The University of St. Thomas

Concentration in Biology

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

ESCI 310 Environmental Problem Solving (4 credits)
ESCI 390 Senior Research Seminar (4 credits)

Biology courses (24 credits):
BIOL 201 Diversity and Adaptation (4 credits)
BIOL 202 Genetics, Evolution, and Ecology (4 credits)
BIOL 204 Cellular and Molecular Biology (4 credits)
BIOL 333 Ecology (4 credits)
BIOL 435 Aquatic Biology (4 credits) or BIOL 486 Environmental Physiology (4 credits)

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)
CHEM 115 Accelerated General Chemistry (4 credits)
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 204, 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 390 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).