The Frequently Asked Questions are designed to answer any common questions that you might have about the Integrated Science Curriculum (ISC). If you can't find your answer here, please Contact Us.

By default, questions are sorted by Category. There are 2 Categories: GENERAL and ISC. Within each category, questions are sorted alphabetically in ascending order (from A to Z).

ISC • When is the Integrated Science Open House for Fall 2017?

Event: Academic Expo
Date: Monday, September 10, 2018
Time: 10:00am-2:00pm
Location: Frick Chemistry Laboratory

Faculty and ISC student alum will be in attendance to tell you more about this exciting program and to answer any questions that you may have. You may also visit us at freshman registration at the Friend Center on Tuesday, September 11th.

If you are thinking about signing up for the course, you should attend one of these sessions.
Map: Interactive Campus Map

ISC • If I can’t attend the Academic Expo, is there another way I can meet with faculty before I register?

Yes. ISC will be at the Friend Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 during registration. A representative will be there to answer your questions. Alternatively, you may contact faculty directly to set up an appointment, by sending email to

ISC • How do I enroll?

Formal registration occurs once you arrive on campus through the standard registration process. Students who have received a score of '5' on the Advanced Placement Calculus BC exam will be able to register after discussing with their academic advisor. Students with a lower score or who did not take the Calculus BC exam will need to meet with the Integrated Science faculty at the Academic Expo or during the registration period to ensure proper preparation in mathematics.

ISC • Am I committing myself to any specific major if I sign up?

Although the Integrated Science Program was conceived with students who are interested in a career in science in mind, taking it is by no means a commitment to any major (quite the contrary). Although most of the students have in the end chosen to major in a science or engineering, we have had many choose to major in fields other than science.

ISC • I have already taken AP science courses. Will I find the material presented in the integrated science sequence to be repetitive?

While some of the topics may seem familiar at first, very quickly we move to a level of discussion which seems to be well beyond what students get in their AP classes. So, intellectually, it's a rewarding experience even for those with 5’s.

ISC • I have no computer science experience. Am I still able to sign up?

Yes, you can still sign up. Students involved with the course have varying levels of experience, and we find that most do not have a strong computer science background. The integrated science course is taught concurrently with COS 126 for the first six weeks of the Fall Term on Tues/Thurs.

ISC • How much time will I have to commit to this course in my freshman year? Will I be able to take additional courses my first year?

Integrated science is challenging and time consuming. Ours is a double-course that will account for roughly half of your workload for the whole first year. It might just be the hardest academic experience you've every had. However, if you stick with it, you will gain proficiency in introductory Chemistry, Computer Science, Molecular Biology, and Physics, allowing you to major in any science (and most of the engineering) disciplines.
The course includes a 50-minute lecture five days a week, as well as one three-hour laboratory session, one three-hour computational precept and one required evening problem session each week.

ISC • Is my mathematics background solid enough to successfully complete the first year of Integrated Science?

To be successful, we suggest that you are comfortable with calculus at the level of the advanced placement math BC curriculum.

ISC • How do I combine integrated science with my Math studies?

This is a difficult question, and the answer depends in detail on the individual student's preparation, as well as the juggling of different opportunities and requirements. In general, we have found that students who are comfortable with calculus at the level of the Advanced Placement BC course do well in the Fall semester without taking any additional math. The Spring semester, however, makes more extensive use of multivariable calculus. Students thus need to prepare for this. The closest match to what we use in Integrated Science is provided by MAT 203, although other options also are possible. For further advice, please contact the faculty or more senior students directly.

ISC • Do I need to purchase any particular software before class in the Fall?

No, you do not need to purchase anything beforehand. The information will be discussed with you during the first week of class. (To give you a little preview, the course utilizes Matlab, LaTeX and ImageJ)

ISC • Will I be able to participate in extracurricular activities if I sign up?

Yes. There is absolutely no reason you cannot participate in extracurricular activities.
Although the program is very demanding, it is by no means inconsistent at all with a full college life. Many of our students are heavily involved in extracurricular activities. We have had many athletes, members of the Orchestra, and have had at least two actors who regularly had major roles in on-campus drama.

ISC • Is the Integrated Science Curriculum an appropriate start for pre-med students?

The program is intended for those students who want to learn the ideas of physics, chemistry and biology with a quantitative treatment, not just as prerequisites or preparation for medical school.

It surely is not the easiest path to medical school. On the other hand, several of the integrated students will no doubt go to medical school, armed with a much broader and more quantitative grasp of the sciences than they would otherwise have had.

Most of the students we have had tell us that the program is very demanding, but not competitive in the same sense that the standard prerequisites for pre-meds are. It is more of a joint learning endeavor for them-- they learn from each other as well as from the faculty and staff. Our classes are much smaller than their equivalents in the standard curriculum.

We suggest that you come talk to us (make an appointment when you arrive in Princeton), talk to the premed advisors and peer advisors, and decide whether you want to do this or take the more standard curriculum. Although we cover some of the same ground, the two paths are very different.

ISC • Is the Integrated Science sequence appropriate for those wishing to study engineering at Princeton University?

There is no problem in principle in majoring in engineering after the integrated series, although you will have to take some additional courses and negotiate prerequisites at the time you major. Past students that have gone on to become engineering majors all took one or two additional courses in their sophomore years so that this would remain possible, as did the chemistry and physics majors.

ISC • If I register, does this mean I am automatically signed up for the Quantitative and Computational Biology Certificate Program?

The certificate is completely independent of the program. If interested, you would sign up for the Certificate Program at the end of your sophomore year.

For more information about the certificate program, please visit the Undergraduate Certificate in Quantitative and Computational Biology