Life Science


Life Science is a branch of the sciences that study the structure and processes of living organisms. Four unifying principles form the foundation of Life Science: cell theory, evolution, genetics, and homeostasis.  The Life Science Major gives cadets a basic understanding of analytical and organic chemistry and biology. The major focuses on the broader understanding of biology and biotechnology.

Military Applications of the Life Sciences

The most important "system" in the Army is the human soldier. Because the soldier is a biological system, life science, biotechnology, and medicine offers unique potential for enhancing the performance of this most complex, critical, and costly of the Army's systems. Pursuing a career in life science can be immensely exciting and rewarding. Studying life science encourages professionals to ask questions, make observations, evaluate evidence, and solve important problems. Although many life scientists are primarily involved in research and development, and work in the laboratory or field, you may decide you want to work in another area within the science, such as management or administration. In the Army, many opportunities are available within many branches for life scientists to apply their technical expertise.

Life Science Vision and Mission

The Biological Science and Bioengineering (Life Science) Program supports the vision and mission of the Department of Chemistry and Life Science, and the United States Military Academy by educating, mentoring, and inspiring leaders of character dedicated to service and honorable living who are literate in the biological science and engineering disciplines, capable of identifying and communicating technical biological information, and able to critically analyze complex biological problems to meet challenges facing the Army and the Nation.  Our graduates will be afforded the educations, research, and service opportunities to be successful officers in all branches of the Army, including the Medical Corps and the Medical Service Corps, to be competitive for national scholarships and fellowships, to achieve acceptance into and succeed in biological graduate school and medical school programs, and to return to West Point to serve as faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Life Science.  Our staff and faculty provide biological science and engineering intellectual capital to West Point, military, civilian, and government scientific and strategic organizations while our team promotes the program's expertise, capabilities, instrumentation, and facilities in Bartlett Hall as a National asset.

Program Goals

  1. Understand the core concepts and principles of biological science, including a basic knowledge of the biological molecules, the cell, genetic and metabolic regulation, information flow, structure-function, energy transformation, interaction with the environment, and evolution as the universal theme in life.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written presentation of experimental, peer-reviewed, literature-based biological research and preparation of journal article-style primary research reports and review articles.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to effectively use a suite of analytical laboratory techniques, equipment, and digital tools appropriate for scientific investigations in biological research and engineering design.
  4. Design and interpret hypothesis driven experimental investigations, observational studies, and the engineering design process typical of biological science and engineering investigations.
  5. Effectively lead and work in collaborative scientific and engineering teams to address biological problems.
  6. Critically evaluate ethical and public policy issues involving the application of biological technology and information with respect to civilian and military populations.


A Life Science Major must complete 40 courses27 core courses, including IT305 and any one of the seven three-courses engineering sequences, and 11 life science courses (9 required + 2 electives).


Honors Program

In order to receive a Life Science Major with Honors a cadet must:

                                                                                                                                                                                      1.  Complete the following two courses: CH489 Individual Research I and CH490 Individual Research II

                                                                                                                                                                                      2.  Graduate with a QPA >3.0 in the 30 core academic program courses

                                                                                                                                                                                      3.  Graduate with a QPA >3.5 in the 11 chemistry program courses