ISO Welcomes new Majors and Fellows to the 2017-18 Academic Year

With the start of the 2017-18 academic year, the Institute for the Science of Origins welcomes a dozen new and returning Origins majors, with more to come with Case Western Reserve University’s incoming freshman class. These students have the honor of being among the first Origins majors in the country, and are preparing to meet the challenges that Science in the 21st Century promises through broad exposure to its interdisciplinary scientific foundations and opportunities for areas of emphasis in the physical, biological, and social sciences. Origins’ interdisciplinary curriculum embraces the CWRU College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Medicine, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ideastream public TV and radio, and other partners.

In addition, the Origins program organizes many travel and fieldwork opportunities for the Origins students and fellows- just this past summer, Origins embarked on a paleontological expedition to Mongolia in which Origins majors, with Dr. Michael Ryan and Lee Hall, got hands-on fieldwork experience in the world’s most famous dinosaur hunting locales (pictured right).

The Origins major has three primary foci:, representing options for areas of emphasis in accordance with the interests of the students: (a) cosmology and cosmogony; (b) solar systems, planetary science, and geology; and (c) integrative biology, broadly defined to include elements of biochemistry, evolution, cognitive science, and anthropology.


Students are required to master a common science core of introductory courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology; an Origins core, and a track-specific set of more advanced courses; individually  tailored by the student to represent his/her own specific interests. Students in the major are required to take ORIG 201, 202, 301, and a minimum of two different instantiations of the Topics course ORIG 351. Each student must design a plan of study, drawn up in consultation with his/her Origins advisor, encompassing the chosen topics courses plus  at least two 300 or 400-level courses in each of at least 2 of the 3 foci, along with the respective prerequisites of each of those advanced courses. The student presents his/her individualized plan of study to the Origins Major Advisory Committee (OMAC) for approval. For more information, follow the link above to the Majors page, or contact Dr. Princehouse at