Environmental Science and Biology Major

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Description

Environmental problems are among the most urgent issues facing our civilization. In order to manage Earth's environment well, we must understand the processes that shape its surface; control the chemistry of its air, water and soil; and produce and maintain biological and other resources upon which humans depend. We must also understand interactions of animals, plants and other living organisms with their physical and chemical environments, or their ecology.

Through a curriculum with a common core in the disciplines of biology, ecology, chemistry and geology, and a focused track, environmental science majors develop the conceptual knowledge and technical skills necessary to address environmental problems.

Six tracks are offered in the environmental science major: aquatic ecology/biology, terrestrial ecology/biology, combined aquatic and terrestrial ecology/biology, wetland ecology, environmental chemical analysis, and earth science.

What can I do with an environmental science and biology major?

Admission to the Program

Any undergraduate student can declare this major.

Program Requirements

Students in the environmental science and biology major pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, and must complete its requirements.

The major requires a minimum of 66-73 credits balanced between required courses in the core curriculum (38 credits) and required, elective, or co-requisite courses in the student's chosen track (28-35 credits).*

*Note: A grade of C- or better in ENV 202, ENV 204, and ENV 303 is required in order to take 400-level ENV courses with any of these courses as a prerequisite.

Core Curriculum (38 credits)

  • ENV202 Environmental Science (4 credits)
  • ENV204 Biology of Organisms (4 credits)
  • ENV303 Ecology (4 credits)
  • ENV452 Environmental Laws and Regulations (3 credits)
  • ENV492 Global Environmental Issues (3 credits)
  • CHM205 College Chemistry I (4 credits)
  • CHM206 College Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • CHM313 Quantitative Chemical Analysis (4 credits)
  • GEL201 Introduction to Physical Geology (4 credits)
  • ENV437 Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • ESC371 Essentials of GIS (1 credit)

Students in the environmental science and biology major pursue one of the following tracks:

Aquatic Ecology/Biology Track (28 credits)

  • ENV419 Limnology (4 credits)
* Note: Additional courses may be chosen from these groups as electives.

Terrestrial Ecology/Biology Track (28 credits)

  • ENV400 Plant Diversity (4 credits)
  • Electives: 12 credits chosen by advisement from:
    • ENV406 Wildlife Ecology (4 credits)
    • ENV423 Biology of Pollution (3 credits)
    • ENV427 Animal Behavior (3 credits)
    • ENV435 Northern Wetlands (3 credits)
    • ENV437 Biostatistics (3 credits)
    • ENV439 Conservation Biology (3 credits)
    • ENV444 Plant and Ecosystem Ecology(3 credits)
    • ENV446 Wetland Ecology (4 credits)
    • ENV448 Restoration Ecology (3 credits)
    • ENV477 Field Biology (4 credits)
    • ENV497 Undergraduate Internship (1 to3 credits)
    • ENV498 Collaborative Environmental Biology Research (1 to 3 credits)
    • ENV499 Independent Study in Environmental Science (1 to 3 credits)
    • ESC313 Environmental Climatology (3 credits)
    • ESC380 Remote Sensing (3 credits)
    • ESC431 GIS Applications in Earth and Environmental Science (3 credits)
    • ESC455 Introduction to Soils Science (3 credits)

*NOTE: Additional courses may be chosen from this group as electives.

Combined Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecology/Biology Track (35 credits)

  • ENV419 Limnology (4 credits)
  • ENV400 Plant Diversity (4 credits)

*NOTE: Additional courses may be chosen from this group as electives.

Wetland Ecology Track (32 credits)

  • ENV400 Plant Diversity (4 credits)
  • ENV435 Northern Wetlands (3 credits)
  • ENV446 Wetland Ecology (4 credits)
  • ESC412 Hydrology with Lab (4 credits)
  • ESC455 Introduction to Soils Science (3 credits)
    • CHM305 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)

Environmental Chemical Analysis Track (28 credits)

  • CHM301 Chemical Safety (1 credit)
  • CHM305 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)
  • CHM306 Organic Chemistry II (4 credits)
  • CHM457 Geochemistry (4 credits)
  • ENV423 Biology of Pollution (3 credits)
  • ENV436 Water Quality Analysis (4 credits)
  • ENV462 Aquatic Toxicology (4 credits)
  • Electives: 8 credits chosen by advisement from:
    • ENV419 Limnology (4 credits)
    • ENV437 Biostatistics (3 credits)
    • ENV497 Undergraduate Internship (1 to 3 credits)
    • ENV498 Collaborative Environmental Biology Research (1 to 3 credits)
    • ENV499 Independent Study in Environmental Science (1 to 3 credits)
    • CHM302 Inorganic Chemistry (4 credits)
    • CHM467 Biochemistry I (3 credits)
    • ESC322 Air and Water Pollution (3 credits)

Earth Science Track (28 credits)

  • 24 credits chosen by advisement from:
    • ENV419 Limnology (4 credits)
    • ENV436 Water Quality Analysis (4 credits)
    • ENV497 Undergraduate Internship (1 to 3 credits)
    • ENV498 Collaborative Environmental Biology Research (1 to 3 credits)
    • ENV499 Independent Study in Environmental Science (1 to 3 credits)
    • ESC300 Physical Oceanography (3 credits)
    • ESC313 Environmental Climatology (3 credits)
    • ESC314 Climatology Laboratory (1 credit)
    • ESC318 Watershed Science (3 credits)
    • ESC325 Wetland Systems (3 credits)
    • ESC332 Air and Water Pollution (3 credits)
    • ESC350 Computational Methods in the Field Sciences (3 credits)
    • ESC380 Remote Sensing (3 credits)
    • ESC412 Hydrology with Lab (4 credits)
    • ESC420 Radar and Satellite Meteorology (4 credits)
    • ESC431 GIS Applications in Earth and Environmental Science (3 credits)
    • ESC455 Introduction to Soils Science (3 credits)
    • ESC457 Marine Geology-Bahamas (3 credits)
    • ESC464 Environmental Internship (1 to 3 credits)
    • GEL415 Geomorphology (4 credits)
    • GEL457 Geochemistry (4 credits)
    • GEL462 Groundwater (4 credits)
  • Corequisites: choose ONE from:
    • PHS205 Introduction to Physics I (4 credits)
    • PHS235 Physics I (4 credits)
    • CHM305 Organic Chemistry I (4 credits)

Total Number of Credits: 66-73

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain basic topics in environmental science, such as air and water pollution, population growth, energy and sustainability.
  2. Explain basic biological processes, such as cell structure and function, cellular respiration and photosynthesis, DNA replication and protein synthesis, mitosis and meiosis, evolution, and the classification of life.
  3. Explain basic topics in ecology, such as energy flow, materials cycling, community structure and function, species interactions, population dynamics, and biodiversity.
  4. Explain basic aspects of federal and state environmental law, such as the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air and Water Acts, the Endangered Species Act, and the NY State Environmental Quality Review Act.
  5. Summarize, analyze and interpret scientific data, using relevant mathematical skills and applying major environmental concepts.
  6. Quantify and characterize natural phenomena using laboratory and field equipment.
  7. Employ decision-making and problem-solving skills, such as evaluating competing explanations, designing scientific studies, or applying scientific knowledge to societal problems.
  8. Summarize, organize and communicate scientific data and analyses in oral and written formats.
  9. Design a professional development plan, and produce a well-crafted job application letter and resume.
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