Environmental Science Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outlines the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

For further information about this major, contact Dr. Andrew Vermilyea, the Environmental Science Coordinator: Andrew.vermilyea@castleton.edu

This program integrates the scientific disciplines of biology, chemistry, and geology to provide students with a strong framework from which to analyze environmental problems and develop effective, sustainable solutions. Students earning a BS in Environmental Science will pursue both laboratory and field careers in government, industry, and the non-profit sector. This program prepares students for careers and graduate degree programs in related environmental fields such as toxicology, hydrology, systems ecology, plant ecology, and water chemistry.

Students completing the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:

Scientific Literacy

  • Read and comprehend various forms of scientific literature including primary science research papers and current topical environmental science articles and books.
  • Locate and identify various forms of scientific text in support of a research topic.
  • Derive and interpret scientific data, as well as recognize bias and sources of error in scientific information.
  • Communicate environmental science issues to peers and broad audiences orally and through writing.

Analytical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

  • Differentiate the validity of various sources of information, assess the relevance of information in solving environmental problems, and consider multiple options for solutions.
  • Follow laboratory protocols, safety standards, and field study procedures.
  • Understand the use and limitations of statistical tools and ecological models.
  • Learn and use meaningful questions in order to design scientific studies.

Knowledge and Understanding of Environmental Concepts

  • Explain and describe geological processes, ecological principles, and chemical interactions as they relate to the causes and consequences of environmental issues.
  • Recognize that solutions to environmental problems such as climate change, population growth, biodiversity decline, pollution, and others involve an integrated multidisciplinary approach involving scientific and societal considerations.

Complete the following courses (56-57 cr):

Code Course Credits

BIO 1121

Biology I

A comprehensive introduction to biology focused on the molecular, cellular, and organismal level. The course provides an introduction to all areas of biology.

Lecture and lab.

Prerequisite: One year of high school biology and chemistry.

Fee Lab fee $50

Fall

4

BIO 1122

Biology II

A continuation of BIO 1121 Biology I, with particular emphasis on organisms, ecosystems, and evolution.

Lecture and lab.

Fee Lab fee $50

Spring

4

CHE 1051

Chemistry I

An in-depth study of the fundamental principles of chemistry. Topics include modern atomic theory and structure of atoms, solution chemistry, nature of chemical bond, stoichiometry, gas laws, thermochemistry and molecular geometry. This course is designed for biology, chemistry, geology, and environmental science majors, as well as motivated students in the health related fields. To succeed in this course, an understanding of applied algebra is mandatory.

Restrictions Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Geology majors only.

Prerequisite: MAT 1020 or MAT 1221 or MAT 1320 or equivalent placement.

Fee Fee $50

Fall

4

CHE 1052

Chemistry II

This course is a continuation of CHE 1051 . Topics of study include intermolecular forces, properties of solutions, the chemistry of solids, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, metal chemistry, and electrochemistry. This course is designed for biology, chemistry, geology, and environmental science majors or other students that will pursue higher-level courses in chemistry.

Restrictions Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Geology majors only.

Prerequisite: CHE 1051 or CHE 1041

Fee Fee $50

Spring

4

GEY 1030

Dynamic Earth

This is an introductory geology course which examines the geological features of the earth and the processes that operate in the interior and on the surface of the earth which are responsible for their formation. Topics studied include volcanos, earthquakes, mountain building, plate tectonics, glaciers, minerals, rocks, streams and groundwater. Also covered are the techniques and methods geologists use to learn more about the earth.

Lecture and lab.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Fee Lab fee $50.

Fall

4

MAT 1531

Calculus I

Topics include limits, differentiation, applications of derivatives, and an introduction to integration. This course may utilize graphing calculators on a regular basis.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: MAT 1320 or equivalent.

