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Environmental Sciences

Note: MSU's programs in the biological sciences are distributed across multiple departments.  MSU does not have a single Department of Biology.  For additional options see   Biological Sciences at MSU.

Department of Land Resources & Environmental Sciences

http://landresources.montana.edu/

Effective management of land and water resources requires a solid fundamental understanding of the processes and relationships in land and natural resources systems, combined with applications of environmental science and applied ecology. The Environmental Sciences curricula are designed to provide this classroom, laboratory, and field training. Graduates of these degree programs will: (i) possess a broad knowledge of biological, physical, and chemical processes important across landscapes; (ii) receive training in applied ecology, soil and water science, and land resources analysis; (iii) be capable of critical analysis of land resource problems; and (iv) be experienced with teamwork required to develop and implement effective land management strategies. They will be the scientists most capable of making significant advances and contributions in the 21st century!

The Environmental Sciences degree programs are administered by the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Environmental Biology Option

This option is intended to train students who are interested in understanding the ecology of organisms in natural environments, and/or in understanding how organisms may be used to clean up environments that have been disturbed by human activities. The curriculum launches from a base in environmental science which includes a broad knowledge of organisms (including plants, animals, and microorganisms) and the physical and chemical characteristics of natural environments. A special feature of this option is that it emphasizes cross-training between the traditional disciplines of Biology and Microbiology. Students trained in Biology or Microbiology normally focus on either large or small organisms or on human biology and disease. But, even biologists trained as ecologists have a poor understanding of microorganisms, despite the fact that they appreciate the great importance of microorganisms in most natural environments. Similarly, most microbiologists do not understand the diversity of large organisms and are never exposed to natural principles of ecology and evolution. In the LRES Environmental Biology curriculum, students will develop a knowledge of the diversity of organisms and their interrelated functions in complex environments. In later stages of the curriculum, students may select from a wide array of upper division courses in environmental microbiology, natural ecosystems, applied ecology, and policy and planning that enable them to specialize in areas best-suited to their own career vision.

Career opportunities: Environmental industries and consulting firms that address problems associated with disturbed environments. Biotechnology companies that attempt to exploit biological diversity for the benefit of humans. Government jobs in environmental management and policy making. Graduate training that leads to independent research in basic and applied ecology, environmental biology, and environmental microbiology.

Soil and Water Science Option

The Soil and Water Science Option provides students with fundamental training in basic biological, chemical, and physical sciences and advanced training in soil and water sciences. Students are encouraged through choice elective blocks to emphasize specific course sequences to help them understand the underlying processes central to managed and natural landscapes, as well as to develop practical skills and abilities relevant to applying this knowledge in land resource management and the environmental sciences.

Water is perhaps the most unique substance on earth, having a multitude of seemingly anomalous properties, and literally forms the basis for life as we know it. Soils form the precious 'skin' of the Earth, the critical interface between atmospheric and geologic/groundwater systems. The multitude of physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur in the three-phase soil system (solids, water and air) are critical to sustainability of natural and managed ecosystems. Soils and water will be among the most critical limiting resources in coming decades. The LRES Soil and Water Science Option provides students with advanced training in the chemical, physical, and biological sciences, and integration of these fundamentals in applications related to soil science, hydrology, watershed management, pollution treatment and prevention, land rehabilitation, agricultural and natural resources management, and bioremediation. Students develop relevant skills in written and oral communication, and gain experience in modern measurement, monitoring and analysis techniques used in land and water sciences and management.

Career opportunities: Environmental industries and consulting firms that work on problems associated with soils, water, contaminant transport, fate of chemicals in the environment, and water resource management. Local, state, or federal government positions in natural resources and environmental sciences management and policy. Advanced graduate training to prepare for research and management positions in soil sciences, hydrology, water resources, land reclamation, and related areas.


