Jan 22, 2022  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 

College of Sciences

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments

Purpose and Focus

Science and technology influence every aspect of our lives. We live in a period marked by astonishing changes in communications, information processing, genetic engineering, materials sciences, medicine, transportation, and our understanding of the universe. The College of Sciences offers courses that equip students to function in this dynamic age, whether as informed citizens or as practicing professionals. Course offerings cover broad areas and enhance one’s general understanding of nature, mathematics and technology. Undergraduate majors are introduced to the fundamentals of the natural and mathematical sciences that serve as the foundation for a host of professional careers.


Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
American Chemical Society (B.S. in Chemistry)

Departments, Majors, and Undergraduate Degrees

College of Sciences
Professional Development — Professional Development Degree

Department of Chemistry
Biochemistry — Bachelor of Science
Chemistry — Bachelor of Arts
Chemistry — Bachelor of Science

Department of Geoscience
Earth and Environmental Science — Bachelor of Science
Geology — Bachelor of Science

Department of Mathematical Sciences
Mathematical Sciences — Bachelor of Arts
Mathematical Sciences — Bachelor of Science
Mathematical Sciences — Bachelor of Science, Actuarial Science Concentration

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Physics — Bachelor of Science, Physics Concentration
Physics — Bachelor of Science, Applied Physics Concentration
Physics — Bachelor of Science, Computational Physics Concentration

School of Life Sciences
Biology — Bachelor of Science, Cell and Molecular Biology Concentration
Biology — Bachelor of Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Concentration
Biology — Bachelor of Science, Integrative Physiology Concentration
Biology — Bachelor of Science, Microbiology Concentration
Biology — Bachelor of Science, Pre-Professional Concentration

Graduate Degree Programs

Astronomy —
Master of Science in Astronomy, Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy

Biochemistry —
Master of Science in Biochemistry

Chemistry —
Master of Science in Chemistry
Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
Radiochemistry — Doctor of Philosophy in Radiochemistry

Geoscience —
Master of Science in Geoscience
Doctor of Philosophy in Geoscience

Life Sciences —
Master of Science in Biological Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

Mathematical Sciences —
Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Mathematical Sciences
Dual Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences / Economics (M.S./M.A.)
Dual Mathematical Sciences and Electrical Engineering (M.S./M.S. - EG) 
Dual Mathematical Sciences and Electrical Engineering (M.S./Ph.D. - EG)

Physics —
Master of Science in Physics
Doctor of Philosophy in Physics

Science —
Master of Arts in Science (M.A.S.)

Water Resources Management —
Master of Science in Water Resources Management


Actuarial Science
Biological Sciences
Earth and Environmental Science
Physical Geography

No course in which a grade of C- or lower is earned may be applied to any minor in the College of Sciences.

Admission to the College

Minimum GPA: 2.50

Students must also satisfy department GPA requirements before being admitted to a major within the College.

Admission Policies

A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.50 is required for entrance into the College of Sciences.

The College of Sciences at UNLV requires incoming freshmen students to meet or exceed Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) requirements for placement into a college-level gateway course in Mathematics (e.g., MATH 124, 126, or higher) in order to declare a major in one of the major disciplines offered by the College of Sciences.

To declare a major in the College of Sciences, students must satisfy one of the following NSHE and UNLV requirements for placement into a college-level gateway course in Mathematics:

  • ACT mathematics score of 23 or better.
  • SAT mathematics score of 520 or better.
  • Smarter Balanced result of 2628 (Achievement Level 3).
  • PARCC result of 4.
  • UNLV Mathematics placement test score (online or written) into college-level gateway course.
  • ALEKS score of 61 or better.

Students who do not meet these minimum mathematics requirements will be able to enroll and take courses at UNLV if they enter the UNLV “Exploring Majors” Program.  As a member of the Exploring Majors Program, students will be required to meet and work with advisors in the Academic Success Center, enroll in suitable mathematics courses or bridge programs as directed by their advisors, and enroll in a First Year Experience (101) course designed for the Exploring Majors Program.  Students in the Exploring Majors Program who subsequently meet the minimum requirements for placement into a college-level gateway course in Mathematics may then formally declare a major within the College of Sciences.

See additional admission policies of individual departments.

