Environmental Science (BS)

Student; On Campus
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Nathaniel Boesch

Change Your Environment

Learn how to think and act critically and creatively to help tackle important environmental challenges such as climate change, alternative energy, sustainability, and the loss of biodiversity with SNHU’s B.S. in Environmental Science program. Based on a strong foundation of natural and physical sciences, the program offers two concentrations to choose from: Natural Resources and Conservation or Environment and Health.

Through coursework, research, independent study, and working closely with your professors, you will gain the communication, interpersonal, and technical skills needed to make a difference in the world. Whether you choose to work for a company, non-profit or governmental agency, or continue your studies at the graduate level, you will leave prepared to meet the growing environmental challenges around the world innovatively and practically.

Program Highlights

  • Numerous field research opportunities on and off campus
  • Faculty-led domestic and global learning experience opportunities
  • Flexible curriculum that allows you to shape your learning experience through concentration courses and free electives
  • Professors who bring years of experience researching specific and varied environmental areas
  • Small classes that encourage individual learning and working closely with professors on independent study projects and internships that fit your career goals
  • One of the most affordable degree programs in New England

Get Ready to Change the World

Regardless of your particular area of interest, the B.S. in Environmental Science program gives you the technical expertise and interdisciplinary knowledge base you will need to address multifaceted environmental challenges creatively and analytically.

You will learn how to:

  • Demonstrate effective oral and written communication necessary to construct, evaluate and present solutions to environmental problems
  • Describe the structure and function of ecological systems and the interfaces between human and natural systems
  • Construct solutions to environmental problems using interdisciplinary approaches
  • Demonstrate thorough competence in understanding quantitative and qualitative research methods as applied to questions related to the natural environment
  • Apply comprehensive concepts and practical experience to ethical issues related to environmental science
  • Prepare for the challenges and expectations of graduate degree programs and/or environmental careers.

With employment opportunities for environmental scientists and specialists expected to grow by 19 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning your B.S. in Environmental Science from SNHU will help prepare you to capitalize on the growing need for highly-skilled environmental professionals.


The B.S. in Environmental Science provides the flexibility you need to shape your degree around your individual career goals, interests and passion. The curriculum is based on a solid foundation in the natural and physical sciences, so you gain a broad-based interdisciplinary skill set that  companies and organizations are looking for to solve complex environmental problems. Because your professors are passionate about environmental issues and bring specific expertise to the program, you can delve deeply into subjects that most interest you.

Required Core Courses

General Education Program

School of Arts and Sciences Required Courses

Select Three of the Following:

GEO-200: World Geography
This course examines the implications of global location and topography for the people of planet Earth. Students will explore how geography shapes the dynamics of human societies, with an emphasis on the geoenvironmental, geopolitical, and geosocial phenomena that help to define the modern world. Global marker.
HIS-270: American Environmental History
The course examines the history of the American environment, paying particular attention to the impact of European settlement on the landscape and the subsequent commodification of resources that defined the American experience in the modern age. it will pay close attention to such phenomena as industrialization, pollution, population trends, urbanization, chemically-dependent food production, and energy consumption, to name only a few. Particularly important, the course will delve into the process of political responses to environmental and ecological challenges as they have evolved over time.
MAT-240: Applied Statistics
This is a fundamental course in the application of statistics. In this course, students will learn to apply statistical techniques to a variety of applications in business and the social sciences. Students will learn how to solve statistical problems by hand and through the use of computer software. Topics include probability distribution functions, sampling distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing and linear regression.
PHL-363: Environmental Ethics
This course analyzes the application of ethical theory to moral questions about the environment. A number of different traditions in environmental ethics will be discussed and their strengths and weaknesses evaluated by applying them to practical moral problems.
SOC-350: G.R.E.E.D.
G.R.E.E.D., Globally Responsible Environmental and Economic Decisions. This course explores the scientific, social and ethical aspects of environmental degradation and evaluates practices and attitudes that will lead to sustainable practices. Part 1 - G.R.E.E.D. is explored as a threat to sustainable development. Part 2 - G.R.E.E.D. is explored through team-based research as a sustainable alternative.

