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Learning Outcomes

Courses will meet some combination of the five areas as described above by accomplishing at least one of the outcomes described within each of those areas:

a. Explicitly address the nature of the scientific method;

Students must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Formulate a testable hypothesis and design a study to test their hypothesis, demonstrating mastery of technical issues such as factors, control, bias, and sample size, or
  2. Provide a precise critique of the strengths and weaknesses of a published experiment or observational study.

b. Give students direct experience in the gathering and analysis of scientific data;

Students must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Gather data using controlled experiments or observational studies, summarize the data graphically and numerically, and use the data to test existing hypotheses or generate new ones. 

c. Emphasize the use of quantitative reasoning;

Students must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Carry out formal statistical inference for hypothesis testing or parameter estimation, including precise statements of the method’s assumptions and conclusions, or
  2. Construct and analyze a mathematical model of a real-world phenomenon, including derivation of the model, clear statements of its assumptions, and interpretation of the model’s predictions, or
  3. Derive mathematical techniques or computer algorithms that can be used to solve a general class of problems.  

d. Introduce the foundations and principles of scientific knowledge;

Students must demonstrate comprehension of fundamental mathematical or scientific knowledge by: 

  1. Explaining fundamental concepts and processes in the particular scientific discipline, or
  2. Summarizing the evidence in support of critical theories, explaining how some of the evidence was gathered (e.g. experimental techniques or mathematical derivations) and interpreted, and describing some testable predictions, logical consequences of theories, and applications of the theories,

e. Enhance scientific literacy.

Student must demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena and processes, or 
  2. Critique a peer-reviewed scientific article from the primary literature, summarizing the goals, methods and conclusions in their own words, explaining how the article builds on previous knowledge, and describing the main scientific strengths and weaknesses of the article, or
  3. Analyze a current scientific controversy (it may be one in which there is substantial disagreement among scientists, or one in which the issue is largely settled among scientists but remains controversial in broader society).  Students should explain how some of the evidence may allow alternative interpretations, explain how the debate may be influenced by non-scientific issues such as cultural values, entrenched power structures, or self-interest, and summarize some of the policy or ethical implications of the controversy.