Loyola University Chicago

University Core

Core Knowledge Area: Scientific Literacy

Learning Outcome: Demonstrate scientific literacy.

Scientific literacy provides individuals with fundamental principles, concepts, and knowledge of the sciences, and introduces them to the methodology of scientific inquiry. It prepares them to make reasoned and ethical judgments about the impact of science on the individual, community and society.

Competencies: By way of example, Loyola graduates should be able to:

  • Perceive the basic philosophical and historical foundations of contemporary science.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts, and knowledge of the sciences.
  • Participate in a direct experience of scientific inquiry using the methodologies and tools of science, whenever possible, in a laboratory or field setting.
  • Use cognitive and mathematical skills employed by scientists.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to make reasoned and ethical judgments about the impact of science on the individual, community, and society.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to utilize scientific knowledge to promote the health and well-being of the individual, community, and society.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection among the various components of Earth's biosphere and the impact of human activity. 

Scientific Literacy Courses (2 courses required)*


ANTH 101: Human Origins
This course explores the study of the biological history of the human species, from its emergence through the establishment of food producing societies.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of basic biological principles (heredity, physiology, evolutionary mechanisms, adaptation, ecology) in the context of their application to the human condition, as well as the role of cultural behavior in defining the distinctiveness of that condition.
ANTH 103: Biological Basis for Human Social Behavior
This course examines the possible biological bases of modern human behavior, from a strongly scientific and multi-disciplinary perspective.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the process of how science is conducted, and the interactions between science and culture, especially given the controversial history of the subject matter.
ANTH 104: The Human Ecological Footprint
This course is an introduction to global human ecology and concentrates on how we as humans affect global ecosystems and how these changes can impact our behavior, health, economics, and politics.

Outcome: Students will be able to draw connections between basic ecological processes and the global patterns of human population growth, health and disease, inequality and poverty, subsistence strategies, and land use and technology.
ANTH 105: Human Biocultural Diversity
This course examines the history of the concept of the biological race, the emergence and role of scientific racism, as well as the current scientific research objectives and methodologies.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the assessment and explanations for human interpopulational differences such as skin color, nasal shape, eye color, hair color and form, disease resistance, and blood polymorphisms.
ANTH 106: Sex, Science and Anthropological Inquiry
This course examines the issues of sex and gender within physical/biological anthropology.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of human genetics, patterns of human heredity, the mechanisms of biological evolution, the nature/nurture debate, primate taxonomy and behavior, and early human fossil evidence and interpretation.
BIOL 110: Liberal Arts Biology
Liberal Arts Biology covers fundamental principles of biological sciences at a level for non-science majors. The focus of the course will vary depending on expertise of the instructor.  All instructors will address the same fundamental principles.

Outcome:  Students understand the scientific method, diversity of life, classification of organisms, cell structure and function, the chromosomal and molecular basis of inheritance, and organ systems of the human body.
ENVS 207 (NTSC 107): Plants and Civilization
Examines the structure, function, ecology, and diversity of plants, their importance to human civilization, and the impact of societal decisions regarding their use and exploitation.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the critical role of plants in the biosphere, their physiological processes, adaptations for specialization, and linkages to humans including agriculture, pest control, and extraction/use of plant-derived products.
ENVS 218:  Biogeography and Biodiversity
This course covers the creation and maintenance of biodiversity across taxonomic, temporal and spatial scales.  It will provide an overview of the history of biogeography, increase understanding of the evolutionary processes that create biodiversity, the influence of biodiversity on ecosystem services, and the rapid biodiversity loss resulting from human actions.

Outcome: Students will gain knowledge of and appreciation for the biodiversity of life, its formation through the process of evolution, and the importance of biodiversity to ecosystem function and human welfare.
ENVS 223: Introduction to Soils
This course introduces the properties, functions, and conservation of soil. Topics include belowground ecosystem services, soil biodiversity, biogeochemical cycles, and conservation, human impacts to soils, and the socioeconomic implications of soil degradation.  Lectures, laboratory/field soil testing, field trips, and presentations by experts in sustainable soil management are employed.

Outcome: Students will understand the properties, functions and methods of conservation/remediation of soils, learn how human activities affect soils and associated socioeconomic consequences, and develop analytical skills to assess soil health.
ENVS 224:  Climate and Climate Change
This course introduces students to basic principles and knowledge to explain climate change. Students will learn about natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change, the interactions between earth-atmosphere-ocean systems, climate feedback mechanisms, and impacts of climate change on the natural physical environment.

