We live in a time of unprecedented environmental change. Global climate change affects nearly every aspect of life on our planet. In addition to activists who spread the word and effect policy change, we need people like you—conservation scientists, wildlife and marine biologists, toxicologists, park rangers, endangered species biologists, natural resource scientists—to discover these threats, predict what our world will need, and work to respond on local, regional, and global scales. We equip our students with basic knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ecological systems and prepare them with the skills to apply this knowledge to real-world environmental problem-solving.
Overview of Courses
The courses listed below represent the curriculum offered within this discipline. This biological sciences environmental science program requires supplemental science and mathematics curriculum to qualify for that concentration. Here’s a sample of what you can expect to learn and do:
- Conservation Biology
The study of the conservation of biodiversity based in the principles of ecology, evolution, and genetics. The primary goal of this course is to understand natural ecological systems in the context of a human dominated world to learn to best maintain biological diversity in concert with an exploding human population. This is accomplished through lecture, Socratic discussion, and videos.
- Global Ecology
This course examines the basic concepts of ecology, including the nature of ecosystems, energy flow, biogeochemical cycles, and characteristics of populations and communities of organisms. The role of humans in the ecosphere is emphasized, with particular attention to human population problems, food production, and pollution problems.
- Marine Conservation Biology and Ecology
This course examines diversity, physiology, ecology, and conservation of microbes, plants, and animals that live in the marine environment. Emphasis is placed on how marine organisms have adapted to living in their environment and how humans depend upon and affect marine ecosystems.
Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors are expected to complete a 4-course core curriculum that consists of an introductory foundations course, a course in statistics, an ecology and evolution course, and a senior capstone course (The Senior Experience).
Environment Core Courses:
- ENVA A105 Foundations in Environmental Studies
- BIOL A208 Ecology & Evolution
- MATH A260 Introduction to Statistics or MATH A241 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
- ENVA A497/498/499 Senior Experience (Capstone Course)
Concentration Courses include 3-4 advanced courses within the Biological Sciences (B.S.), the humanities (B.A.), or social sciences (B.A.) depending upon the major and area of concentration chosen by the student. For the Environmental Science (B.S.) degree, the concentration courses include a combination of lecture only and lecture + lab courses.
Adjunct and Major Elective Courses
In addition to the concentration and core courses, students will take appropriate major elective and adjunct courses in each of the three main program areas: natural sciences/mathematics, social sciences/business/law, and humanities/arts. These courses are intended to provide students with an increased understanding of the breadth of perspectives examining environmental issues and to strengthen fundamental skills and knowledge in the natural sciences and the environment. All students are required to take a course in Environmental Ethics or Environmental Philosophy. B.S. and B.A. (Humanities concentration) students are required to take Environmental Sociology. Beyond these requirements, the specific adjunct and major elective courses required vary depending upon the major and area of concentration.
Adjunct and Major Elective Course Requirements for the B.S. in Environmental Science (Biological Sciences Concentration):
- PHIL V243 or V245 Environmental Ethics/Environmental Philosophy
- SOCI A355 Environmental Sociology
- MATH A257 Calculus I
- BIOL A106/A107 Cells & Heredity
- BIOL A108/A109 Biology of Organisms
- CHEM A105/A107 General Chemistry I
- CHEM A106/A108 General Chemistry II
- CHEM A300/A302 Organic Chemistry I
- SOCIAL SCIENCE/LAW Social Science/Law/Business Environment elective
- HUMANITIES/ARTS Humanities/Arts Environment elective
The Senior Experience (Capstone Course)
The culmination of the major and minor is a Senior Capstone Experience consisting either of an internship (ENVA A497), a research project (ENVA A498) or an independent study (ENVA A499).
Environmental Science Course Information
Find out more about the Environmental Science major:
Students looking for teacher preparation in the field of Environmental Science take the major courses from the Biology concentration along with focus-area courses for teacher education. See the degree plan here, and the list of teacher-education course descriptions here.