Science (SCI)

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).

4.26.1 Overview

The undergraduate science research program at Warren Wilson College is designed to promote student intellectual independence and maturation, a personalized education, and close cooperative academic interaction with faculty members, staff, and peers. Specific objectives of the science research sequence include:

  1. Designing a project that addresses an original question in the context of current literature. The relevance of the topic must be explained in a larger context and the research must be related to existing findings from the primary literature.
  2. Implementing the project using appropriate methods and quantitative analysis, organizing individual steps in a large complex project, and practicing problem solution and critical appraisal.
  3. Communicating the outcome of the project both orally and in written format, in a clear, concise, organized, and engaging way. This incorporates senior-level articulation, creative expression, logic, and an understanding of professional standards.

By the end of the sequence of three courses, students will have chosen a research advisor, defined a suitable research topic, carried out a comprehensive literature review, prepared a grant proposal, understood and used pertinent statistical, sampling, and experimental design techniques, presented results orally before a scientific audience, and prepared a scientific manuscript.

Assessment occurs through assignments, exams, evaluations, drafts, attendance records, final thesis graded by the research adviser, and final presentation graded by participating faculty.

4.26.2 Courses

SCI 390 – Research Design 2cr

In this course, students begin the Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence. Included are lectures and activities that teach literature searching, experimental design, sampling, statistics, writing, and speaking. Students consult with faculty members, choose a research advisor, choose a research project, and write a grant proposal. Students also attend and critique Natural Science Undergraduate Research Presentations.

Prerequisite: MAT 141 Statistics, or MAT 241 Calculus I, or MAT 253 Statistics for Natural Sciences.

SCI 486-489 – Natural Science Research 1-2cr

This course is for students doing research for the Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence. After completing SCI 390 Research Design, students are ready to begin their independent research projects, working directly with a faculty research mentor. It is expected that students invest 40 hours of effort per credit hour. A minimum of 2 credit hours are required.

Prerequisite: SCI 390 Research Design.

SCI 493 – Communication: Natural Science Seminar 1cr

Some of the most essential skills for natural scientists include the abilities to investigate, organize, and present concepts to their peers–both orally and in written format. This is the purpose of Natural Science Presentation: it provides the forum for the presentation and evaluation of student research. Each student presents a 15-20 minute oral presentation on his/her research project and submits a formal thesis for the College archives. The formal paper includes a complete description of the research project, methods, analysis, final results, and scientific discussion. A completed Research and Disciplinary Discourse paper must be submitted before the end of this course. The scheduling for the seminar presentation takes place during SCI 390 Research Design one year before the presentation.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Completion of SCI 390 Research Design, SCI 486 Natural Science Research, and SCI 493 Natural Science Presenation fullfills College Composition II

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).