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Earn An Accredited Degree In Environmental Sciences

When you enter Northern Arizona University’s bachelor’s degree program in Environmental Sciences, you will focus on environmental issues, responsible environmental management and how to predict environmental change. With classes offered on NAU’s Yuma branch campus, you’ll gain a foundation in the science behind sustainability and learn about environmental policymaking.

Solve Environmental Issues Through Science & Sustainability

Completing the bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences prepares you for an immediate career. You will gain real-world experience and network with potential employers through fieldwork and undergraduate research classes. Graduate school is an option but not a requirement for many careers in the environmental science field.

Potential careers include:

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Planner
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Policy Maker

Catalog Information

Learn more about the program options by viewing the catalog information below. Catalog information is displayed for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Interdisciplinary Studies - Environmental Sciences

Campus Locations

Show locations that offer this degree:
In-Person
Click a pin on the map at the left or search/select:
Degree Information
Online
In-Person
Blended
B
120 units
Maximum Transfer Units
64
120

University Requirements

University Requirements
  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.

     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • 28 units of Environmental Sciences specialization requirements

  • Completion of a Concentration, Minor, or Certificate

  • Completion of Computer Literacy, Communication Skills, and Science or Language Requirements

  • Up to 9 units of specialization prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy specialization requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required STA 270
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate Required
Foreign Language Optional
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Research Optional
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Details

  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Liberal Studies Requirement
    • Up to 9 units of specialization prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy specialization requirements.
    • You may not use the specific courses in your Concentration to satisfy liberal studies requirements.
    • Students with a completed AGEC from Arizona Community Colleges will have met the 35 units of liberal studies requirements.
    • Students with a completed IGETC from California Community Colleges will have met the 35 units of liberal studies requirements.
Major Requirements
  • Multi-use of coursework is not permitted within the Major Requirements. Major Requirements include Specialization, Communication, Computer Literacy, Language and Science.

  • Minor, Concentration, or Certificate

  • Choose one of the following (15-18 units):

    Concentration (15 units)
    Take at least 15 units that include a minimum of 3 units in each of the follow ing blocks: Ethical Reasoning; Creative Inquiry; Scientific Reasoning; Changing Worlds; and Cultural Perspectives. Courses used to satisfy this requirement may not have been used to satisfy any other requirement for this degree. At least 9 units must be taken at Northern Arizona University and at least 6 units of the 9 units must be upper-division (300 or 400-level).

  • Minor (18 units)
    You may also fulfill this requirement by completing a minor outside your specialization field, instead of either a concentration or certificate. The minor, which will require at least 18 units, must be completed according to the requirements listed in your catalog of graduation. Refer to specific academic areas within this catalog for information about the coursework requirements for particular minors you may be interested in. (Please note that not all minors are available statewide or online.)

  • Certificate (15 units)
    You may also fulfill this requirement by completing a certificate outside your specialization field, instead of either a concentration or a minor. The certificate, which will require at least 15 units, must be completed according to the requirements listed in your catalog of graduation. Refer to specific academic areas within this catalog for information about the coursework requirements for particular certificates you may be interested in. (Please note that not all certificates are available statewide or online.)
Interdisciplinary Studies Requirements
  • Communication Requirements (6 units)

    Choose 6 units in the following two categories. 

    • Performance-based courses, select one from the following (3 units)
      • CST 111, CST 311, CST 312, CST 314, CST 315CST 318 (Performance-based courses are defined as having at least 51 percent of the evaluation of the student being based upon oral performance.)
      • Or advisor approved
    • Theory-based courses, select one from the following (3 units)
  • Please note that you cannot use CLEP or locally prepared exams to satisfy this requirement. Transfer credit used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the program director.


  • Foreign Language or Science Requirement Option (18-19 units)

    Foreign Language Requirement Option (19 units)

    Foreign Language Requirement (16 units)
    You must demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English that is equivalent to four terms of university coursework in the same language. You may satisfy this requirement by taking language courses or by testing out of all or part of it by taking CLEP, or other exams.
     
    AND

    Computer Literacy (3 units)
    This coursework must help you to understand, in general, the technical components of computers and information systems, how to solve problems using information systems technology, word processing, spreadsheet use, database management, graphic information software, website development, graphic design and use of statistical analysis software. Subject to advisor approval.

  • OR

    Science Requirement Option (18 units)
  • Science Requirement, select from the following (12 units):

    • ANT 101, ANT 250
    • GSP 130, GSP 150
    • Courses with Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Mathematics, Nutrition, Physical Science, Physics, Statistics prefixes. Please note that other courses must be approved by the program director.
  • AND

    Computer Literacy (6 units)

    This coursework must help you to understand, in general, the technical components of computers and information systems, how to solve problems using information systems technology, word processing, spreadsheet use, database management, graphic information software, website development, graphic design and use of statistical analysis software. Subject to advisor approval.

    • Select ISM 120 or BBA 293 (3 units)
    • BBA 340 or Advisor Approved coursework including the CIS or CS prefix (3 units)
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
     

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Environmental Sciences

Emphasis Select from 1 Emphasis:

Campus Locations

Show locations that offer this degree:
In-Person
Click a pin on the map at the left or search/select:
Degree Information
Online
In-Person
Blended
BS
120 units
Maximum Transfer Units
64
120

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.

