Jun 16, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Science, BS (Physics)

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About the Interdisciplinary Science Program

The interdisciplinary science major is designed to provide College of Science students with a broad base in the sciences. By combining a primary area of science study, an interdisciplinary science core, a supporting area of academic interest and the core curriculum shared by all College of Science programs, students explore how the disciplines of science come together to identify and solve scientific challenges. Students customize the major by selecting a departmental or interdepartmental primary area based in science and a supporting area that complements or enhances the primary area. This supporting area may be an approved minor from any college or school at the University or a concentration of 18 credits of courses with a unifying theme. There is a primary area representing each department in the College of Science, however, cross-disciplinary areas may be explored and added as appropriate. With the help of either a faculty member or an academic advisor, students are encouraged to petition for approval of their supporting area.

The Interdisciplinary Science Major is designed to give a student a broad base in the sciences with more depth in a Primary Area of Science and a Supporting Area, usually outside of Science. The Core courses are common across the major but the student customizes the major by selecting a departmental or interdepartmental Primary Area based in Science and a Supporting Area which may come from any college or school at the University. There is a Primary Area representing each department in the College of Science and cross-disciplinary areas will be explored and added as appropriate. Several Supporting Areas will be suggested and a student may petition for approval of others.

Students completing the interdisciplinary science major have gone on to a variety of careers - some in, and others out of, the world of science. These careers include medicine, lay and other advanced-study professions, scientific sales, technical and scientific writing, computer programming and engineering.

Interdisciplinary Science Major Change (CODO) Requirements    

Degree Requirements

120 Credits Required

Curriculum and Degree Requirements for College of Science

A College of Science degree is conferred when a student successfully completes all requirements in their degree program.  Students will complete coursework or approved experiential learning activities to meet the following three degree components:

  1. Major
  2. Science Core Curriculum
  3. Electives

Students may use any of the following options to meet College of Science degree requirements:

  • Purdue Coursework
  • AP, IB, and CLEP credit.  The use of AP and IB coursework varies between College of Science degree plans.
  • Transfer Credit. Students should consult the Admissions Transfer Credit Resource page for all available transfer options.

College of Science degree programs vary widely in their approval and use of the proceeding options and thus students are strongly encouraged to work closely with their academic advisors and to regularly consult their MyPurduePlan to view the use of each option in their degree plan. 

Most College of Science degree programs contain elective credits students may use to pursue courses that relate to their interests or which support their major area of study. The elective area of a degree plan may also be used to complete minors, second majors and certificates such as the Entrepreneurial Certificate. With the exception of courses on the No Count List, any Purdue course may be used to meet the elective area of a student’s degree plan.

College of Science Core Requirements

All Students starting Purdue University Fall semester, 2007 or later are required to pursue the 2007 Science Core curriculum.

The College of Science Core Curriculum requires the completion of approved coursework and/or experiential learning opportunities in the following academic areas:

Earning Core Curricular Requirements through Experience

Students may meet selected core curriculum requirements through approved experiential learning opportunities. Interested students should contact their academic advisor for more information on this option and incorporating experiential learning into their four-year program of study. For more information on earning requirements through experience, please click here.

Departmental/Program Major Courses: Interdisciplinary Science (34-47 credits)

Required Chemistry Courses (4-10 credits)

Choose one option below. Select courses COULD satisfy Science for Core.

Chemistry students must also take the departmental exam for CHM 11500 if they choose Option III.

Required Computing Option (3-4 credits)

Choose one of the following; Computer Science students must choose CS 18000.

Required Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science Option (3-4 credits)

Choose one option below; EAPS students must choose Option III.

Required Mathematics Courses (6-10 credits)

Choose one option below; only Chemistry or Biology students may choose Option I. Satisfies Quantitative Reasoning for Core.

Required Statistics Course (3 credits)

Choose one course below from those noted for your area.

Departmental/Program Major Courses: Areas (31-32 credits)

Required Physics Primary Area Courses (13-14 credits)

Required Supporting Area Courses (18 credits)

MUST BE APPROVED BY COLLEGE.  Please see your advisor for approval options.  

Other Departmental/Program Course Requirements (15-37 credits)


^ - Labeled as a Science Core Selection in the four year plan of study

* - Requirement may be met with a zero credit experiential learning option. See your advisor for more information.

Composition & Presentation

First-Year Composition (3-4 credits)

Choose one course from this list. (satisfies Written Communication and Information Literacy for core)

Technical Writing And Presentation* (0-6 credits)

Students may elect to take one course (COM 21700), a combination of courses, or experiences to meet the TWTP requirement. The list of approved courses and experiences can be found here. (satisfies OC for core)

  • Special Note: Students completing both COM 11400 (elective) and COM 21700 (Technical Writing and Presentation requirement) may use both courses to meet degree requirements.
  • *Students wishing to meet the Technical Presentation and/or Technical Writing requirement through experience are required to complete the Experiential Learning Contract process.
  • International Students Only: International students whose primary high school/equivalent instruction was not in English may meet this requirement with a course option only.


Met with required major coursework.

Cultural Diversity (Language & Culture)^* (0-9 credits)

Choose courses from this list to fulfill each Option below (select courses COULD satisfy Humanities for core).

  • Language & Culture Option I
  • Language & Culture Option II
  • Language & Culture Option III

General Education^ (9 credits)

Choose courses from this list to fulfill each Option below (select courses COULD satisfy Behavioral/Social Science for core).

  • General Education Option I
  • General Education Option II
  • General Education Option III

Great Issues In Science (3 credits)

Choose one from this list.

Laboratory Science

Met with required major coursework.


