Program Overview

Environmental Science is the study of the biological, chemical, physical and social science principles that govern the structure and functioning of the natural world. Through the study of environmental science the student develops an understanding of their own life and an appreciation for their multifaceted role in the natural world.

The Environmental Science major begins with a solid foundation of mathematics, physics, biological and social science, upon which the study of environmental science is built. The major provides students with scientific knowledge, laboratory skills, research experience, and intellectual training in analytical and quantitative reasoning. The program emphasizes the development of transferable liberal arts skills and includes the flexibility for students to pursue their own academic interests in the field as part of their degree program.

A degree in environmental science helps open the door to a wide range of fields including applied science, pollution management, conservation biology, public health and natural resource management. Environmental science graduates may choose to continue on to professional and graduate programs in research, management and education.

In addition to the overall University graduation requirements, the environmental science B.S. program requires each student to complete 60 credits in the major including at least 25 upper division credits, at least 25 credits from Metropolitan State University, at least 25 credits not used for any other major or minor, and at least one 400-level or 500-level course at Metropolitan State course as a capstone experience. Students must also complete the environmental science exit interview and assessment test during their final semester of classes before graduation.

All prerequisite and required courses must be completed with grades of C- or above. Transfer coursework equivalency is determined by the Natural Sciences Department. Each foundation science course must include at least one semester credit of professionally supervised on-ground laboratory experience with standard undergraduate laboratory equipment and materials. Lower-division (100- and 200-level) courses cannot be used to fulfill upper division core or elective requirements in the major.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Environmental Science major, students must submit a College of Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Students are admitted to the program up on successful completion of the prerequisite and foundation coursework.

Declare your program button

Requirements

Curriculum Structure

The Environmental Science major requires 60 semester credits, including:

31 credits of foundation coursework in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, earth science and economics and

18-19 credits of core coursework in biological, physical, social science (economics or political science) and integrated environmental science, including 10 or 11 credits advanced study in an area of student interest.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Prerequisites

General education credits; not required for students who demonstrate competence by placement test or department exam.

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • MATH 115 College Algebra
      4 credits

      This course develops the fundamental concepts of algebra with an emphasis on the classification and analysis of linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. Applications to the natural and social sciences are given throughout. It aims to provide insights into the nature and utility of mathematics, and helps students develop mathematical reasoning skills.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
    • MATH 120 Precalculus
      4 credits

      This course is designed to prepare students for calculus. Topics include polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; the algebra of functions; multiple function representations; and an introduction to analytic geometry.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Foundation Courses (31 credits)

Students can be admitted to the major upon completion of the major prerequisite foundation courses and program assessment survey.

  • BIOL 111 General Biology I
    4 credits

    The first semester of the comprehensive first year course in biology. Covers the biochemistry and inner workings of cells, energy metabolism, genetics, cellular physiology, population genetics and evolutionary pattern and process. Laboratory topics include use of the microscope, biochemistry, cell structure and function, genetics, and evolution. Intended for students who are pursuing, or considering, the major in biology or life sciences teaching.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 112 General Biology II
    4 credits

    The second semester of the comprehensive first year course in biology. Covers the evolution and diversity of life, plant biology, animal biology and ecology. Lab activities include use of the microscope, examination of organisms, and experiments in plant physiology and ecology; may include animal dissection. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • CHEM 111 General Chemistry I
    4 credits

    The first semester of the comprehensive first year course in chemistry. Covers measurement, stoichiometry, solution chemistry, atomic structure, bonding, molecular structure, molecular visualization, and problem solving. Lab includes basic laboratory techniques, instrumentation, methodology, chemical analysis, and laboratory notebook procedures. The labs are also designed to engage students in critical thinking and concept building and are directly coordinated with the lecture part of the course. Intended for students who are pursuing, or considering, the biology or life sciences teaching major and/or chemistry minor, and qualified students seeking a general education science course with lab.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • CHEM 112 General Chemistry II
    4 credits

    The second semester of the comprehensive algebra-based first year course in chemistry. Covers acid/base theory, chemical equilibria, nuclear and electrochemistry, redox reactions, terminology, functional groups, reactivity of organic compounds and an introduction to biochemistry. Includes lab. Intended for students pursuing the biology or life sciences teaching major and/or chemistry minor.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ECON 202 Microeconomics
    3 credits

    This course focuses on the interactions between the consumer and the producer. It begins with the theory of markets, supply and demand, and the price system. Then it covers demand elasticity, the costs of production including the various factor inputs, the four major market structures (pure competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly and monopoly), and ways to increase the competition in markets.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • GEOL 118 Environmental Geology
    4 credits

    This course introduces the geological materials, processes and events of the earth's surface and crust that are most relevant to human populations. The phenomena studied include natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, floods, and hurricanes, as well as important resources such as water, soil, traditional and alternative energy resources, and pollution and remediation of water and air quality.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • One of the following classes is required:
    • STAT 201 Statistics I
      4 credits

      This course covers the basic principles and methods of statistics. It emphasizes techniques and applications in real-world problem solving and decision making. Topics include frequency distributions, measures of location and variation, probability, sampling, design of experiments, sampling distributions, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
    • MATH 208 Applied Calculus
      4 credits

      This course provides an overview of the differential calculus for single and multivariable functions and an introduction to the integral calculus and differential equations, with an emphasis on applications to the natural and physical sciences. Particular topics covered in the course include limits, ordinary and partial derivatives, applications of derivatives, definite integrals, fundamental theorem of calculus, applications of definite integrals, models involving differential equations, Eulers method, equilibrium solutions.

      Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Physics lower-division requirement (4 or 10 credits)

One course or set of courses (as indicated). Either PHYS 110 or, PHYS 211 and PHYS 212.

  • PHYS 110 Introduction to Physics
    4 credits

    This is an introductory course in physics covering one-dimensional and two-dimensional linear motion and forces, vibrations and wave motion, the behavior of light, and electricity and magnetism. Laboratories emphasize real world applications of the concepts and problem solving skills taught in this course. Includes lab. Intended for general education students and students majoring in Life Sciences Teaching.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • PHYS 211 Calculus Based Physics I
    5 credits

    This is the first course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers Newton's laws of motion, work, energy, linear momentum, rotational motion, gravity, equilibrium and elasticity, periodic motion, fluid mechanics, temperature, heat, and the laws of thermodynamics. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors and general education students with strong mathematical background.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • PHYS 212 Calculus Based Physics II
    5 credits

    This is the second course of a two semester sequence covering the fundamental concepts of physics. This course covers oscillatory motion, waves, superposition and interference of waves, diffraction, electricity and magnetism, electric circuits, light, mirrors and lenses. Laboratories emphasize application of physics concepts and quantitative problem solving skills. Intended for science majors.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Biological Science (5 credits)

One upper division course.

  • BIOL 310 Ecology
    5 credits

    This course covers the science of ecology, focusing on population and community ecology, the investigation of patterns in the distribution and abundance of organisms and the processes responsible. The content and methods of modern ecological research are emphasized. Students read ecological research papers and do field investigations, experiments and computer modeling. Most of the weekly labs take place outdoors. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 312 Evolution
    5 credits

    This course covers the science of evolutionary biology, including population genetics, microevolution, speciation, phylogenetics and macroevolution. The content and methods of modern research in evolutionary biology are emphasized; student read primary source scientific literature. Lab activities include field investigations, lab experiments, and computer modeling. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 316 Behavioral Ecology
    5 credits

    This course covers the science of animal behavioral ecology. The content and methods of modern ecological research are emphasized. Students read research papers in the field of animal behavior and conduct field investigations, experiments and computer modeling. Many of the weekly labs take place outdoors. Intended for biology majors.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Physical Science (5 credits)

One upper division course or set of courses; either CHEM 311 AND CHEM 311L or GEOL 314

  • CHEM 311 Environmental Chemistry
    3 credits

    This class addresses the principles of atmospheric chemistry, energy and climate changes, water chemistry, and soil chemistry. During the course of the semester, students will learn the chemistry behind modern challenges to our environment. It will include and examination of the sources, reactions, transport, and fates of different chemical species in the environment. The following topics will be covered: a) atmospheric chemistry and air pollution; b) energy and climate change; c) water chemistry and water pollution; d) toxic organic compounds e) wastes, soils and sediments.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • CHEM 311L Environmental Chemistry Lab
    2 credits