Every semester

4

BIO 2010

Cell and Molecular Biology

-OR- BIO 2125 - Fundamentals of Microbiology 4 cr

This course provides science majors with the fundamentals of cell and molecular biology. Students study the basics of molecular biology, the flow of genetic information through the cell, its structure, function, metabolism, and regulation. The lab portion of the course will focus on mastery of standard cell and molecular biology techniques while exploring course concepts. This course is intended for science majors and minors only and will not satisfy the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding frame of reference.

Lecture and Lab

Prerequisite: Completion of BIO 1121 and CHE 1041 or CHE 1051 with a "C" or better.

Fee Lab fee $50

Spring

4

CHE 2111

Organic Chemistry I

An introduction to the chemistry of organic compounds. Emphasis is on organic functional groups and their chemical properties, nomenclature and molecular structure. The laboratory introduces students to basic organic laboratory techniques of synthesis, purification and characterization. Lecture (3 hrs.) and lab (4 hrs). Students are strongly recommended to take Organic Problem Solving I (CHE 2113) together with this course.

Prerequisite: CHE 1042 or CHE 1052 with a grade of C or better.

Fee Lab fee $50.

Fall

4

MAT 2036

Biostatistics

This course introduces statistical concepts and analytical methods as applied to data encountered in ecological, environmental, and biomedical sciences. It emphasizes the basic concepts of experimental design, quantitative analysis of data, and statistical inferences. Topics include probability theory and distributions; population parameters and their sample estimates; descriptive statistics for central tendency and dispersion; hypothesis testing and confidence intervals for means, variances, and proportions; the chi-square statistic; categorical data analysis; linear correlation and regression model; analysis of variance; and nonparametric methods. The course provides students a foundation to evaluate information critically to support research objectives and product claims and a better understanding of statistical design of experimental trials for biological products/devices.

Restrictions Students will be required to have a scientific calculator.

Prerequisite: Minimum math placement of MAT 1320 or MAT 2021 .

4

PHY 2110

Physics I

An introduction to the concepts and theories of physics for science majors. Topics include forces, motion, and energy. A weekly laboratory section explores concepts and the role of experimentation in science. This course will present and use elementary calculus in order to solve physics problems. University level calculus is required. May not be taken for credit if credit has been received for PHY 1051.

Lecture and lab.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: MAT 1531

Fee Lab fee $50.

Fall

4

PHY 2210

Physics II

A continuation of PHY 2110. Topics include electricity, magnetism, light and modern physics. May not be taken for credit if credit has been received for PHY 1052.

Lecture and lab.

Prerequisite: PHY 2110

Fee Lab fee $50.

Spring

4

SCI 2100

Science Colloquium

Visiting scientists, department faculty, Castleton students, and scientists in the workforce will give presentations about current scientific research and careers in science. Students are given an opportunity to interact with the invited speakers and strengthen their personal scientific network. This science research seminar is open to any Natural Sciences major or minor (BIO, CHE, EXS, GEY, HLT, ENV) and is meant to introduce students to a wide range of current research areas and potential careers in science. This course is repeatable for credit.

Pass/No pass only.

Prerequisite: Students enrolled in a major or minor offered by the Natural Sciences Department or permission of the instructor.

Fall

1

SCI 2210

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts of modern geographic information systems (GIS). The class will consist of lectures, discussions, readings, demonstrations, and hands-on training exercises using ESRI's GIS software. This will give students experience in defining spatial problems and solutions, organizing and locating geographic data, manipulating data for display, and map creation and use of a desktop GIS. Students will be expected to use what they have learned to develop a final GIS project. This course fulfills the Gen Ed computing requirement at the Bachelor's level.

Fee Lab fee $40.

Spring, even years

3 or 4

BIO 3060

Ecology

-OR- BIO 3065 - Plant Ecology 4 cr

A study of the interrelationships between plants, animals, microorganisms and their abiotic environment. Problems in experimental design and ecological analysis will be explored. Some Saturday field trips are planned. Field trips to primitive areas are required.

Lecture and lab.

