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Undergraduate

Environmental Science

Students who pursue an environmental science degree at Assumption University share a concern for the welfare of our planet. Be inspired and pursue an impactful career in environmental science by studying the environment and the effects of biological systems on the environment.

Human impact on the environment has been evident since the beginning of civilization and has proceeded at an ever-accelerating rate from the Industrial Revolution to the present. Human activities have affected the soil, water, vegetation, climate, animal life, and even the surface of the earth itself. An awareness of environmental deterioration has forced us to seek remedies. Thus, there is a need for individuals trained to recognize, quantify, and seek solutions for environmental problems.

This program provides you a broad foundation in the fundamentals of environmental science, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Students who pursue an Environmental Science degree choose a specialization that enhances their understanding of resource conservation, environmental policy, and the effect of toxic materials on ecosystems. Students interested in this major are eligible to take courses off campus through the Massachusetts Marine Studies Consortium, the Duke University Marine Biology Consortium, and the Colleges of Worcester Consortium

Program Contact

Brian K. Niece, Ph.D

Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences, Professor of Chemistry
508-767-7209 Testa Science Center - Room 209

An Ideal Place to Learn

100%
All classes taught by professors, none by teaching assistants
Students from 29 states and 21 countries
11:1
Student/Faculty ratio

Program Curriculum

  • As an environmental science major, you can take 17 courses in ecology, chemistry, biology, and geography. In addition, you may specialize in areas that include resource conservation, environmental policy and the effects of toxic materials. This academic discipline prepares graduates for a career in teaching, law, government agencies, industry, the health sciences or graduate school.

    REQUIRED COURSES (17)

    Environmental science majors should take CHE 131 and BIO 160 in their first semester.

    ENV 150 Introduction to Environmental Science
    ENV 480 Environmental Science Seminar
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    BIO 360 Ecology
    CHE 131–132 General Chemistry I and II (Note CHE132 requires MAT114 or higher as a pre-requisite.)
    CHE 201–202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    CHE 318 Environmental Chemistry
    PHY 201–202 Physics I and II
    MAT 117/MAT 132 Calculus I OR Honors Calculus I
    ECO 115/PSY 224 Statistics OR Statistics
    One of the Following
    GEO 101 Physical Oceanography
    GEO 103 Introduction to Meteorology
    BIO 260 Bioinformatics
    PHY 213 Introduction to Engineering Problem Solving
    ENV 350 Wetlands (consortium); Limnology/Aquatic Ecology (consortium)
    One of the Following
    BIO 220 Invertebrate Zoology
    BIO 230 Plant Botany
    BIO 250 Microbiology
    BIO 350 Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation
    One of the Following
    ECO 235 Environmental Economics
    GEO 134 Conservation of Natural Resources
    GEO 252 Land Use and Planning Law
    POL 321 Public Policy
    ENV 260 Water Resources Planning and Management
    ENV 280 Coastal Zone Management (consortium)
    One Additional 300 or Above Elective

    Students can choose from courses listed above which haven’t fulfilled a section requirement, as well as ENV 491 Environmental Science Independent Study, CHE 315 Analytical Chemistry, CHE 450 Instrumental Analysis, BIO310 Animal Behavior, or an approved Worcester consortium course.

    Course Descriptions

  • This concentration introduces students to the principles and theories used to develop public policies for the conservation of natural resources. The program is designed for students who hope to make a substantial contribution to the development of green technologies and a sustainable environment. The concentration combines rigorous coursework in environmental science with interdisciplinary studies in environmental policy. After graduation, individuals with this concentration can pursue graduate study in Environmental Science or seek employment in government agencies or industry (see the Assumption University/Duke University programs described above for an example of the type of graduate programs that environmental science majors may pursue). The major is also excellent preparation for a career in teaching, law, or the health sciences. Ideally, students should take CHE 131 and ENV 150 in the fall semester of their first year and CHE 132 and BIO 160 in the spring. Students should choose the remaining required courses in consultation with their academic advisor. Students who choose this major after their first year should consult their academic advisor before registering for classes.

    Required Courses (17)
    ENV 150 Introduction to Environmental Science
    ENV 480 Environmental Science Seminar
    BIO 160 Concepts of Biology
    BIO 360 Ecology
    CHE 131–132 General Chemistry I and II (Note: MAT 114 is a pre-requisite for CHE 132)
    CHE 201–202 Organic Chemistry I and II
    CHE 318 Environmental Chemistry
    MAT 117/MAT 131 Calculus I OR Honors Calculus I
    PHY 201–202 Physics I and II
    ECO 115/PSY 224 Statistics OR Statistics
    ECO 235 Environmental Economics
    GEO 134 Conservation of Natural Resources
    POL 321 Public Policy
    One Additional Course
    GEO 108 World Population Issues
    GEO 252 Land Use and Planning Law

    An environmental policy course approved by the Department of Natural Sciences chairperson. This course can come from the offerings at Assumption, the Massachusetts Marine Biology Consortium, the Duke University Marine Biology Consortium, or the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA). Consult your advisor for more information.

    Course Descriptions

  • Students may expand their study of environmental problems with a Minor in Environmental Science. This program will appeal to students who have an interest in the science behind environmental issues.

