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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 individuals to have 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 familiar 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
LRES 110--Land Resources & Env Sci 3
BIOL 213--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 216QIntroduction to Statistics 3
     PSPP 318--Biometry 3
PHYS 205--College Physics I 4
University Core and Electives 1-2
30
Sophomore Year Credits
BIOL 214--Intro Biol:Molecules-Cells 4
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
ECNS 101IS--Economic Way of Thinking 3
WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
LRES 201IN--Soil Resource 3
LRES 244CS--Intro Water Resources 3
Take one of the following:
     ARNR 240--Principles Nat Resource Ecol 3
     BIOL 303--Principles of Ecol 3
University Core and Electives 6
30
Junior Year Credits
BCHM 340--General Biochem 5
BIOL 301--Principles of Genetics 3
BIOL 403--Evolution 3
LRES 310--Professional Preparation 1
LRES 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
LRES 415--Microbiol Diversity, Ecol & Evol 3
LRES 441R--Capstone 1 Field Applcs in LRES 1
LRES 453--Soil & Env Physics 3
MB 301--General Microbiology 5
30
Senior Year Credits
LRES 355--Soil & Env Chemistry 3
LRES 442R--Capstone 2 Field Applcs in LRES 3
LRES 452--Soil & Env Microbiol 3
Take a minimum of 12 credits from
the following:
     Environmental Microbiology:
     MB 420--Microbial Physiology 3
     MB 433--Applied & Env Micro 4
     MB 449--Microbial Genetics 3
     MB 450--Research Meth in Micro 4
     PSPP 423--Mycology 3
     Environmental Macrobiology:
     BIOL 405--Advanced Animal Ecology 3
     BIOL 411--Animal Physiology 3
     BIOL 415--Ichthyology 3
     BIOL 418--Mammology 3
     BIOL 419--Ornithology 3
     BIOL 430--Plant Physiology 3
     Natural Ecosystems:
     LRES 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
     LRES 445--Watershed Analysis 3
     BIOL 406--Rocky Mountain Vegetation 2
     BIOL 424--Freshwater Ecology 3
     Applied Ecology:
     LRES 344--Water Quality 3
     LRES 401--Integrated Pest Mgmt 3
     LRES 426IN--Remote Sensing 3
     LRES 443--Weed Ecol & Mgmt 3
     LRES 461--Restoration Ecology 3
     ARNR 438--Wildlife Habitat Ecology 3
     ARNR 453--Habitat Inventory & Analysis 3
     F&WL 301--Principles Fish/Wildlife Mgmt 3
     Policy and Planning:
     LRES 421--Holistic Thought & Mgmt 4
     ECNS 332--Econ of Natural Resources 3
University Core and Electives 9
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
LRES 110--Land Resources & Env Sci 3
Take one of the following two semester M Sequences:
     M 175Q--Calculus Technology I & 3
     M 176--Calculus Technology II 3
     OR
     M 181Q--Calculus & Anal Geom I & 4
     M 182Q--Calculus & Anal Geom II 4
BIOL 101IN--Biology of Organisms 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 2
30
Sophomore Year Credits
BIOL 102--Molecular & Cellular Biol 4
CHMY 211--Elements of Organic Chemistry 5
GPHY 111CS--Intro to Physical Geography 4
WRIT 201--College Writing II 3
LRES 201IN--Soil Resource 3
LRES 244CS--Intro Water Resources 3
PHYS 205--College Physics 4
Take one of the following:
     PSPP 318--Biometry 3
     STAT 216Q--Introduction to Statistics 3
University Core and Electives 4
30
Junior Year Credits
MB 301--Gen Microbiology I 5
Take one of the following:
     ARNR 240--Principles Nat Res Ecology 3
     BIOL 303--Principles of Ecology 3
LRES 310--Professional Preparation 1
LRES 344--Water Quality 1
LRES 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
LRES 355--Soil & Env Chemistry 3
LRES 441R--Capstone 1 Fld Applcs in LRES 1
LRES 444--Watershed Hydrology 3
LRES 452--Soil & Env Microbiol 3
Take one of the following:
     ERTH 432R --Surface Water Resources 3
     GEO 420 --Hydrology 3
University Core and Electives 10
30
Senior Year Credits
LRES 442R--Capstone 2 Fld Applc in LRES 3
LRES 445--Watershed Analysis 3
LRES 453--Soil & Env Physics 3
LRES 454--Landscape Pedology 3
Take a minimum of 12 credits from
the following:
     BIOL 424--Freshwater Ecology 3
     BIOL 430--Plant Physiology 4
     BREN 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
     GEOG 305--Adv Geographic Info Systems 3
     GPHY 484R--Applied GIS & Spatial Analysis 3
     LRES 357--GPS Fund and Applications 3
     LRES 415--Microbial Diversity, Ecol, & Evol 3
     LRES 426--Remote Sensing & Digital Image 3
     LRES 460--Soil Remediation 3
     LRES 461--Restoration Ecology 3
Take one of the following:
     LRES 421 --Holistic Thought & Mgmt 4
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)

LRES 201IN--Soil Resource 3
LRES 351--Nutrient Cycling 3
LRES 355--Soil & Env Chem 3
LRES 452--Soil & Env Microbiol 3
LRES 453--Soil & Env Physics 3
LRES 454--Landscape Pedology 3

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