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The W.M. 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. Pitzer and Scripps Colleges are currently constructing an addition to the Science Center, which will nearly double its size.  The building addition is scheduled to be open for the Fall 2024 semester.  The department has a multidisciplinary structure in which approximately 50 full-time faculty cooperate in offering a challenging curriculum that includes interdisciplinary study and research.

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 the make-up of the student body?

Keck Science serves a combined student body of approximately 3,600 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 to approximately 3600 in 2021-2022. 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.  In the three most recent years, approximately 40% of the enrollments came from Scripps students, 34% from CMC students, and 25% from Pitzer students; with the remaining enrollments coming from Harvey Mudd, and Pomona. But regardless of their home institution, all students find a warm welcome at 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, Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP), and Environmental Science.

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.  In the past decade, several hundred Keck Science students were co-authors with faculty on peer-reviewed articles or published abstracts.  Over the same period 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 nearly 200 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, for research credit in a faculty member’s lab, or during the summer as a research fellow.

Keck Science and its faculty receive an average of over one million dollars of new federal and foundational funding for research each year.

Where do Keck Science students go after graduation?

In the past 5 years, an average of nearly 200 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 such 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.