Transfer Policies

The College of Sciences adheres to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas policies for transfer students found elsewhere in this catalog. The college urges all transfer students to meet an advisor without delay after admission in order to evaluate the applicability of previous course work to department majors and graduation requirements.

College Policies


A student will be placed on probation within the college for any of the following reasons:

1. The student’s cumulative GPA falls below 2.00.
2. The student’s semester GPA is below 2.00 for all degree courses.
3. The student receives D, F, or I grades in more than two courses in one semester.

English and math requirements should be taken during the student’s first year at UNLV, but no later than the end of the second. Please see the catalog Admissions Section for current ACT/SAT placement test scores that will guide placement in the appropriate English and math class.

Requirements for Probationary Students

Once a student has been placed on probation as a major in a department of the college, the following guidelines apply:

The student must meet with an advisor to design and agree upon a probationary course of study. This course of study must include at least 15 credits that apply toward a degree in the major, with a majority of the credits coming from courses in the college, unless all requirements within the college have been completed. Specific courses will be selected in consultation with the advisor based on the student’s previous progress and on established degree program requirements. Upon agreement on a course of study, the advisor will place a memorandum outlining the course of study in the student’s file.

Students are expected to complete the probationary course of study within two consecutive semesters and one summer. With approval of the faculty advisor, three consecutive semesters (and the intervening summer) may be allowed if course schedules make it necessary. Students who complete the probationary course of study within the allotted time with a cumulative GPA (for the course of study only) of at least 2.00 will be removed from probation.

Students should consult the listings for individual departments within the college for any specific requirements concerning probationary status.


A student on probation will be suspended from the college for the following reasons:

  1. The student fails to maintain a GPA of at least 2.00 in a probationary course of study within the allotted time period.
  2. The student’s cumulative grade point balance is -15 or lower.
  3. The student has received D, F, or I grades in more than 25 percent of all degree courses taken.


A suspended student may apply for readmission to the college after a full calendar year has elapsed. The readmitted student will enter the college on probation and must follow the requirements for probationary students as outlined above. Under these rules, the student may be suspended a second and final time.


Students interested in majoring in any curricular area of the college should consult an advisor in the appropriate department or in the office of the College of Sciences Advising Center for further information concerning scheduling of courses, and curricular revisions too recent to appear in this catalog. It is required that all incoming transfer students obtain advising from the College of Sciences Advising Center prior to the first semester of classes. Freshmen are required to obtain advising before enrolling in their first semester classes at UNLV. As well, those students with any questions regarding degree requirements and graduation applications should contact the Advising Center.

Upperclassmen are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor regarding career information and graduate/professional schools. Information pertaining to graduate degree programs, including instructions for undergraduate enrollment in graduate courses, is found in the UNLV Graduate Catalog.

Degree Requirements

The graduation requirements outlined below apply to all majors in the College of Sciences.

  1. The General Education Core requirements of the university (see Academic Policies section).
  2. A total of at least 120 credits with at least 40 credits in courses numbered 300 or higher.
  3. The specific requirements for the degree being sought (see departmental listings).
  4. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 for all courses in the major field.

Health-Related Pre-Professional Students

In addition to pursuing a degree program, many students plan to seek admission to health-related professional schools that provide advanced degrees in specialties such as medicine, osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, podiatry, or chiropractic. The College of Sciences provides a complete array of courses that are required by professional schools for admittance. Students who plan to apply to a professional school should be aware of the UNLV Pre-Professional Interview Committee. This committee consists of faculty from a variety of disciplines, including non-science areas and health care professionals from the community. The committee interviews students prior to their applications to professional schools and writes letters of recommendation. When students are ready for their pre-professional interviews (normally in the spring semester of their junior year), they should contact the Office of the Pre-Professional Advisor 702-895-3170 in order to obtain a Pre-Professional interview packet, which contains information and instructions about the interview process. Regardless of the specific major or curricular path within a major that is chosen, students will find excellent Pre-Professional training available in the college.

Certification for Teaching Science or Mathematics in Secondary Schools

Students wanting to prepare themselves to teach science or mathematics at the secondary school level should be aware of the special requirements for teacher certification. It is recommended that these students major in one of the degree programs in the College of Sciences, make their interest in teaching known to their advisor, and consult the College of Education section of this catalog to become aware of specific teacher certification requirements and the availability of the minor in Secondary Education.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments