Department of Environmental Science
Chairperson: George P. Cobb
Graduate Program Director: Erica D. Bruce
The Department of Environmental Science offers three degree options:
- Master of Science in environmental science for students with a Bachelor of Science degree
- Master of Environmental Studies for students with a Bachelor of Arts degree
- Master of Environmental Studies, non-thesis option for students with a Bachelor of Arts degree
- Doctor of Philosophy in environmental science
Bachelor of Arts majors in a science discipline may petition for the Master of Science in environmental science.
The Environmental Science department welcomes graduate student candidates with diverse academic backgrounds. Students from majors such as anthropology, aviation science, biology, chemistry, engineering, geography, science education, and policy are encouraged to apply. The department has developed a graduate core course sequence open to students with graduate standing in all environmental fields.
|ENV 5342||Ecological Risk Assessment||3|
|ENV 5303||Environmental Chemical Analysis||3|
|ENV 5368||Integrated Energy Resource Systems||3|
|ENV 5379||Ecosystem Management||3|
The program offers advanced courses in specialized areas such as water resources, natural resource management, environmental toxicology, and environmental chemistry. Under the direction of a major advisor, graduate students may either focus their course work in a specific area, such as water quality, or they may pursue courses that provide a broad background in environmental issues. Graduate students may also take courses offered in other departments, such as Biology, Chemistry, and Geology, if the courses are appropriate to environmental science or studies and the graduate student’s professional goals.
Financial assistance is available for departmental graduate students in the form of teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and scholarships. Loans and other types of aid are available through the Student Financial Aid Office.
Students selecting a thesis option may conduct research in the Waco area, outside the region or internationally. Environmental Science graduate students have conducted research in Asia, Europe, and Central America. Departmental laboratory facilities provide instrumentation and computer support in geographic information systems, computer modeling, water quality analysis, air quality monitoring, and biofuels production. The program engages in field research in a variety of ecosystems, including riparian corridors, reservoirs, grasslands, wetlands, temperate forests, tropical forests, and coastal barrier islands. Current faculty research interests include the social impacts of ecotourism, human dimensions of climate change, wastewater management, water quality, ecotoxicology, improved production of biofuels, conservation of biodiversity, and the ethics of natural resource communities.
Thesis options are appropriate for students interested in research and academic careers, research interest, those pursuing a terminal degree, or those planning careers that require extensive preparation of environmental documentation or plans. A non-thesis option with a required practicum is available for the Master of Environmental Studies (M.E.S.) degree. The semester-long practicum may be either paid or volunteer and must be under a professional supervisor. The non-thesis option is appropriate for students seeking employment in K-12 education, management in environmental organizations, or similar fields. The non-thesis option is not recommended for students planning to pursue a terminal degree, such as a Ph.D.
The objective of all four degree programs is to train technically competent individuals to assess problems involving environmental issues, to design workable plans, to undertake or direct planned actions toward environmental problem solving, and to work in interdisciplinary teams.
For admission to the graduate program, candidates must:
- Meet the general requirements set forth by the Graduate School.
- Demonstrate an academic background that is adequate to undertake the course of study that has been defined as the candidate’s major area of interest.
- Present a GPA from undergraduate disciplines that is predictive of success in this program and that supports the candidate’s graduate area of interest.
Environmental Science (ENV)
Students will contribute the skills of their specializations to analyze and to suggest a solution to a current environmental problem. May be repeated once with a change of content.
Concepts and issues in aquatic chemistry, including chemical equilibria of natural waters and anthropogenic impacts. Required field trips.
Fundamentals of environmental protection laws in the United States, including the evolution of environmental law in the areas of case law, common law, and administrative law. Topics include air and water quality, toxic and hazardous substances, endangered species, and wetlands and coastal management issues.
Reviews history and policy of United States, transboundary, and global air pollution and resulting environmental regulations.
A seminar approach with emphasis on the various causes of malnutrition including the ecological basis for food production, the impact of economics and politics on food production and distribution, and the consequences of malnutrition.
