BS Environmental Science - Geology Field Studies

Program Codes: BSENVSGEO
Bachelor of Science

Environmental science operates at the intersection between humans and the natural world. It is a complex field that requires students to understand how physical, chemical and biological phenomena on varying scales interact with human systems and the structures and challenges imposed by governmental policies, economics, and social problems. The success of an environmental professional at addressing environmental problems requires an interdisciplinary perspective and knowledge about how to sensitively select and use the right tools to assess and address problems.

Mercyhurst’s Environmental Science program has been designed as a natural science-focused program offering students opportunities to specialize in either biology or geology field studies, and including a slate of liberal arts courses that prepares students for a broad range of possible careers in environmental consulting, sustainability leadership, conservation and restoration science, green energy and environmental education. Coursework includes deep upperlevel disciplinary and interdisciplinary coursework to provide students with diverse hands-on technical skills and practical experience within the respective environmental science geology and biology curricula.

The program is complementary to the university’s existing majors in Biology and Geology, which provided a foundation for the development of Environmental Science. Special facilities available to students in this program include two major natural areas owned by the University within the Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed: the Jean B. and J. Douglas James Ecological & Wildlife Preserve and the Mary Jo and Ed Maier Field Station.

Mercyhurst is a full member and active participant in the Regional Science Consortium, a collaborative, non-profit organization which focuses on and coordinates educational and research projects for Lake Erie and the upper Ohio River Basin, offering college courses and research opportunities to students from more than a dozen regional colleges and universities at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Consortium facilities available to Mercyhurst biology students include well-equipped research and teaching laboratories, classrooms, greenhouse, natural history collections, sampling equipment and research vessels.

Mission Statement
The primary mission of the Mercyhurst University Environmental Science Program is to educate students in physical, biological and social sciences, making them reflectively aware of the natural environment in which they live, equipped to serve as globally responsible stewards of the Earth and its resources, and prepared to advance successful solutions to address environmental issues. Central keys to advance this mission are a commitment to immersing students in a broad exposure to the diverse perspectives that are necessary to address complex environmental problems, combined with deep experiential disciplinary learning through rigorous field-centered class and laboratory activities, practical hands-on field experiences, collaborative faculty-student research, and travel-learning experiences that will take students beyond the boundaries of our local environments.

To ensure that students in the program are successful in the long term, the advising program will institute a Sophomore Review process, directed by each student’s primary advisor in geology or biology. During the review process, the student, with guidance from the advisor, will be required to develop a detailed curricular plan for the third and fourth year of the student’s program, and will be assigned a second advisor from the other department (biology or geology), whom the student will consult with for final approval of their environmental science degree plan. This process provides environmental science students the benefit of two different science disciplinary perspectives for developing skillbuilding and capstone project course decisions, which will have a profound effect on the subsequent success of the student in advancing to a professional position or graduate school.

Environmental Science Minor Requirements
BIO 146/147 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Organisms & Lab 4 credits
ENVS 105 Introduction to Environmental Studies 3 credits
GEOL 100/102 Physical Geology & Lab 4 credits
Three additional environmental theme courses that are 200 level or higher approved by the minor advisor. (9-12 credits)
Two of the additional 200 level courses must be science courses (e.g., BIO, GEO, PUBH, or SCI)

Sustainability Studies Minor Requirements
ENVS 105 Introduction to Environmental Studies 3 credits
SUST 210 Responding to Climate Change 3 credits
SCI 335 Climatology 3 credits
Four additional environmental themed courses, two of which must be level 200 or higher (12-16 credits).

Program Outcomes:

The Environmental Science Program has identified six learning outcomes that all students should meet before they earn their degree. Upon completion of the Environmental Science curriculum all students should be able to:

  • Understand the natural environment and its relationships with human activities.
  • Characterize and analyze human impacts on the environment.
  • Integrate facts, concepts, and methods from multiple disciplines and apply to environmental problems.
  • Acquire practical skills for scientific problem-solving, including familiarity with laboratory and field instrumentation, computer applications, statistical and modeling techniques.
  • Understand and implement scientific research strategies, including collection, management, evaluation, and interpretation of environmental data.
  • Design and evaluate strategies, technologies, and methods for sustainable management of environmental systems and for the remediation or restoration of degraded environments.
Major Core Courses
Environment-themed Non-Science Courses

In consultation with advisors, choose two of the following:

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Upper-level Geology, Field Studies and Travel Courses

In consultation with advisors, choose three of the following. Some courses may require a lab.

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Upper-level Science Electives

In consultation with advisors, choose two science courses GEOL, BIO, or CHEM 200 Level or Higher

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Environmental Science Capstone Course

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Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Cognate Courses
Degrees & Certificates
Course Descriptions