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Environmental Science

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Environmental Science

Available Options

Environmental Science and Policy department web page


Program Overview

This interdisciplinary science degree prepares students in a liberal arts tradition to understand connections between human beings and their effects on the Earth's environment. Drake environmental science students are grounded in the natural sciences disciplines while also acquiring the ability to synthesize information across disciplines. Students develop technical and quantitative skills including laboratory and field methods, statistical analysis and the implementation of geographic information systems (GIS). Courses in the social sciences such as economics, politics, policy and ethics provide an important link to the human element associated with environmental issues. Graduates of the program will be well prepared to undertake graduate study in diverse fields of environmental sciences, as well as to work in governmental and nongovernmental capacities on environmental issues.

Field work is a key component of this degree, featured in biology, geology and environmental classes. Iowa's central location in the nation allows students to experience a diversity of ecosystems and human communities during frequently offered weekend and summer field trips. The program also connects students with ongoing environmental projects (for example an 8,000-acre prairie restoration project including bison and elk at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles east of campus), with offerings at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, Iowa (a biological field station), and with semester-long marine science experiences at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Drake’s environmental science major is distinguished by its strong focus on interdisciplinary study, emphasis on field experiences, opportunities for research and independent study, and service learning approach in the Senior Capstone experience.


B.A. Degree Requirements

Environmental Science: Biological Conservation

Course Credit Hours
ENSP 035 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science 3
ENSP 036 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science Lab 1
ENSP 037 - Environmental Case Analysis 3
ENSP 041 - Principles of Geology 4
ENSP 061 - Environmental Sociology 3
ENSP 065 - Geographic Information Systems 3
Life Science Base
 
BIO 012/012L - General/Pre-Professional Biology I (with lab) 4
BIO 013/013L - General/Pre-Professional Biology II (with lab) 4
BIO 117/118L - Ecology (with lab) 5
BIO 120/120L - Ecosystem Ecology (with lab), or
BIO 167/167L - Population and Community Ecology (with lab)
4
CHEM 001/003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
Data Analysis
 
BIO 099 - Biology Research and Statistical Methods, or
STAT 060 - Statistics for the Life Sciences
4
3
ENSP 154 - Environmental Decision-Making, or
ENSP 168 - Dynamic Environmental Modeling
3
ENSP 165 - Applications of Geographic Information Systems 3
Field Electives - advisor approved
6
A field elective is any course in the earth or life sciences that incorporates a significant field component.  This could be a laboratory with a large fraction of field activities, or it could be a course where field work is fully integrated into the course itself.  
Science-Policy Integration - Select six credits from the following: 6
ENSP 125 - Conservation Biology 4
ENSP 135 - Global Climate Change 3
ENSP 150 - Water Resources  
or advisor-approved elective where there is significant consideration of scientific content as well as how the science relates to important discussions in the policy realm  
ENSP 191 - Capstone
3
TOTAL 62

Environmental Science: Hydrology and Geology

Course Credit Hours
ENSP 035 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science 3
ENSP 036 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science Lab 1
ENSP 037 - Environmental Case Analysis 3
ENSP 041 - Principles of Geology 4
ENSP 061 - Environmental Sociology 3
ENSP 065 - Geographic Information Systems 3
Physical Science Base
 
MATH 050 - Calculus I 3
BIO 099 - Biology Research and Statistical Methods, or
STAT 060 - Statistics for the Life Sciences
4
3
PHY 001 - Introductory Physics (with lab) 4
CHEM 001 and 003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 002 and 004 - General Chemistry II (with lab) 4
Quantitative/Chemical ScienceSelect six credits from the following:  
MATH 070 - Calculus II (or higher) 4
CHEM 081 - Quantitative Chemical Analysis (with lab) 4
Area of Specialization - Select twelve credits from the following:
12
ENSP 027 - Environmental Hazards 3
ENSP 105 - Environmental Geology 4
ENSP 150 - Landscape Evolution  
ENSP 150 - Global Biogeochemical Cycles  
ENSP 165 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems 3
ENSP 168 - Dynamic Modeling 3
or advisor-approved specialization course  
Science-Policy Integration - Select six credits from the following: 6
ENSP 125 - Conservation Biology 4
ENSP 135 - Global Climate Change 3
ENSP 150 - Water Resources  
or advisor-approved elective where there is significant consideration of scientific content as well as how the science relates to important discussions in the policy realm  
ENSP 191 - Capstone
3
TOTAL 62

B.S. Degree Requirements

The B.S. degree program is designed to provide significant experience in research.  Students will become collaborators with faculty and contribute to all aspects of a research project from proposal and hypothesis formation to data analysis, interpretation and presentation.  The research typically occurs at Drake University with Drake faculty, but it could also be completed during an off-campus experience with a non-Drake adviser (e.g., study abroad, local workplaces).  Off-campus research still requires an ENSP faculty adviser (through enrollment in ENSP 197).

