Required Courses:

Course #Credit HoursCourse Name
_____BIOL 2104General Biology I
_____BIOL 2114General Biology II
_____BIOL 2124Botany
_____CHEM 2004General Chemistry I*
_____CHEM 2104General Chemistry II
_____GEOL 1904Introduction to Geology
_____MATH 1413Trigonometry*
ORMATH 2314Calculus I
_____NCSI 3611Research Methods I
_____NCSI 3621Research Methods II
_____NSCI 4611Senior Research Project
_____PHYS 2114Introduction to Physics
ORPHYS 2214General Physics I
ANDPHYS 2224General Physics II
_____ENVS 2104Environmental Science I
_____ENVS 3353Watershed Hydrology
ORGEOL 3503Hydrogeology
_____ENVS 3403Environmental Policy & Regulation
_____ENVS 3503Applied Environmental Regulation
_____ENVS 3564Introduction to GIS
_____ENVS 4204Wetlands Ecology & Regulations
_____MATH 2613Statistics for Biologists

Additional hours: Students will choose 20 credit hours of appropriate upper-level courses chosen to meet their professional goals. The student may choose the Applied Environmental Science concentration (see below) or another concentration of appropriate upper-level courses.

Foreign Language: Not required.

Liberal Studies Program: As outlined on the appropriate Liberal Studies Check Sheet.

* Indicates courses that also meet Liberal Studies requirements.

Among requirements for graduation, the student must have a 2.00 average in the major and successfully complete a research project. An internship with an approved business, agency, or other organization involved in environmental work is strongly recommended.

Applied Environmental Science Concentration
Students will choose a minimum of 20 credits from the following with the restriction that CHEM 303, Environmental Chemistry; ENVS 333, Environmental Engineering; and ENVS 430, Environmental Risk Analysis must be included in the minimum of 20 credit hours.

_____BIOL 3604Ecology
_____CHEM 3034Environmental and Toxicological Chemistry**
_____ENVS 3303Environmental Engineering**
_____ENVS 3354Watershed Hydrology
_____ENVS 4054Applied Remote Sensing
_____ENVS 4303Environmental Risk Analysis**
_____ENVS 4654Advanced GIS
_____ENVS 5501Seminar
_____GEOL 3504Hydrogeology

** Courses required for the Applied Environmental Science Concentration

Environmental science is a multidisciplinary field, and the program is designed for students to obtain an understanding of the basic principles and applications of the following disciplines: biology, chemistry, physics, geology, regulatory and environmental policy, wetland ecology, and scientific research and writing. Students graduating from the environmental science program will be trained to collaborate with industries and environmental agencies to advance economic progress while maintaining sustainable ecosystems through compliance with environmental regulations. In addition to introducing basic scientific and environmental topics, we strongly emphasize developing the skills needed to understand, assess, predict, and mitigate important environmental issues and problems.

The goals of the environmental science major include preparing students for

  1. advanced graduate studies,
  2. immediate employment at the bachelor’s level, and
  3. responsible citizen participation in a world where environmental concerns and decisions are becoming increasingly important.

The program is structured to allow students to specialize in the biological, chemical, or geological aspects of environmental science of their choice by having 20 credits of electives. We also offer an applied environmental science track of recommended electives that specifically prepare students to work in the environmental science field upon graduation. Many students opt to dual major with biology if they plan to manage natural resources or chemistry if they are interested in toxicology. We also highly recommend a minor in geographic information systems (GIS) since it is one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country.

Practical Applications

Practical techniques and applications, including field experiences, research, and internships, are encouraged. We provide assistance and frequently direct support (financial and otherwise) for qualified students who wish to acquire practical experience by participating in ongoing research and educational projects, obtaining internships with environmental agencies, firms, and organizations, attending professional conferences and symposiums, and taking advantage of related opportunities. Such activities help make the public and potential employers aware of what we can offer, improve the employment outlook for our students, and provide financial aid for our majors. Students are also required to conduct a professional-level Senior Research Project. These projects can also provide opportunities for students to publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals, opening the doors to enter graduate programs across the country. Two Senior Research Project examples focused on assessing machine-learning algorithms and image- and lidar-derived variables for GEOBIA classification of mining and mine reclamation (published in the International Journal of Remote Sensing with a student co-author and funded by AmericaView and the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science) and characterizing trophic webs of Louisiana Waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla) using stable isotopes of C and N (funded by a Ledford Scholarship from the Appalachian College Association).

Employment Opportunities

The overwhelming majority of environmental science jobs are with consulting firms or governmental agencies that process, handle and remediate (clean up) hazardous materials or with industries that are attempting to stay in compliance with environmental regulations. Here in West Virginia, the energy industries (coal, oil, and gas) represent a significant source of jobs for Environmental Scientists. Additional employment opportunities are available with agencies and consultant firms dealing with land use regulation, especially wetland delineation and resource conservation. A growing need for qualified individuals exists in this field. Nearly all reviews of future employment prospects include environmental work among the major long-term needs. Some of the areas where individuals trained in environmental sciences are currently needed are consulting companies, engineering firms, energy companies, planning boards, government agencies, and non-profit organizations (The Nature Conservancy, land trusts, etc.) are among those seeking qualified graduates. Pollution compliance experts are also in great demand in nearly all industries. Specific marketable skills that our environmental science graduates receive are risk analysis, environmental site assessments, GIS spatial analysis and mapping, wetland delineation, and applications of regulatory compliance.

Faculty and Facilities

The environmental science program aims to be demanding, rewarding, and truly interdisciplinary. Currently involved with the program are faculty with special interests in such diverse fields as wildlife ecology, aquatic ecosystems, hydrogeology, environmental risks, GIS, global environmental problems, remediation, and wetland delineation. Students will be able to work closely with faculty, participate in field trips and special projects, and be given individual consideration not feasible in large universities.