Biology 52 is the introductory biology course that introduces key principles in genetics, evolution and cell and molecular biology. The content of Biology 52 is intended to prepare students for more advanced courses in biology as well as to introduce non-biologists to modern concepts. Students with a strong background in biology (such as International Baccalaureate biology or a score of 5 on the Biology Advanced Placement exam) may take a placement exam during the first week of fall semester. Students who perform well enough on the placement exam may substitute another three-credit Harvey Mudd biology course for the biology core requirement. Occasionally, a student may perform well enough on the placement exam to place out of the biology requirement entirely.
The chemistry core consists of three half-semester courses covering structure, energetics and dynamics. These calculus-based courses are designed to build on a strong high school chemistry preparation. The specialized content is intended to support the various majors at Harvey Mudd and therefore may differ substantially from the content in typical high school and introductory college chemistry courses. Students with an exceptional background in chemistry will have the opportunity to take placement examinations during Orientation.
Chemistry Proficiency Quiz
The Department of Chemistry administers a short online assessment of proficiency on prerequisite topics for the chemistry core. This assessment is required of all entering students. The results of this assessment will be used to ensure students are ready for the first required core course in chemistry offered in the fall semester.
The chemistry proficiency quiz, web-based review materials and a practice proficiency quiz with answers are all available on the College’s Sakai collaborative learning environment.
All incoming students need to visit the computer science placement website in order to tell us about your background with computer science and programming and learn about your core options.
All entering students will take a math placement exam covering single-variable calculus. The department also offers advanced placement exams (e.g., for linear algebra, differential equations, discrete math) during Orientation.
The core physics curriculum begins with special relativity in Physics 23. Few students will have taken a course in special relativity before coming to Harvey Mudd College, at least in the depth covered in Physics 23. Students who nevertheless believe that they have a strong background in special relativity and in classical mechanics should take all physics placement exams (one mailed out during the summer before entrance and the others given during orientation or during the first week of classes) and discuss their background with the physics department chair during Orientation in the fall.