    This course is intended for Chemistry and Environmental Science majors; this course contributes to the Category 2 electives for the Chemistry major and Physical Science Core Courses for Environmental Science. This two-credit lab course must be taken concurrently with CHEM311 Environmental Chemistry. This course continues the introduction of the techniques, specialized equipment, instrumental methods and safety procedures that was begun in CHEM 112. Students get hands-on experience with the instrumentation, equipment, and hazardous material procedures. Students will learn techniques relevant to the study of atmospheric and water chemistry. Students will gain experience with bench analytical techniques such as titrations and instrumental analysis using mass spectrometry and atomic absorption.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • GEOL 314 Earth Surface Environments
    5 credits

    This course develops topics in earth surface processes, including geomorphology and general hydrology. Studies of Late Cenozoic landscape change will focus on glacial and fluvial processes in the Upper Midwest. We will examine surface water and Groundwater Hydrology with an emphasis on the Twin Cities and southern Minnesota. The course will employ college algebra skills to develop a semi-quantitative approach to groundwater and surface water hydrology. A mandatory Saturday Field Trip is an essential component of this course.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Economics and Political Science (4 credits)

One upper division course.

  • ECON 311 Economics of the Environment
    4 credits

    This course explores the economic aspects of environmental issues and regulations. Current incentives to degrade or preserve the environment are presented and the impact of present policies on those incentives are established. The tools of economic analysis are used to evaluate problems and suggest solutions.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Integrated Environmental Science (4-5 credits)

One upper division course or set of courses (as indicated) in each category.

  • ESCI 305 Earth's Climate, Past and Future
    4 credits

    A fundamental question surrounds discussion of the current evidence for recent global climate change: to what extent is climate variation a normal feature of earth-system history? Through a series of investigations using data from a variety of climate archives, this course develops the history of earths climate on a range of time scales. We will investigate the scientific data used in recognition of multiple controls on climate, including long- and short-term patterns in solar output, plate tectonic and ocean circulation patterns, variations in earths orbit, ocean oscillations, ice sheet dynamics, and biogeochemical cycles. Having established this background knowledge, students in this course will be well-equipped to analyze the evidence for human-caused climate change. Although this course is intended primarily for non-scientists, it builds on established quantitative skills and basic scientific knowledge of earth systems.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ESCI 315 Limnology
    5 credits

    This course covers the biology, chemistry and physics of aquatic habitats with an emphasis on the ecology of lakes in Minnesota. The content and methods of modern limnological research are emphasized. Labs focus on field and lab investigation of water bodies in the metropolitan area. Most of the weekly labs take place outdoors. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors and other qualified students.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ESCI 320 Ecosystem and Global Ecology
    5 credits

    This course covers ecosystem theory, nutrient cycling, energy flow, and related global environmental topics including acid rain, greenhouse effect, climate change and mercury pollution. The content and methods of modern ecosystems research are emphasized. Lab activities may include field investigations, lab experiments, and computer modeling. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors and other qualified students.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 315 Limnology
    5 credits

    This course covers the biology, chemistry and physics of aquatic habitats with an emphasis on the ecology of lakes in Minnesota. The content and methods of modern limnological research are emphasized. Labs focus on field and lab investigation of water bodies in the metropolitan area. Most of the weekly labs take place outdoors. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors and other qualified students.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 320 Ecosystem and Global Ecology
    5 credits

    This course covers ecosystem theory, nutrient cycling, energy flow, and related global environmental topics including acid rain, greenhouse effect, climate change and mercury pollution. The content and methods of modern ecosystems research are emphasized. Lab activities may include field investigations, lab experiments, and computer modeling. Intended for biology and life sciences teaching majors and other qualified students.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8

Capstone and Elective (10 or 11 credits)

Upper division courses chosen from the Core courses listed above and the additional courses listed below.

