In order to make connections among courses and disciplines, the curriculum includes opportunities for students to pursue a concentration, an interdisciplinary cluster of courses that addresses a specific area of study. A student may choose a concentration to complement the major, but concentrations are not required.
Biochemistry uses the principles of chemistry to explain biology at the molecular level and presents concepts fundamental to all living organisms. The Biochemistry concentration enables students to study formally this intriguing and multidisciplinary field. The concentration features two entry tracts, through BIO303 or CHE 361. These introductory courses provide a basic understanding of Biochemistry, which is then extended through a number of diverse interdisciplinary opportunities. The concentration is crowned by an advanced seminar capstone course.
Computer Science is an active interdisciplinary field at Davidson, although not a separate major or department at the College. Several students have entered distinguished graduate programs in Computer Science immediately after graduating from Davidson, including Stanford, Duke, and Washington Univ. in St. Louis. Faculty and students have won national and international recognition for software development within Physics and Bioinformatics.
In recent decades, issues related to the environment have emerged as key concerns at local, national, and international levels. The new Environmental Studies Concentration, developed in December 2007, is designed to give students a broad exposure to a range of environmental issues and to provide multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the complexity of factors that affect the environment and our understanding of it.
The diverse academic background provided by this concentration in the context of a liberal arts education will help prepare students of all majors for exciting fields such as drug discovery, pharmaceutical industry, biomedical sciences, patent law, and ethics. The genomics concentration fulfills National Research Council recommendations to provide
undergraduates with a strong foundation in biology, mathematics and computer science.
The Medical Humanities concentration promotes an interdisciplinary understanding of health and health care. It enables students to appreciate the strengths and limits of the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities as they seek to explain and to achieve a measure of control over disease, illness and suffering. The concentration helps students to grasp how legal, economic, and political institutions influence the production, distribution and delivery of health care services, provides students with a foundation in epidemiological principles, and teaches them how to evaluate and apply the principles of scientific integrity.
Neuroscience at Davidson introduces students to a field of science that has experienced an explosion of information and technological innovation. It provides students with a model for understanding how the conventional boundaries separating seemingly incompatible disciplines can evaporate when new intellectual challenges confront us. In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, the concentration provides students with an opportunity to explore another dimension of our humanity - the biological substrate of all our moral and mental faculties.