Environmental Sciences, Minor

School of Earth and Sustainability

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

Students who feel passionately about the environment use this minor to pursue field work and research in what is undoubtedly a world-shaking science. The plan probes many perspectives, including those from humanities and from the natural and social sciences, to present possible solutions and to provoke a sense of shared responsibility for the Earth's finite resources.

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 - 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 22
Major GPA 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 108
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Optional

Purpose Statement

Problems like climate change, species loss, and increased demand for finite resources become more critical every day. The Environmental Sciences minor allow students to better understand and improve their relationship with the natural world.

Students study ecosystems and the ways humans interact with them using the perspectives of the natural and social sciences and the humanities. Students work extensively with full-time professors who have practical experience in the environmental sciences. They have opportunities for field study and research; undergraduate students are included in all research projects. Students learn to solve environmental problems and prepare for a career in research, industry, education, government, or public service. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Minor Requirements
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.