2017-18 University Catalog 
    May 22, 2024  
2017-18 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Sciences Program

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: University Departments and Programs

Michael Hughes, Program Director
John Ritter, GIS Emphasis Coordinator

Degree Offered

  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences

Dual Major Options

  • Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences
    Advising Coordinator: David Thaemert
  • Bachelor of Science in Renewable Energy Engineering and Environmental Sciences
    Advising Coordinator: James Zipay

The Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences emphasizes the application of scientific reasoning and methodology to problems concerning: (1) environmental processes and patterns, and/or (2) abiotic-biotic interactions in ecosystems. Methodological training focuses on techniques – and instrumentation – in conjunction with GIS and geospatial analysis.

The program rests on three cores: a core of six lower-division courses in introductory environmental science, a basic sciences core of nine courses (one year each of biology, chemistry and physics), and a mathematics core of five courses, including differential and integral calculus and statistics. The program is by definition interdisciplinary and utilizes the practical knowledge and skills of faculty from a broad range of backgrounds and expertise.

Students may choose to concentrate in one of four technical emphasis areas; Watershed Science, Sustainable Technologies, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Biological Resources. Under the direction of an advisor, students may fore go any one area and instead blend offerings from all four areas to create a more individually focused curriculum. The emphasis in Watershed Science focuses on the structure, processes, patterns, ecology, management, and restoration of terrestrial, riparian and aquatic ecosystems. Special attention is granted to the flows of energy and materials through these ecosystems, as well as human impacts on ecosystem functions. The emphasis in Sustainable Technologies focuses on the characterization of environmental processes and patterns for application to the management, planning, and development of renewable resources, with special attention to water and renewable energy. The emphasis in GIS builds on the GIS core curriculum to advance student knowledge and skills in the application of geospatial concepts and technologies to problems in environmental sciences and natural resource management. The emphasis in Biological Resources… The core curriculum and technical emphasis areas are supported by courses taught by faculty in the Natural Sciences Department and other departments and programs on campus, including Geomatics, Civil Engineering, Renewable Energy Engineering, Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Communication Studies.


The objectives of the Environmental Sciences Program are:

  1. To provide students with knowledge and training in the practical application of scientific reasoning and methodology to problems in environmental science and natural resource management.
  2. To present complex environmental problems from a systems perspective that demands rigorous data acquisition and analytical techniques.
  3. To provide exercises that support critical thinking and problem-solving skills, encourage student collaboration, and employ multiple methodological approaches.
  4. To prepare students for professional careers and/or graduate studies by nurturing meaningful undergraduate research projects as a fundamental curricular element.

Student Preparation

The Environmental Sciences curriculum is a demanding instructional program requiring the development and use of both qualitative and quantitative analytical perspectives and skills. Prospective students for this program are advised to complete two to three years of high school mathematics and science (biology, chemistry, and physics). Students should also be familiar with computer applications. Students transferring from other science or technical programs, including environmental programs at other institutions, are requested to contact the program director for information on program requirements.

Career Opportunities

Graduates can expect to find employment in, among other places, consulting firms, government agencies (regulatory and research), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and education and research institutions. Students are also well prepared to enter graduate school. Environmental Sciences students at Oregon Tech have been actively recruited by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon State Police Wildlife Enforcement, Klamath County Health Department, Klamath Irrigation District, Klamath County Soil and Water Conservation District, the Nature Conservancy, and JELD-WEN Windows and Doors. Vocational placement of recent graduates has been excellent and many Environmental Sciences majors find part-time or summer employment directly related to their studies and career interests.



    Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: University Departments and Programs