Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science

Description of Major

College of Arts and Sciences
Interdisciplinary Program
Adam Kay (BIOL), program director; Environmental Science Committee: Tony Borgerding (CHEM), Dalma Martinovic-Weigelt (BIOL), Jeni McDermott (GEOL), Jennifer McGuire (BIOL), Kevin Theissen (GEOL), and Cara Anthony (ENVR program director, advisory)

Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary science program focused on solving environmental problems that lie at the interface between biology, chemistry, and geology. Students participate in one of three concentrations (biology, chemistry, or geology) leading to the Bachelor of Science degree, each of which contains substantial coursework from each of these disciplines. This program provides excellent preparation for students wishing to pursue graduate degrees in environmental science, conservation biology, earth system science, or other environmentally-focused programs of study in the sciences.  It also provides solid preparation for students planning other types of environmental careers, such as environmental consulting, law, policy, or research..

Students entering this program should contact the program director or a committee member. Each student will be assigned an advisor appropriate to the concentration that they choose for their course of study.

Study Abroad Opportunities:
Environmental Science majors have a number of opportunities to study abroad.  As an interdisciplinary science major with course requirements from a wide range of disciplines, students should be able substitute courses taken abroad for courses in the major.  The number of courses with an environmental focus that are offered by study abroad programs is quite high, so it should not be difficult for Environmental Science majors to find appropriate courses that satisfy some major requirements.  Students should check with the program director or their advisor to make sure that the course they take abroad will substitute for an ESCI requirement. 

The field-based course requirement can also be satisfied by taking a field course abroad or one that is offered in the U.S. through our International Education program.

For more information check out UST's Study Abroad site
Research Opportunities:
Faculty associated with the Environmental Science program are some of the most active science researchers on campus. Many Environmental Science majors engage in substantial research activities that result in meeting presentations and publications. Students interested in research can discuss options with the program director (Kay) or any Environmental Science affiliated faculty. 
Typical Careers:

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, Environmental Scientists accounted for nearly 73,000 jobs in 2004. They also noted that in 2005, salary offers for graduates with a B.S. in environmental science averaged more than $31,000 a year.

Career fields in environmental science include:

Consulting: Help business and government comply with regulations, conduct environmental investigations, provide remediation, and produce engineering solutions.

Government Agencies: Conduct site assessments for transportation and community development, protect water resources, and study land use. Examples within the Twin Cities includes the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Environmental Policy and Law: Coordinate with governing bodies to create, update, and maintain current and future legislation regarding environmental issues facing communities from the city scale up to the state, national, or international level. Issues may include water quality, water quantity, energy solutions, pollution control, and nuclear waste disposal.

Contact Information:

If you have specific questions or would like to discuss this program, its requirements and benefits, contact:

Adam Kay

OWS 367
University of St. Thomas
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1096
Phone: (651) 962-5291
E-mail: adkay@stthomas.edu 

Major in Environmental Sciences: Concentration in Biology (B.S.)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)

ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)

Biology courses (24 credits):
BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits)
BIOL 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)
BIOL 209 Cellular and Molecular Biology (4 credits)
BIOL 333 Ecology (4 credits)
BIOL 435 Aquatic Biology (4 credits) or BIOL 486 Environmental Physiology (4 credits)

Plus:
Four additional BIOL credits at the 300-level, selected in consultation with the academic advisor. BIOL 211, or Individual Study or Research courses in biology, may be substituted for this requirement with prior approval of the academic advisor.

Engineering courses (4 credits):
ENGR 123 Energy and the Environment (4 credits)

Geology courses (8 credits):
GEOL 113 Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits) or GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits) or GEOL 252 Geomorphology (4 credits)

Chemistry courses (8-12 credits):
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
or
CHEM 115 Accelerated General Chemistry (4 credits)
and 
CHEM 201 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)

Mathematics course (4 credits):
MATH 109 Calculus with Review II (4 credits) or MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)

Statistics course (4 credits):
STAT 220 Statistics I (4 credits) or MATH 303 Statistics for the Applied Sciences (4 credits)

Humanities and Policy/Economics coursework (choose two of the following) (8 credits):
ECON 370 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (4 credits)
ENVR 212 Social Dynamics and the Environment (4 credits)
ENVR 301 Environmental Ethics (4 credits) or PHIL 358 Environmental Ethics (4 credits)
ENVR 351 Environmental Policy (4 credits) or POLS 316 Environmental Policy (4 credits)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
This course explores methods of solving environmental problems. These problems are by nature, interdisciplinary and are rarely addressed in a substantive fashion in traditional science textbooks. In this course, students and faculty work together to develop a working model of a critical earth system or biogeochemical cycle (i.e. the carbon or nitrogen cycle), and learn how to make calculations of human-induced changes to that system. Students from all concentrations of the environmental science major will work together on this interdisciplinary research project using modeling and systems analysis software to more fully understand specific environments and the quantitative methods of assessing challenges to those environments. This course should be taken by all ESCI students during their junior year.
Prerequisite: Environmental Science majors should have completed BIOL 209, CHEM 201, or GEOL 211/252. Environmental Studies (ENVR) majors that wish to take this course should contact the ESCI program director or course instructor. ENVR majors with a social science, business, or humanities concentration may take this course after completion of their science sequence. ENVR majors with a science concentration must have completed their BIOL, CHEM, and GEOL requirements.

ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)
This course is designed to fulfill the senior capstone experience in Environmental Science as it brings together students from all of the environmental science concentrations (biology, chemistry, and geology) to complete interdisciplinary research projects. In the semester prior to the course offering, Environmental Science majors, in consultation with their faculty advisors and the course instructor, will develop a research project that they will complete as part of this course. Students may also choose to more fully develop a research project in which they have been participating or propose a service-learning or community-based project. Furthermore, groups of students could propose to perform an interdisciplinary project. The format of this research is intentionally open-ended because it is meant to provide flexibility and choice to the students and the course instructor. Student-led seminars on topics of the students’ choosing will comprise most weekly meetings, along with updates on research progress and a final presentation to the St. Thomas community on the outcome of the student’s research projects. This course should be completed in the final Spring semester prior to graduation.
Prerequisite: ESCI 310 or permission of instructor; at least one ENVR course.

NOTE: Additional coursework in geographic information systems, environmental policy, economics, law, etc would lead to an even stronger degree program. ESCI and ENVR affiliated faculty can provide suggestions for additional courses, co-majors, and/or minors that might be applicable. Students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental science are strongly encouraged to take introductory physics courses (PHYS 111 and 112).

Major in Environmental Sciences: Concentration in Chemistry (B.S.)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)

Chemistry coursework (20-24 credits):
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
or
CHEM 115 Accelerated General Chemistry (4 credits)
CHEM 201 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)
CHEM 300 Quantitative analysis (4 credits)

Plus eight credits from the following:
CHEM 202 Organic Chemistry II (4 credits)
CHEM 320 Instrumental Analysis (4 credits)
CHEM 331 Chemical Thermodynamics and Reaction Dynamics (4 credits)
CHEM 332 Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy (4 credits)
CHEM 440 Biochemistry I (4 credits)

Engineering coursework (4 credits):
ENGR 123 Energy and the Environment (4 credits)

Biology coursework (8 credits):
BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits)
BIOL 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)

Geology coursework (8 credits):
GEOL 113 Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits) or GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits)
GEOL 211 Earth Materials (4 credits) or GEOL 252 Geomorphology (4 credits)

Mathematics coursework (4-8 credits):
MATH 108 Calculus with Review I (4 credits) and MATH 109 Calculus with Review II (4 credits)
or
MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)

Humanities and Policy/Economics coursework (choose two of the following) (8 credits):
ECON 370 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (4 credits)
ENVR 212 Social Dynamics and the Environment (4 credits)
ENVR 301 Environmental Ethics (4 credits) or PHIL 358 Environmental Ethics (4 credits)
ENVR 351 Environmental Policy (4 credits) or POLS 316 Environmental Policy (4 credits)

Plus eight credits from the following (it is strongly recommended that one of these courses be a field-based course):
GEOL 260 Regional Geology and Field Methods (4 credits)
BIOL 211 Introduction to Field Research (4 credits)
BIOL 333 Ecology (4 credits)
GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits)
GEOL 410 Hydrogeology (4 credits)
STAT 220 Statistics I (4 credits)
CHEM 491, 492 Research (4 credits)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
This course explores methods of solving environmental problems. These problems are by nature, interdisciplinary and are rarely addressed in a substantive fashion in traditional science textbooks. In this course, students and faculty work together to develop a working model of a critical earth system or biogeochemical cycle (i.e. the carbon or nitrogen cycle), and learn how to make calculations of human-induced changes to that system. Students from all concentrations of the environmental science major will work together on this interdisciplinary research project using modeling and systems analysis software to more fully understand specific environments and the quantitative methods of assessing challenges to those environments. This course should be taken by all ESCI students during their junior year.
Prerequisite: Environmental Science majors should have completed BIOL 209, CHEM 201, or GEOL 211/252. Environmental Studies (ENVR) majors that wish to take this course should contact the ESCI program director or course instructor. ENVR majors with a social science, business, or humanities concentration may take this course after completion of their science sequence. ENVR majors with a science concentration must have completed their BIOL, CHEM, and GEOL requirements.

ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)
This course is designed to fulfill the senior capstone experience in Environmental Science as it brings together students from all of the environmental science concentrations (biology, chemistry, and geology) to complete interdisciplinary research projects. In the semester prior to the course offering, Environmental Science majors, in consultation with their faculty advisors and the course instructor, will develop a research project that they will complete as part of this course. Students may also choose to more fully develop a research project in which they have been participating or propose a service-learning or community-based project. Furthermore, groups of students could propose to perform an interdisciplinary project. The format of this research is intentionally open-ended because it is meant to provide flexibility and choice to the students and the course instructor. Student-led seminars on topics of the students’ choosing will comprise most weekly meetings, along with updates on research progress and a final presentation to the St. Thomas community on the outcome of the student’s research projects. This course should be completed in the final Spring semester prior to graduation.
Prerequisite: ESCI 310 or permission of instructor; at least one ENVR course.

NOTE: PHYS 111 or 112 and MATH 114 are required for those who wish to take CHEM 331 or CHEM 332 as a part of their chemistry coursework. Additional coursework in geographic information systems, environmental policy, economics, law, etc would lead to an even stronger degree program. ESCI and ENVR affiliated faculty can provide suggestions for additional courses, co-majors, and/or minors that might be applicable. Students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental science are strongly encouraged to take introductory physics courses (PHYS 111 and 112).

Major in Environmental Sciences: Concentration in Geoscience (B.S.)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)

Geology coursework (20 credits):
GEOL 115 Environmental Geology (4 credits) or GEOL 113 Earth’s Record of Climate (4 credits)
GEOL 211 Earth materials (4 credits)
GEOL 252 Geomorphology (4 credits)
GEOL 310 Environmental Geochemistry (4 credits)
GEOL 410 Hydrogeology (4 credits)

Field course (4 credits):
GEOL 260 Regional Geology and Geological Field Methods (4 credits)
BIOL 211 Introduction to Field Research (4 credits)

Biology coursework (12 credits):
BIOL 207 Genetics, Ecology, and Evolution (4 credits)
BIOL 208 Biological Communication and Energetics (4 credits)
BIOL 333 Ecology (4 credits)

Engineering coursework (4 credits):
ENGR 123 Energy and the Environment (4 credits)

Chemistry courses (4-8 credits):
CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (4 credits) and CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (4 credits)
or
CHEM 115 Accelerated General Chemistry (4 credits)

Mathematics coursework (4-8 credits):
MATH 108 Calculus with Review I (4 credits) and MATH 109 Calculus with Review II (4 credits)
or
MATH 113 Calculus I (4 credits)

Statistics course (4 credits):
STAT 220 Statistics I (4 credits) or MATH 303 Statistics for the Applied Sciences (4 credits)

Humanities and Policy/Economics coursework (choose two of the following) (8 credits):
ECON 370 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (4 credits)
ENVR 212 Social Dynamics and the Environment (4 credits)
ENVR 301 Environmental Ethics (4 credits) or PHIL 358 Environmental Ethics (4 credits)
ENVR 351 Environmental Policy (4 credits) or POLS 316 Environmental Policy (4 credits)

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
This course explores methods of solving environmental problems. These problems are by nature, interdisciplinary and are rarely addressed in a substantive fashion in traditional science textbooks. In this course, students and faculty work together to develop a working model of a critical earth system or biogeochemical cycle (i.e. the carbon or nitrogen cycle), and learn how to make calculations of human-induced changes to that system. Students from all concentrations of the environmental science major will work together on this interdisciplinary research project using modeling and systems analysis software to more fully understand specific environments and the quantitative methods of assessing challenges to those environments. This course should be taken by all ESCI students during their junior year.
Prerequisite: Environmental Science majors should have completed BIOL 209, CHEM 201, or GEOL 211/252. Environmental Studies (ENVR) majors that wish to take this course should contact the ESCI program director or course instructor. ENVR majors with a social science, business, or humanities concentration may take this course after completion of their science sequence. ENVR majors with a science concentration must have completed their BIOL, CHEM, and GEOL requirements.

ESCI 430 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)
This course is designed to fulfill the senior capstone experience in Environmental Science as it brings together students from all of the environmental science concentrations (biology, chemistry, and geology) to complete interdisciplinary research projects. In the semester prior to the course offering, Environmental Science majors, in consultation with their faculty advisors and the course instructor, will develop a research project that they will complete as part of this course. Students may also choose to more fully develop a research project in which they have been participating or propose a service-learning or community-based project. Furthermore, groups of students could propose to perform an interdisciplinary project. The format of this research is intentionally open-ended because it is meant to provide flexibility and choice to the students and the course instructor. Student-led seminars on topics of the students’ choosing will comprise most weekly meetings, along with updates on research progress and a final presentation to the St. Thomas community on the outcome of the student’s research projects. This course should be completed in the final Spring semester prior to graduation.
Prerequisite: ESCI 310 or permission of instructor; at least one ENVR course.

NOTE: Additional coursework in geographic information systems, environmental policy, economics, law, etc would lead to an even stronger degree program. ESCI and ENVR affiliated faculty can provide suggestions for additional courses, co-majors, and/or minors that might be applicable. Students pursuing graduate degrees in environmental science are strongly encouraged to take introductory physics courses (PHYS 111 and 112).