Department of Environmental Science

BS in Environmental Science

Career Options

According the 2010-11 edition of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of environmental scientists and specialists is expected to increase by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Career Fields Include:

Environmental Scientist

Environmental Technician

Environmental Consultant

Environmental Engineer

Conservation Biologist

Ecologist

Environmental science students receive a broad range of environmental courses. They may choose to focus on water resources, energy, or applied ecology. Students studying water resources focus on the flows and quality of water in various environments including streams, lakes, aquifers, and soils, and receive comprehensive training in the biology, chemistry, and ecology of soils and water bodies. The focus is on human-influenced and natural processes affecting soil quality and water quality. Courses emphasize watershed and groundwater hydrology and hydrogeology, water quality assessment and control, soil and water conservation, bioremediation and phytoremediation, and watershed management and planning. Students are often involved in faculty research programs, and present the results of their research at local and national conferences.

Students who focus on energy take courses in energy efficency, renewable energy, and energy systems, in addition to their ecological and environmental courses.

Applied Ecology is the study of interrelationships between organisms and their environment, within the context of seeking to understand and mitigate the impacts of human activities on those systems. Students are provided with the core science background necessary to conduct environmental field and laboratory research. Students then gain familiarity with specific ecological systems, concepts, and methods through courses such as Water Quality Assessment, Forest Ecology, Wetlands Ecology, Field Methods, Environmental Entomology, Limnology and Plant Ecology.

Applied ecology courses are laboratory-intensive and quantitative, a major goal being the acquisition of advanced skills in utilizing analytical tools - such as statistical software, mapping applications and geographic information systems (GIS). This combination of a strong science core with applied environmental technologies allows an Environmental Science graduate to pursue either graduate study in the sciences or immediate entry-level employment with an environmental engineering firm, government agency or non-governmental organization.

The minimum number of credits required for the major is 72 (depending on which of the degrees is selected) plus the 34 credits required of the University's Core curriculum. Note that these Departmental major requirements include 13 credits of Core curriculum. In order to graduate with a minimum of 120 credits, the student must not require any remedial work and all electives (taken here or transferred) must fit into the student's program of study, which is approved for each student by the Departmental faculty. A student must achieve at least a 2.0 grade point average and must earn at least a C- in each course applied toward completion of the major.

Required courses for all majors in the department
    
     ESP 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science
     ESP 102 Fundamentals of Environmental Science Lab
     ESP 125 Introduction to Environmental Ecology
     ESP 126 Introduction to Environmental Ecology Lab
     ESP 150 Field Immersion
     ESP 197 Research Skills Lab
     ESP 203 Environmental Communication
     ESP 280 Research and Analytical Methods
     ESP 340 Environmental Regulations
     ESP 400 Internship (between junior and senior year)
     ESP 401 Environmental Impact Assessment and Lab (capstone)
     ESP 475 Senior Seminar

Choose one tools course

  • Suggested tools courses include: MAT 120, MAT 220, ESP/GEO 108, GEO 205, GEO 308

Required courses specific to students in the BS in Environmental Science
     CHY 113 Principles of Chemistry I
     CHY 114 Laboratory Techniques I
     CHY 115 Principles of Chemistry II
     CHY 116 Laboratory Techniques II
     CHY 233 Analytical Chemistry & Lab
     MAT 152 Calculus A
     ESP 250 Soils and Land Use
     ESP 360 Water Quality Assessment and Control
     ESP 260 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
          or ESP 412 Field Ecosystem Ecology

Choose Physics or Biology lecture and lab:
     PHY 111 Elements of Physics I and
     PHY 114 Introduction to Physics Lab
                      OR
     BIO 105 Biological Principles I: Cellular Biology
     BIO 106 Laboratory Biology

Electives:

Choose two environmental science classes 200-level or higher.

For more information, contact either:

Rob Sanford

rsanford@usm.maine.edu

207.780.5756

or

Travis Wagner

twagner@usm.maine.edu

207.228.8450