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MCS Interdisciplinary Courses

Note on Course Numbers

Each Carnegie Mellon course number begins with a two-digit prefix which designates the department offering the course (76-xxx courses are offered by the Department of English, etc.). Although each department maintains its own course numbering practices, typically the first digit after the prefix indicates the class level: xx-1xx courses are freshmen-level, xx-2xx courses are sophomore level, etc. xx-6xx courses may be either undergraduate senior-level or graduate-level, depending on the department. xx-7xx courses and higher are graduate-level. Please consult the Schedule of Classes each semester for course offerings and for any necessary pre-requisites or co-requisites.

38-101 EUREKA!: Discovery and Its Impact
Fall: 6 units
The MCS first-year seminar "EUREKA: Discovery and Its Impact" will equip new students with foundational knowledge, skills and perspectives that will support their development as emerging scientists. During the seminar, students will be presented with opportunities and experiences designed to help them frame how the MCS curriculum aspires to shape their evolving identities in the areas of scholar, person, professional and citizen, while also engendering a sense of excitement about science and scientific inquiry. The seminar will offer information and strategies that are employed both by successful students and by successful scientists in optimizing their approach to work and life, with a key focus on areas such as cognitive learning skills, research, teamwork, goal setting, time management, innovation, community engagement, ethics, resources and assessment. Additionally, the seminar will introduce first-year students to the learning outcomes and requirements associated with the MCS core curriculum, with a particular emphasis on the self-directed ENGAGE courses and the role of the e-portfolio system in documenting and framing student growth and development.
38-110 ENGAGE in Service
Fall and Spring: 1 unit
ENGAGE in Service is a 1-unit course (9 hours of work, minimum requirement for a passing grade) designed to promote MCS students' direct engagement with community development and service learning. To fulfill this requirement, students must engage in a minimum of 9 hours of work devoted to a non-profit organization or organizations of their choice, 3 of which must have a direct benefit to the local Pittsburgh community. Students may complete the requirements anytime during their undergraduate years, but must register for the class during the semester that they intend to complete it, no later than their penultimate semester. Coursework includes documentation of service via completion of a form for each eligible activity that includes a time log, a description of the activity, the name and contact information for their supervisor and the supervisor's signature. In addition, during the last semester of the project/course students will prepare a 1-2 page reflective paper on the lessons learned from their immersion in the organization(s) and its (their) work. No pay or other compensation can be received, and, in special cases, students may petition for a waiver if they have completed another service-learning course at Carnegie Mellon.
38-220 ENGAGE in the Arts
Fall and Spring: 2 units
ENGAGE in the Arts is part of Mellon College of Science's Core Curriculum. In this 2-unit full-semester course, students will broaden their knowledge of the fine arts, extend their global and cultural awareness, and facilitate the further development of their self-identity. Coursework requires that students attend 8 distinct arts events, 2 of which must engage with a culture different from one's personal cultural background. In choosing events, students should be imbued with an attitude of openness to new ideas and a willingness to try something new. The course requires students to share, reflect, and document their participation in a variety of arts events by engaging with classmates and instructors through MyCORE, where they can upload coursework and find postings for events. Coursework can be completed at any time during students' undergraduate years, but they must register for the class during the semester that they intend to complete it.
38-230 ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Inward
Spring: 1 unit
ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Inward is a 1-unit mini-course that MCS students will enroll in the spring of the sophomore year, designed to give students a holistic understanding of their own personal wellness. The course is structured around the concept of a Wellness Wheel, a model for personal wellness that is used to describe the various areas that students should reflect upon when describing, and ultimately improving, their overall wellness. The MCS Wellness Wheel has nine components: intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, institutional or community, financial, social, and occupational health. During this first course, taken in the first mini of the sophomore year, students will select one of three areas on which to focus: intellectual, emotional or physical health. They will be asked to engage in a recursive, reflective process to assess their own level of wellness in this area, develop short-term goals for the next year and a statement of a longer-term goal in this area, identify possible resources and then choose activities that promote this aspect of wellness. Students should expect to devote 9-14 hours to the development and articulation of their plan in order to earn a passing grade. These hours are tied to completion of the requested assessments and not to the activities students' elect to pursue in fulfillment of their wellness plan.
38-301 MCS Junior Seminar
Spring: 6 units
PROPEL: Preparation, Readiness, and Optimization for Professional Excellence in Life - is a 6-unit seminar course that MCS students will enroll in the spring of their junior year. The course will leverage students' deepening disciplinary perspective in service of the development of competencies, skills and perspectives that are necessary to achieve professional excellence in today's society. The course will use traditional career development activities, such as interviewing, resume writing and networking, as a starting point for students to begin the process of reflecting on, and preparing for, their impending transitions into professional life. From there, the course will seek to expand students' conceptualization of the scientific workplace by exploring the interplay of science, innovation, public policy, entrepreneurism and business in professional settings today. The seminar will also equip students with significant insight into the ways in which global policy, societal and political forces, environmental issues and ethical considerations shape and influence the activity and research of working scientists. The course will offer additional experiences for students to refine their multidisciplinary teamwork and communication skills via small group projects focusing on the aforementioned course themes. Finally, "PROPEL" will include a formal academic advising component to ensure that all students are well positioned to complete the MCS core requirements and departmental requirements in the following year.
