Environmental Science, BS

Program Description

Introduction

The mission of the Bachelor of Science program in Environmental Science is to educate students to succeed in their chosen careers, to transfer environmental knowledge to the community and to peers, and to provide an environmentally literate workforce and citizenry. The program is intended to provide the environmental science major with a broad foundation in the sciences and mathematics, as well as specialized knowledge in Marine and Coastal Resources, Earth System Science, Environmental Health and Monitoring, Policy and Regulations, and Science Education concentration areas. The environmental science curriculum prepares students for career positions in environmental science or science education, or for further professional development.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Demonstrate a command of environmental science concepts and principles at the undergraduate level.
  • Analyze and interpret a variety of environmental science data, and
  • Communicate environmental science information effectively at the undergraduate level, in oral and written form, with appropriate use of technology.

Fast Track from Bachelor's to Master's Degree

The university allows the opportunity for high-achieving students to count a select number of graduate credits toward their undergraduate degree and thereby obtain a graduate degree at an accelerated pace. For more information, see Fast Track Environmental Science, BS and Environmental Science, MS

General Requirements

Students who wish to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science may do so by following one of five curriculum plans referred to as concentrations. The concentration options include Earth Systems Science, Marine and Coastal Resources, Environmental Health and Monitoring, Policy and Regulations, and Science Education. A prospective 4-8 level science teacher could obtain a BS in Environmental Science while following the science education concentration. Information on the BS in Environmental Science - Science Education Concentration is found in the College of Science and Engineering Science, Mathematics and Technology Education section of the catalog. Details of the requirements for obtaining a teaching certificate are provided in the College of Education and Human Development section of this catalog.

The minimum requirement for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science with a concentration in Earth Systems Science, Marine and Coastal Resources, Environmental Health and Monitoring, or Policy and Regulations is a total of 120 hours.

Requirements Credit Hours
First-Year Seminars (when applicable)1 0-2
Core Curriculum Program 42
Foundation Courses 16
Environmental Science Major Requirements 24
Concentration Area 27-31
Electives as needed 11
Total Credit Hours 120-126

Program Requirements

Full-time, First-year Students
First year seminars0-2
First-Year Seminar I *
First-Year Seminar II *
Core Curriculum Program
University Core Curriculum42
Recommended courses are: 1
Environmental Science I: Intro to Environmental Science
Biology I
Physical Geology
Statistics for Life *,^
Calculus I
Foundation Courses
No foundation courses may be taken on a pass/no pass (P/NP) basis.
CHEM 1411General Chemistry I *4
CHEM 1412General Chemistry II4
GISC 1470Geospatial Systems I4
Select one of the following depending on concentration:4
General Physics I
University Physics I
Environmental Science Major Requirements
ESCI 3202Professional Skills2
ESCI 3351Oceanography3
ESCI 3403Introduction to Meteorology4
ESCI 4335Climate and Climate Variability3
ESCI 4498Internship in Environmental Science 22
ESCI 4202Issues in Environmental Science2
Select two of the following with written approval of faculty mentor:8
Environmental Biology
Environmental Geology
Environmental Chemistry
Concentration Area
Select one of the following Concentrations:27-31
Electives
Select 11 hours of electives as needed11
Total Hours120-126

Concentration Area

Students must take a total of 27-31 semester hours in prescribed courses and electives to complete a concentration in Earth Systems Science, Marine and Coastal Resources, Environmental Health and Monitoring, or Policy and Regulations. Designated electives must be approved in writing by the student’s faculty mentor. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their faculty mentor regularly.

Earth System Science Concentration

This concentration is appropriate for students preparing for careers in earth system science, meteorology, or other fields. Students preparing for graduate school are strongly encouraged to take additional hours in consultation with their faculty mentor. Additional courses in Mathematics are strongly recommended.

In addition to the courses listed below, it is recommended that students choosing this concentration take Calculus I (MATH 2413) as part of the University Core requirements and University Physics I (PHYS 2425) as part of the Foundations requirements.

Earth System Science Concentration Requirements
MATH 2414Calculus II4
MATH 3311Linear Algebra3
MATH 3342Applied Probability and Statistics *,^3
CHEM 3411Organic Chemistry I4
or CHEM 4423 Physical Chemistry I
Designated Electives
Select 13 hours with written approval of the faculty mentor (at least 7 hours must be upper-level) of the following:13
Principles of Ecology
Physical Oceanography
Discrete Mathematics I
Differential Equations
Calculus III
Geomorphology
Marine Geoscience
Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
Hydrogeology
Visualization for GIS
1-5 hours of approved electives
Total Hours27

Marine and Coastal Resources Concentration

This concentration is appropriate for students planning careers in marine and coastal resources research or management. Students preparing for graduate school are strongly encouraged to take additional hours in consultation with their faculty mentor.