    Required Courses
    ENV 150 Introduction to Environmental Science
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    1 200 level course from Section A
    1 300 level course from Section A
    1 course from Section B
    ENV 480 Environmental Science Seminar
    Section A
    BIO 220 Invertebrate Zoology
    BIO 230/BIO 350 Botany Marine Mammals: Biology and Conservation
    BIO 360/CHE 318 Ecology/Environmental Chemistry
    ENV 350 Wetlands
    ENV 491 Independent Study in Environmental Science
    Section B
    GEO 101 Physical Oceanography
    GEO 103 Introduction to Meteorology
    GEO 134 Conservation of Natural Resources
    GEO 252 Land Use and Planning Law
    ECO 235 Environmental Economics
    ENV 260 Water Resources Planning and Management (consortium)
    ENV 280 Coastal Zone Management (consortium)

    Course Descriptions

  • Encompassing a number of disciplines—including economics, science, ecology, sociology, and politics—Assumption’s Environmental Studies program looks at the complex ways in which man and nature affect one another, the problems that can cause, and how we can solve them. Building off a foundation in fields like biology, chemistry, and oceanography, the program analyzes issues like land use policy, environmental economics, and conservation.

    As a multidisciplinary program, Environmental Studies offers students the broad base of skills and knowledge they’ll need for a variety of careers. An Environmental Studies minor is an ideal complement to students studying political science, economics, the natural sciences, or sociology.

    Required Courses (6)
    ENV 150 Introduction to Environmental Science
    Section A choose (1) one of the following (may be taken with or without a lab)
    ENV 120 Environmental History of New England
    BIO 160 Concepts in Biology
    CHE 105 Chemistry in Modern Society
    CHE 131 General Chemistry
    Section B choose (4) of the following
    GEO 101 Physical Oceanography
    GEO 103 Introduction to Meteorology
    GEO 108 World Population Issues
    GEO 134 Conservation of Natural Resources
    GEO 252 Land Use and Planning Law
    ECO 235 Environmental Economics
    ENV 260 Water Resources Planning and Management, available through the Marine Studies Consortium
    OR
    ENV 280 Coastal Zone Management, available through the Marine Studies Consortium

    Course Descriptions

Faculty

Brian K. Niece, Ph.D
Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences Department Chair, Biological and Physical Sciences Professor of Chemistry
Karolina Fučíková, Ph.D
Assistant Professor of Biology
James F. Hauri, Jr.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Owen D. Sholes, Ph.D
Adjunct Faculty

Experiential Learning

Assumption's Rome Campus

At Assumption's campus in Rome, Italy, the city and the country become your classroom through daily and weekend-long excursions throughout "the eternal city" and the Italian countryside. This unique study abroad experience will enrich your academic and cultural pursuits as you walk in the footsteps of emperors and gladiators then enjoy delectable Italian cuisine or perhaps a cappuccino after class in a local cafe. (Did you know that your financial aid follows you to Rome?)

Explore the Rome Campus

Learn the Skills Employers Seek

Faculty/Student Research

The Assumption curriculum encourages scholarly and real-world experience. With hands-on research conducted alongside faculty mentors, students gain a depth of knowledge and skills that lead to professional success and personal fulfillment.

Study Abroad

At Assumption University, the world is your classroom. Students can study and explore abroad in over 50 places from Vienna to England, South Africa, and even our own campus in historic, yet modern, Rome, Italy. Assumption’s study abroad program offers culture, history, and a living classroom for all.

Internships

Assumption starts planning for your future the day you arrive on campus. Our Career Development and Internship Center helps students secure exciting and fulfilling internships where you’ll apply knowledge obtained in the classroom in a professional setting, preparing for a future career or additional study. Assumption connects students to internship opportunities in corporations, government agencies, research hospitals, non-profit organizations, and more.


Career Paths

American Airlines

American Cancer Society

Aventis Pharmaceuticals

Biogen Idec, Inc.

Eli Lilly and Company

Genzyme

Harvard University

Hasbro Children's Hospital

Juvenile Diabetes Foundation

Massachusetts General Hospital

National Science Foundation

National Institutes of Health

Mosaic Technologies

Pfizer, Inc.

University of Massachusetts Medical School

Waters Corporation

First-rate Academics in a Catholic University Setting

Assumption University awakens in students a sense of wonder, discovery, and purpose, forming graduates known for their intellectual seriousness, thoughtful citizenship, and devotion to the common good. Students are provided an education that shapes their souls, forms them intellectually, and prepares them for meaningful careers. Enlivened by the harmony of faith and reason, here, students’ minds and hearts are transformed.


Assumption is dedicated to providing a clear understanding of what your education will cost

We’ll help cut through the complexity of financing your education, ensuring you understand what you need, how to apply for aid, and what’s expected of you. You will be assigned a personal financial aid advisor who will guide you through the process and answer all of your financial aid-related questions.

Career Paths


Internships and Research Opportunities

Assumption students have been selected to participate in summer research programs at major research institutions around the nation. Also, Assumption offers on-campus summer research opportunities to upper-level students who apply to assist Assumption faculty with their research projects. Students selected for summer research positions receive a stipend and housing on campus. All science majors are strongly encouraged to gain practical experience and course credit through an internship in their field of interest during their junior or senior year. Internships for academic credit give students practical, hands-on experience, allowing them to explore their career choices before graduating.

Sample Graduate Schools

​​​​​​After graduation, students can seek employment in government agencies or industry, or they can pursue graduate studies in environmental engineering, environmental science, environmental management, law, education or the health sciences. To facilitate entry into these areas of study the University has established agreements that allow qualified Assumption Environmental Science students to earn a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from The University of Notre Dame, a M.S. in Environmental Management or Forestry Management from Duke University, world-renowned for its work in Environmental Science, or a J.D. in Environmental Law from the Vermont Law School, which U.S. News and World Report currently ranks as the nation’s leading environmental law program.
  • Boston University
  • Brown University Medical School
  • Duke University
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • NE College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Northeastern University
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Florida
  • UMass Medical School - M.D./Ph.D. program
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of West Virginia
  • Yale University

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