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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 170IN--Prin Biological Diversity 4
BIOB 160--Prin Living Systems 4
CHMY 141--College Chemistry I 4
CHMY 143--College Chemistry II 4
ECNS 101IS--Economic Way of Thinking 3
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
University Core and Electives 1-2
30
Sophomore Year Credits
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
Take one of the following:  
     STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
     BIOB 318--Biometry 3
PHSX 205--College Physics I 4
WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
ENSC 245IN--Soils 3
Take one of the following:
     NRSM 240--Natural Resource Ecology 3
     BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
University Core and Electives 9
30
Junior Year Credits
BCH 380--Biochememistry 5
BIOB 375--General Genetics 3
ENSC 353--Environ Biogeochemistry 3
ENSC 468--Ecosystem Biogeochemistry 3
BIOM 452--Soil & Env Microbiol 3
BIOM 360--General Microbiology 5
University Core and Electives 8
30
Senior Year Credits
BIOM 415--Microbiol Diversity, Ecol & Evol 3
BIOM 420--Evolution 3
ENSC 465--Environ Biophysics 3
ENSC 499R--Seminar/Capstone 3
University Core and Electives 18
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 455R--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:
     AGSC 401--Integrated Pest Management 3
     GPHY 426--Remote Sensing 3
     ENSC 407--Environmental Risk Assess 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
     WILD 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
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
BIOB 160--Principles of Living Systems 4
BIOB 170IN--Principles of Biological Diversity 4
CHMY 141--College Chemistry I 4
CHMY 143--College Chemistry II 4
WRIT 101W--College Writing I 3
GEO 101IN--Intro to Physical Geology 4
University Core and Electives 4
30
Sophomore Year Credits
Take one of the following two semester Math Sequences:  
     M 165Q--Calculus Technology I & 3
     M 166Q--Calculus Technology II 3
     OR
     M 171Q--Calculus I & 4
     M 172Q--Calculus 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
University Core and Electives 5
30
Junior Year Credits
Take one of the following:  
     BIOB 318--Biometry 3
     STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
Take one of the following:  
     NRSM 240--Natural Resource Ecology 3
     BIOE 370--General Ecology 3
ENSC 353--Environ Biogeochemistry 3
BIOM 452 --Soil & Environmental Microbiology 3
ENSC 468--Ecosystem Biogeochemistry 3
ENSC 454--Landscape Pedology 3
University Core and Electives 12
30
Senior Year Credits
ENSC 445--Watershed Analysis 3
ENSC 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
ENSC 448--Stream Restoration Ecology 3
ENSC 465--Environ Biophysics 3
BIOE 428--Freshwater Ecology 3
ENSC 499R--Seminar/Capstone 3
University Core and Electives 12
Take one of the following:
     ERTH 432R --Surface Water Resources 3
     GEO 440 --Hydrogeology 3
Take a minimum of 18 credits from
the following:
     BIOM 415--Microbial Diversity, Ecol, & Evol 3
     GPHY 357--GPS Fund and Applications 3
     GPHY 426--Remote Sensing & Digital Image 3
     GPHY 429R--Applied Remote Sensing 3
     ENSC 407--Environ Risk Assessment 3
     ENSC 410R--Biodiversity: Methods 3
     ENSC 460--Soil Remediation 3
     ENSC 461--Restoration 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:
     ERTH 432R--Surface Water Resources 3
     GEO 420--Hydrogeology 3
Take one of the following:  
     NRSM 421 --Holistic Thought & Mgmt 4
     NRSM 430--Natural Resource Law 3
     PSCI 362--Natural Resource Policy 3

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)

ENSC 245IN--Soils 3
ENSC 353--Environ Biogeochemistry 3
BIOM 452--Soil & Environmental Microbiology 3
ENSC 454--Landscape Pedology 3
ENSC 465--Environmental Biophysics 3
Take 2 courses from the following:
ENSC 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
ENSC 460--Soil Remediation 3
ENSC 461--Restoration Ecology 3
ENSC 468--Ecosystem Biogeochemistry 3

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