Integrative Courses


Academic Courses

At Truman, as at most Universities, each STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) major has a curriculum that provides learning experiences for its students that lead to deep mastery of their major content area.  This specialized training usually begins in the first semester of college.

Truman’s STEP Office has developed courses that introduce the study of science and mathematics in an integrative fashion and that explore the inter-relatedness of the branches of science and mathematics.

STEM 101: Integrative Freshman Seminar
This course prepares you for earning a degree in science or mathematics at Truman in many of the ways that a traditional, major-specific Freshman Seminar does. Topics include study and time management skills, campus resources, co-curricular opportunities, academic expectations, and academic planning. Unlike the major-specific Freshman Seminars, this course presents the STEM disciplines in an integrated and interdependent fashion. By the end of the course, students will have a better idea which majors reflect their interests and talents, and they will have the tools to succeed in their chosen STEM major. This course is appropriate for any student who has an interest in, aptitude for, or curiosity about STEM majors. This freshman seminar should be taken in addition to a major-specific freshman seminar. This course is typically taught by a team of professors from Truman’s STEM disciplines, so students get to see integration of ideas at work and also witness challenges of integrative thinking. It is offered each fall semester. A natural follow-on course is the Integrative Inquiry Seminar (below).


STEM 105/110: Integrative Inquiry Seminar
This course presents science as a way of knowing and will serve as an early introduction to scientific literature, professional development skills, and scientific communication.  Topics include ethics and scientific misconduct, the importance of writing papers and grant proposals, searching the primary literature, interpreting data, writing a survey of literature, preparing scientific posters and giving scientific presentations.  By the end of the course, students will be prepared with the skills to engage in an independent research experience with a faculty member. This course is appropriate for any student who would like to prepare for a research experience. Throughout the course, students will work to develop a research proposal. Students who take this course in the Fall and work with a research mentor are eligible to submit their finished proposal to Truman’s TruScholars program the following Spring. This course is offered each Fall semester. STEM 110 is a writing-enhanced, two-credit version of the course.


STEM 102/202/302/402: Interdisciplinary STEM Research Seminar 1, 2, 3 & 4
These seminars will help students develop an understanding of scientific research by analyzing scientific literature and attending interdisciplinary research presentations. We will highlight research at the intersections of mathematics, statistics, agriculture, biology, chemistry, and physics. These classes represent a scaffolded series of research seminars. As students graduate from the first year to the upper level courses, their level of responsibility for the courses will increase as their experience with research increases. Offered Spring semesters.


STEM 301/401: Interdisciplinary STEM Research Preparation 1 & 2
As a scientist, it is important to understand the research of others through analysis of the primary literature and discussion with professionals in the field. To develop these skills, these courses give students the opportunity to plan a diverse seminar series for the following Spring semester as part of the Interdisciplinary STEM Research Seminar courses (STEM 102, 202, 302, and 402). In STEM 301, groups of 2-3 students will work together to plan 1-3 different speakers for the spring. They will develop a curriculum to be used to mentor students in the Spring. Students in STEM401, having experience working as a mentor the previous Spring, will be assigned to support 301 students. Faculty members will mentor students in the selection of speakers and the preparation of their materials. Offered Fall semesters.


CHEM 350: Analytical Chemistry for the Life Sciences
Biology majors are often surprised to discover that the chemistry requirements of their major is only one course shy of a chemistry minor. Biology majors most often choose Quantitative Analysis to complete their chemistry minor, and find its intensely quantitative nature rather frustrating. This alternative course for the life sciences presents many of the same techniques and principles, but provides students with more experience with instrumentation than they would get in the traditional Quantitative Analysis course. This course can also fulfill requirements for Truman’s Forensic Science minor  and is an option for the Biochemistry major. With statistics as a prerequisite, the course uses an inquiry-based modular approach to apply chemical analysis and statistics to solve biological problems.This course is offered regularly every Spring. This course would be appropriate for Biology majors seeking the chemistry minor, and other chemistry minors.