Area of Study Guidelines: Science, Mathematics, and Technology for Students Matriculating Before Jan. 1, 2009 Policy

Area of Study Guidelines: Science, Mathematics, and Technology for Students Matriculating Before Jan. 1, 2009 Policy


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Area of study guidelines; Science, Mathematics, and Technology

Background Information:


To provide context for the area of study guidelines for area of study Science, Mathematics, and Technology.


Area of Study Guidelines: This set of guidelines helps students plan their degree plans by spelling out what the academic world and many employers understand a particular concentration to mean. The guidelines are found in many academic publications.

Disciplinary — A program of study guided by the existing framework of a discipline.

Interdisciplinary — The simultaneous and interrelated study of two or more disciplines.

Problem Oriented — A program of study organized around a problem.

Professional/Vocational — A study which focuses on acquiring knowledge and skills needed for specific career performance and applications. It also entails inquiry into the conceptual foundations of the profession, the role of the professional in that career, and the relations between the profession and society at large.

Thematic — A program of study focusing on a particular theme or set of ideas.


Degree programs with a concentration in Science, Mathematics and Technology should include:

  • an understanding of the definition and scope of a field or area, including its fundamental laws and concepts.
  • basic competencies needed to work in Science, Mathematics and Technology, such as
    • working knowledge of scientific methodology including laboratory techniques and data interpretation,
    • working knowledge of needed mathematics,
    • communication skills including technical writing, data presentation and scientific argumentation, and
    • familiarity withestablished computer applications to the particular field of interest.
  • knowledge in appropriate supporting areas and significantly related fields (e.g., calculus for advanced scientific study; organic chemistry for advanced study in the biological sciences).
  • a progression of study which leads to the development of in-depth knowledge and skills. These should be carried out at an advanced level within the concentration, and should include:
    • resource acquisition skills, including skills in information gathering;
    • problem-solving skills, including definition, analysis, research design, evaluation and testing,
    • as well as knowledge of appropriate experimental and applications methodologies;
    • an increasingly critical and sophisticated understanding of the theoretical and conceptual models of the field; and
    • an awareness of the field or area as an ongoing area of inquiry, including knowledge of recent developments.

Since knowledge in Science, Mathematics and Technology is rapidly and continually evolving, students in this area should develop skills for acquiring knowledge independently, in order to avoid scientific and technological obsolescence. Skill in pursuing knowledge independently involves:

  • knowledge of the inter-relationships and domains of various fields in Science, Mathematics and Technology related to the concentration;
  • awareness of the range and limits of one’s own skills and knowledge; and
  • development of a critical perspective which allows one to compare and evaluate theories, models and experimental work in new areas of study.

Finally, the student’s degree studies should provide an awareness of the wider context in which science and technology operate. This includes such elements

  • understanding the relationships between science and its applications;
  • understanding the relationships between science and technology and society; and
  • understanding the potential limitations of science and technology.

It is not necessary that everything in the previously listed areas of knowledge, skills and competencies be included explicitly in student degree
programs as specific study topics. Students should, however, address the way in which their proposed SMT program responds to these guidelines; this could
certainly be included within the description and discussion contained in the degree program rationale.

Additional specific guidelines have been developed for concentrations in the following areas:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • computer science
  • information systems
  • mathematics
  • physics
  • technology

Concentrations in Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) may include work in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry and biology), mathematics,
computer science and a range of technological, applied science and health-related fields. Organizing frameworks may be disciplinary, interdisciplinary, thematic, problem oriented or professional/vocational.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Introduction to the Area of Study Guidelines

Area of Study: Science, Mathematics, and Technology Guidelines for Students Matriculated After January 1, 2009

College Learning Goals Policy