Concepts of Science


About Concepts Of Science

Concepts of Science is an introductory-level science course that surveys physics, chemistry, biology, Earth science and cosmology. The course fulfills the first of the two, core-science course requirements and is offered for regular Auburn undergraduates as well as through the Global, Honors and distance learning programs. As a semester-length 4-credit hour course, SCMH 1010  includes 3 hours per week of lecture and two hours per week of laboratory. During select semesters, Honors Concepts of Science (SCMH 1017) and Distance Learning Concepts of Science (SCMH 1013) may be offered as well. SCMH 1010, 1013, and 1017 all cover the same material.

Most students at Auburn University must take a two-course sequence in the core sciences, which can begin with Concepts of Science. For example, a student can take Concepts of Science, and then take  Biology 1010, Chemistry 1010, Geology 1100, Physics 1000 or Physics 1150. Concepts of Science may be taken out of sequence ONLY with special approval from a student’s academic advisor. Students risk losing core science credit for taking Concepts of Science out of sequence. Absent acadamic approval, COSAM can convert the course to a free elective credit, potentially raising the need for additional science course credit for graduation.

The Concepts of Science program usually offers two auditorium sections of SCMH 1010 per term during the regular academic year and one classroom section during the first summer 5-week minimester. Lecture class size varies during the regular academic year from about 200 to 275.  Generally, lecture classes are smaller during the spring semester. Laboratories (SCMH 1011) consist of up to 24 students per section and are taught (and managed) separately from lecture. The lab and lecture grades however are combined to give the 4-unit course grade. The lab counts for 25% and the lecture for 75% of the overall course grade. The lecture is taught by a rotating cast of instructors from different COSAM departments (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geoscience and Mathematics). Different instructors organize the course in different ways and are at liberty to focus on different subject areas as they see fit. Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) teach the labs and follow the same syllabus and use the same resources. 

In keeping with COSAM policy, students must pass the lab in order to pass the course. This means even with a combined passing grade in the overall course, a score of less than 60% in the lab earns an F for the course. Students must attend all labs unless they have a University-approved excuse. Students must come on time and stay the whole time. Students are also not allowed to distribute any course materials on mass platforms. Course policies are designed to discourage and strongly penalize any of these activities.

Required lecture text:
The Sciences: An Integrated Approach 8th edition by James Trefil and Robert Hazen, 2016
ISBN: 978-1119049685 (Any format is fine, including eBook / AU All Access)

Required lab text:
Concepts of Science Laboratory Manual
ISBN 978-1-943712-93-9
(Only available in soft cover at Auburn University or other area bookstores)

For course inquiries, please contact the course coordinator:

Dr. Marilyn Vogel

Twitter        Facebook        YouTube