Stevens Atrium in the Hall of Science Building
Stevens Atrium outside the STEM Hub in the Hall of Science Building.

About

The STEM Hub opened in the Hall of Science in Fall 2019. Conveniently located on the first floor near Stevens Atrium, the STEM Hub serves all students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Whitman. It is a gateway to learning about the college’s STEM programs, exploring careers, finding support and building community among all students.

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    Program Descriptions

    Division III: Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics offers degrees in over a dozen areas of study, including interdisciplinary fields and a 3-2 Engineering program. Find the program that ignites your passion.

    Astronomy students study the universe: planets, stars and galaxies, plus the mass and energy that we can't see, and astronomical observation and analysis techniques. Majors usually participate in at least one substantial research project.

    Whitman offers a major and minor in astronomy as well as combined majors with geology and physics. Explore the Department of Astronomy, or learn more about course offerings in the catalog.

    Biology majors study the basic principles of life at all levels, from molecules and cells to ecological systems. With a diverse set of course offerings, and hands-on research experience, biology majors are well prepared for a wide range of careers that include research, health sciences and environmental management.

    In addition to a major or minor in biology, the Department of Biology offers combined majors with geology and environmental studies. Explore the Department of Biology or learn more about course offerings in the catalog. The department also supports the college’s combined program in forestry and environmental management offered with the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, Durham, N.C., as well as the combined program in oceanography. Learn more about combined programs.

    BBMB is an interdisciplinary program that is the rough equivalent of a biochemistry major. Drawing from the fields of physics, chemistry and biology, BBMB students focus on the structures, functions and regulatory mechanisms of biomolecules, and their interactions within cells and organisms.

    In addition to a major in BBMB, the department also supports the 3-2 Engineering combined program. Explore the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology or learn more about course offerings in the catalog.

    Chemistry majors explore the nature and composition of matter and the laws that govern chemical reactions. They learn to apply these principles to understand and solve real-world problems in medicine, the environment, energy generation, and many other fields.

    In addition to a major and minor in chemistry, Whitman offers combined majors with environmental studies and geology. It also supports the 3-2 Engineering combined program. Explore the Department of Chemistry or learn more about course offerings in the catalog.

    Students of computer science gain insight into a technology on which we increasingly rely, while learning new ways of thinking and tools to solve problems in many domains. Central to computer science is the concept of an algorithm — a precise, repeatable procedure for solving a well-defined problem. The degree program culminates in a group senior project, working with a faculty researcher or community organization on a unique computational problem.

    In addition to a major and minor in computer science, the department offers a minor in data science in partnership with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Explore the Department of Computer Science or learn more about the courses in the catalog.

    Whitman College offers students the opportunity to earn an engineering degree from one of the nation's top engineering schools through the 3-2 Engineering combined plan. Through the 3-2 Engineering program, students earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen subject area from Whitman, as well as a bachelor's in engineering from one of our partner schools, in five years. 

    Partner schools include Caltech, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Washington School of Engineering. Whitman offers pre-engineering programs in physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics, or biophysics, biochemistry and molecular biology.

    For information on the 3-2 Engineering program, contact Fred Moore or explore the course catalog.

    The Environmental Studies program at Whitman offers multidisciplinary majors, with both a local and regional empirical emphasis. Students develop an understanding of the Walla Walla Valley so they can appreciate the deep links between their temporary community and the surrounding human and natural environments. Field trips and internship opportunities are a vital part of this experience.

    The Environmental Studies program offers combined majors with art, anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, geology, history, physics, politics and sociology. Learn more about Environmental Studies or see the course catalog for degree requirements and classes.

    Geologists study Earth processes by integrating physical, biological and chemical perspectives. We collect, quantify, model and interpret visual and spatial data from microscopic to planetary scale and across time spans from seconds to millions of years. Because students learn to investigate systems using many types of data and at many scales, their skills apply to societal concerns in environment, energy, climate, engineering, mined resources, space science, architecture, oceanography and management fields.

    Whitman College offers a major and minor in geology, as well as combined majors with environmental studies, biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy. Learn more about the Department of Geology and explore courses and degree requirements in the catalog. The department also supports the college’s combined program in forestry and environmental management offered with the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, Durham, N.C., as well as the combined program in oceanography. Learn more about combined programs.

    Careers in the health professions demand more than just achievement in the life sciences. Maturity, compassion, leadership, ethical practice, integrity, communication skills and knowledge of health care policy are essential for the health care professional. While many students choose one of our life science majors — biology or BBMB — more than one-third of our successful matriculants in medical or other health profession schools enter with other majors.

    To learn more about pre-health at Whitman College, schedule an appointment with Kimberly Mueller, director of Office of Health Profession Advising.

    Mathematics majors build requisite mathematical skills and knowledge in the first two years. In the second two years, they develop their ability to construct mathematical abstractions and to work with those abstractions using logic. The four years culminate with a senior project that is a collaborative effort between the student and one of the professors in the department. 

    In addition to a major and minor in mathematics, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers combined majors with physics and economics, as well as a minor in data science in partnership with the Department of Computer Science. It also supports the 3-2 Engineering combined program. Learn more about the Department of Mathematics and Statistics or explore courses in the catalog.

    Physics courses deal mainly with the laws governing fundamental natural phenomena and the applications of those laws. The major study program can provide a sound basis for students going on to graduate work in physics or engineering and for those planning to teach physics or seeking a background in physics for work in other fields. 

    The Department of Physics offers a major and minor, as well combined majors with geology, mathematics, astronomy and environmental studies. It also supports the 3-2 Engineering combined program. Learn more about the Department of Physics or explore courses in the catalog.