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Common Curriculum

A LSFY Advisor and Student engaged in conversation.

“I love LSFY because it gives students a chance to learn that there is more than just one option out there for them. For me, it gave me the chance to grow as a first year student and learn what I was really passionate about. I have met many great people – students and faculty alike – through this program. LSFY has had a profound impact on my success here at N.C. State and I couldn’t be more thankful for the people who are in charge of it.”
Matthew Shivar, Applied Nutrition Major, Class of 2020

Students admitted into the Life Sciences First Year Program at NC State take a common set of courses during their first year. You will work with an advisor to finalize your 1st-semester schedule.  The LSFY Common Curriculum is designed to enable you to explore a wide range of topics within the life sciences and to begin establishing a foundation in key supporting fields, such as chemistry, calculus, and writing.  These courses prepare you for any of the life sciences programs available at NC State.  The semester-by-semester display is shown below. This is an example of a typical schedule, but yours may vary depending on AP credits, transfer credits, your desired major, and placement scores in math and chemistry.

1st Semester CoursesCredits2nd Semester CoursesCredits
BIO 181 Intro Bio: Ecol, Evol, Biodiv4BIO 183 Intro Bio: Cell & Molecular4
Chemistry and Lab4Chemistry and Lab4
*LSC 101 Critical & Creative Thinking Life Sciences2ENG 1014
**LSC 103 Exploring Opportunities Life Sciences1  
GEP Health & Exercise or *** LSC 170 First Year Seminar in the Life Sci (Optional)1GEP Health & Exercise or *** LSC 170 First Year Seminar in the Life Sci (Optional)1
Total Credits14-16Total Credits15-17
What if you have AP credit or early college credit (for example, you have credit for BIO 181)?

You will work with your advisor to determine another suitable course to keep you on track.  For example, you may decide that an Anatomy & Physiology course or an Animal Behavior course is the right fit.  You also may want to explore within other areas of the university – for example, an Animal Science course may work for your intended career objectives.

*LSC 101 Critical and Creative Thinking in the Life Sciences

LSC 101 is developed specifically for LSFY students.  It will meet a requirement in all life science curricula at NC State and also counts toward the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program for all NC  State students.  This course is one of the first to be developed for NC State’s new TH!NK initiative.  The course goals and student learning outcomes are listed below.

LSC 101 Course Description

Through case studies and discussion-based classes, this course guides students through a metacognitive approach to (1) critical and creative thinking, (2) the nature and practice of science, (3) the rhetoric of science, and (4) the process of learning.

LSC 101 Student Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • apply essential elements and intellectual standards of critical and creative thinking.
  • critique the practice of science (e.g. designing experiments, writing hypotheses, discussing ethical issues).
  • create arguments using appropriate rhetorical elements (e.g. on the nature and practice of science).
  • analyze samples of work from life scientists and rhetoricians of science.
  • implement fundamental principles of the neurobiology of learning to their own strategies for learning.
**LSC 103 Exploring Opportunities in the Life Sciences

LSFY advisors teach this course, and the instructor for your section of LSC 103 will also be your advisor during your first year at NC State. This will allow you to see your advisor once a week in class, and also four to five times throughout the school year for one-on-one advising sessions.

LSC 103 Course Description

The overarching goal of this course is to help students create a solid foundation on which they can build to enhance their success in college and especially in their studies within the life sciences.  Students will be challenged to think intentionally about how they will approach learning inside and outside the classroom and what factors might influence their college experience.  Through this course, students will think about their transition from high school to college; identify campus resources and explore academic policies; research potential majors in the life sciences as well as potential minors; attend and reflect upon cultural and educational events across campus; and create a “plan for success” for their time at NC State.

LSC 103 Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate skills and knowledge necessary for meeting the common challenges students face in the transition to college, including time management skills, studying/learning skills, and integrating into the NC State community as a scholar.
  • Identify campus resources available to help students with many aspects of college life including but not limited to: academic challenges; career exploration; club/organization involvement; study abroad; and personal, psychological, medical, and disability issues.
  • Find and apply basic relevant academic policies and procedures, and know where to go for more help with navigating them.
  • Compare and contrast majors in the life sciences and discuss their top choice(s) of a major; determine the steps needed to apply for admission into an intended major.
  • Articulate a “plan for success” as a college student studying the life sciences in which they write a definition of success, set goals for academic and personal growth and skill development, and explore/plan activities to pursue in and outside of class to achieve their goals.
***LSC170: First year Seminar in the Life Sciences

Faculty from across the University, and from various Colleges and Departments, teach these seminars.  They focus on discussions and group projects.

LSC 170 Course Description
Topical problems in the life sciences. LSC 170 provides an opportunity for LSFY students to work in a small group setting with a faculty member to explore a topic within the faculty member’s area of expertise. Emphasis will be placed on active, collaborative learning; effective communication skills; higher order cognitive skills; and applying the intellectual standards of critical thinking. Topics and instructors will vary from section to section and from semester to semester. Students can repeat LSC 170 once as long as the two sections are on different topics.

LSC 170 Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate how scientific knowledge is applied in addressing the question of the seminar.
  • Describe and apply the intellectual standards of critical thinking.
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage productively in collaborative projects.
  • Communicate the results of student work in an effective video (or presentation).