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, nonprofit 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

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.

School of Arts and Sciences Required Courses

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.

Choose two from 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.
POL-319: US Environmental Law and Politics
How can businesses, governments, and public interest groups achieve environmental sustainability goals in legal and political contexts that were designed with other goals in mind? This interdisciplinary course explores the options in the United States, and provides a comprehensive point of comparison for topics explored in POL 329 and POL 349. Students spend about half of the course learning how to spot facts that give rise to compliance issues for businesses and other private parties under a full spectrum of federal environmental laws, and to identify opportunities for achieving broader sustainability goals within the constraints imposed by the law. In the other half, students learn both how to predict environmental law and policy outcomes and how to shape them adaptively in pursuit of sustainability goals in a fragmented system of governance that was designed to privilege special interests and to favor the status quo.
Take ENV-101 or SCI-219 and POL-210 or junior stan
POL-349: Comparative Environmental Law and Sustainable Development
How effective is environmental law as a strategy for achieving sustainable development? How does its diversity across countries and cultures constrain the ability of businesses, governments, and civil society organizations to achieve environmental sustainability goals in an increasingly globalized world? This interdisciplinary course examines the many legal, political, cultural, and other factors that shape the answer to these questions, using China, India, Russia, the European Union, and the United States as illustrative examples. Students explore the implications of these factors not only for businesses, governments, and civil society organizations pursuing sustainability goals within their own countries, but also for their counterparts in other countries to whom the former are linked through bilateral trade relationships and global supply chains.
ENV-101 or SCI-219 and either POL-210 or at least

Science Foundation Courses

BIO-101: Principles of 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: Principles of 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.
Environmental Science and Geoscience Majors Only (
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.
Take CHM-101; Environmental Science and Geoscience
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 Science 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 environmental 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
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.
Environmental Science and Geoscience Majors Only (
PHY-105: Geology
This course surveys the major themes in geology. Students will examine topics such as plate tectonics, the rock cycle, surface processes, and concept of geologic time.
Environmental Science and Geoscience Majors Only (

Environmental Science Concentrations

Select one of the following concentrations:

Natural Resources and Conservation

Choose four of the following:

BIO-121: General Biology II
This course builds on information presented in BIO 101. Topics include: principles and history of evolutionary theory, taxonomy, and systematic examination of the five Kingdoms of organisms: Bacteria, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.
BIO-101 or equivalent
BIO-121L: General Biology II Lab
Laboratory course to follow topics presented in BIO 102. This course gives students hands-on experience with laboratory techniques, and in-depth investigation and comparison of organisms. Students will observe the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs. They will also examine evolutionary connections between the five Kingdoms of organisms?
BIO-121 or co-requisite
BIO-312: Zoology
This course will discuss the anatomy, classification, adaptive physiology, ecology, and evolution of the major phyla of invertebrate and vertebrate animals. Virtual lab exercises and demonstrations will be used to support lecture material.
BIO-314: Introductory Botany
This course will examine the physiology, genetics, taxonomy, and evolution of plants. Lab exercises, field work, and demonstrations will be used to support lecture material.
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 inst
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.
SOC-373: Environmental Field Study
The class is designed to be a two week intensive field based class in the Pacific Northwest. Students will travel throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho studying the interactions between humans and the environment. Unlike a traditional classroom setting, students will be actually experiencing the topics covered first hand. Some places that will be covered and experienced on the trip are as follows: channeled scablands, Mt. Rainer National Park, Grand Coulee Dam, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Pacific Ocean, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and the Oregon Trail. This course can be taken more than once.
Permission of instructor

Health and Environmental Concentration

Choose four of the following:

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-121: General Biology II
This course builds on information presented in BIO 101. Topics include: principles and history of evolutionary theory, taxonomy, and systematic examination of the five Kingdoms of organisms: Bacteria, Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia.
BIO-101 or equivalent
BIO-121L: General Biology II Lab
Laboratory course to follow topics presented in BIO 102. This course gives students hands-on experience with laboratory techniques, and in-depth investigation and comparison of organisms. Students will observe the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs. They will also examine evolutionary connections between the five Kingdoms of organisms?
BIO-121 or co-requisite
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.
Take BIO-210
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: 29 credits

Total Credits: 120 credits

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