College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2017-2018

School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sciences, Bachelor of Science

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Applied Geology - Emphasis
  • Applied Mathematics - Emphasis
  • Administration and Policy - Emphasis
  • Biology - Emphasis
  • Chemistry - Emphasis
  • Environmental Communication - Emphasis
  • Environmental Management - Emphasis

Please note that not all emphases are available online. Check with your adviser for additional information.

This degree encourages students to explore the many faces of the environmental sciences, including living and non-living components. Students will receive an overall grounding in essential sciences, with options to delve into the human dynamics of the environment, such as policy and management.

Careers

What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences?

If it's science you love, we offer a B.S in Environmental Sciences. There is no minor required, instead you choose one of seven emphasis areas: Biology; Chemistry; Applied Geology; Environmental Administration and Policy; Environmental Communication; or Environmental Management.

Contact our advisors for more information. To view the course requirements for the Environmental Science degree programs, visit the Details Tab.


University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.

     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 80 units of major requirements including at least 42-62 units of emphasis requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.0
Mathematics Required STA 275
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate Required
Research Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-S Recommended

Purpose Statement

The Environmental Science program at NAU constructs an interdisciplinary base of knowledge that students use to examine the impacts of climate change and develop real-world solutions to our environmental problems.

Our program begins with a firm grounding in the natural and physical world, to ensure all students understand how physical and biological processes maintain life, and how humans are affecting the natural world. A strong foundation in biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and geology allows students to integrate their knowledge as they progress 37 through the program and begin to understand the complex relationships between mankind and the environment. Then, students work together in field and lab environments to apply the scientific method and address environmental question, exploring impacts and solutions that range across space and time.

The range of emphases available within our program allows students to dig deeper into a specific knowledge base, then work individually and often together in Environmental Science courses to solve problems by applying the perspectives and knowledge they developed in their emphasis with students from other emphasis areas. To culminate the learning in the program, students develop an individually designed research project or internship addressing an environmental issue of importance to them, which in turn, is expected to further prepare students for a range of professional or graduate opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Examine how the Earths’ natural systems interact and change over time and the effects of anthropogenic resource use and management on these systems, including feedbacks and impacts to ecosystem services, through the use of basic ecological experimental design and data collection.
  • Apply the scientific method and critical thinking to address environmental problems, integrate historical perspectives, and explore solutions across a range of spatial-temporal scales.
  • Use statistics and models to analyze environmental data with the following goals:  quantitatively describe processes, assess uncertainties, test hypotheses, measure trends; reveal spatial and temporal patterns, explore relations among variables, and create sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
  • Analyze topographic maps and remote sensing images using GIS tools to identify the geologic framework, ecological community types, and human environments and make recommendations to resource managers.
  • Apply information about basic reservoirs and fluxes of the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, rock, and water cycles to develop recommendations for resource management that would reduce human impacts on climate change.
  • Using basic water, air and soil sampling, analyze the findings based on knowledge of the basic biogeochemical processes to explore various management solutions to improve water, air, and soil quality.
  • Identify and effectively communicate environmental issues and sustainable solutions using both natural science and social science principles.
  • Investigate the effects of resource management within linked natural and social systems and develop potential ecosystem service solutions that resolve imbalances.
  • Apply knowledge of the policy cycle, official and unofficial policymakers, the science-policy interface and important environmental legislation (such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, General Mining Law, Kyoto Protocol, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, and others) to strengthen the use of data in policy decisions.
  • Participate in community, NGO, or business environmental activities, or in environmental research.  Learn the skills to apply environmental science concepts to advance science and to facilitate the development of science and policy decisions to better address and resolve environmental issues.
  • Incorporate environmental science data into interdisciplinary policy decision-making endeavors, with the goal of generating innovative ideas that go beyond obvious and predefined solutions.
Applied Geology Emphasis
  • Quantify selected aspects of the Earth system using foundations of mathematics and physics.
  • Explore Earth system concepts, such as plate tectonics, the rock cycle, and geologic hazards on geologic time scales, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Applied Mathematics Emphasis
  • Apply mathematical techniques such as differential equations, linear algebra, mathematical statistics, probability, and mathematical modeling to find innovative ways of modeling environmental problems.
  • Explore computer programming and geographic information systems, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Biology Emphasis
  • Quantify selected aspects of the biological systems using foundations of mathematics and physics.
  • Explore core concepts in biological sciences (such as the unifying molecular, cellular and organismal principles for life on Earth, the structure and functions of organisms, the principles of conservation biology, the foundations of ecology, and the multiple scales of and importance of Earth’s biological diversity) and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Chemistry Emphasis
  • Quantify selected aspects of chemical systems using foundations of mathematics and physics.
  • Explore principles and practices of chemical analyses (including stoichiometry and equilibrium calculations, thermodynamics and kinetics and the chemistry of natural systems such as redox properties and complex equilibria, element cycling, and atmospheric and environmental chemistry) and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Environmental Administration and Policy Emphasis
  • Explore the basic principles of the organization and management of public organizations, policy-making, theories and practices of human resource management, environmental movements, and political ecology, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Environmental Communication Emphasis
  • Explore the elements of reporting, the nature, concepts, and processes of communication, and organization and reasoning for effective delivery of oral messages in public and in small groups, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Environmental Management Emphasis
  • Explore the basic principles of conservation of biological diversity and ecology, multicultural perspectives on environmental management, adaptive management, and the implementation of environmental regulations and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Details

Major Requirements
  • Take the following 80 - 88 units with a Grade of "C" or better in the first 43 units and a "C" average in emphasis courses:

    Emphasis Requirements (Select One):

    Please note that Biology is the only emphasis available at the Yuma campus. Check with your adviser for additional information.

    • Applied Geology Emphasis (50 units)
    • Environmental Administration and Policy Emphasis (39 units)
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
Additional Information
  • Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Plan Option

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan.  Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree, which may allow them to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by applying 6 units toward both degrees.  Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's/Master's Programs to be considered for admission.  Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year.  Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.

Campus Availability



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