Environmental Science Major

Program Overview

The Environmental Science Program provides an interdisciplinary perspective on today’s many environmental concerns and prepares students for careers in the ever-growing field of environmental science. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of environmental issues from the perspectives of biological science, physical science, and a range of relevant disciplines in the social sciences, humanities and business. The strength and uniqueness of the Environmental Science Program at Saint Joseph’s University is a strong foundation in the natural sciences, which is critical to understanding the scientific concepts that underlie all environmental issues. Majors will work through a course of study that will develop an understanding of the basic principles and concepts of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, then move on to a series of upper-level courses in biological sciences, physical sciences, and environmental studies. By choosing upper division courses in the areas that most interest them, each student will have the ability to design a unique course of study that will prepare him or her for a particular environmentally related career. A semester-long internship affords students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working in the field of environmental science.

Learning Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Students will develop an understanding of the importance of the environment, the extent to which societal actions impact it, the need for sustainability and how sustainability can be achieved.

Objective 1.1: Students will be able to describe the basic environmental challenges facing the world today, their causes, and possible solutions

Objective 1.2: Students will be able to describe the scientific, ethical, and moral imperatives behind the need to protect and sustain a healthy environment, and the role of environmental science and environmental scientists in those efforts.

Goal 2: Students will develop an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing efforts to protect the environment and developing a sustainable society.

Objective 2.1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the linkages between environmental science and non-natural science disciplines such as business, economics, history, politics, sociology, etc.

Goal 3: Students will develop a strong foundation in the physical and natural sciences, including environmental science, biology, chemistry, and physics.

Objective 3.1: Students will demonstrate knowledge of basic biology, including cell biology, genetics, and organismal biology

Objective 3.2: Students will demonstrate knowledge of general chemistry and physics.

Goal 4: Students will develop the skills needed for a successful career in Environmental Science, including experimental design, surveying of scientific literature, data collection, data reduction and the presentation of scientific conclusions to a range of audiences.

Objective 4.1: Students will demonstrate competency in operating basic laboratory equipment required to quantify and measure accurately.

Objective 4.2: Students will apply skills in data reduction including choosing and interpreting appropriate statistical tests.

Objective 4.3: Students will be able to develop cogent, well structured, and researched written and oral presentations of scientific material.

Goal 5: Students will understand the types of careers available to environmental scientists, create connections with people in the field of environmental science, and receive hands-on experience in the working world.

Objective 5.1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the role of environmental science and scientists in societal efforts towards sustainability and complete an internship applying their knowledge to real-world issues alongside environmental professionals.

Requirements for the Environmental Science Major

The traditional undergraduate programs include 40 courses distributed across three components: A General Education component divided into Signature Courses, Variable Courses, and an Integrative Learning requirement; a Major and Divisional component; and Free Electives. In addition to course requirements as specified in each area, students must complete one certified course in each of the following overlay areas:

  1. Diversity, Globalization or Non-western Area Studies,
  2. Ethics Intensive, and
  3. Writing Intensive. Overlay requirements are part of the forty-course requirement.

General Education Signature Courses

See this page about Signature courses. Six courses

General Education Variable Courses

See this page about Variable courses. Six to Nine courses

MAT 155Fundamentals of Calculus3
or MAT 161 Calculus I
Natural Science
BIO 101
Bio I: Cells
and Bio I: Cells Lab

General Education Overlays

See this page about Overlays.

General Education Integrative Learning Component

See this page about Integrative Learning Component. Three courses

BIO 102
Bio II: Genetics
and Bio II: Genetics Lab
CHM 120
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Lab I
MAT 128Applied Statistics3

GEP Electives

Six courses

Major Requirements

Major Concentration

Fifteen courses

BIO 201
Bio III: Organismic Biology
and Bio III: Organismic Biol Lab
Environmental Science
ENV 106
Exploring the Earth
and Exploring the Earth Laboratory
ENV 102Environ Theory & Ethics Sem3
CHM 125
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry Lab II
CHM 210
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry Lab I
Select one of the following:
General Physics I
and General Physics Laboratory I
University Physics I
and University Physics Lab I
ENV 490Environmental Sci Internship (junior or senior year)3
Select one from each of the following groups:
Group A: Biological Sciences
Animal Behavior
Plant Physiological Ecology
Plant Systematics
Invertebrate Zoology
Applied&Environmental Micro
Group B: Physical Science
Environmental Chemistry
Water Chemistry
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry Lab II
Select one of the following:
General Physics II
and General Physics Laboratory II
University Physics II
and University Physics Lab II
Group C: Environmental Studies
Geographic Information Systems
Economic Development
Environmental Economics
Nature Writing in America
Writing and Environmt Justice
American Environmental History
Organizational Sustainability
People, Planet and Profit
Marketing Study Tour
Food and Justice
Environmental Politics in Am
Fair Trade:Coffee-Co-Op to Cup
Select four additional upper level environmental science electives 1