Innovative Courses Across the Sciences
The experience of taking an introductory science class at Grinnell is quite different from that of taking an introductory science course elsewhere.
Early Focus on Scientific Inquiry and Discovery
Even in first-year courses, students learn to apply methods of scientific inquiry appropriate to their discipline and to communicate their results to others. Intermediate-level courses continue this focus with research-like project activities, which helps prepare students to do mentored research projects at the advanced level.
Highly Collaborative Interaction with Peers
Science student interactions at Grinnell are collaborative, rather than competitive. Students generally work in teams to solve challenging problems in homework, in the lab, and in the field.
Strong Mentoring by Faculty and Students
Mentoring starts even before a science student's first class at Grinnell, with our optional week-long Grinnell Science Project. All classes and labs at Grinnell are taught by faculty, who are easily available outside the classroom so students can ask questions, get help with homework, or just talk about science. In addition, our first two years of science courses are supplemented with optional "mentor sessions," which provide extra practice with problem solving techniques and are led by a more advanced student. Students who need extra help can get free tutoring from faculty and students in the Science Learning Center and the Math Lab.
Emphasis on Scientific Writing
Students learn to articulate their scientific thought process in writing appropriate to the discipline even in their first-year courses. as they work through homework solutions and lab write-ups. Later in our science curriculum, they apply those writing skills in other forms of scientific communication, such as scientific talks, poster presentations, and research papers.
Excellent Preparation for Graduate Work or Careers
A Grinnell science major is excellent preparation for graduate work in the sciences. A recent NSF study ranks Grinnell eight in the nation in the production of eventual science doctoral degrees per hundred bachelor's degrees conferred. On the other hand, students who wish to apply their scientific experience in other ways have gone on to a broad range of careers in fields such as science writing, patent law, architecture, and policy.