Independent Learning: Natural Sciences

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Natural Science Courses

Our distance learning programs in Natural Sciences offer you the flexibility and convenience of taking a science class at “your pace, your place” from experienced, highly qualified, and caring instructors.

Natural Science courses are a requirement of many degree programs and are a popular elective. The flexible pace of our distance education science courses allows you to fully absorb the material and enjoy the experience. History courses may earn up to 3 university-level credits (seek pre-approval from your department or institute). Classes are available by correspondence or online.


Survey of Astronomy (Online, 4 Credits)

Modern astronomy for both science and non-science majors, with eight laboratory activities. You will work with animations, basic astronomical exercises, and practice exams, to study classical astronomy, sun and stellar astronomy, galactic astronomy and cosmology, and the solar system.

Survey of Botany (Online, 3 Credits)

Learn how plants are named and related, how plants are put together, how they grow and reproduce, their physiological processes, how they change over time, and how they relate to their environment. Students plant kidney bean and corn seeds and watch their development.

General Chemistry 1 (Online, 3 Credits, Closed for Revision)

General Microbiology (Online, 3 Credits)

Intended to satisfy any curriculum that requires introductory–level microbiology, this course is a survey of microorganisms and their activities, with an emphasis on structure, function, ecology, nutrition, physiology, and genetics. It also offers an overview of applied microbiology (medical, agricultural, food, and industrial microbiology).

Environmental Conservation (Online, 3 Credits)

This introductory course in environmental science explores issues arising during the interactions between the natural world (biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) and cultural world (demographics, economics, politics, and technology). Students examine such topics as air and water pollution, global climate change, energy alternatives and energy efficiency, solid and hazardous waste, loss of biodiversity, human health, food resources, effects of urbanization, and the management of public lands. Strong emphasis is placed on evaluating potential solutions to identified environmental problems.

Global Physical Environments (Online, 3 Credits)

This course explores the breadth and complexity of Earth’s environments within a framework of the four environmental spheres (atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere). Examples of specific topics include the structure of the atmosphere, the flow of energy in the Earth-atmosphere system, tornadoes and hurricanes, the distribution of terrestrial climates, geographic distribution of flora and fauna, internal processes and plate tectonics, denudation processes, soils and water resources, as well as aeolian and glacial processes that shape arid and postglacial landscapes. The course also discusses a variety of human impacts on the natural world including global climate change, air pollution, acid rain, and desertification. Numerous animations supplied in the CD accompanying the textbook provide invaluable help in exploring the dynamics of the many phenomena discussed in the course.

Weather and Climate (Print, 3 Credits)

Weather involves powerful and extensive physical forces that affect economic and political affairs worldwide. This survey-level course explores Earth’s atmospheric environment. Topics in the course include the chemical and physical structure of the atmosphere; the nature and variability of winds; the causes for the observed seasonal and spatial temperature patterns; cloud and precipitation formation; atmospheric optics; atmospheric circulation regimes; severe weather systems; weather forecasting; and climatic change.

General Physics I (Online, 3 Credits)

General Physics I is a traditional, non-calculus-based, first semester physics course broken into three themes. You will study motion in one dimension, vectors and two-dimensional motion, and the laws of motion; work and energy, momentum and collisions, circular motion and the law of gravity, rotational equilibrium and rotational dynamics, and solids and fluids; and thermal physics, heat, the laws of thermodynamics, vibrations and waves, and sound.

General Physics II (Online, 3 Credits)

A traditional, non-calculus-based, second semester physics course in three modules. You will study electric forces and electric fields, electrical energy and capacitance, current and resistance, direct-current circuits, magnetism, induced voltage and inductance, and alternating current circuits and electromagnetic waves; reflection and refraction of light, mirrors and lenses, wave optics, and optical instruments; and relativity, quantum physics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and nuclear energy and elementary particles.


Natural Science Team:

Ken Cameron

Ed Hopkins

Mark Quigley

Andrew Mangham

Irena Fraczack