Outcome: Students will develop cognitive and mathematical skills to draw valid, logical conclusions regarding various observed phenomena such as observed changes in the climate system and observed impacts of climate change.
ENVS 226:  Science & Conservation of Freshwater Ecosystems (Effective Fall 2015)
Freshwater ecosystems are threatened by water extraction, pollution, invasive species, and many other pressures. This course covers physical, chemical, and biological processes in freshwaters, and the benefits that humans derive from these ecosystems. Major issues for conservation will be covered at global and Great Lakes scales. Prerequisite: ENVS/UCSF 137

Outcome: Students will gain understanding of different types of freshwater ecosystems, their functioning and importance for human societies, and the range of pressures they currently face.
ENVS 227R:  Ecology of the Mediterranean Sea (Rome Campus Only)  (Effective Fall 2015)
This course examines the ecology of the Mediterranean Sea and how human activity has shaped the present-day ecosystem. Students will learn fundamental ecological concepts including ecosystem functioning, energy flow, matter transformation, and elemental cycles and the human impacts on the Mediterranean environment, including discussion of impact reduction and remediation.  Prerequisite: ENVS 137 or UCSF 137.  Rome Campus Only

Outcome: Students will gain understanding of ecological processes/interconnections within the Mediterranean Sea ecosystem, and of historical & current human-induced changes therein.
ENVS 273 (NTSC 273): Energy and the Environment
This course will introduce the basic knowledge that has been developed as well as the underlying processes and laws that govern the nature of energy and its interactions. This will include an introduction to fundamental physics concepts including work, power, motion, forces, heat, and energy.

Outcome: Students will be introduced to the thinking and methodology used by scientists in this field to gain an understanding of how science builds a logical structure of theories and laws and how these constructs are then applied. This requires that students use both cognitive and quantitative skills. There will be opportunities to analyze data in this field allowing students to draw valid, logical conclusions regarding various observed phenomena.
ENVS 281 (NTSC 281): Human Impact on the Environment
This course examines how ecological systems work and how the structure and function of these systems is altered by human activity.

Outcome: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the diversity, complexity, and functioning of natural ecosystems through examination of species interactions, energy flow, and elemental cycles, and how these vary with natural environmental variation.
ENVS 283 (NTSC 180): Environmental Sustainability
This course examines the area of environmental science relative to the impact that humans as consumers have on the environment and how these interactions affect the probability of establishing sustainability for human and non-human inhabitants of planet Earth.

Outcome: Students will be able to analyze specific environmental issues related to sustainability and to reflect upon how and to what extent our individual behaviors impact the problem and the potential for individual change and civic engagement.
PHYS 101: Liberal Arts Physics
This course uses physics as a vehicle to introduce students to the fundamental principles, concepts, and knowledge of the sciences, and introduces them to the methodology of scientific inquiry.

Outcome: Students will be able to make reasoned judgments about the impact of science on the individual, community and society.
PHYS 102: Planetary and Stellar Astronomy
This course covers the astronomy of the solar system and planetary science as well as the astronomy of stars and galaxies.  This includes study of earth and comparative study of all the planets, as well as the birth, evolution, and death of stars, the clustering of stars and galaxies, the expanding universe and cosmology.

Students will have an understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts and knowledge of science as well as methodology of scientific inquiry.  It will prepare them to make reasoned judgments about the impact of science on the individual, community, and society. 
PHYS 106: Physics of Music
Language, structure, history and styles of music; motion, force, energy and waves applied to production of sound; physical properties of instruments and musical acoustics.

Outcome: Knowledge of music fundamentals; understand how instruments function; apply physics concepts and experimentation to analyze the production of music and acoustics.
UCSF 137: The Scientific Basis of Environmental Issues
The overarching strategy of this course will be to frame environmental science in terms of a series of interacting systems to allow students to analyze a variety of environmental issues and the role of human interactions in the environment, with the goal of students becoming environmentally literate citizens of the 21st Century. 

Students will be able to identify and describe the basic scientific principles and processes important in environmental science (such as energy, photosynthesis, elemental cycles).  Additionally, students will be able to construct causal chains showing how environmental inputs produce certain outputs, and will be able to construct testable and falsifiable hypotheses.

*In January 2011 the Department of Natural Science became the Department of Environmental Science. Courses moved into the new department have been re-numbered and are listed above as ENVS (previous course numbers are in parentheses). If you successfully completed any of these courses while they were labeled as NTSC, they will continue to satisfy the Scientific Literacy requirement.