iCons Program Director: Justin Ferman

Preparing 21st-century scientists requires a 21st-century approach. The University of Massachusetts Amherst has developed the Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) Program, a unique approach to science education that answers this pressing need: To produce the next generation of leaders in science and technology with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills needed to solve the inherently multi-faceted problems facing our world.

The iCons Program is at the cutting-edge of integrative education, bringing together undergraduate students from all walks of science and engineering to:

  • Collaborate on complex societal issues in science-diverse teams;
  • Understand multi-faceted problems from multi-disciplinary perspectives; and
  • Develop and study creative solutions to real-world challenges.

Building on the disciplinary strength of each student’s major, the 20-credit iCons curriculum consists of one course per year over four years, culminating in world-class research experiences. iCons projects involve student teamwork on case studies, laboratory experiments, and research – all fostering cross-disciplinary communication and integrative problem-solving skills. After the first year, each student chooses a track in either Biomedicine/Biosystems or Renewable Energy. New concentration areas in Clean Water and Climate Change are being developed. Students apply to the program as freshmen, and are taught by an interdisciplinary team of professors and experts in their fields.

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Case Study Lesson Plans for Teachers