Science Foundation Courses

BIO-101: General Biology
Introductory level biology course that includes mammalian cell structure and function, cellular reproduction and physiology, and basic Mendelian genetics. Laboratory exercises (BIO-101L) to follow lecture topics.
BIO-101L: General Biology Lab
BIO 101L is a laboratory course, following topics in BIO 101, General Biology. Students will gain hands-on experience and visual reinforcement of concepts, including acid-base dynamics, enzyme action, osmosis and diffusion, cellular reproduction, and use of microscopes.
BIO-315: Ecological Principles and Field Methods
This course introduces students to the principles of ecology and practical methods used in the field. Students will explore theoretical topics in the ecological systems including the level of the population, community and ecosystem; energy flow and biogeochemical cycles; and the concept of sustainability. Students will read literature and conduct research projects in the field and will use critical thinking to evaluate research, design studies, present findings and debate on the issues.
ENV-101, ENV-219 or SCI-219
CHM-101: Fundamentals of Chemistry
This course surveys the major themes of chemistry. Topics include chemical reactions, acids and bases, bonding, phases of matter, nuclear chemistry, and basic organic chemistry.
CHM-101L: Fundamentals of Chemistry Lab
This course will use laboratory techniques to study the fundamental principles of chemistry. Topics such as the mole, chemical equilibria, chemical and physical properties, solutions, kinetics, etc., will all be covered along with other topics important to chemistry.
ENV-101: Environmental Science
This course provides an introduction to the scientific aspects of the environmental field. The first part of the course introduces students to the foundations of environmental science, while the second part concentrates on the application of these foundations to real life environmental problems. Therefore, the course not only engages the fundamentals of environmental science but also shows students how science informs sustainability, environmental policies, economics and personal choice.
ENV-250: Environmental Research Methods
This course provides students with an understanding of how to evaluate, conduct, write and design research. Required for environmental science majors, it introduces the why, when and how quantitative and qualitative methods are used as investigative tools. The course follows the scientific method and focuses on how to search the literature, write a literature review, formulate research questions/hypotheses, and design experiments to test these hypotheses. We will also explore qualitative methods and discuss their use in the field with special attention to conducting interviews, case studies, and focus groups. Students will prepare a research proposal on a topic of interest. Formulation of this project begins early, forms the basis for a final project, and is presented in a mock scientific conference.
ENV-344: Environmental Science Colloquium I
This is an issue and methods based course that will introduce environmental science majors to the tools and technology used in the field. Students will read and discuss primary literature that use these techniques and will participate in hands-on activities. A main focus of the course will be on the use and application of geographic information systems (GIS).
ENV-444: Environmental Science Colloquium II
This is an issue-based discussion course aimed to define and explore multifaceted topics in environemtnal science. Designed like a senior seminar, students are expected to conduct extensive research on varied topics and then communicate their knowledge in both oral and written assignments.
ENV-344 and Senior level standing

Select One of the Following:

PHY-101: Principles of Physics
Principles of Physics is an algebra based course that explores the major topics in physics, such as motion and forces, gravity and projectiles, energy and work, thermodynamics, vibrations and waves, electricity and magnetism, solids and fluids, light and optics, and atomic and nuclear physics.
PHY-103: Earth System Science
Earth Science presents the basic dynamics of cycles and processes of the Earth, including an overview of the origin of the planet, its physical and chemical composition, and geological and chemical interactions. The course culminates in a discussion of the current health of the planet and examines related environmental issues and evidence.

Environmental Science Concentrations

Option A - Natural Resources and Conservation (Select Four):