Environmental Science: Biological Conservation

Course Credit Hours
ENSP 035 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science 3
ENSP 036 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science Lab 1
ENSP 037 - Environmental Case Analysis 3
ENSP 041 - Principles of Geology 4
ENSP 061 - Environmental Sociology 3
ENSP 065 - Geographic Information Systems 3
Life Science Base
 
BIO 012/012L - General/Pre-Professional Biology I (with lab) 4
BIO 013/013L - General/Pre-Professional Biology II (with lab) 4
BIO 117/118L - Ecology (with lab) 5
BIO 120/120L - Ecosystem Ecology (with lab), or
BIO 167/167L - Population and Community Ecology (with lab)
4
CHEM 001/003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
Data Analysis
 
BIO 099 - Biology Research and Statistical Methods, or
STAT 060 - Statistics for the Life Sciences
4
3
ENSP 154 - Environmental Decision-Making, or
ENSP 168 - Dynamic Environmental Modeling
3
ENSP 165 - Applications of Geographic Information Systems 3
Field Electives - advisor approved
6
A field elective is any course in the earth or life sciences that incorporates a significant field component.  This could be a laboratory with a large fraction of field activities, or it could be a course where field work is fully integrated into the course itself.  
Science-Policy Integration - Select six credits from the following: 6
ENSP 125 - Conservation Biology 4
ENSP 135 - Global Climate Change 3
ENSP 150 - Water Resources  
or advisor-approved elective where there is significant consideration of scientific content as well as how the science relates to important discussions in the policy realm  
ENSP 191 - Capstone
3
TOTAL 62

Environmental Science: Hydrology and Geology

Course Credit Hours
ENSP 035 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science 3
ENSP 036 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science Lab 1
ENSP 037 - Environmental Case Analysis 3
ENSP 041 - Principles of Geology 4
ENSP 061 - Environmental Sociology 3
ENSP 065 - Geographic Information Systems 3
Physical Science Base
 
MATH 050 - Calculus I 3
BIO 099 - Biology Research and Statistical Methods, or
STAT 060 - Statistics for the Life Sciences
4
3
PHY 001 - Introductory Physics (with lab) 4
CHEM 001 and 003 - General Chemistry I (with lab) 4
CHEM 002 and 004 - General Chemistry II (with lab) 4
Quantitative/Chemical Science - Select six credits from the following:  
MATH 070 - Calculus II (or higher) 4
CHEM 081 - Quantitative Chemical Analysis (with lab) 4
Area of Specialization - Select twelve credits from the following:
12
ENSP 027 - Environmental Hazards 3
ENSP 105 - Environmental Geology 4
ENSP 150 - Landscape Evolution  
ENSP 150 - Global Biogeochemical Cycles  
ENSP 165 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems 3
ENSP 168 - Dynamic Modeling 3
or advisor-approved specialization course  
Science-Policy Integration - Select six credits from the following: 6
ENSP 125 - Conservation Biology 4
ENSP 135 - Global Climate Change 3
ENSP 150 - Water Resources  
or advisor-approved elective where there is significant consideration of scientific content as well as how the science relates to important discussions in the policy realm  
ENSP 191 - Capstone
3
TOTAL 62

Additional requirements for the B.S. degree:

  • Collaboration with a faculty advisor in a significant research project (minimum of 2 semesters)
  • Research proposal submitted to the ENSP program and approved before your senior year
  • BIO 099 - Biological Research and Statistical Methods, or its advisor-approved equivalent
  • A minimum of 2 credits of ENSP 197 - Undergraduate Thesis Research
  • Oral presentation of the research to ENSP faculty and students
  • Research paper and a copy of the presentation submitted to the ENSP program

Students planning to complete a B.S. in ENS should obtain a copy of the full description of the B.S. requirements from their advisor or the program director by their sophomore year.


Environmental Science Minor

All minors must have an adviser in the program and must successfully complete a minimum 22 credit hours that fulfill the following requirements:

Course Credit Hours
ENSP 035 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science 3
ENSP 036 - One Earth: Global Environmental Science Lab 1
BIO 001 - Introduction to Biological Science (or equivalent) 3
BIO 117 - Ecology 3
BIO 118L - Ecology Lab 1
Elective - Select one course from the following:  
ENSP 041 - Principles of Geology 4
ENSP 065 - Geographic Information Systems 3
ENSP 105 - Environmental Geology 4
ENSP 135 - Global Change: Science and Policy 3
ENSP elective in Environmental Policy  
ENSP 100-level elective  
TOTAL 22
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