Environmental Science (Minor)

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 BIOL 130 - ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

An introduction to basic biological principles as they apply to interactions between organisms and their environment. Consideration is given to biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics, and evolution with a special emphasis on human impacts on these biological systems. This course establishes a strong foundation in applied biology from a scientific perspective.

 BIOL 135 - ENVIRONMENTAL BIOLOGY LAB GSC1 (1 credits)

An experimental approach in both the field and laboratory to explore fundamental biological principles including biotic and abiotic interactions, energy flow, biogeochemical cycling, population growth, biodiversity, basic cell biology, genetics and evolution. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 130.

 BIOL 150 - BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES GSC1 (4 credits)

An introduction to the central unifying concepts of biology including the biochemical foundations of life, cell structure and function, cell metabolism, genetics, and evolution. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology; and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 151 - DIVERSITY PATTERNS OF LIFE (4 credits)

An overview of organismal diversity and ecology. Through a taxonomic survey, students are introduced to prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Organismic anatomy and physiology, as well as fundamentals of ecology, are also considered. Laboratories introduce students to the process and methods of science through investigative experiences. This course is designed for the science major. Prerequisites: A year of high school biology and a year of high school chemistry or CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.

 BIOL 301 - GENERAL ECOLOGY (3 credits)

An introduction to basic ecological principles and their relationships to natural systems. Human impact on the natural systems is assessed. Prerequisites: BIOL 150 and BIOL 151. Prerequisite or corequisite: COM 202.

 BIOL 302 - ECOLOGY LABORATORY RECITATN (2 credits)

An experimental approach in both field and laboratory to explore fundamental ecological principles. Students gather and analyze data to address ecological hypotheses, learn practical ecological skills (performing field techniques, using statistical and graphical tools, and interpreting ecological software), and develop oral and written communication skills. Prerequisites: BIOL 150, BIOL 151, and CHEM 113. Prerequisite or corequisite: BIOL 301.

 BIOL 440 - CONSERVATION BIOLOGY (3 credits)

This course addresses the reduction in biological diversity of the planet and suggested solutions to prevent further reduction. Integrating themes are drawn from scientific disciplines such as population genetics, ecology, evolutionary biology, botany, zoology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and wildlife management. Prerequisites: BIOL 312; or ENVS 350, ENVS 370, ENVS 390, and either BIOL 151 or both BIOL 130 and BIOL 135; or instructor permission. 

 CHEM 111 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY I GSC2 (3 credits)

An introductory course designed for science majors focusing on principles and applications of chemistry. Topics covered in this course are stoichiometry, bonding models, intermolecular forces, and periodic trends. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 140 or Accuplacer college-level mathematics test score of 85 or above, ACT math score of 24 or above, or instructor permission.

 CHEM 112 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB I GSC1 (1 credits)

An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 111. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory notebook keeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Corequisite: CHEM 111.

 CHEM 113 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY II (3 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 111. Topics covered in this course are thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Prerequisite: CHEM 111.

 CHEM 114 - GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB II (1 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 112. An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 113. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory notebook keeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Prerequisite: CHEM 112. Corequisite: CHEM 113.

 CHEM 231 - INTRO ORGANIC CHEM BIOCHEM (3 credits)

A descriptive survey course which introduces the essential topics and applications of organic chemistry and biochemistry. The course is designed for non-majors who need the second semester of a one-year chemistry core that includes general, organic, and biochemistry. This course may not be counted for credit toward the Chemistry Major or Minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or CHEM 113.

 CHEM 234 - INTRO ORGANIC BIOCHEM LAB (1 credits)

An introductory laboratory to accompany CHEM 231. Experiments focus on reactions of organic functional groups, organic synthesis, and the chemistry of biological molecules. This course may not be counted for credit toward the Chemistry Major or Minor. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 231.

 CHEM 306 - ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY W LAB (4 credits)

A lecture/laboratory course involving principles, techniques and calculations involved with quantitative analysis of substances. Includes solution chemistry, gravimetric, volumetric, redox, and pH determinations. Prerequisites: CHEM 113 and CHEM 114.

 ENVS 373 - THE WATER PLANET (3 credits)

An advanced water science course specifically designed for students interested in water related environmental science and policy. Topics include the physical and chemical properties of natural fresh waters and the movement and reservoirs of fresh water within the water cycle. The course includes several hands-on exercises and field experiences where students investigate and analyze natural waters in the Gunnison Basin. Prerequisites: GEOL 101; GEOL 105 and one of the following: CHEM 101 or CHEM 111

 ENVS 390 - ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING (4 credits)

A field-work based study of local (Gunnison Basin) environmental problems. Numerous monitoring techniques are implemented based on principles of biology, chemistry, and geology. The emphasis is on collaborative and integrative group projects dealing directly with real-world environmental problems. Prerequisites: ENVS 301 and one of the following: ECON 216, MATH 213 or SOC 211.

 GEOL 101 - PHYSICAL GEOLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

An introductory class that emphasizes the environmental aspects of geology. The course covers the basic principles of physical geology, such as minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, and origin of landscapes by mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and nearshore processes. Throughout this course, focus is on the effect of geology on human society through the study of geologic hazards, energy resources, and mineral resources.

 GEOL 105 - PHYSICAL GEOLOGY LAB GSC1 (1 credits)

An introduction to identification of minerals and rocks and a discussion of their genesis followed by a study of landscapes formed by mass wasting, rivers, glaciers, ground water, and nearshore processes. Many of these principles are observed on local field trips. Prerequisite or corequisite: GEOL 101.