BIO-325: Animal Behavior
This course will introduce the student to the field of animal behavior. To gain a full understanding of the complexities of this subject, students will study aspects that influence innate behaviors, such as genetics, population biology, evolution and learned behaviors, such as learning theory and cultural transmission. The course examines theoretical and conceptual issues in animal behavior using experiments and case studies to highlight examples. We will focus on many important biological activities such as mating, the role of kinship, cooperation, communication, aggression, and play. In addition to identifying major patterns and processes of animal behavior, we will discuss the observational and experimental techniques used to study behavior and explore the major conceptual models guiding past and current research in this field. The course is offered as an upper level science course aimed at environmental science and psychology majors. No prerequisite is assigned but students are strongly urged to take general biology and introduction to anatomy and physiology prior to the course.
BIO-330: Conservation Biology
This course will focus on the importance of biodiversity. Currently, we are experiencing an unprecedented loss in species; losing, on average, two species a day. Unlike past mass extinctions humans are largely responsible. Following the Society of Conservation Biology's guidelines for conservation literacy, this course will investigate how we can apply biological principals to reverse trends in species loss. We will focus on case studies to develop our understanding of what maintains, reduces, and restores biodiversity. The course will be organized into three sections 1) history and value of conservation biology, 2) threats to biodiversity, and 3) approaches to solving conservation problems.
ENV-101, SCI-219, or SCI-220 or permission of instructor
ENV-305: Global Climate Change
This interdisciplinary course brings students up to date on what is known and not known about the causes and consequences of global climate change, and about viable response options. Topics include analysis of climate drivers such as greenhouse gas emissions, and land-use changes, and investigation of some climate system responses such as increased storm intensity and increased surface temperature. Students also explore some of the societal and economic impacts of global climate change. By reference to the most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, paleoclimate studies, and other authoritative sources, students learn how to separate fact from fiction in the often publicized debate about the dynamics of global climate change and about how we should respond to it.
ENV-101 or SCI-219
SCI-218: Natural Resources
This class will introduce the concept of natural resources by studying topics such as land, soil, rangeland, forest, water, atmosphere, minerals, and energy. The management, use, and environmental impacts associated with these resources will also be studied. Emphasis will be placed on the United States within the context of the global environment.
SCI-220: Energy and Society
This course surveys the various forms of energy available to our industrial society. The environmental impact and depletion of each energy form is discussed with emphasis on the development of clean and inexhaustible alternative sources for the home and business. Topics include traditional and renewable energy sources, greenhouse effects, transpiration, nuclear power, and economies.
SCI-333: Waste: Sources, Reduction, & Remediation
Waste is a major issue in nearly all aspects of society and understanding it is essential when considering the environment and sustainability. This class will focus on how waste is produced, how to reduce this pollution and how to clean it up once it is released. In addition to the physical science, we will examine the impact of waste on the economy, society and public health.
SCI-211 or SCI-212 or SCI-213 or SCI-219

Option B - Environment and Health Concentration (Select Four or Five):

BIO-110: Introduction to Public Health
Introduction to Public Health provides an overview of factors associated with disease affecting populations. Students will be exposed to the history of public health in the United States, its political and social dimensions, basic epidemiology, and current approaches to issues of public health, including health care and health services.
BIO-210: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
Discussion/comparison of the principles of mammalian form and function. Includes molecular and cellular mechanisms of major processes (such as muscle contraction, neural transmission, and signal transduction) and examines the structure and function of the 11 organ systems of the human body. Laboratory exercises (BIO-210L) to follow lecture topics.
BIO-210L: Anatomy and Physiology Lab
Anatomy and Physiology Lab is a counterpart to BIO-210, in which students will examine tissues, bones, muscles and the major organ systems. The laboratory is hands-on and will include use of microscopes, visual representation in models, videos and online dissection.
BIO-215: People, Places, and Plagues
This special topics course will explore the social, environmental, and community impacts of communicable disease. Significant pandemic, epidemic, and endemic diseases will be examined, in light of catastrophic outbreaks that have shaped the course of human history. Students will be exposed to the thrilling stories of many people who were involved with these events, as victims, investigators, and scientists. Weekly discussion will revolve around students' perceptions of disease, the future of epidemiological studies, and specific questions about microbes and other disease agents.
BIO-340: Human Health and the Environment
This course examines major environmental health problems in industrialized and developing countries, and evaluates possible future approaches to control of these issues. Topics include dose and response to pollutants, agents and vectors of contamination (air, water, and soil), susceptible populations and risk analysis, the scientific basis of policy and decisions, and emerging global health problems.
BIO-101 and ENV-101
SCI-215: Contemporary Health
This course exposes students to the three major dimensions of health -- physical, emotional and social. Health, nutrition, substance abuse, infectious diseases and stress management are among the issues that will be discussed. Students will learn to intelligently relate health knowledge to the social issues of our day. For students on program plans/catalogs prior to 2012-13; this course does not satisfy the university core science requirement.
SOC-318: Sustainable Communities
How do we build a society fit for living? This course looks to the field of environmentally sustainable community development (ESCD) for answers to this question. Students explore the principles and practices of ESCD using pattern-mapping of community needs, site visits, and other experiential learning tools that turn communities into classrooms, and bring the challenge of building environmentally sustainable communities to life. In the process, students identify assumptions that lead to unsustainable social practices, and develop the skills necessary to help create livable local landscapes and sustainable local futures through individual and community action.
ENV-219 or SCI-219 or SOC-112

Free Electives (32 credits)

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