Does Calvin offer programs in all the major areas of science?
Calvin’s Science Division is large enough to cover most areas of students’ interests. Calvin has departments offering courses in all the major sciences, mathematics, engineering, psychology and health fields:
- Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Computer Science
- Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies
- Chemical engineering
- Civil engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Physics and Astronomy
- Science Education
In addition, there are a number of specialties and pre-professional programs with various levels of science requirements:
- Elementary and secondary science teacher education
- Pre-professional health: pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-occupational and physical therapy, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-physician assistant, pre-podiatry and pre-veterinary medicine programs
- Urban Studies
How does science instruction at Calvin compare to a large university?
The professional quality of Calvin’s faculty ranks with many of the best universities. Yet dedication to teaching and accessibility to students are purposely given priority over research at Calvin College. Professors are in close contact with their students, teaching all classes from first-year through senior level. Smaller class sizes mean more one-on-one contact. At Calvin, both research and teaching are done from a Christ-centered perspective.
Would I get the same opportunities to do research that are available at a larger school?
Probably more. A large number of Calvin’s Science Division faculty are involved in on-going research projects with funding to pay student salaries. For example, each summer as many as 70 to 90 students perform summer research. On the other hand, at large universities graduate students do most of the research and receive most of the salary funds.
Are the facilities modern? Can I get my hands on state-of-the art lab equipment and computers?
In 1999, Calvin College dedicated two new buildings for laboratory science and engineering with space dedicated to faculty and student research and design projects.
Our students work with some of the latest laboratory instrumentation. Through special endowment funds and various matching grants, Calvin College supports the acquisition of up-to-date equipment for research and general laboratory use. Calvin is among the top ten institutions of similar size in receiving funding from external granting agencies.
The Science Division's 4,450 square-foot Integrated Scientific Research Experimental Laboratory (the ISRx) was used for the first time in 2011. The large space (photo above, left) houses three chemistry, three biology, and one computer science group. The lab pictured in the photo above, right, is formatted for a virtual reality rig (center ceiling) for biomolecule configuration with space for additional instrumentation. The virtual reality rig will be routinely used by all biology and chemistry groups and foster interactions with an additional computer science research group.
Calvin’s computer facilities are constantly being upgraded and expanded, providing fast access to library and web based information resources in classrooms, labs and residence halls. Many specialized scientific, engineering and mathematical programs are available.
Finally, Calvin has well equipped machine and electronics shops with excellent technicians and laboratory support staff to build apparatus and procure supplies for research and student projects.
Can I get real life experience, in addition to classroom theory?
There are several avenues by which various departments provide direct experience. For example, advanced laboratory courses and senior engineering design projects provide a bridge between school and career. Many science and mathematics students do summer research (for pay) and/or independent student research projects. Industrial internships are a significant part of the engineering and computer science programs. Nursing provides direct experience with patients in hospital and other settings.
I’m interested in being a science teacher. Can I become a certified teacher at Calvin?
Yes, many of Calvin's science division majors are in the education program and graduate with a teaching certificate qualifying them to teach in Michigan and most other states without additional training. These students gain practical experience through tutoring, teacher aiding, and student teaching in various public and private schools and have very high employment success upon graduation.
I have many interests and am not sure about science or which part of science I want to pursue. Does Calvin provide sufficient options and flexibility if I change my mind?
A school as large as Calvin can offer the diversity, breadth and depth which provide the flexibility you want. Yet, Calvin is small enough to provide the personal attention to explore various options. Major programs can often be tailored to fit a particular student’s interest. Double majors and specific emphases can often be arranged to fit a student’s needs. In most cases there is time to explore more than one career track without extending your time at Calvin.
Will my personal faith be respected at Calvin?
While an education at Calvin College will certainly challenge you to examine your faith, you will not be expected to become a "Calvinist." Although Calvin’s faculty members actively practice a faith rooted in Reformed theological traditions, no specific requirements are placed on the faith background of Calvin’s students. The faculty will demonstrate by their lives, actions and in-class discussion that they want you to deepen, enrich and expand your faith. The goal is a world-view of deep intellectual understanding informing and being informed by a robust and active faith. You will see that first rate scientists can also be dedicated Christians without contradiction. Calvin can help you become a person whose faith makes a difference in the world.
Can I get a good job or into a good grad school or professional school after graduating?
Calvin has an excellent regional and national reputation. Our graduates have been admitted into some of the best graduate schools, such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford, and are sought out by employers for jobs in local and major national corporations.