 GEOL 240 - INTRODUCTION TO PETROLEUM AND MINING GEOLOGY (3 credits)

A survey of the physical and chemical processes responsible for the distribution of hydrocarbon and mineral resources in the Earth's crust and techniques for hydrocarbon and mineral resource exploration, assessment, and development. Includes field trips to oil and gas and mining operations in Colorado and Utah. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and GEOL 105.

 GEOL 320 - GEOMORPHOLOGY W LAB (4 credits)

A study of the processes that create the landforms we see at the Earth's surface. In particular, processes associated with modern and ice-age climate are studied including erosion and weathering, soil formation, flooding, glaciation, and mass wasting. The laboratory emphasizes field-observation and data-collection techniques, and the interpretation of aerial photographs. Prerequisites: GEOL 101 and GEOL 105; CHEM 101 or CHEM 111.

 MATH 151 - CALCULUS I GMA1 (4 credits)

A study of differential calculus, including limits, continuous functions, Intermediate Value Theorem, tangents, linear approximation, inverse functions, implicit differentiation, extreme values and the Mean Value Theorem. This course also introduces Integral calculus including anti-derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 27 or above; SAT math score of 610 or above; MATH 141 with a minimum grade of "C-"; or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test with a score of 95 or above. GT-MA1

 MATH 213 - PROBABILITY STATISTICS GMA1 (3 credits)

An introduction to descriptive statistics, probability concepts, and inferential statistics. The topics for the course include presentation of data, counting principles, probability rules, and discrete and continuous probability distributions. Prerequisite: MATH 141 with a minimum grade of "C-,"' or Accuplacer College-Level Mathematics test score of 85 or above; or instructor permission.

 PHYS 120 - METEOROLOGY GSC2 (3 credits)

A summary of the structure of the Earth's atmosphere, worldwide weather disturbances, weather forecasting, and snow avalanches. This course may not be taken for credit toward the Physics Minor.

 PHYS 125 - ENERGY THE ENVIRONMENT GSC1 (3 credits)

A practical study of energy generation and its environmental impact, including the physics of energy fundamentals, fossil fuel use, alternative energy uses, and energy conservation. Primarily for non-science majors, this course will qualitatively detail basic physical principles behind the use of energy, including mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and thermodynamics. This course is designed to provide the student with a physicist's perspective on energy use and environmental issues. Prerequisite: completion of the general education essential skills mathematics requirement.

 SCI 400 - ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE SEMINAR (1 credits)

An examination of the environmental sciences through readings of primary literature, secondary literature and discussions of the environmental science discipline. The professional practices, procedures and standards of environmental science are discussed. Students will develop a professional portfolio of an environmental science project. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. Prerequisites: Instructor approval. This course is intended for students at the end of their Environmental Science minor. 

The Environmental Science Minor at Western teaches fundamentals of life sciences in a “living laboratory” of the Rockies. It gives students the opportunity to add  a stronger science emphasis to their degree or to add diversity to their existing degree plan. Students studying a wide range of topics can benefit from the Environmental Science Minor. 

What is the Western Difference for the Environmental Science Minor?

You’ll explore public and private lands, from sagebrush and streams to deep forests and rocky alpine crags. You’ll learn from passionate scientists dedicated to hands-on approaches. With Western’s connections to natural resource agencies, professionals frequently interact with our students in class, on field trips, and in training through internships and paid, local jobs.

Students can work with faculty mentors and design a program of study from a selection of elective courses to complement their chosen major.  Many of these courses offer research experiences for undergraduates and successful students often present their research at conferences or in public forums. Western students have been involved in research various topics in anthropology, biology, chemistry, geology or physics.

Western’s individualized education allows you to combine your Environmental Science minor studies to diversify a science major to complement different majors, such as Business, Mathematics, Politics & Government, Environment & Sustainability. 

What skills will I learn? 

You’ll learn outside in the field or the lab based courses that focus on scientific methods. You will gain technical background and skills to communicate with scientists and resource managers. You can learn field or laboratory techniques.

What can I do with my degree? 

The Environmental Science minor is a great way to round-out your degree with a stronger or more diverse scientific emphasis. Our science students have been hired at the local, state and national levels by such agencies as Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Students graduating from our science programs also have also been successful working with non-governmental institutions, such as nonprofit environmental groups, Native American tribes and for-profit consulting companies. Students attend graduate programs all over the United States. Many students are highly qualified for a variety of seasonal positions, working for researchers and natural resources management agencies.

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Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Professor of Biology; Chair, Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences
B.A., University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D., University of North Texas
Phone: (970) 943-3405
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143C
Professor of Geology
B.A., Western State Colorado Universtiy; M.S. University of Northern Arizona; Ph.D., University of Kansas.
Phone: (970) 943-2650
Office Location: Hurst Hall 16B
Thornton Chair in Biology
B.S, Colorado State University. M.S., University of Missouri; Ph.D., University of Missouri.
Phone: (970) 943-7121
Office Location: Hurst Hall 143A
Professor of Geology
B.A., State University of New York, College at Geneseo; M.S., Ph.D., University of Utah.
Phone: (970) 943-2367
Office Location: Hurst Hall 224
Associate Professor of Physics
B.A., Colby College; M.S., Ph.D., University of California - Santa Cruz.
Phone: (970) 943-2142
Office Location: Hurst Hall 116
Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Clemson University; Ph.D., University of Montana.
Phone: (970) 943-3152
Office Location: Hurst Hall 204
Moncrief Chair in Petroleum Geology
Bachelor of Science in Biology and Earth & Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico; master of science and doctorate in Geology from Utah State University
Phone: 970.943.2117
Office Location: Hurst 16D
Assistant Professor of Physics
B.S., Linfield College; M.S., University of New Mexico; Ph.D., University of New Mexico.
Phone: (970) 943-2155
Office Location: Hurst Hall 118