Environmental Science | New England College
Contact Us Calendar Campus Map Social Mashup
Accepted Students Parents & Families Alumni Students, Faculty & Staff (My NEC)

Environmental Science

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science

Environmental science and environmental studies are interdisciplinary fields that draw on information obtained from many areas of knowledge including the sciences, mathematics, philosophy, political science and economics. They are, by nature, global in scope because environmental issues transcend geopolitical boundaries.  Both majors stress collaborative study with faculty, internships, and a hands-on approach while developing a working knowledge of tools specific to the field. The curriculum centers on examining how the natural world functions and the use of information from diverse sources to examine the human impact on our environment.

Whether you are interested in the science of understanding, monitoring, and managing the environment, working with environmental advocacy organizations, working in field of environmental and public policy, or working in the emerging discipline of sustainability and how organizations, businesses, and communities are addressing the environmental issues of 21st century and the  green economy the Environmental majors at New England College focus on the developing the skills necessary to be successful in the fields environmental science, studies and sustainability.  Students are prepared for employment directly after graduation or going into related advanced study and graduate programs.

Students completing the environmental science major are prepared for graduate school or employment by local, state, and federal regulatory agencies (e.g. U.S. EPA), private industry, and consulting firms.  The environmental studies major is intended for students interested in careers related to environmental policy, environmental education (nature centers, parks and recreation), environmental law (pre-Law), and work with non-profit organizations.

Requirements to Major in Environmental Science

A.  Natural Sciences and Mathematic Courses

  • NSM 1000 – The Way of Science
  • NSM 3000 – Careers in Science (1cr)
  • NSM 4000 – Senior Science Thesis (4cr)

B.  Environmental Core Courses

  • BI 1110 – General Biology I
  • ES 1110 – Environmental Science: A Global Concern
  • ES 3250 –  Principles of Environmental Policy and Sustainability

One Analytical Methods course from:

  • ES/EG 2350 – Surveying, Field Measurements and Mapping
  • ES 2450 – Environmental Research Methods
  • ES 4750 – Environmental Impact Assessment
  • ES 4830 – Independent Study in Environmental Science (1-4cr)
  • or ES 4910 – Environmental Science Internship (1-15cr)
  • MT 2310 – Statistics

One Computer course approved by the ES faculty

C.  Science Concentration

  • BI 1120 – General Biology II
  • BI 4010 – Ecology
  • CH 2110 – General Chemistry I
  • CH 2120 – General Chemistry II
  • MT 2510 – Calculus I
  • PH 2210 – General Physics I
  • Upper-level Science Elective

Requirements to Minor in Environmental Science

  • ES 1110 – Environmental Science: A Global Concern
  • ES 3250 – Principles of Environmental Policy and Sustainability.
  • NSM 1000 – The Way of Science
  • Two Environmental Science electives at the 2000+ level

Suggested Course Sequence within the Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies Majors

Each student is strongly encouraged to meet with their advisor to work out a specific course schedule. 

Environmental Science 

First Year

  • College Writing I & II
  • LAS 1110 and LAS 1120
  • Way of Science (LAS 2120)
  • Environmental Science: A Global Concern
  • Precalculus  

Sophomore Year

  • Principles of Env. Policy and Sustainability
  • LAS Seminars 2110 and 2140
  • General Biology I & II
  • Calculus I
  • Computer Technology Course

Junior Year

  • LAS Seminar 3310
  • Analytical Methods Course
  • Environmental Ethics
  • General Chemistry I & II
  • Statistics
  • Careers in Science Seminar 

Senior Year

  • General Physics I
  • Internship or Independent Study
  • Environmental Economics and Management
  • Upper Science (2000+) Elective
  • Senior Thesis

Course Descriptions

**All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

ES 1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern

This course covers a broad range of current environmental problems including population growth, global climate change, famine and food resources, global warming, and the loss of bio-diversity. The laboratory portion of the course provides students with hands-on, field and laboratory experiences that introduce a variety of methods and techniques used to examine natural communities and air and water quality. Offered every semester.

ES 1120 Practicum in Environmental Science/Studies

This practicum in environmental science/ studies enables New England College students in their first year to have a practical hands-on experience. The practicum is tailored around the student’s particular interest in the environmental field, and will focus on local or regional issues or projects. Evaluation will be based on a portfolio that documents the student’s learning experience. Variable credit (1-4) upon concurrence with faculty member.

ES 2070 (BI 2070) New England Natural History

A field and laboratory course emphasizing the diversity of local organisms and their environments. We attempt to cover all major groups (fungi, insects, flowering plants, etc.) of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, in terms of basic structure, relationships, identification, and adaptations. Offered every other fall.

