Jul 18, 2024  
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2017-2018 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Sciences: Science, Technology, and Society Specialization, B.S.

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The science, technology, and society specialization combines a strong science background with a firm grounding in environmental, social, and science policy issues. Students pursue a science concentration, such as environmental science, or a minor in a science field, which is complemented by studies in areas such as political science, history, humanities, English, and philosophy. Coursework will prepare students for additional study in law school, in science policy or public policy programs, or in graduate programs in science. Careers can include positions in community and government agencies, in science and technology companies, in the military and law enforcement, as science teachers, or as science lobbyists.

For more information, students should review the resources available on the BSIS website at is.sdsmt.edu


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
E-mail: Adam.French@sdsmt.edu

Contact Information for IS-HLTH/IS-STS

Dr. Allison B. Gilmore
Departments of Humanities and Social Sciences
Classroom Building 317
(605) 394-2481
E-mail: Allison.Gilmore@sdsmt.edu

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 www.bhsu.edu/

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.

Science, Technology, and Society (IS-STS): General Curriculum/Course Checklist

Course sequence may vary by student entry year, math/science placements, course availability, and career objectives. Students should consult with their advisors for a more personalized course of study based on career goals.

STS Flowchart  

Freshman Year

First Semester

Total: 14

Second Semester

  • Math/CSC Elective  Credits: 3
  • 3 Science Electives  Credits: 4
  • Gen Ed Humanities/Social Science Elective  Credits: 3
  • Program Approved Elective  Credits: 3
Total: 17

Sophomore Year

First Semester

Total: 17

Second Semester

Total: 14

Junior Year

First Semester

  • Math/CSC Elective  Credits: 3
  • 300/400 Science Electives  Credits: 4
  • 300/400 HUM/SS Elective  Credits: 3
  • Program Approved Elective  Credits: 4


Total: 14

Second Semester

  • 300/400 Science Elective Credits: 4
  • Science Electives  Credits: 3
  • 300/400 HUM/SS elective  Credits: 3
  • Program Approved Elective  Credits: 4


Total: 14

Senior Year

First Semester

Total: 16

Second Semester

Total: 14

120 credits required for graduation

Curriculum Notes

Thirty-six (36) credits of the 120 credits required for graduation must be at a junior or senior level (courses numbered 300 or above).

1A minimum of twelve (12) semester hours of university-approved mathematics and computer sciences is required, including Math 123 or a math course requiring Math 123 as its prerequisite.  Math 102 and Math 120 may be used towards graduation requirements for the IS-STS degree.  Students should consult with their advisors on the most appropriate math/computer science courses for their career paths.

2 A minimum of twenty-four (24) semester hours of university-approved humanities and social sciences is required.  This minimum includes six (6) hours of general education coursework in Humanities, six (6) hours of general education coursework in Social Sciences, six (6) hours of upper division Humanities, and six (6) hours of upper division Social Sciences.

3 All IS specializations require a minimum of 30 semester hours of natural sciences including a minimum of three (3) semester hours in chemistry at the CHEM 112 level or higher, three (3) semester hours in biology at the BIOL 121 level or higher, and twelve (12) semester hours at the upper division level.   Of the thirty hours required in natural sciences, a minimum of six (6) credits must be sequential.  Students pursuing the science, technology, and society specialization are expected to choose a science concentration. A minor in a science field (e.g., atmospheric science, biology, computer science, geology, geospatial technology, mathematics, physics) is highly encouraged. A total of 60 hours in math, computer sciences, and natural sciences is required. Students should consult with their advisors to determine the most appropriate science courses and sequence for their minors and for their career paths. The worksheet for the IS-STS specialization is available from the IS website: www.sdsmt.edu/is.

4 Program Approved elective credits may include additional college coursework at the 100 level or above in math, computer science, sciences, humanities, social sciences, business, military science, or engineering as needed to meet the required minimums or to qualify for a science minor. Students should consult with their advisors to determine the most appropriate elective courses for their career goals. 

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