Curricula in Environmental Sciences


ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY OPTION

Freshman Year Credits
ENSC 110--Land Resources & Environ Sciences 3
BIOB 256--Intro Biol: Cells-Organisms 4
CHMY 141--College Chemistry I 4
CHMY 143--College Chemistry II 4
WRIT 101W--College Writing I 3
Take one of the following:
     M 161Q--Survey of Calculus 4
     M 165Q --Calculus for Technology I 3
     M 171Q --Calculus I 4
Take one of the following:
     STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
     BIOB 318--Biometry 3
PHSX 205--College Physics I 4
University Core and Electives 1-2
30
Sophomore Year Credits
BIOB 260--Cellular & Molecular Biology 4
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
ECNS 101IS--Economic Way of Thinking 3
WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
ENSC 245IN--Soils 3
ENSC 272CS--Water Resources 3
Take one of the following:
     NRSM 240--Natural Resource Ecology 3
     BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
University Core and Electives 6
30
Junior Year Credits
BCH 380--Biochememistry 5
BIOB 375--General Genetics 3
BIOB 420--Evolution 3
ENSC 310--Environ Sciences Prof Preparation 1
ENSC 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
BIOM 415--Microbiol Diversity, Ecol & Evol 3
ENSC 499--Seminar/Capstone 1
ENSC 453--Soil & Environmental Physics 3
BIOM 360--General Microbiology 5
University Core and Electives 3
30
Senior Year Credits
ENSC 345--Soil & Environmental Chemistry 3
ENSC 499R--Seminar/Capstone 3
BIOM 452--Soil & Env Microbiol 3
Take a minimum of 15 credits from
the following:
     Environmental Microbiology:
     BIOM 450--Microbial Physiology 3
     BIOM 430--Applied & Environ Microbiology 4
     BIOM 410--Microbial Genetics 3
     BIOM 455--Rsch Mthds in Microbiology 4
     BIOM 423--Mycology 3
     Environmental Macrobiology:
     BIOE 405--Behavorial & Evol Ecology 3
     BIOO 412--Animal Physiology 3
     BIOO 415--Ichthyology 3
     BIOO 475--Mammology 3
     BIOO 470--Ornithology 3
     BIOO 433--Plant Physiology 3
     Natural Ecosystems:
     ENSC 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
     ENSC 445--Watershed Analysis 3
     BIOE 408--Rocky Mountain Vegetation 2
     BIOE 428--Freshwater Ecology 3
     Applied Ecology:
     ENSC 370--Water Quality 3
     AGSC 401--Integrated Pest Management 3
     GPHY 426IN--Remote Sensing 3
     ENSC 443--Weed Ecology & Management 3
     ENSC 448--Stream Restoration Ecology 3
     ENSC 461--Restoration Ecology 3
     WILD 438--Wildlife Habitat Ecology 3
     NRSM 453--Habitat Inventory & Analysis 3
     F&WL 301--Principles Fish/Wildlife Mgmt 3
     Policy and Planning:
     NRSM 421--Holistic Thought & Management 4
     NRSM 430--Natural Resource law 3
     ECNS 332--Econ of Natural Resources 3
University Core and Electives 6
30

Because some of our courses are offered during alternate years, the proposed scheduling of courses in junior and senior years may need to be modified. Work with your advisor for your individual schedule.

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; at least 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above.


SOIL AND WATER SCIENCE OPTION

Freshman Year Credits
ENSC 110--Land Resources & Environmental Sciences 3
Take one of the following two semester Math Sequences:
     M 165Q--Calculus Technology I & 3
     M 166--Calculus Technology II 3
     OR
     M 171Q--Calculus I & 4
     M 172Q--Calculus II 4
BIOB 170IN--Principles of Biological Diversity 4
CHMY 141--College Chemistry I 4
WRIT 101W--College Writing I 3
GEO 101IN--Intro to Physical Geology 4
University Core and Electives 4-6
30
Sophomore Year Credits
BIOB 160--Principles of Living Systems 4
CHMY 143--College Chemistry II 4
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
GPHY 111CS--Intro to Physical Geography 4
WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
ENSC 245IN--Soils 3
PHSX 205--College Physics 4
Take one of the following:
     BIOB 318--Biometry 3
     STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
30
Junior Year Credits
BIOM 360--General Microbiology I 5
Take one of the following:
     NRSM 240--Natural Resource Ecology 3
     BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
ENSC 310--Environ Sciences Prof Preparation 1
ENSC 370--Water Quality 3
ENSC 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
ENSC 345--Soil & Environ Chemistry 3
ENSC 499--Seminar/Capstone 1
ENSC 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
BIOM 452 --Soil & Environmental Microbiology 3
Take one of the following:
University Core and Electives 5
30
Senior Year Credits
LRES 442R????--Capstone 2 Field Appl 3
ENSC 445--Watershed Analysis 3
ENSC 453--Soil & Env Physics 3
ENSC 454--Landscape Pedology 3
Take one of the following:
     ERTH 432R --Surface Water Resources 3
     GEO 420 --Hydrogeology 3
Take a minimum of 10 credits from
the following:
     GPHY 357--GPS Fund and Applications 3
     BIOM 415--Microbial Diversity, Ecol, & Evol 3
     GPHY 426--Remote Sensing & Digital Image 3
     ENSC 460--Soil Remediation 3
     ENSC 461--Restoration Ecology 3
     BIOE 428--Freshwater Ecology 3
     BIOO 433--Plant Physiology 3
     EENV 441--Natural Treatment Systems 3
     CHMY 311--Analytical Chem-Quant Analysis 3
     ERTH 307--Principles of Geomorphology 4
     GPHY 284--Intro GIS Science & Cartog 3
     GPHY 384--Adv Geographic Info Systems 3
     GPHY 484R--Applied GIS & Spatial Analysis 3
Take one of the following:
     NRSM 421 --Holistic Thought & Mgmt 4
     NRSM 430--Natural Resource Law 3
     PSCI 362--Natural Resource Policy 3
University Core and Electives 6
30

Because some of our courses are offered during alternate years, the proposed scheduling of courses in junior and senior years may need to be modified. Work with your advisor for your individual schedule.

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; at least 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above.


SOIL SCIENCE MINOR (NON-TEACHING)

A total of 21 credits, including at least 15 credits from the following list:

ENSC 245IN--Soil Resource 3
ENSC 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
ENSC 355--Soil & Env Chem 3
BIOM 452--Soil & Environmental Microbiology 3
ENSC 453--Soil & Env Physics 3
ENSC 454--Landscape Pedology 3
3 or 6 credits from the following:
ENSC 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
ENSC 460--Soil Remediation 3
ENSC 461--Restoration Ecology 3

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