Should I consider Integrated Science?

Yes, if you have wide-ranging interests in science and have a curious mind. You should be interested in learning skills, not just "facts." You should enjoy the process of problem-solving, and not be obsessed with "getting the right answer." You should be energetic and hard-working, eager to take on challenges. You should be willing to work cooperatively with other students, as team work is an important component of the program.

See comments from previous Integrated Science students for their perspective on the value of the program and the kind of student who should consider it.

How are Integrated Science classes different from regular first-year classes?

Integrated Science classes are coordinated to create a more interdisciplinary experience. This arrangement helps you to see the connections among the science disciplines and to develop ideas naturally. Lectures are integrated by topic and are presented mostly by Integrated Science professors representing four science departments. Guest lecturers from these and other departments enrich the curriculum by showing interdisciplinary applications of science and examples from their research programs.

An integrated Humanities class helps you explore linkages between science and human culture, such as the ethical implications of scientific knowledge. This integrated class is Ethics in Science, PHIL 1050.03, the only first-year Ethics class offered at Dalhousie. This class is currently available only to Integrated Science students.

Class size is small (70-80 students) in Integrated Science (SCIE 1505). Integrated Science students spend half of their time together in this cohort, so you have more opportunity to develop close friendships and interpersonal and teamwork skills. For other classes (Chemistry, Math and Physics), you take regular classes with other BSc students.

Is Integrated Science more skills intensive?

Yes, Integrated Science places emphasis on developing the skills needed in science. Overall, you get considerably more skills-oriented instruction, practice, and feedback in Integrated Science, as compared with regular first-year classes.

Class activities are designed to help you develop basic transferrable skills needed in science. These include quantitative problem-solving, critical assessment of information, interdisciplinary integration of concepts, application of knowledge to novel situations, collaborative team-work, written communication, oral communication, research skills, publishing skills, computer literacy, field work skills, and time management.

How is Integrated Science more hands-on?

Through field trips to places like Conrad Beach, Peggy's Cove, Chebucto Head, Portuguese Cove, and Horton Bluff, you experience first-hand many examples of the concepts being studied. By analysing data you collected on field trips, and in laboratory exercises, you learn statistical and computer skills in a relevant, applied setting. You learn to write scientific essays and reports, by editing and revising your work based on detailed instructor feedback. You also get more practice giving oral presentations than do students in regular first-year programs. Most importantly, you learn about scientific research by doing it, conducting research as part of a team under the supervision of a Dalhousie scientist.

Is Integrated Science a good choice for students who like science but don't know what subjects to major in?

Yes, you can satisfy more prerequisites needed for second-year science majors, so you won't need to take first-year science classes as a second-year student. Integrated Science gives you a broader background in science and leaves your options more open for second year, when science students select a major. You can also switch majors more easily, since you will have the prerequisites to do so. After their first year, many regular science students change their minds about what they want to pursue.

Is being unsure about a science major the only reason to take Integrated Science?

No, there are many other reasons why Integrated Science is a good way to start university:

  • First, having a broad and integrated background in science is beneficial in many fields of science, especially the more interdisciplinary ones, like Biochemistry, Neuroscience, and Oceanography.
  • Second, the skills that Integrated Science students learn can be directly applied in later university classes, honours research, co-op programs, and professional programmmes.
  • Third, Integrated Science students work closely with classmates who are high achievers, like themselves.
  • Fourth, Integrated Science students are in smaller classes, have more contact with professors, and can more quickly become a part of the university academic and research community. Integrated Science students become well known as individuals by their Integrated Science profs.

Why is Integrated Science reccomended for Environmental Science students?

Environmental Science is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Integrated Science gives you a broader (multidisciplinary) and more integrated (interdisciplinary) background which is needed to understand and solve environmental problems.

Is Integrated Science A Good Choice For Students interested In Medicine?

Yes, Integrated Science is excellent preparation for Medicine for a number of reasons. Medical practitioners and researchers, as well as other health professionals, require well-developed skills, such as ability to work in teams, to work with complex and quantitative information, to solve problems, to think critically, to work with computers and information technology, and to communicate effectively in oral and written format. They also need a broad background in science and, very importantly, they need to understand the ethical issues involving science.

What is the Research Project?

Under the supervision of your research project supervisor, you conduct research as a member of an inter-disciplinary team and integrate your findings and techniques across thedisciplines.Your goals are to conduct research and present your findings in oral presentations to the class, to summarize your team's study on our class website, and to write a formal scientific paper. This project gives you a chance to engage in scientific research and to learn valuable techniques of information retrieval, evaluation, and synthesis, as well as the skills of collaboration and communication.

What happens after Integrated Science?

You will be well-prepared to pursue an honours degree or co-op program in science. You can also apply to certain professional programs that take students after first year (e.g. Pharmacy, Kinesiology), or you can transfer into second-year at another university. By taking Integrated Science, you will have more options after first year than will other science students.



What are the admission requirements for Integrated Science?

You must meet the same class distribution requirements as for the regular BSc.

In fact your acceptance into Integrated Science is contingent upon being accepted into the 4 year BSc program at Dalhousie. In addition, your Grade 12 or equivalent average must normally be 80% or better, with a minimum of 80% in Mathematics, 75% in English, and a minium of 75% in Grade 12 Chemistry.  Grade 12 Biology is recommended, but not required.  The average high school marks of incoming students is around 90%.  Students must apply for the program as well as be accepted to the BSc at Dalhousie. 

Grade 12 Physics is highly recommended.  Applicants lacking an appropriate Physics background should take a university preparatory class, such as PHYC 0010.00. Visit the College of Continuing Education for more details. Applicants with the equivalent of Grade 12 Physics will have priority. 

For other options, please contact the Integrated Science Program office or e-mail the Program Director.  Applicants with the equivalent of Grade 12 Physics will have priority.

What background in mathematics do I need?

You will study first-year university Calculus in Integrated Science, for one or both terms. You must have either Calculus or Pre-Calculus for acceptance into DISP. You need to feel comfortable with algebraic manipulations including fractional exponents. You should be very familiar with the coordinate geometry of lines, circles and parabolas. You should know about the trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions, as well as the more abstract notion of "function" and related concepts like domain, range and, especially, composition and inverse.

To assess how well prepared you are, you should take the on-line Math diagnostic test. You can take the test as many times as you like. If you score less than 16 out of 32, you may have much difficulty with first year Calculus.

How do I apply?

You must be accepted into the BSc program at Dalhousie University in order to be accepted into DISP.

Read more about how to apply to the Integrated Science Program.

Can I still apply to Integrated Science if I have already applied to the BSc?

Yes. To apply, download the Integrated Science applicant information form, fill it out, and send to the Integrated Science office.

How will I know if I have been accepted?

First you will get a letter from Dalhousie University informing you about acceptance into the BSc program. Two to four weeks later you will get a letter from the Integrated Science office informing you about acceptance into Integrated Science. If you need to find out about your Integrated Science application sooner, please call Danielle Wood at (902) 494-2373, or send an e-mail message to disp@dal.ca.

Is there anything I can do to prepare before classes start?

Yes, you should claim your Dal internet username, which you will need for e-mail, access to WebCt, and use of Dalhousie computer labs. You can claim you username on-line. You should already have a username before coming to class on the first day.

To assess your Math skills, take the on-line Math diagnostic test. The results will tell you if you need to work on any particular math skills before coming to Dal.