Examines the impacts of natural and anthropogenic sources of metals on human health and the relationship between natural geological factors and health in humans and animals in the context of geographic significance and public health responses.
Economic analysis in description, analysis, and policy formulation of environmental problems such as natural resource development, ecology, energy needs, noise, water, and air pollution. Economic tools used will include social welfare analysis, externalities, and benefit cost analysis.
Concepts, data sources, and methodologies used in the field of human risk assessment, including environmental hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, risk characterization, and risk communication. Required project utilizing professional risk assessment software.
See ANT 4327 for course information.
See PSC 4330 for course information.
Strategies for managing beaches, deltas, barrier islands and coastal seas, including issues in flood and storm risk, pollution mitigation, recreational development and fisheries exploitation.
Government regulations and increased citizen awareness relationship to the impact of plans and projects on the environment. The course includes an examination of major environmental legislation and its impact on decision making in the public sector. Legislative Acts pertinent to the development of Environmental Impact Analysis are studied.
See ANT 4340 for course information.
Basic concepts of toxicology, including historical perspectives, the disposition and metabolism of toxic substances, pharmacokinetics, target organ toxicity, non-organ directed toxicity, toxic agents, industrial toxicology, forensic toxicology, environmental toxicology, toxicity testing techniques, and risk assessment.
Interdisciplinary field of water management. Scientific, technical, institutional, economic, legal, and political aspects of water management.
Theory, principles, and management of renewable resources to meet human needs. Field trips to management activities will be included.
Fundamental concepts of energy: the nature of energy flows and storage, potential and kinetic energy, energy loss and reversible and irreversible processes. Renewable and non-renewable energy sources and the impact of energy consumption on problems of societal sustainability.
See GEO 4375 for course information.
Topics in the management of national or state parks, nature reserves or wilderness areas, such as recreational impacts, disturbance ecology, or environmental interpretation. May be conducted as an off-campus field seminar.
Principles and practices for restoring natural systems that have been degraded or destroyed. Emphasis on re-establishment of soils, plants, and animals in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Legislative, political, industrial, and regulatory perspectives considered.
See GEO 4386 for course information.
See HIS 4388 for course information.
Off-campus field course exploring tropical ecosystems, such as rainforests and coral reefs. Investigation of past impacts of human cultures, and of sustainable practices for future environmental management. Topics may include agriculture, forestry, aquatic resources, energy production, and ecotourism.
Ecological analysis of forest and woodland structure, energy and nutrient cycling, population dynamics and response to disturbance. Application of concepts to sustainable forest management.
See GEO 4485 for course information.
Principles and techniques for geospatial data collection, manipulation, modeling, visualization, and analysis. Emphasis is placed on current raster modeling techniques, spatial statistical analysis methods, and using GIS as a predictive tool for environmental research.
See ANT 4680 for course information.
A field experience centered on a region, ecosystem type, or environmental issue. Incorporates system-specific sampling methodologies. Requires off-campus field trips. May be repeated up to a total of three credit hours when content differs.
Advanced interdisciplinary study of the environment. Subject and hours credit mutually agreed upon by student and directing professor(s) prior to registration. May be repeated for a maximum total credit of three semester hours.
This seminar course includes applications of scientific inquiry to environmental science and development of policies that influence the quality of the environment. Graduate students attend seminars and engage the speaker on a weekly basis.
See PHY 5155 for course information.
Advanced Laboratory Methods in Life Sciences is a course for the advanced life sciences student. Course content explores biochemical and genetic techniques via classroom lectures and discussion as well as active demonstration/participation in the laboratory. Students learn principles and techniques used to evaluate a variety of endpoints across several disciplines.
To fulfill requirements for non-thesis master's students who need to complete final degree requirements other than coursework during their last semester. This may include such things as a comprehensive examination, oral examination, or foreign language requirement. Students are required to be registered during the semester they graduate.
Concepts for Advanced Laboratory Methods in Life Sciences is a course for the advanced life sciences student. It explores laboratory methods via classroom lectures and discussion as well as active demonstration/participation in the laboratory. Students learn principles and techniques used to evaluate a variety of endpoints across several disciplines.
