Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science draws upon courses from biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics, and environmental engineering. Students must be aware of the complexity of environmental problems, yet have a rigorous background to address specific aspects of those problems. To ensure that graduates are competitive in the marketplace for diverse environmentally oriented careers, Environmental Science students take classes in all of the disciplines listed above. They additionally select a specialization in biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, or instrumentation and measurements. Each option is sufficiently in‐depth to allow students to continue their education in a traditional graduate program within that discipline, should they choose. An advisory committee, composed of faculty from the specific disciplines, is convened to help students plan their programs.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Science is the administrative center for the undergraduate environmental science degree. This page contains some general information provided by the admissions office. More detailed information is available in the New Mexico Tech Catalog.

What is an environmental science degree, and how does it differ from environmental engineering?

Tech’s environmental engineering degree involves rigorous and specialized courses which prepare graduates for a career in environmentally related engineering problem-solving. Environmental science is designed to give you the flexibility of a science background in a specific environmental area outside of engineering. The program will prepare you for jobs applying environmental knowledge to industrial applications. You could also enter the burgeoning field of environmental regulation, working for a health or environmental department on the local, state, or federal level.

Unlike many other programs, ours does not consist of survey courses to prepare you for public administration. This is a science degree: you will study physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and hydrology to gain an overall understanding of the many factors which affect environmental problems. Your degree will be a bachelor of science.

Why should I choose New Mexico Tech?

New Mexico Tech has a long history of excellence in research in many areas affecting the environment. We have professors who conduct research on acid rain, indoor radioactivity, and formation of ozone during thunderstorms. Our hydrology program is considered one of the best in the world. One of their prime areas of research is understanding contaminated groundwater, in quest of better cleanup techniques. Our geology department is large and diverse, offering great variety in both the courses you can take and the ideas you’ll be exposed to. You’ll not only take your classes from the experts, but you’ll also find some campus job opportunities with the many research projects our faculty conduct.

What options do I have within environmental science?

The program offers a choice of five options: biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, or instrumentation and measurements. You will have a broad range of courses which give an overview of environmental problems, many of which are overlapping and interconnected. But you will concentrate on courses in your option, to be able to address specific problems within your specialty.

What classes will I take for an environmental science degree?

Like all Tech students, you’ll take basic chemistry, physics, calculus, and computer science. You’ll also take some English, social studies, and humanities courses to round out your education. As an environmental science major, you’ll also take courses to give you a rigorous background in the subject: cell biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, geology, groundwater hydrology, and environmental engineering. Then, you’ll take specialized courses within the option you’ve chosen:

  • Biology–botany, zoology, molecular biology, genetics, with recommended courses in microbiology, ecology, environmental toxicology, limnology, and bacterial physiology
  • Chemistry–environmental chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, instrumental methods, with recommended courses in biochemistry, industrial chemistry, and more physical chemistry
  • Hydrology–surface water hydrology, quantitative hydrology, geophysical methods, geomorphology, stratigraphy and sedimentation, structural geology, vector analysis
  • Geology–environmental geology, mineralogy, geomorphology, optical mineralogy, petrology, sedimentary petrology, metamorphic petrology, stratigraphy and sedimentation, structural geology, field methods
  • Instrumentation and Measurements–electrical engineering, circuits and signals, digital electronics, microprocessors, analog electronics, chemistry, geology, geophysics, physics, and computer science

What sorts of jobs will this degree qualify me for?

More and more, industry needs environmental scientists to help comply with increasingly strict regulations. Furthermore, federal, state, and local regulatory agencies need experts to develop regulations, conduct tests, and assure compliance. Environmental scientists may also work in basic research, determining how certain contaminants affect the environment and what changes need to be made.

What should I study in high school to prepare for an environmental science degree?

Besides getting a solid background in English and social studies, you should plan to take as many math and science courses as you can. At the very least, you should take algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and if your school offers calculus or other advanced math, take that, too. Take at least two laboratory sciences, and preferably take biology, chemistry, and physics. Earth science is also important, if your school offers it. Round out your schedule with a foreign language.

 

Environmental Science Core Curriculum

  • In addition to the General Education Core Curriculum Requirements (page 87) the following core program is required of all Environmental Science students:
  • BIOL 331 (3), 343 & 343L (4)
  • CHEM 311 & 311L (4), 333 & 333L (4), 422 & 422L (4)
  • A 100‐level ERTH course and associated lab (4)
  • ERTH 201 & 201L (4), ERTH 202 & 202L (4), ERTH 440 (4)
  • MATH 231 (4), 283 (3)
  • ENVS 472 (1)
  • All students in the Environmental Science program are required to attend the Environmental Science Senior Seminar (ENVS 472) for four years or, if transfer students, for the duration of their enrollment in the Environmental Science program.  In the first three years, students need only audit the seminar, but in their senior year, they are required to present at the seminar and take the class for a grade.
  • Three credit hours of courses numbered 491 and 492 taken in the appropriate department in the subject area of environmental science.  These credit hours shall comprise a supervised research project, supervised scholarship project, or a supervised internship, and must result in a written paper or senior thesis.  Prior to beginning the research project or internship, the student must prepare a short proposal of the activity.  This proposal must be approved by the student’s advisor and two faculty from the Environmental Science Advisory Committee.  Following completion of the project, all three faculty must sign off on the resulting research paper.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Biology Option

Minimum credit hours required: 135. In addition to the General Degree Requirements (page 87 in the catalog), and the core Environmental Science Requirements (above), the following courses are required:

  • BIOL 112 & 112L (4), 311 & 311L (4), 333 & 333L (4)
  • Technical Electives (12)—Technical electives to be approved by the Advisory Committee

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Chemistry Option

Minimum credit hours required: 135. In addition to the General Degree Requirements (page 87 in the catalog), and the core Environmental Science Requirements (above), the following courses are required:

  • CHEM 331 & 331L (4), 334 & 334L (4), 411 & 411L (4)
  • Technical Electives (14)—Recommended technical electives, which must be approved by the advisory committee, include CHEM 332, 441, 442

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Geology Option

Minimum credit hours required: 135. In addition to the General Degree Requirements (page 87 in the catalog), and the core Environmental Science Requirements (above), the following courses are required:

  • ERTH 203 & 203L (4), ERTH 204 & 204L (4), ERTH 380 (3), ERTH 385 (3), ERTH 405 (3)
  • Electives to meet minimum credit hours required.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Hydrology Option

Minimum credit hours required: 135. In addition to the General Degree Requirements (page 87 in the catalog), and the core Environmental Science Requirements (above), the following courses are required:

  • ERTH 204 & 204L (4), ERTH 340 (3), ERTH 440 (4), ERTH 441 (1), ERTH 442 (1), ERTH 443 (1)
  • MATH 335 (3)
  • Electives to meet minimum credit hours required.

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with Instrumentation and Measurements Option

Minimum credit hours required: 135. In addition to the General Degree Requirements (page 87 in the catalog), and the core Environmental Science Requirements (above), a minimum of 25 credit hours from the following (at least 17 credit hours must be numbered 300 or above) are required:

  • ES 332 (3)
  • EE 211 (3), 212 & 212L (4), 231 & 231L (4), 308 & 308L (4), 321 & 321L (4)
  • CHEM 331 & 331L (4), 411 & 411L (4)
  • ERTH 353 (3), 370 (3)
  • Electives to complete 135 credit hours.

Details, including course descriptions, are in the College Catalog.

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