In addition to the courses listed below, it is recommended that students choosing this concentration take either MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) or MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) as part of the University Core requirements and take either PHYS 1401 General Physics I (4 sch) or PHYS 2425 University Physics I (4 sch) as part of the Foundations requirements. MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) is strongly recommended for students anticipating graduate school or research careers; also, it is a prerequisite to some of the optional courses listed below under the concentration. If MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) is not taken, then MATH 3342 Applied Probability and Statistics (3 sch) is required from the designated elective hours.

Marine and Coastal Resources Concentration Requirements
BIOL 1407Biology II4
ESCI 4301Environmental Regulations3
Designated Electives
Select 24 hours with written approval of the faculty mentor (at least 18 hours must be upper-level) from the following:24
Microbiology
Principles of Ecology
Limnology
Marine Ecology
Estuarine Organisms
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry II
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Theory
Chemical Oceanography
Environmental Chemistry
Physical Oceanography
Internship in Environmental Science
Geomorphology
Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
Introduction to Petroleum Geology
Hydrogeology
Geospatial Systems II
Visualization for GIS
Applied Probability and Statistics *,^
General Physics II
1-5 hours of approved electives
Total Hours31

Environmental Health and Monitoring Concentration

This concentration is appropriate for students planning careers in environmental health, environmental assessment and remediation, and environmental management. Students preparing for graduate school are strongly encouraged to take additional hours in consultation with their faculty mentor.

In addition to the courses listed below, it is recommended that students choosing this concentration take either MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) or MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) as part of the University Core requirements and take either PHYS 1401 General Physics I (4 sch) or PHYS 2425 University Physics I (4 sch) as part of the Foundations requirements. MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) is strongly recommended for students anticipating graduate school or research careers; also, it is a prerequisite to some of the optional courses listed below under the concentration. If MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) is not taken, then MATH 3342 Applied Probability and Statistics (3 sch) is required from the designated-elective hours. 

Environmental Health and Monitoring Concentration Requirements
BIOL 1407Biology II4
BIOL 2421Microbiology4
ESCI 4301Environmental Regulations3
ESCI 4320Environmental Health3
CHEM 3411Organic Chemistry I4
Designated Electives
Select 13 hours with written approval of the faculty mentor (at least 11 hours must be upper-level) from the following:13
Physiology
Microbial Diversity and Ecology
Environmental Microbiology
Immunology
Immunology
Parasitology
Marine Ecology
Introduction to Toxicology
Organic Chemistry II
Quantitative Analysis
Instrumental Analysis
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Theory
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Theory
Applied Probability and Statistics *,^
1-5 hours of approved electives
Total Hours31

Policy and Regulations Concentration

This concentration is appropriate for students anticipating careers in environmental or natural resource regulation or environmental law. Students preparing for graduate school are strongly encouraged to take additional hours in consultation with their faculty mentor.

In addition to the courses listed below, it is recommended that students choosing this concentration take either MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) or MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) as part of the University Core requirements and take either PHYS 1401 General Physics I (4 sch) or PHYS 2425 University Physics I (4 sch) as part of the Foundations requirements. MATH 2413 Calculus I (4 sch) is strongly recommended for students anticipating graduate school or research careers; also, it is a prerequisite to some of the optional courses listed below under the concentration. If MATH 1442 Statistics for Life (4 sch) is not taken, then MATH 3342 Applied Probability and Statistics (3 sch) is required from the designated-elective hours.

Policy and Regulations Concentration Requirements
ESCI 4301Environmental Regulations3
ESCI 4320Environmental Health3
Designated Electives
Select 21 hours with written approval of the faculty mentor (at least 15 hours must be upper-level) from the following:21
Biology II
Principles of Ecology
Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Theory
Oil Spill Prevention and Response Theory
The Legislative Process
Introduction to Public Policy
Applied Probability and Statistics *,^
6-9 hours of approved electives
Total Hours27

Science Education Concentration

Information on the Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science with a science education concentration is found in the College of Science and Engineering, Science, Mathematics and Technology Education section of the catalog.