An in-depth interdisciplinary examination of environmental practices in six areas: the ecosphere, human ecosystems, principles and practices in areas such as the ecosphere, human ecosystems, natural resources and pollution, environment and society, methodology, and emerging themes.
This course studies the global health and environmental concepts of disaster response and risk reduction. Lectures and discussions explore the practical aspects of recent disasters, disease outbreaks, and environmental incidents and the methods, strategies, and tools that could be used to mitigate future disasters.
Overview of current topics in environmental health, including environmental toxicology and disease, food security and safety, risk assessment, air and water quality, waste management, emerging contaminants and diseases, public health concepts of emergency preparedness, environmental regulation, and mitigation of environmental risks.
Analytic chemistry techniques used in environmental science including sampling, wet chemistry, chromatography, and spectroscopic methods.
Ecological basis for food production in both temperate and tropical countries with emphasis on understanding the nature of the vulnerability of agriculture to environmental disturbance and on possible mechanisms to improve the stability and sustained productivity of improve the stability and sustained productivity of agricultural systems.
See ANT 5310 for course information.
Research design and methods. Students produce a comprehensive research proposal in their major field(s) of study and submit for funding to appropriate agency or foundation.
See PSC 5323 for course information.
This course introduces students to advanced concepts, data sources, and methodologies used in the field of human health risk assessment and provides them with an understanding of current issues in environmental sciences. Students conduct a quantitative risk assessment, which is demonstrated in the final project that includes a risk management proposal with uncertainty/sensitivity analysis.
A thorough treatment of assessment procedures for quantifying hazardous effects of chemicals on the environment. Topics will include but are not limited to components of risk assessment paradigm, ecological risk assessment for contaminated sites, the precautionary principle, and other contemporary risk assessment issues.
This course introduces students to the field of environmental issues and Third World development with emphasis on sustainable development and ensured environmental security.
See BIO 5360 for course information.
A seminar approach which examines various examples of integrated energy systems combining different renewable and conventional resources.
Advanced principles of environmental toxicology, environmental fate of pollutants, and risk assessment. The course will focus on contemporary topics and methodology.
Special applications of biotechnology in the areas of degradation and remediation of environmental contaminants; environmental implications of genetic engineering.
Seminar which examines the application of the principles and practices of comprehensive planning at the urban and regional levels emphasizing the implications of the natural environmental characteristics of an area while addressing the social, economic, and physical environmental needs of a community.
A seminar in the application of ecological principles to the management of terrestrial, freshwater and marine communities and ecosystems. An overview for students from all environmental specialties with an emphasis on case histories.
Sources and implications of chemical pollution, cost/benefit analyses, chemical implications of alternative energy sources, waste minimization, recycling, and decontamination considerations.
Measurement methods, such as spectroscopy, and statistical analysis used to characterize the chemical and physical properties of air to determine pollution levels and air quality.
Chemistry and physics of the troposphere and stratosphere, including photochemistry, chemical kenetics, aerosol formation, micrometerology, atmospheric modeling, and other advanced topics.
See BIO 5404 for course information.
See BIO 5413 for course information.
The course may be repeated depending on the combination of semester hours up to a maximum of twelve semester hours.
A practicum supervised by an environmental professional. May be salaried or volunteer. Requires one hundred fifty to one hundred sixty hours of work per semester hour. Students are required to complete three hours of ENV 5V90 for their degree requirements.
Required of all graduate students. For research credit associated with graduate research. Credit will be given for the amount of work done. May be repeated for credit through 45 hours.
The course is required to be repeated depending on the combination of semester hours up to a minimum of six semester hours.
For research credit, once coursework is completed, and prior to admission to candidacy for an advanced degree. May be repeated for credit up to 6 hours.
Research, data analysis, writing, and oral defense of an approved doctoral dissertation on a research topic in Environmental Science. Student must have been Admitted to Candidacy before registering for dissertation hours.