Prerequisite: BIO 1121, BIO 1122, and CHE 1041 or CHE 1051 with grades of "C" or higher.

Fee Lab fee $50.

Fall

4

BIO 3013

Biogeochemistry

-OR- CHE 3013 - Biogeochemistry 4 cr

This unique but very relevant course will focus on the study of chemical, physical, geological and biological processes that make up the natural environment. Small-scale processes are addressed that are important in the cycling of elements in our global system. Students will learn and understand the specific interactions of chemicals with living organisms which directly impact the global ecosystem. Discussions will also focus on how climate change affects these processes.

Prerequisite: BIO 1121 , BIO 2010, and CHE 1042 or CHE 1052 with grades of "C" or better.

Fall, even years.

4

And complete two of these upper-level elective courses (6-8 cr):

Code Course Credits

BIO 3030

Ecology of Water

In this course we will investigate the ecology of the earth's most perfect liquid - water. The impact of large dams, ground water pumping, hydro-fracking, irrigation, and water diversions on the environment, biodiversity, and humanity will be investigated.

Restrictions A minimum of junior standing.

Prerequisite: BIO 1121 and BIO 1122 or permission of instructor.

Spring, odd years

3

BIO 4250

Ecotoxicology

An investigation of the effects of pollutants in ecosystems. Student will explore how contaminants (e.g., pesticides, industrial discharges, toxic wastes, etc.) play a critical role in biotic and abiotic relationships and, ultimately, biodiversity. Students will confront toxicological problems by reviewing case studies and current research, as well as by examining the social, political, and ecological aspects of each issue.

Restrictions A minimum of junior standing.

Prerequisite: BIO 3060 or BIO 3065 and CHE 1042 or CHE 1052.

Spring, even years

3

CHE 3020

Analytical Chemistry

A survey of analytical chemical techniques including traditional gravimetric and titrimetric methods as well as modern spectroscopic and chromatographic methods of chemical analysis

Lecture and lab.

Prerequisite: CHE 1041 or CHE 1051 or consent of instructor.

Fee Lab fee $40.

Spring

4

CHE 3030

Aqueous Geochemistry

This course is designed to show the application of chemical principles to the study of geology. Topics covered include aqueous geochemistry, activity-concentration relations, carbonate equilibria, pH-fO2 diagrams, isotope systems, and the application of geochemistry to solving environmental problems.

Prerequisite: CHE 1042 or CHE 1052, and GEY 1030.

Spring, even years

3

CHE 4010

Environmental Kinetics and Chemical Fate

A study of steady and non-steady state kinetics in environmental chemistry, including photochemical transformations. Modeling of contaminant degradation with respect to advection, dispersion, microbial, and chemical degradation will also be examined.

Prerequisite: CHE 2111

Fall, odd years

3

GEY 3110

Hydrogeology

This is an applied hydrogeology course with lecture, laboratory and field experience. Course material will include the hydrologic cycle, ground water, wells, water quality/contamination and flow modeling. Lecture and lab.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: GEY 1030, GEY 1050 or consent of the instructor.

Fee Lab fee $50.

Fall, odd years

4

(Credits required for the major: 62-65 cr)

Additional Information

For students considering graduate programs in environmental science, MAT 2532 - Calculus II should be taken along with CHE 2112 - Organic Chemistry II.

For students considering environmental engineering or hydrology careers/graduate programs, a minor in mathematics is recommended with MAT 2532 - Calculus II, MAT 3533 - Calculus III, MAT 3210 - Linear Algebra, and MAT 3310 - Differential Equations.

In addition to the above requirements, we strongly recommend that students initiate an internship or research project in environmental science.

We also encourage students to consider the minor in Environmental Studies to enhance their breadth of knowledge of environmental issues.

The BS in Environmental Science may not be combined with a Biology or Ecological Studies major. Up to 12 credits may be applied to a minor in Biology, Chemistry, or Geology.

And complete the University's Gen Ed requirements

Click here for General Education Requirements.