2004 (to 2008) LSA Computer Science Program:
Fulfilling the ABET Laboratory Science Requirement

ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) requires that all students seeking an accredited CS degree must complete a minimum of 12 credits of natural science and this must include a two-term course sequence with laboratories that is required in a science or engineering degree program. Any remainder of the 12-credit requirement can be met with any courses designated as NS. Credits used to meet this requirement may be counted toward LSA distribution requirements, but cannot be used towards Flexible Technical Electives in the Computer Science concentration program.

You must have the requirement completed by the time you graduate. There are no other requirements on when you take the courses. You must earn passing grades in the courses; the “C or better” rule that applies to other CS Concentration courses does not apply to courses used to meet the Laboratory Science requirement, and they are not included in your Concentration GPA calculation.

Since modern computing spans so many disciplines, the CS program seeks to allow as broad a range of courses as possible within the spirit of the ABET requirement. If the already approved sequences listed below are not of interest, you should attempt to find a course sequence that will help in your future career, and present it to a CS program advisor for approval. As suitable sequences of courses come to the advisors’ attention, they will be added to the list below. If you aren’t sure what would be most useful, the Physics sequence listed below is the best default choice - it is the single scientific area most likely to be useful.

What Counts as a Laboratory Science Course Sequence

  • There must be two semesters of courses, with each semester involving both a lecture course and a lab course.  The lab course must be described as a lab course in the course catalog, and taking it at the same time as the lecture course needs to be either required or recommended in the course catalog. One course can be both the lecture course and the lab course if the catalog description says that it includes a lab (or a lab fee is charged), and the number of credits is large enough to be consistent with it being both a lab and regular lecture (e.g. at least 4).
  • There must be some concentration program in science or engineering that accepts the two semesters of work as meeting the requirements for that degree, either as required courses or electives.
  • The two semesters do not have to be in the same field, but must have a clear sequential relationship. This is satisfied if the second semester course lists the first semester course as a prerequisite or co-requisite in the course catalog. Alternatively, a sequence is present if the science or engineering degree program requirements includes the first semester course as a preconcentration course requirement, and the second course as a later concentration requirement or an elective.

Currently Approved Laboratory Science Sequences

  • Physics 125 & 127, 126 & 128
  • Physics 140 & 141, 240 & 241
  • Chemistry 125 & 126 & 130, Biology 172 & 173
  • Chemistry 210 & 211, 215 & 216
  • Biology 171 & 172 & 173, Biology 281 & 282
  • Biology 171 & 172 & 173, Biology 225 & 226
  • Biology 171 & 172 & 173, Biology 207


The ABET Laboratory Science Requirement only applies if you started at UM (actually in LSA) in Fall 2004 or later or you decide to complete your degree under the Fall 2004 (or later) requirements. Under the rules, now that the program as a whole is accredited, you are entitled to say that you graduated from an ABET accredited CS program even if you complete the degree under earlier requirements.


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Revised for Academic Year 2008-09 (Updated: 9/26/08)