38-330 ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Outward
Fall: 1 unit
ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Outward is a 1-unit mini-course that MCS students will enroll in the fall of the junior year, designed to give students a holistic understanding of their own personal wellness. The course is structured around the concept of a Wellness Wheel, a model for personal wellness that is used to describe the various areas that students should reflect upon when describing, and ultimately improving, their overall wellness. The MCS Wellness Wheel has nine components: intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, institutional or community, financial, social, and occupational health. During this second course, taken in the first mini of the junior year, students will select one of three areas on which to focus: spiritual, environmental and institutional or community health. They will be asked to engage in a recursive, reflective process to assess their own level of wellness in this area, develop short-term goals for the next year and a statement of a longer-term goal in this area, identify possible resources and then choose activities that promote this aspect of wellness. Students should expect to devote 9-14 hours to the development and articulation of their plan in order to earn a passing grade. These hours are tied to completion of the requested assessments and not to the activities students' elect to pursue in fulfillment of their wellness plan.
38-411 The Science and Mathematics of Art
Intermittent: 6 units
This interdisciplinary course will provide a view of the application of mathematical and scientific knowledge in the creation, analysis, conservation, restoration and preservation of art work. The course will combine science and art history lectures with field work to Museums and Art Galleries. Students from diverse science and mathematics backgrounds will be exposed to the methods, demands, and aims of other technical and non-technical disciplines. They will be challenged to consider and communicate how their own discipline relates to- and enables the development of art and to identify synergetic relationships between different areas of human endeavor. Students will collaboratively design and carry out final projects which combine research and creative work; these projects will be designed such that they can be used in local Museums for public outreach. A series of researchers and artists who work at the boundary between science and art will give guest lectures.
38-430 ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Forward
Fall: 1 unit
ENGAGE in Wellness: Looking Forward is a 1-unit mini-course that MCS students will enroll in the fall of the senior year, designed to give students a holistic understanding of their own personal wellness. The course is structured around the concept of a Wellness Wheel, a model for personal wellness that is used to describe the various areas that students should reflect upon when describing, and ultimately improving, their overall wellness. The MCS Wellness Wheel has nine components: intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, institutional or community, financial, social, and occupational health. During this third course, taken in the first mini of the senior year, students will select one of three areas on which to focus: financial, social and occupational health. They will be asked to engage in a recursive, reflective process to assess their own level of wellness in this area, develop short-term goals for the next year and a statement of a longer-term goal in this area, identify possible resources and then choose activities that promote this aspect of wellness. Students should expect to devote 9-14 hours to the development and articulation of their plan in order to earn a passing grade. These hours are tied to completion of the requested assessments and not to the activities students' elect to pursue in fulfillment of their wellness plan.
38-709 Applied Cell and Molecular Biology
Fall: 12 units
This course will examine applications of modern cell and molecular biology, with emphasis on commercial products and processes. The course will include a basic background in the major topics that would be covered in courses on prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular biology and molecular cell biology. The course is intended for non-specialists who seek an understanding and appreciation of fundamental concepts without the analysis of experimental detail that would support the development of concepts in a course for the specialist. The course will draw on the patent literature as a source of commercial applications of biological discoveries. Examples of the topics that might be included are: diagnostic and therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (e.g., Herceptin), therapeutic proteins (e.g., colony stimulating factors, erythropoietin, hormones), antibiotics, subunit molecular vaccines, amino acid fermentations, enzyme based processes for chemical synthesis, gene therapy, stem cells and regenerative medicine, herbicide tolerant plants, microbial diagnostics (e.g., multilocus sequence typing), transgenic animals, DNA fingerprinting.
38-710 Principles of Biotechnology
Spring: 12 units
This course is intended to provide an introduction to a set of core areas currently highlighted in the biotechnology industries. The objective is to provide the appropriate background for management level personnel to optimize their decision-making based on knowledgeable background in today's technologies. The focus will be on weekly modules of similar technologies with an introduction to technology/science behind the topic area and the applications of the technology in today's industries and markets.
38-801 Evidence Based Teaching in STEM
Fall and Spring: 7 units
Special Permission Only: This course is designed to prepare PhD students from science disciplines to: (1) teach effectively and efficiently as future faculty members; (2) critically read and apply peer-reviewed, STEM-based educational research; and (3) adapt approaches from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) to formatively assess student learning and iteratively improve teaching and course design. Together, we will explore the research on teaching and student learning, identifying and challenging our assumptions regarding how college students learn best in science disciplines. Participants will leverage this research to cultivate a diverse toolkit of evidence-based, student-centered strategies for teaching and course design that may be applied to face-to-face, blended, or online courses, both within and across STEM disciplines. Prior teaching experience is not required, but students must have completed their first year of PhD study to enroll. This course will not prepare or license participants to teach K-12 students in Pennsylvania or elsewhere.