ES 2110 (PH 2110) Introduction to Planetary Science

Starting with the formation of stars and solar systems this course investigates the underlying concepts and theories of planetary science. The course’s objective is to understand the principle forces that drive geological, atmospheric and hydrological processes and their influence on the development of life. A structured approach develops a comparative planetology for examining planets both within and outside our solar system.

ES 2120 Meteorology        

An exploration of the fundamentals of meteorology and the study of atmospheric processes that influence weather at global, continental, and local scales. Current weather elements (temperature, pressure, moisture, wind, clouds, precipitation) are used to explain the nature of weather systems (storm systems and fronts, thunderstorms, tornados and hurricanes). Weather map analysis and the basics of forecasting are examined based on current conditions throughout the semester. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 2250 (CT/EG 2250) Computer-aided Drawing and Design

Combining manual and computer graphic communication media, students are encouraged to formulate ideas that are then transformed into freehand sketches, design layouts and formal computer-aided drawings in both two- and three-dimensions. Innovations in product design and building and site layout and design are encouraged throughout the course. Offered every other fall.

ES 2350 (EG 2350) Surveying, Field Measurements, and Mapping

Basic principles of open and closed land transverses, field profiles, cross-sections, field inventory and topography are covered. Students learn to use and maintain survey instruments, take field notes, prepare drawings and maps, and use field information for site design and environmental assessment applications. Offered every other spring.

ES 2410 (PA 2410) Environmental Ethics

Students consider intrinsic relationships of humans to their physical and biological surroundings and reflect on the issues of meaning, attitudes and value. Topics include the historical roots of the ecological crisis, conflicting views on ecological problems, ethical problems in the environment and cooperation with nature. Offered every other spring.

ES 2450 Environmental Research Methods

This course examines basic experimental and sampling design of environmental research studies and experiments. Students will select and conduct experiments from problem formulation and hypothesis identification to data collection, statistical analysis, report writing and presentation of results. This will include studies based on surveys and measurements and studies that utilize experimental treatments and controls. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Offered every other spring.

ES 2550 (EC 2550) Environmental Economics and Management

Economics is about the allocation of scarce resources.  As an introduction to economic principles applied to environmental protection, this course emphasizes economic tools used in managing the environment while also examining negative impacts of inappropriate economic development. Topics include the market economy, economic efficiency, environmental externalities, open access resources, government regulation of the economy, alternative measures of economic output, benefit-cost analysis, and global sustainable development. Offered every other fall.

ES 2680 Energy and the Environment

This course explores the basic principles behind the use of energy. It covers crucial environmental questions such as global warming, municipal solid waste, and the socio-economic and environmental tradeoffs that must be made to support life on earth. The course also examines different aspects of each energy resource, including the principles involved and the environmental and economic consequences of its use. We will seek to integrate the complex questions of energy policy and possible energy strategies for the next century and beyond. Sustainability is a central theme. Offered every other spring.

ES 2990 Topics in Environmental Science

An introduction to current environmental topics. Topics offered in the past include: conflict between humans and nature in New England, renewable energy, environment and health, hazardous waste, environmental law, management of forests, wildlife. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

ES 3250 Principles of Environmental Policy and Sustainability

An examination of the role of government and private entities – corporations, businesses, and individuals – in the conservation and preservation of natural resources and the environment in the face of increasingly greater populations, escalating demand for energy and water consumption, and competing uses of diminishing resources. Governmental policies and regulations will be contrasted with market driven initiatives and strategies in evaluating effective policy formulation and implementation. Innovative technologies, growing demand for use of renewable energy resources, minimization of excessive waste practices, and resource allocation models will be examined as effective management options for guiding decisions affecting the impact of the built environment on land, water, and air resources. Use of real-world case studies involving private businesses and government legislation or regulations will be extensive. Prerequisite: Advanced standing or permission of instructor.

ES 3350 Introduction to Soil Science

This course examines the nature and properties (chemical, physical, and biological) of soil. The importance of soil as a resource is assessed from multiple perspectives, including: ecosystem processing, nutrient cycling, agricultural land use, and pollution control. Prerequisite: ES 1110, BI 1110, or CH 2510. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 3410 (CH 3410) Environmental Chemistry

This course investigates in detail the chemical transformations that occur in nature’s gaseous state (the atmosphere), aqueous solution (rivers and oceans) and solid state (land and soil). In addition, alternative energy sources are studied from the perspective of both their impact on the environment and their underlying chemical principles. In the laboratory, the student may choose to do an independent project or a series of experiments illustrating our impact on the environment. Prerequisite: CH 2120. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 3650 Planning Sustainable Communities

Fundamentals of individual site location and larger urban forms are described such that environment resources play the primary role in the planning and design of adaptable human settlements. Innovations in technologies that minimize the requirements for energy, waste management and land consumption are thoroughly incorporated in the analysis of land development practices. Prerequisite: ES 1110.

