University of Vermont

The Environmental Sciences Major

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Offered jointly by: The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences;
The Rubenstein School of Environmental and Natural Resources


If you are eager to make a difference in the quality of the environment, the Environmental Sciences major is for you. UVM is a leading university in the area of the environment and we offer a major that combines a base in science with the practical hands-on experience needed to identify, analyze and solve environmental problems. Students completing this major will have the technical abilities and, just as important, the creativity and sensitivity to slow further degradation of our natural resources and loss of biological diversity.

What Will I Study?

The Environmental Sciences major, offered jointly by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, has been designed to encourage an appreciation of the integration of science and society. The curriculum offers a strong foundation in the basic sciences and advanced knowledge in the environmental sciences. You'll meet with your advisor to tailor a curriculum that fits your own needs. It's flexible: students can select an upper-level track and gain in-depth experience by focusing on a specific area of the environmental sciences.

As a student enrolled in the major, you must complete the basic distribution requirements of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences plus interdisciplinary core courses. Then you may choose among many course in the biological, physical and environmental sciences throughout the university to meet the requirements of the major.

Upper-level students select one of six areas for advanced concentration: Agriculture and the Environment, Conservation Biology and Biodiversity, Ecological Design, Environmental Analysis and Assessment, Environmental Resources, and Water Resources.

Exciting Research and Field Experience

Faculty research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has a strong orientation toward applied environmental sciences. This provides a solid basis for course work and undergraduate research, focusing on both terrestrial and aquatic systems. As an undergraduate, you'll have the chance to work closest with faculty on important research, such as the effects of atmospheric pollutants on ecosystems.

Finally, students have the opportunity for experiential learning during internships with government agencies, private industry or nonprofit organizations. For example, students have worked on projects on the sustainability of agriculture, sponsored by Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. A full-time internship coordinator in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources works to offer a broad range of such internships to students in the school and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Looking to the Future

The demand for environmental scientists has increased dramatically in recent years. Both the recognition of environmental problems and the regulations governing water and air quality have created an enormous demand for people with strong basic and applied scientific backgrounds. Consulting firms and non-governmental agencies employ our graduates to work on multidisciplinary teams addressing a wide variety of environmental problems. Other students have joined state and federal regulatory agencies charged with implementing and enforcing environmental regulations. Others still have gone onto graduate studies in diverse areas of environmental sciences.

Program Requirements
General Environmental Science Core
  • Intro Plant Science
  • Microbiology
  • Ecology
  • World Food, Population and Development
  • Agricultural Ethics
  • Intro Environmental Science
  • Global Environmental Assessment
  • Pollutant Movement through Air, Land and Water
  • Recovery and Restoration of Altered Ecosystems
  • Watershed Assessment
Basic Sciences Advanced Tracks (one only)
  • Intro Biology
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Intro Soil Science
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Agriculture and the Environment
  • Conservation Biology and Biodiversity
  • Ecological Design
  • Environmental Analysis and Assessment
  • Environmental Resources
  • Water Resources
Experiential Opportunities
  • Internships
  • Undergraduate Research
  • Study Abroad

Faculty and Area of Expertise
Alan McIntosh Natural Resources, Aquatic Toxicology
Ph.D. Michigan State University
Donald Ross Soil and Environmental Chemistry
Ph.D. University of Vermont
W. Breck Bowden Watershed Science and Planning
Ph.D. North Carolina State University
William Keeton Forest Ecology and Sustainable Forestry
Ph.D. University of Washington
Leslie Morrissey Remote Sensing, GIS, Water Resources
Ph.D. Oregon State University
Mary Watzin Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Ph.D. University of North Carolina
Advising Faculty in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Donald Ross, program coordinator Department of Plant and Soil Science
Ph.D. University of Vermont
James Hoffmann Department of Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin
Jane Molofsky Department of Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry
Ph.D. Duke University

Last modified September 10 2007 04:11 PM

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