     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 80 units of major requirements including at least 42-62 units of emphasis requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that you may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required STA 275
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate Required
Research Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-S Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The Environmental Science program at NAU constructs an interdisciplinary base of knowledge and skills to explore and develop real-world solutions to environmental problems.

Our program provides a firm grounding in the natural and social sciences to ensure all students understand how chemical, physical and biological processes maintain life, and the complex relationships among humans and the environment. Students work together and individually in the classroom, field and laboratory to practice applying the scientific method to address environmental problems and explore creative solutions that apply cutting-edge technologies.

The broad range of emphases available within our program allows students to delve deeper into a specific knowledge base, then work individually and often together in Environmental Science courses to solve problems by applying the perspectives and knowledge they developed in their emphasis with students from other emphasis areas. To culminate the learning in the program, students develop an individually designed research project or internship addressing an environmental issue of importance to them, which in turn, is expected to further prepare students for a range of professional or graduate opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Examine how the Earths’ natural systems interact and change over time and the effects of anthropogenic resource use and management on these systems, including feedbacks and impacts to ecosystem services, through the use of basic ecological experimental design and data collection.
  • Apply the scientific method and critical thinking to address environmental problems, integrate historical perspectives, and explore solutions across a range of spatial-temporal scales.
  • Use statistics and models to analyze environmental data with the following goals:  quantitatively describe processes, assess uncertainties, test hypotheses, measure trends; reveal spatial and temporal patterns, explore relations among variables, and create sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
  • Analyze topographic maps and remote sensing images using GIS tools to identify the geologic framework, ecological community types, and human environments and make recommendations to resource managers.
  • Apply information about basic reservoirs and fluxes of the carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, rock, and water cycles to develop recommendations for resource management that would reduce human impacts on climate change.
  • Use basic water, air and soil sampling methods to explore various management methods to improve water, air, and soil quality.
  • Identify and effectively communicate environmental issues and sustainable solutions using both natural science and social science principles.
  • Investigate the effects of resource management within linked natural and social systems and develop potential ecosystem service solutions that resolve imbalances.
  • Apply knowledge of the policy cycle, official and unofficial policymakers, the science-policy interface and important environmental legislation (such as the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, General Mining Law, Kyoto Protocol, NEPA, Endangered Species Act, and others) to strengthen the use of data in policy decisions.
  • Participate in community, NGO, or business environmental activities, or in environmental research.  Learn the skills to apply environmental science concepts to advance science and to facilitate the development of science and policy decisions to better address and resolve environmental issues.
  • Incorporate environmental science data into interdisciplinary policy decision-making endeavors, with the goal of generating innovative ideas that go beyond obvious and predefined solutions.
Environmental Geology Emphasis
  • Quantify selected aspects of the Earth system using foundations of mathematics and physics.
  • Explore Earth system concepts, such as plate tectonics, the rock cycle, and geologic hazards on geologic time scales, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Applied Statistics Emphasis
  • Apply statistical techniques to find innovative ways of understanding environmental problems.
  • Explore advanced math, computer programming, bioinformatics, and geographic information systems, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate solutions to environmental problems.
Biology Emphasis
  • Quantify selected aspects of biological systems using foundations of mathematics and physics.
  • Explore core concepts in biological sciences such as the unifying molecular, cellular, ecological and evolutionary principles for life on Earth. Gain appreciation for the importance of multiple scales of biological diversity. Understand the foundations of ecology and the principles of conservation biology. Practice collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Chemistry Emphasis
  • Understand the composition of air, water, and soil to determine how chemicals enter and cycle through the environment, what effects they have, and how human activity affects their cycling.
  • Explore natural phenomena that may transport and alter chemicals from human sources including processes causing as air, soil, and water pollution, which result in environmental contamination, ozone depletion, and ocean acidification.
  • Understand the sources and extent of pollution, and ways to promote sustainability, conservation, and protection of public health and the environment in the private and public sectors.
Environmental Administration and Policy Emphasis
  • Explore the basic principles of the organization and management of public organizations, policy-making, theories and practices of human resource management, environmental movements, and political ecology, and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.
Environmental Communication Emphasis
  • Understand environmental processes and problems as well as the nature, concepts, and process of communication.
  • Learn how to communicate environmental concepts in written and oral form, through diverse media, to audiences of diverse viewpoints, backgrounds, and perspectives. 
Environmental Management Emphasis
  • Explore the basic principles of conservation of biological diversity and ecology, multicultural perspectives on environmental management, adaptive management, and the implementation of environmental regulations and through collaborations with those of other disciplines and viewpoints, apply this information to generate sustainable solutions to environmental problems.

Details

Major Requirements
  • Take the following 80 - 88 units with a Grade of "C" or better in the first 43 units and a "C" average in emphasis courses:

    Emphasis Requirements (Select One):

    Please note that Biology is the only emphasis available at the Yuma campus. Check with your adviser for additional information.

    • Applied Geology Emphasis (50 units)
    • Environmental Administration and Policy Emphasis (39 units)
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
     

Additional Information
  • Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan.  Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree. Departments may allow students to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by approving up to 12 units applicable toward both degrees.  Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission.  Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year.  Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.