Must include at least one 400-level course.

  • BIOL 415 Pollution Ecology
    3 credits

    This course examines the ecology of environmental pollution from biological, paleolimnological and international perspectives. Topics include acidification, eutrophication, metal and organic contamination, species introductions, and climate change. Students develop skill with structured decision making, risk assessment and public presentation. Intended for biology majors and other qualified students.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 416 Invasion Biology
    3 credits

    BIOL 416 is intended to serve as an upper division elective within the Biology (B.A. and B.S.) and Environmental Science (B.S.) majors; as such, enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors within these majors. This advanced lecture course examines the biology of exotic organisms that cause ecological or economic harm upon establishment in a novel environment. Topics include the stages of biological invasion and the ecological processes that mediate them (e.g., propagule pressure, biotic interactions, disturbance), the impacts and management of invasive species, risk assessment and post-invasion evolution. Field trips to local ecosystems may be incorporated.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • BIOL 418 GIS for Natural Sciences
    3 credits

    Geographical information systems and their use in biology, particularly ecology and public health. Students learn to use current version of ArcGIS software and apply their knowledge to contemporary problems in the areas of spatial ecology, conservation biology and ecoepidemiology.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • STAT 353 Environmental Statistics
    4 credits

    This course covers the intermediate statistical methods in analyzing environmental and biological datasets. This course is built on the knowledge of an introductory statistics and hypothesis testing. The contents of the course include paired T-test, unpaired T-test, F-tests, one-way and two-way ANOVA, multivariate ANOVA, repeated measures, regression, principle component analysis and cluster analysis. Students will learn how to use statistical software to perform all the analyses.This course covers the intermediate statistical methods in analyzing environmental and biological datasets. This course is built on the knowledge of an introductory statistics and hypothesis testing. The contents of the course include paired T-test, unpaired T-test, F-tests, one-way and two-way ANOVA, multivariate ANOVA, repeated measures, regression, principle component analysis and cluster analysis. Students will learn how to use statistical software to perform all the analyses.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • GEOL 340 Water Resources
    3 credits

    Water use and management lie at the core of human civilization and of environmental quality. The first half of this course investigates the physical, chemical, and geological aspects of hydrology that determine the availability of water resources around the globe. The remainder of the course investigates the management of water resources in municipal and agricultural settings, wastewater management and treatment, water protection legislation, and water management case studies. The current and expected future impacts of climate change on water resources will be considered throughout the course.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • Please verify that your Course List is separated by ',' (comma) or 'OR'
  • ESCI 350I Environmental Science Individualized Internship
    0 credits

    Students obtain internships in selected areas of study to gain deeper understand of knowledge, skills and the context of a given field. Site supervisors give guidance and direction to customized internship projects. Faculty members serve as liaisons between the internship sites and the university, providing information to students and potential supervisors and supervising the learning experience. Students should contact the Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship (ICES) at Metropolitan State University for more information.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ESCI 469 Seminars in Environmental Science
    1 credits

    This course takes advantage of the many scientific seminar presentations offered in the Twin Cities Area by educational institutions such as Metropolitan State University and the University of Minnesota and by non-profit organizations such as the Minnesota Native Plant Society, Minnesota Geological Society, St. Paul Audubon Society etc. Each student chooses ten one-hour seminars to attend. This course can, with instructor permission, be taken more than once for credit. Intended for Environmental Science majors in their senior year.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ESCI 479 Advanced Topics in Environmental Science
    0 credits

    This course covers advanced topics in environmental science that vary from semester to semester. Because the content of each section of this course is different, students may take this course more than once for credit. Intended for Environmental Science majors in their senior year.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8
  • ESCI 489 Senior Research in Environmental Science
    0 credits

    This course provides students with laboratory or field research experience under the supervision of a resident science faculty member. Students must complete a research proposal and it must be approved by the instructor before registeringfor the course. Prior successful completion of an upper division course with the instructor is generally required. Intended for Environmental Science majors in their senior year.

    Course Outline Class Schedule <<<<<<< HEAD ======= >>>>>>> 35179410ff55d83bece68cc1d84aadaa0fa744b8