates - November 30 of preceding year. Students must have an approved Letter of Intent and IS worksheet on file in the IS office before registering for IS 498 , the senior capstone project.

Science Minors available to IS Students

Students pursuing the IS specializations are strongly encouraged to complete a minor in another science field at School of Mines as part of their 120 total credits. Minors are available in applied biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, geology, geospatial technology, mathematics, physics, or occupational safety. Students should consult the policy on minors and the specific courses required for each minor, provided elsewhere in the catalog. The IS degree is not available as a minor.

Transfer Studies

Students who reside in local communities can achieve considerable savings in their education costs by completing a portion of their studies close to home before transferring to another institution to complete their desired major. Students who do not intend to pursue a degree offered at the School of Mines are encouraged to take courses appropriate for the two-year associate of arts (A.A.) degree in general studies. Through this program of access and transfer, students still experience the excellent educational environment found on the School of Mines campus. Students should consult the programs of study for the school from which they plan to graduate and then work closely with their A.A. advisor to select courses with the highest likelihood of transferability. Completion of the A.A. degree will fulfill the general education requirements for a baccalaureate degree at the other state universities of South Dakota (BHSU, DSU, NSU, SDSU, and USD).

Pre-law/Pre-medicine Study at Mines

While the IS specializations in pre-professional health sciences (HLTH) and science, technology, and society (STS) are especially designed to help students meet the entrance requirements for medical or law school, a particular baccalaureate degree is not required for admission into most law and medical programs. Graduates from the School of Mines with degrees in several of the science and engineering programs have successfully completed these professional programs. Students are encouraged to consult the admissions requirements and policies for those professional and medical schools to which they intend to apply.

Pre-Nursing Study at Mines

The IS degree program does not include a pre-nursing track. Students interested in earning a nursing degree from SDSU or USD should apply to those degree-granting universities. Upon acceptance to SDSU or USD, students can take courses offered by School of Mines that meet pre-nursing requirements. For more information visit the SDSU web site or the USD web site.

Teaching Opportunities and Certification

Students who are interested in teaching science or math at the secondary education level should contact education programs at the other state universities for information on the auxiliary courses required for certification. The Master of Science in secondary education degree, an accelerated certification program offered through Black Hills State University, may be of interest to students completing the IS and other science degrees at the School of Mines. Information on this program can be obtained from the BHSU website at

General Requirements for Graduation

For all interdisciplinary sciences specializations, students are responsible to check with their advisors for any program modifications that may occur after the publication of this catalog.

I. IS Core Courses (IS 201 , IS 401 , IS 498 ) 9 credits
II. English sequence (ENGL 101 , ENGL 279 , ENGL 289 ) 9 credits
III. Math, Computer Science, Sciences  
  Math and Computer Sciences 1 min. 12
  Biology 2 min. 3
  Chemistry 2 min. 3
  Additional Natural Sciences 2 min. 24
  Other Math, CSC, Sciences min. 18
IV. Humanities and Social Sciences  
  Humanities general education 6
  Humanities upper division 6
  Social Sciences general education 6
  Social Science upper division 6
V. Program Approved Electives 3 18
120 credits required for graduation

Curriculum Notes

1 All IS specializations require MATH 123   Calculus I or a math course requiring MATH 123  as its prerequisite.  Some specializations require additional math courses beyond Math 123.

2 All IS specializations require a minimum of 30 credit hours in the natural sciences, including 6 hours in sequence (e.g., BIOL 151/BIOL 153) and 12 hours at the upper division.  Chemistry must be at the CHEM 112  level or higher. Biology must be at the BIOL 121  level or higher.  Students are expected to identify a science concentration and are encouraged to pursue a science minor as appropriate to their specialization.  Students should work with their advisors to determine the most appropriate science electives for their career goals.

3 Engineering courses may be counted toward graduation as electives only.

Thirty-six of the required 120 credits must be at the junior or senior level (courses numbered 300 and above.)

Students must meet the Institutional Credit Requirements, which include completion of a minimum of 30 credits from the School of Mines. In addition, 15 of the last 30 credits counted towards the degree must be taken from School of Mines.

Interdisciplinary Sciences Core Courses

All IS students take a sequence of three core courses, spread out over the course of three years.  These courses are sequential and cannot be taken concurrently.  IS courses cannot be counted for humanities/social science credit.

Specialization in Atmospheric Sciences: Curriculum/Course Checklist

Course sequences may vary by student entry year, math/science placements, availability of AES courses, and career objectives. Students should consult with an atmospheric and environmental sciences/interdisciplinary sciences advisor for a more personalized course of study based on career goals within the atmospheric and environmental sciences.

Required Courses for the Atmospheric Sciences Specialization Are:

  •  All courses and other curriculum requirements for the general IS degree requirement.
  • The atmospheric sciences undergraduate series:  AES 201, AES 401, AES 404, AES 406, AES 430, AES 450, AES 455, AES 460.
  • The following mathematics and science courses (including required prerequisites):  BIOL 311, CHEM 112, CHEM 112L, CHEM 114, CHEM 114L, CSC 150 or CSC 170, PHYS 211, PHYS 213, PHYS 213L, MATH 123, MATH 125, MATH 225, MATH 321.
  • Sufficient professional development electives for a total of 120 academic credit hours.

Freshman Year

First Semester

Total: 14

Second Semester

Total: 17

Sophomore Year

First Semester

Total: 16

Total: 16

Junior Year

First Semester

Total: 12

Second Semester

Total: 15

Senior Year

First Semester

Total: 15

Second Semester

Total: 15

120 credits required for graduation

Curriculum Notes

1 All IS specializations require a minimum of 30 semester hours of natural sciences, including a minimum of 3 semester hours in chemistry, 3 semester hours in biology, 6 semester hours in a science sequence, and 12 semester hours at the upper division. The atmospheric sciences/meteorology specialization requires one year of general chemistry with labs, one year of university physics with lab, and one semester of BIOL 311 Principles of Ecology . Students should consult with their advisors to determine additional science courses appropriate for their career paths.

2 All IS specializations require MATH 123  or a math course requiring MATH 123  as its prerequisite. Atmospheric sciences/meteorology requires CSC 150/150L  or CSC 170/170L  and additional math coursework beyond MATH 123 . MATH 102  and MATH 120  may not be used toward graduation requirements for IS-ATM specialization. Students in the IS-ATM specialization who begin their program with MATH 102  may require an additional 1-2 semester to complete their degree.

3 Students should consult with their atmospheric and environmental sciences/interdisciplinary sciences advisors on the most appropriate AES/science/math/ engineering electives for their career paths. Engineering courses are counted as electives.  See Atmospheric Sciences Minor .

4Students in the IS-ATM specialization should take AES 404/504  for 3 credits.

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