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Natural Systems Applications Option Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies

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The Natural Systems Applications Option is designed for students interested in careers at the interface of natural science and social and economic issues. This Option provides solid background in the natural sciences pertinent to our resources and ecosystems as well as a foundation in the social sciences. In contrast to the traditional science programs, this Option emphasizes the interaction of both natural sciences and societal issues. Specific goals are:

  • Provide a sound background in both biophysical and social science;
  • Foster a broad systems view of our society, natural resources and ecosystems (or some other level of natural science such as an endangered population or microbial process or biotechnology) affected by human activity;
  • Develop a capacity to make independent judgments of environmental issues based on scientific principles and socio-political understanding; and
  • Enhance effective skills in communicating scientific/technical issues of natural sciences in socio-political settings.

Natural Systems Applications Option Overview

Category Description Requirement Credits
Field Methods GIS (Required) One GIS course required 3
Scientific Breadth One course required from scientific breadth 3
Natural Science Sub-Option Natural Systems One upper-division class required 3
Environmental Quality One upper-division class required 3
Social Science Policy and Decision Making 3 upper-division classes required 9
Communication and Interpretation 2 upper-division classes required 6
Critical Perspectives 1 upper-division class required 3
Total Option Credits: 30

Field Methods

ESF 300 Introduction to Geospatial Information Technologies or equivalent (required) and one upper-division course for scientific breadth. Suggested courses are as follows:

Course Course Name Credits
EFB 303 OIntroduction to Environmental Microbiology 3
EFB 352 Entomology 12
EFB 445 Plant Ecology & Global Change 3
EFB 326 Diversity of Plants 3
EFB 355 Invertebrate Zoology 3
EFB 483 Mammal Diversity 3
EFB 336 Dendrology 3
EFB 440 Mycology 3
EFB 486 Ichthyology 3
EFB 340 Forest Shade Tree Pathology 3
EFB 443 Plant Virology 3
EFB 505 Microbial Ecology 3

Additional courses may be approved by consulting with your advisor.

Natural Science Sub-options

One upper-division class from each sub-option is required. Suggested courses are as follows:

Natural Systems and Management Sub-Option
Course Course Name Credits
EFB 390 Wildlife Ecology & Management 3
EFB 413 Conservation Biology 12
EFB 415 Ecological Biogeochemistry 3
EFB 424 Limnology 3
EFB 444 Biodiversity and Geography of Nature 3
EFB 445 Plant Ecology and Global Change 3
EFB 487 Fisheries Science & Management 3
EFB 491 Applied Wildlife Science 3
EFB 493 Wildlife Habitats and Population 3
EFB 516 Ecosystems 3
EFB 518 Systems Ecology 3
EFB 519 Geographic Modeling 3
EFB 523 Tropical Ecology 3
EFB 542 Freshwater Wetland Ecosystems 3
Environmental Quality Sub-Option
Course Course Name Credits
EFB 351 Forest Entomology 3
EFB 400 Toxic Health Hazards 3
EFB 439 Forest Health Monitoring 3
EST 550 Environmental Impact Analysis 3
FOR 334 Silviculture 3

Additional courses may be approved by consulting with your advisor.

Social Science

Take three policy and decision making courses (9 credits), two communication and interpretation courses (6 credits) and one critical perspectives course (3 credits). Suggested classes are as follows:

Policy and Decision Making
Course Course Name Credits
EST 426 Community Planning & Sustainability 3
EST 427 Environmental & Energy Auditing 3
EST 450 Sustainable Enterprise 3
EST 460 Land Use Law 3
EST 550 Environmental Impact Analysis 3
FOR 451 Comprehensive Land Planning 3
FOR 465 Natural Resources Policy 3
FOR 487 Environmental Law & Policy 3
FOR 489 Natural Resources Law 3
Communication and Interpretation
Course Course Name Credits
EFB 312 Introduction to Personal Environmental Interpretation Methods 3
EFB 417 Non-Personal Environmental Interpretative Methods 3
EST 395 Public Comm. of Science and Technology 3
EST 493 Environmental Comm. Workshop 3
EWP 394 The Art of Storytelling 3
EWP 450 Digital Storytelling 3
FOR 372 Fundamentals of Outdoor Recreation 3
Critical Perspectives
Course Course Name Credits
EST 312 Sociology of Natural Resources 3
EST 353 Behavior Change and the Environment 3
EST 366 Attitudes, Values & the Environment 3
EST 390 Social Processes and the Environment 3
EST 405 Gender, Culture and the Environment 3
EST 415 Environmental Justice 3

Additional courses may be approved by consulting with your advisor.

Recommended Senior Synthesis Advance Coursework Option Courses

BSA students pursuing the advanced coursework Option should consider the following:

  • EFB 400 Toxic Health Hazards
  • EFB 518 Systems Ecology
  • EFB 522 Biophysical Economics
  • Typical Course Sequence

    This is a possible sequence for the Natural Systems Applications Option. In consultation with your Advisor, you will need to adjust this sequence to suit your specific situation.

    Junior- Fall Course Name Credits
    EFB 320 General Ecology (R) 4
    EST 361 History of the American Environmental Movement (R) 3
    NSA Sub-option 3
    NSA Scientific Breadth Option 3
    NSA Sub-option -Natural Systems and Management 3
      Total Semester Credits: 16
    Junior- Spring      
    EWP 407 Writing for Environmental Professionals (R) 3
    EST 321 Government and the Environment (R) 3
    APM 391 Introduction to Probability and Statistics (R) 3
      NSA Sub-option -Environmental Quality 3
      General Elective 3
      Total Semester Credits: 15
    Senior- Fall      
    Upper Division Computing or Natural Science Course 4
    GIS Course (R) 3
    NSA Sub-option 3
    NSA Sub-option 3
      Senior Synthesis (R) 3
        Total Semester Credits: 16
    Senior- Spring      
    EST 494 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (R) 1
    NSA Option Policy Course or Law Course 3
    NSA Option Focus Area Course 3
      NSA Option Focus Area Course 3
      General Elective 3
      General Elective 3
        Total Semester Credits: 16