ES 3850 Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (“GIS”) investigates the science of collecting, assembling, and portraying digitized land-based information into a graphic format for analysis, interpretation, and presentation. Students collect, modify, update and/or process databases to produce maps and charts for a wide range of applications, including natural resource inventory, marketing, social and human resource management, economic and/or public policy analysis, etc. Appropriate for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Prerequisite: ES 1110. Offered every other fall.

ES 3990 Advanced Topics in Environmental Science

An intensive examination of contemporary environmental issues beyond existing course offerings. Designed primarily for majors. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Prerequisite: ES 1110 and sophomore standing.

ES 4380 Methods in Environmental Education

This course is a practical, hands-on introduction to the field of environmental education and is designed for environmental science majors and minors interested in non-formal education (nature centers, parks, museums, etc.) as well as education majors. Students work on a variety of projects which may include the design of informational displays and dioramas, the development and use of interpretive nature trails and the writing of environmental education curriculum and lesson plans. The integration of environmental education programs into “ecotourism” is also explored. Prerequisite: ES 1110 or permission of instructor. Offered every other fall.

ES 4480 Environmental Health/Risk Assessment

Focusing on the process of risk characterization, this class incorporates aspects of exposure assessment, toxicity assessment, hazard assessment and risk characterization. Issues of uncertainty, sensitivity and risk-based decision- making are examined from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. Prerequisite: CH 2110. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 4550 Water and Wastewater Technology

Fundamentals of water resource planning and design, with emphasis on the operations and management of public water supply and wastewater disposal systems. Topics include transmission and distribution systems, groundwater identification and protection, land sub division and storm drainage system designs; water quality and treatment technologies. Prerequisite: ES 1110. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 4650 Solid Waste Management

Principles and practices of estimating the demand, types and strategies for handling solid waste are thoroughly discussed. Alternative methods for managing solid waste generation and disposition in the private as well as public sector are covered. Case studies of innovative strategies developed by other countries as well as new technologies are explored. Applications of selected technologies, such as composting, are put into practice. Prerequisite: ES 1110. Offered every other spring.

ES 4750 Environmental Impact Assessment

This course serves a dual purpose: to develop a problem-solving approach to environmental issues through the integration of a variety of disciplines, and to familiarize students with the complexities and importance of the process of preparing and reviewing Environmental Impact Statements. The E.I.S. process brings together people with diverse backgrounds in an effort to assess the impact of major governmental or private projects. Prerequisite: ES 1110, BI 1110, or permission of instructor. Offered upon sufficient demand.

ES 4810 Directed Study In Environmental Science      

Course of study to be arranged between faculty and student in the field of Environmental Science. Contract required. May be repeated for credit. Variable credit (1-4).

ES 4830 Independent Study in Environmental Science

Advanced, independent study of a specific topic. Course of study to be arranged with a faculty member. Contract required. Variable credit (1-4).

ES 4910 Environmental Science/Studies Internship

An internship program with recognized institutions, when available, may be taken by qualified students on a semester, year, or summer basis. Some appropriate institutions are local, state and federal agencies, private businesses, and conservation groups. Contract required. Variable credit (1-15).

NSM 1000 The Way of Science

Science is more than a collection of facts; it is a way of building models of the universe based on reliable evidence. How scientists weigh evidence will determine the extent of conflict with politics, religion, and the public in general. This course considers many topics (psychic power, evolution/creation, the birth and death of the universe, and others) in light of the scientific approach to reliable knowledge, and examines the resulting conflicts. Offered every semester.

NSM 3000 Careers in Science

This one-credit course is designed to give junior science majors the opportunity to hone the practical skills needed to have a successful career in the fields under the NSM Collegium. There will be activities addressing: self-assessment of personal attributes, potential career paths, resume and cover letter writing, job searching and interviewing, and graduate school options. Offered every spring(1cr)

NSM 4000 Senior Science Thesis

As a two-semester capstone experience, students will develop and implement a thesis that utilizes skills and knowledge gained from their NSM major. During the fall semester students will form a faculty committee and develop a thesis proposal in a topic associated with their major. During the spring semester students will implement and report on the thesis. The thesis will emphasize application of skills such as: literature review, critical thinking, data collection and analysis, written communication, oral communication, and project management. Offered every year. (2 credits fall and 2 credits spring)