Met with required major coursework.

Multidisciplinary Experience^* (0-3 credits)

Choose one from this list (satisfies Science, Technology, Society for core).


Met with required major coursework.

Team-Building and Collaboration* (0-3 credits)

Met with required major coursework.

Electives (4-37 credits)

Interdisciplinary Science Other Requirements

GPA Requirement

  • Concentration and Supporting Area blocks require a minimum 2.00 GPA.
  • 2.0 Graduation GPA required for Bachelor of Science degree.

Course Requirements and Notes

  • All courses can share with the exception of the Great Issues, General Education and Cultural Diversity (Language & Culture) Courses.

Non-course / Non-credit Requirements

College of Science students may choose to complete one or more of following core Science requirements through approved learning experiences*, including, but not limited to: internships, co-ops, research, Study Abroad, Entrepreneurship and EPICS projects.

*Experiential Learning Contracts must be completed one semester prior to a student’s anticipated graduation date.

College of Science Pass/No Pass Option Policy

  • Only free electives and courses at the 50000-level general education requirement may be taken under the pass/not-pass option. 
  • The pass/not-pass grade mode may be entered for courses which are not required by a student’s major(s), minor(s) or science core curriculum.
  • Grade mode Passing is equivalent to at a minimum grade of C- had a letter grade been awarded.
  • Students may elect to use the pass/not-pass option for no more than 20% of the 124/120 credit requirement for graduation and for no more than two courses per academic year (Fall-Summer).
  • The pass/not-pass option cannot be elected for a course that has already been completed with a letter grade. University Regulation.
  • Students may take elective credit while abroad using the P/NP mode.  In the case of universities which only post P/NP, the University will apply a calculation process to determine a letter grade.
  • Department of Languages and Cultures P/NP policy and Language Placement results. Students must take advanced coursework for a letter grade to receive credit for lower-level language courses.

College of Science Transfer Credit Policy

College of Science degree programs vary widely in their approval and use of non-Purdue originated credit (AP, IB, CLEP, and transfer credit). Students work closely with their academic advisors and degree plan audits to review the use and approval of each non-Purdue credit option. Transfer credit (including any/all undistributed credit, TR graded course, AP/IB credit, etc.) cannot be applied to the concentration.

University Requirements

University Core Requirements

For a complete listing of University Core Course Selectives, visit the Provost’s Website.
  • Human Cultures: Behavioral/Social Science (BSS)
  • Human Cultures: Humanities (HUM)
  • Information Literacy (IL)
  • Oral Communication (OC)
  • Quantitative Reasoning (QR)
  • Science #1 (SCI)
  • Science #2 (SCI)
  • Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
  • Written Communication (WC) 

Civics Literacy Proficiency Requirement

The Civics Literacy Proficiency activities are designed to develop civic knowledge of Purdue students in an effort to graduate a more informed citizenry. For more information visit the Civics Literacy Proficiency website.

Students will complete the Proficiency by passing a test of civic knowledge, and completing one of three paths:

  • Attending six approved civics-related events and completing an assessment for each; or
  • Completing 12 podcasts created by the Purdue Center for C-SPAN Scholarship and Engagement that use C-SPAN material and completing an assessment for each; or
  • Earning a passing grade for one of these approved courses (or transferring in approved AP or departmental credit in lieu of taking a course).

Upper Level Requirement

  • Resident study at Purdue University for at least two semesters and the enrollment in and completion of at least 32 semester hours of coursework required and approved for the completion of the degree. These courses are expected to be at least junior-level (30000+) courses.
  • Students should be able to fulfill most, if not all, of these credits within their major requirements; there should be a clear pathway for students to complete any credits not completed within their major.

Sample 4-Year Plan

Fall 1st Year

15-18 Credits

15-17 Credits

Fall 2nd Year

16-18 Credits

Spring 2nd Year

15-17 Credits

Fall 3rd Year

16-17 Credits

Spring 3rd Year

  • EAPS Selective - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
  • Supporting Area Course - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • General Chemistry Selective II or Elective - Credit Hours: 4.00 - 5.00
  • Science Core Selection - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 3.00

16-18 Credits

Fall 4th Year

16 Credits

Spring 4th Year

  • Supporting Area Course - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Biology Selective II - Credit Hours: 3.00 - 4.00
  • Biology Selective II or Elective - Credit Hours: 2.00
  • Science Core Selection - Credit Hours: 3.00
  • Elective - Credit Hours: 4.00-6.00

15-18 Credits

Critical Course

The ♦ course is considered critical.

In alignment with the Degree Map Guidance for Indiana’s Public Colleges and Universities, published by the Commission for Higher Education (pursuant to HEA 1348-2013), a Critical Course is identified as “one that a student must be able to pass to persist and succeed in a particular major.  Students who want to be nurses, for example, should know that they are expected to be proficient in courses like biology in order to be successful.  These would be identified by the institutions for each degree program”. 

World Language Courses

World Language proficiency requirements vary by program. The following list is inclusive of all world languages PWL offers for credit; for acceptable languages and proficiency levels, see your advisor. (ASL-American Sign Language; ARAB-Arabic; CHNS-Chinese; FR-French; GER-German; GREK-Greek(Ancient); HEBR-Hebrew(Biblical); HEBR-Hebrew(Modern); ITAL-Italian; JPNS-Japenese; KOR-Korean; LATN-Latin; PTGS=Portuguese; RUSS-Russian; SPAN-Spanish)


The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and completing all degree requirements.

Consultation with an advisor may result in an altered plan customized for an individual student.

The myPurduePlan powered by DegreeWorks is the knowledge source for specific requirements and completion.

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