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HIGHER EDUCATION

Here is the curriculum for the US’s first undergraduate weed degree

A student in a cannabis lab in Canada looks at a plant
Reuters/Carlos Osorio
The Colorado State University program aims to prepare students to work in cannabis labs.
  • Jenni Avins
By Jenni Avins

senior lifestyle correspondent

You can now major in weed.

A new program at Colorado State University-Pueblo, a campus serving 4,000 students in southern Colorado, will offer the country’s first official undergraduate degree studying cannabis with its new Cannabis Biology and Chemistry program. But Jeff Spicoli need not apply.

“It’s not a party degree,” says David Lehmpuhl, the school’s dean of the college of science and math, adding that the curriculum covers chemistry, physics, and advanced biology. “This is a really rigorous kind of scientific degree.” CSU-Pueblo is already home to a state-funded institute for cannabis research, and Lehmpuhl says the new major will prepare students to work in a laboratory setting, whether that means extracting CBD, analyzing soil, or researching the plant’s effects.

“We kind of looked at the industry, and the sector as a whole, and what was needed for students to get jobs,” says Lehmpuhl. “We have a lot of businesses in the area that are clamoring for workers.”

A handful of colleges and universities including Cornell, McGill, and the University of Maryland already offer courses, certificates, and graduate degrees in cannabis studies to prepare students for work in the burgeoning new legal industry. In July 2019, the Max Stern Yezreel Valley College in Israel announced it would offer an undergraduate degree in medical cannabis, and Northern Michigan University’s degree in Medicinal Plant Chemistry heavily emphasizes preparing students for the cannabis industry. (Students will enroll in CH420—get it?)

Lehmpuhl says that being the first undergraduate program in the US to put cannabis in its name has brought a lot of attention from the media and prospective students. “It’s been crazy,” he says.

The new major has two possible tracks. “Natural products” places a heavier emphasis on biology, whereas “analytical” is more focused on chemistry. Here’s what the program will entail.

Natural Products Emphasis
Core Courses (46 credits)
BIOL 181/181L – College Biology I/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 182/182L – College Biology II/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 201/201L – Botany/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 465 – Environmental Toxicology (3 credits)
CHEM 121/L – General Chemistry I/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 122/L – General Chemistry II/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 301/L – Organic Chemistry I/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 302/L – Organic Chemistry II/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 311—Intro to Biochemistry (3 credits)
CBC 413/L* — Cannabis Physiology and Growth (4 credits)
CBC 463*—Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (3 credits)
CBC 493* – Seminar (1 credit)
Other Required Courses (11 credits)
BIOL 171 – First Year Seminar (1 credit)
BIOL 350 — Mendelian and Pop Genetics (2 credits)
BIOL 351 – Molecular Biology and Genetics (2 credits)
BIOL 422 – Neurobiology (3 credits)
CBC 401* — Medicinal Plant Biochemistry (3 credits)
Advisor Approved Electives (9-11 credits)
At least 6 upper division credits
Support Courses (10-13 credits)
MATH 126 – Calculus and Analytical Geometry I (5 credits) or
MATH 221—Applied Calculus: An Intuitive Approach (4 credits)
PHYS 201– Principles of Physics I (3 credits) or PHYS 221 – General Physics I (4 credits)
PHYS 202 – Principles of Physics II (3 credits) or PHYS 222 – General Physics II (4 credits)
General Education Courses (24 credits)
ENG 101 – English Composition I (3 credits)
ENG 102 – English Composition II (3 credits)
History – 1 course (3 credits)
Humanities – 3 courses (9 credits)
Social Sciences – 2 courses (6 credits)
General Electives (15-19 credits)
Students are encouraged to take other courses relevant to the subject such as PS223 Criminal Law or SOC 203 Criminal Justice System
Total Credit Hours – 120 credits
Analytical Emphasis
Core Courses (46 credits)
BIOL 181/181L – College Biology I/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 182/182L – College Biology II/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 201/201L – Botany/Lab (4 credits)
BIOL 465 – Environmental Toxicology (3 credits)
CHEM 121/L – General Chemistry I/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 122/L – General Chemistry II/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 301/L – Organic Chemistry I/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 302/L – Organic Chemistry II/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 311—Intro to Biochemistry (3 credits)
CBC 413/L* — Cannabis Physiology and Growth (4 credits)
CBC 463*—Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (3 credits)
CBC 493* – Seminar (1 credit)
Other Required Courses (18 credits)
CHEM 170/370 – Academic Orientation/Enrichment (1 credit)
CHEM 317/L – Quantitative Analysis/Lab (5 credits)
CHEM 322 – Physical Chemistry II (3 credits)
CHEM 419/L – Instrumental Analysis/Lab (5 credits)
CBC 422/L* — Natural Products Extraction and Analysis/Lab (4 credits)
Advisor Approved Electives (5-7 credits)
Support Courses (16-18 credits)
MATH 126 – Calculus and Analytical Geometry I (5 credits)
MATH 224 – Calculus and Analytical Geometry II (5 credits)
PHYS 201– Principles of Physics I (3 credits) or PHYS 221 – General
Physics I (4 credits)
PHYS 202 – Principles of Physics II (3 credits) or PHYS 222 – General Physics II (4 credits)
General Education Courses (24 credits)
ENG 101 – English Composition I (3 credits)
ENG 102 – English Composition II (3 credits)
History – 1 course (3 credits)
Humanities – 3 courses (9 credits)
Social Sciences – 2 courses (6 credits)
General Electives (15-19 credits)
Students are encouraged to take other courses relevant to the subject such as PS223 Criminal Law or SOC 203 Criminal Justice System
Total Credit Hours – 120 credits

*designates new classes

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