General science is, as its name suggests, not a single discipline. Rather, it draws from subject matter offered by each of the departments in the Division of Mathematics and Science. The major allows midshipmen to pursue a broad program in the field of physical applications of mathematics and science. The major consists of twelve courses of which nine are specified and three are elective. The required courses are introductory courses in general oceanography, atmospheric science, modern physics, basic programming, differential equations, the mathematics of naval tactics, underwater acoustics and sonar, biology and the philosophy of science. Two of the elective courses may be chosen from a very large menu of courses in mathematics, science and engineering for which the prerequisites are the aforementioned introductory courses. The third elective is fairly unconstrained.
Midshipmen who graduate from the Naval Academy having succeeded in the general science major will have a strong technical background that has prepared them well for any aspect of naval service. Some may be able to enter graduate study in more specialized programs.
Very few midshipmen choose general science initially. Instead, they transfer into it after finding one of the other technical majors to be more demanding or more narrowly focused than expected. The major is designed to allow such midshipmen to complete graduation requirements in a strong science program. As described above, the structure of this major is more flexible than any of the other technical majors. In particular, courses taken previously in another technical major may count in meeting some of the requirements of general science. This should not be understood to mean that general science provides a soft path to graduation; it does not. To achieve success in the general science major requires dedication, effort, and fundamental skills in mathematics and science.