Courses

ESCI 1401  Environmental Science I: Intro to Environmental Science  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

Principles of the scientific method and critical thinking provide a foundation for subsequent consideration of environmental issues through a multidisciplinary approach. Laboratory exercises and local field experiences reinforce concepts introduced in the lectures. Fall, Spring.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
TCCNS: ENVR 1401  
ESCI 1490  Selected Topics  
1-4 Semester Credit Hours (1-4 Lecture Hours)  

Subject materials variable. May be repeated for credit when topics are significantly different. Faculty approval required. Offered on sufficient demand.

ESCI 3202  Professional Skills  
2 Semester Credit Hours (2 Lecture Hours)  

Presentation and discussion of selected topics relating to the professional skills of practicing environmental scientists including literature searches, reviews, paper presentation, professional and career opportunities, professional ethics. Fall, Spring.

ESCI 3351  Oceanography  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Methods and principles of oceanography. A survey of oceanography with emphasis placed on the physical processes affecting water and water masses of the world oceans. Fall (on sufficient demand), Spring.

Prerequisite: CHEM 1412, ESCI 1401 or GEOL 1403.

ESCI 3403  Introduction to Meteorology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

This course is an introduction to meteorology and the dynamics of planetary atmospheres. Emphasis on atmospheric accretion, composition, evolution, structure, and dynamics. Lab exercises cover basic measurement techniques, weather maps, and forecasting. Fall, Spring (on sufficient demand).

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 3443  Environmental Biology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

Historical, contemporary, and projected concerns of human activities on biological aspects of ecosystem functioning.

Prerequisite: BIOL 1407.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 4130  Oil Spill Prevention and Response Lab  
1 Semester Credit Hour (2 Lab Hours)  

Practical techniques for control, containment, countermeasures, removal, and disposal of oil spills in an environmentally safe manner. Field exercises will include use of boats, booms and skimmers. Fall, Spring, Summer (on sufficient demand).

Prerequisite: ESCI 4320*.
* May be taken concurrently.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 4170  Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Lab  
1 Semester Credit Hour (2 Lab Hours)  

Practical techniques for handling, reducing, and disposing of hazardous wastes in an environmentally safe manner. Lab exercises in use of personal protective gear and safe handling of hazardous substances. Fall, Spring, Summer (on sufficient demand).

Prerequisite: ESCI 4270.

Co-requisite: ESCI 4270, SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 4201  Scientific Diving Techniques  
2 Semester Credit Hours (2 Lecture Hours)  

Theory, science, and art of underwater diving technology and its application to scientific objectives. Course helps fulfill some training requirements of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Guidelines for scientific diving.

ESCI 4202  Issues in Environmental Science  
2 Semester Credit Hours (2 Lecture Hours)  

Exploration of major issues in environmental science posing past, present and future challenges. Selected readings, student presentations and papers.

Prerequisite: ESCI 1401.

ESCI 4230  Oil Spill Prevention and Response Theory  
2 Semester Credit Hours (2 Lecture Hours)  

Historical perspective of laws and regulations governing oil spill prevention and response. Current methods for control, containment, countermeasures, removal, and disposal of oil spills in an environmentally safe manner. Fall, Spring, Summer (on sufficient demand).

Co-requisite: ESCI 4130.  
ESCI 4270  Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Theory  
2 Semester Credit Hours (2 Lecture Hours)  

Study of the laws and regulations of hazardous waste management from an historical perspective followed by current techniques for handling, reducing, and disposing of hazardous wastes in an environmentally safe manner. Fall, Spring, Summer (on sufficient demand).

Co-requisite: ESCI 4230.  
ESCI 4301  Environmental Regulations  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

A survey of state and federal environmental laws and regulations, and their impact on the environment. Case studies of environmental issues and legislated regulations.

Prerequisite: POLS 2305 and 2306.

ESCI 4320  Environmental Health  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Overview of the toxicology and epidemiology of pollutants in the air, water and soil. Associations of environmental exposure with adverse health effects such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive outcomes; also chemical markers and symptoms of disease. Pollutants studied include lead, asbestos, radiation, radon, noise, metals, halogenated hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, silica, indoor air quality, formaldehyde, and outdoor air pollutants. Offered on sufficient demand.

ESCI 4321  Introduction to Soil and Groundwater Restoration  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Introduction to methods for restoring contaminated soil and groundwater by examining the factors and processes influencing the efficacy of remediation systems. An emphasis will be placed on the scientific principles upon which soil and groundwater remediation is based. Cross listed with GEOL 4321.

