FAQs

Prospective students

What are the Claremont Colleges?
The Claremont Colleges is a consortium of five undergraduate liberal arts colleges (Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps) and two graduate institutions (Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute). Although the mission of each institution is distinct, all promote the teacher-scholar model, in which faculty maintain active research programs and to develop and teach creative courses.

What is Keck Science?
The WM Keck Science Department serves as the integrated science department for Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps colleges, and is administered cooperatively. Founded in 1964, the department is housed in the 81,000-square-foot W.M. Keck Science Center, physically located at the intersection of the three sponsor schools. The department has a multidisciplinary structure in which more than 30 full-time faculty cooperate in offering a challenging curriculum that emphasizes interdisciplinary study and research.

What is the make-up of the student body?
Keck Science serves a combined student body of approximately 3,200 students, many of whom are science majors who continue in research or medical careers. Annual enrollments have grown steadily from about 2,100 in 2003–2004 to almost 3,000 in 2011–2012. Science enrollments have grown faster than overall enrollments at the three sponsor colleges, indicating a sharp increase in interest among Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps students in studying science. This past year, approximately 37% of enrollments came from CMC students, 24% from Pitzer students, and 36% from Scripps students; with the remaining enrollments coming from Harvey Mudd, and Pomona. But regardless of home institution, all students find a warm welcome in Keck Science.

How diverse are your academic offerings?
Keck Science offers full major programs in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, along with a number of interdisciplinary programs such as Neuroscience, Science and Management, and Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP). Curricular innovation in the department is exemplified by an NSF-supported Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) grant, Increasing Science Graduates Through Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research. The department is currently in the fourth year of funding for this program, which includes support for a two-semester Accelerated Integrated Science Sequence (AISS) and for summer research fellowships. The AISS course combines physics, chemistry, and biology in a format that meets requirements for introductory courses in all three areas.

What is the role of research in the Keck Science academic experience?
Research is central to Keck Science and has grown along with the number of students and faculty members. From 2003-2010, more than 150 Keck Science students were co-authors with faculty on peer-reviewed articles or published abstracts. Since 2003, more than 100 Keck Science students have also had their work accepted for presentation at professional scientific meetings, including those held by the American Chemical Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the American Physical Society, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Genetics Society of America, and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Every one of the more than 100 students who graduate annually with a science major from Keck Science has an opportunity to participate in a substantive research project—either in the academic year as a senior thesis research student, as a volunteer in a faculty member’s lab, or during the summer as a research fellow.

Keck Science attracts a substantial amount of federal funding for research. Since 2005, our faculty have received 11 major grants from the National Science Foundation and three from the National Institutes of Health. Funded projects include “Regulation of Spliceosomal ATPase Activity,” “Interacting Effects of Climate and Invasive Herbivores on Island Plant Populations and Communities: Santa Rosa Island as a Model System,” and “Acquisition of a 500 MHz NMR to Support Teaching and Research with Undergraduates.”

Where do Keck Science students go after graduation?
Since 2000, an average of 100 students have graduated each year from the department. Many graduates pursue advanced degrees in science, medicine, and other health professions in such prestigious graduate and professional schools as UCSF, UCLA, UC Irvine, UC Davis, Stanford, USC, Washington University (St. Louis), Harvard, Yale, Chicago, and Johns Hopkins. Others enter the teaching profession or earn a second degree in engineering through one of our dual programs. Collectively, our alumni are making their mark in a wide variety of fulfilling careers.