ESCI 4322  Introduction to Industrial Hygiene  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Introduction to health protection practices in the industrial environment. Health basis for OSHA laws, regulations. Sampling and testing procedures.

ESCI 4324  Introduction to Industrial Toxicology  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Review of human physiology, general concepts of toxicology: dose-response relationship, interactions between the host and the agents, risk assessment, to provide an introductory understanding of toxicology related to the chemicals in the workplace.

ESCI 4332  Wetlands and Water Quality  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Introduction to wetland ecosystems (natural, constructed and restored) with an emphasis on the role of wetlands in water quality. Topics include wetland systems, their history and role in society, relationships between biology, geology, ecology, hydrology and chemistry in wetland environments.

Prerequisite: BIOL 3428 and CHEM 4443 or ESCI 3443.

ESCI 4335  Climate and Climate Variability  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Course intended to guide environmental science majors in developing a conceptual understanding of Earth's global climate and its variability. Review of past climates, present mean state of the climate system, climate variability from seasonal to multidecadal time scales, and climate change. Special attention given to climates of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and surrounding land regions. Plausible climate-change scenarios, as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies are also discussed. Cross listed with ATSC 4335. Spring.

Prerequisite: (ESCI 3351 or 3403) and (PHYS 1401 or 2425).

ESCI 4340  Severe Weather  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Introduction to mesoscale weather systems including thunderstorms, squall lines and hurricanes, as well as the mechanisms of tornado and lighting. Methods of observing, analyzing, and predicting these severe weather systems with the interpretation of satellite and radar images will also be introduced in this class.

Prerequisite: ESCI 3403.

ESCI 4344  Air Pollution and the Clean Air Act  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Introduction to the chemistry and physics of air pollution and regulations. Topics include photochemistry, acid rain, air pollution meteorology and dispersion, global change, and the Clean Air Act.

ESCI 4360  Physical Oceanography  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

Physical description of the sea, physical properties of seawater and sea ice, methods and measurements, wind-driven ocean circulation, thermohaline ocean circulation, boundary processes, waves, tides and mixing. Seasonal and interannual variability such as El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomena. Implications for marine biology, marine geology, human impacts, other topics. Fall.

Prerequisite: PHYS 1401 or 2425.

ESCI 4365  Occupational Safety and Accident Prevention  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

This course provides students with fundamental knowledge of regulatory requirements on occupational safety and practical techniques on accident prevention in the work environment. Offered on sufficient demand.

ESCI 4370  Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response  
3 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours)  

HAZARDOUS WASTE OPERATIONS AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE Study of the laws and regulations of hazardous waste management from an historical perspective followed by current techniques for handling, reducing, and disposing of hazardous wastes in an environmentally safe manner. Lab exercises in use of personal protective gear and safe handling of hazardous substances. SMTE 0096 is a co-requisite for this course. Documented completion of this safety training is required early in the semester for continued participation in this course. Safety training given during a laboratory meeting early in the semester is required for continued participation in this course.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 4408  Environmental Microbiology  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

Relationships between microorganisms and their biotic and abiotic environment. Current topics such as air quality (i.e., molds), water quality and bioremediation will be discussed. Laboratory will include techniques for sampling from soil, air and water. Offered on sufficient demand.

Prerequisite: BIOL 2421.

Co-requisite: SMTE 0096.  
ESCI 4480  Environmental Site Assessment  
4 Semester Credit Hours (3 Lecture Hours, 2 Lab Hours)  

Interdisciplinary application of environmental regulations, risk assessment to specific examples. Knowledge of United States environmental regulations assumed; ESCI 4301 Environmental Regulations recommended.

ESCI 4490  Selected Topics  
4 Semester Credit Hours (4 Lecture Hours, 4 Lab Hours)  

Subject materials variable. May be repeated for credit when topics are significantly different. Faculty approval required. Offered on sufficient demand.

ESCI 4496  Directed Independent Study  
1-4 Semester Credit Hours  

Requires a formal proposal of study to be completed in advance of registration and to be approved by the supervising faculty, the Chairperson, and the Dean of the College. Fall, Spring, Summer.

ESCI 4498  Internship in Environmental Science  
1-4 Semester Credit Hours (4 Lecture Hours)  

Two to four semester hours of credit may be earned by working in an internship position in a governmental agency or industry.